Metal Halide Alternative
I've been reading online about going a different route than metal halide because of cost and heat. I saw some marine lights at lfs I believe they were the t5 type. I've priced the metal halide set-up for my 125g and it's really expensive. the 125g is 72"l 18"d 18"h. I plan on this being more of a reef set-up with some smaller fish. I don't plan any special corals as I'm just starting. So far I'd like to get some candy cane, colony polyp, and a brain coral. I can get the candy and polyp and a fairly small size.
If I did go with a metal halide alt. would these t5 bulbs work and how many would be needed and at what output.
t5s are good i would go with a 4 bulb high output set up. and the temps inthe tank wouldnt be nearly as bad as having a mh set up. mh are good because of the shimmer effect but you can get that in other means. hope this helps
According to my calculations (72" x 18" x 18" = 23328/231=100.99) this is a 100 gallon tank. A 125 should be 4" higher.
I have a 150 gallon reef ready tank and I use a the Nova Extreme Pro T5 12 bulb T5HO unit. Each bulb is 39w. This works great for me. I keep LPS and softies, a few fish and two anemones. I have yet to try keeping SPS under these lights, but I have read about others doing it by keeping the SPS higher in the tank. At 18" deep I think that you would be able to keep them at any height, as long as they weren't shadowed. The corals you mentioned are LPS and softies, but think about the future; you might want to go SPS. You might as well be prepared.
Metal Halide have the benefit of light penetration in very deep tanks. They also give off more UV light that is essential for zooanthelle growth. I have found the Aquaticlife HID/T5 fixture, which uses High Intensity Discharge lamps, and the ballasts are all inclusive. This fixture boasts having the light intensity of metal halide without the heat exhaustion. It also has a built in timer. If I had $1100 I would buy this light in a heartbeat.
In my 75 I have a Nova Extreme Pro 6 x54w bulb system. I can keep Acros and other SPS. The highest light form of what I have currently is an Oregon Tort. Incredibly slow growing so I think its the limit of what I can keep. Various birdsnests and millipora I have no problem with. LPS I have to keep on the bottom and have a frogspawn that over the last couple months noticed it has 3 new heads. I like the Nova pro but for some reason I cant put 6 ATI bulbs in as replacement bulbs, I can only go with 5 and a stock bulb or that circuit wont come on.
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