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I don't know if this is a dead topic but as I didn't see anyone just jump and out say what you should think about getting, for a 30cube that might be used for anything I'd recommend one 250W MHQIDE pendent with a 14K Pheonix bulb if not supplementing with another source of actinic be it PC or T5. You would be able to grow all the SPS your little heart could ever desire. You could grow out any nice clam or anemone you wish. Currently I'm running, 13.3 w per gallon over my 75g. I'd shoot for around 200w or so of PC lighting to really bring out Zoas and Shrooms if you go that route. the nice thing about PC bulbs and softie/LPS tanks is that it is very eay to set up different bulb combinations to find the one that works best. 2 10K grow bulbs and 2 dual spectrum actinics or 20K's would be a nice set up. 4 cords and you could do a number with your timers and adjust the brightness all day long.

I hope that was a little more straight forward.
 

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Bud in my opinon 1.8 wpg is barely enough for a softy tank. Heck my 7g nano has 9wpg. You will be seriously limited to what you can keep like GSP, clove polyps, xenia, kenyan branching, zoas and mushrooms. It would be difficult to claim a 30g reef tank without some nice specimens of lps or sps. At least consider an Odyssea fixture from my friend matt, www. thehobbypalace.com I have a nice 130w PC fixture over a 20g planted that might pull it off for you. My friend uses the same fixture with one 12k bulb and one 20k bulb over a 20g reef. He can't grow SPS nor can he keep a clam but he has a few LPS like torches, frogspawn and hammers.

One note about lighting. It is the single most important thing about your reef tank besides clean water. It isn't important in any other tank besides a freshwater planted tank. Proper lighting is what makes your coral grow and what keeps it alive. Most coral is photosynthetic meaning it lives from the light you provide. So I cannot stress enough that there is no such thing as to expensive lighting. If you shop around you'll be pleasantly surprised. I can turn up used fully running 150w pendants for about $80 all the time. that really is not super expensive. Also a little 150w pendant will not eat up your electric bill. think about it, you should be thinking of at least 210w to fully support a nice SPS or clam collection. 200w running 8 hours is only 1,600w or 1.6kilowatt hours. Around here a kilowatt runs about 10 cents. So your 150w halide would cost about 15 cents a day to run. or about $5 a month. PM me and I'll link you to a calculator that will estimate the entire cost of your tank for you, you can show that to your mom. I won't link from the site as it is to another site and I noticed admin doesn't approve of that.

I'll even offer to help you find a reasonably priced pendant.

Never buy undersized lighting. As your tank matures and your interests change you will only be limited by your lighting demands. Why pay twice or threee times when you can get it right the first time? I started out with flouros, trashed em. Traded up for a 2x 150w MHQI 2x 200w PC fixture. It seemed great for about 6 months. I then got frags from a friend that died. He came by and laughed at my lighting. I went ahead and bought another system, 1000w total. Now everythign is awesome. That is on a 75g. I would have had $800 to spend on corals and fish had I not wasted my time buying underpowered lights.
 

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To bad I was writing out my last reply when you said you didn't want much coral.

Anemones are off your list. They must be kept in good lighting. Sorry it's just how it is. The only low light anemone is the aptasia anemone. You might pull off a majano but those are not the types you are looking for. Anemones are primarily a photosynthetic animal. They rarely eat anything. Anyone feeding them anyhting larger than mysis shrimp are ony polluting their tanks. It has been proven time and time again that they spit out large fish and shrimp pieces late at night while you are asleep. It has been proven that most can be kept without supplemental feeding under high lighting conditions.
 

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I'll look around at finding you a discounted fixture. I see Aqualogic and Geismann pendants for about $80-120 a lot. Most of those have the ballast built right in. The entire pendant is generally about 12"x 10" and hangs from the ceiling. Also you can check out Viper or Coralife for clip on lights. I'll post back tomorrow if I can find you a deal. PM me what you are willing to spend. I can generaly find a nicely used set up for about what a new PC fixture runs. I just built a system with 2 250w bulbs, reflectors, bulbs, sockets, cords, timers, and ballasts for about $400 total. I know right now where I can get you 3x 175w screw in with ballasts for $200.
 

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Make sure to tell him that money is no object and that you want him to recommend something that you can "grow" into if your tastes in corals change. Make sure you tell him that you want anemones and that you may someday wish to get into SPS or clams. He may think you only want a cheap light and not want to scare you off by showing you the good stuff. I can find pics of 30g tanks being used locally with 400w MH bulbs. They are awesome. Keep in mind that bad lighting can also lead to algae issues.
 

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Because seriously one day you'll be looking at some nice frags or clams at the LFS and you'll really want them. I'm just trying to help you prepare.

As a sidenote I was referrencing this thread at the LFS tonight with a fellow reefer. He pointed out to me that he could not understand why anybody woud be shocked about the idea of putting a 150WMH over a 30g. Some say it's only a 30g it isn't necessary yet they'd be the first one to put 2 250w bulbs over a 75g. I ask what's the difference?

And because clams are the most rockenest part of reefs. A good clam will always impart oohs and aahhs when folks look at your reef. A nice derrasa or gigas is the center attraction.

I think this is a nice thread as a lot of people near me have been setting up Oceanic 30g cubes. They almost all have the same plot. 400w MH, GIANT 10" plus clam, some rock with SPS and caps. Sometimes an anemone up high with a couple of Onyx clowns. It's fast becoming one of the most aw inspiring displays.
 

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It's called Solaris. And one for your tank would be about $4,000. They are over the top. I still think 2.16w per gallon is a little low for a reef. I thought I saw a thread where you described the differences between a reef tank and a fish only as fish only use 1-3 wpg and reefs have 4 and over???????

About the nicest and cehapest set up I could recommend would be this awesome 3x250w mh with 300w T5 lighting I found on Ebay. I paid out hte nose to build my own fixture and I could have had that one for $700 including bulbs. You wouldn't need a canopy as it is a contained fixture like you Current brand fixture. They come with wire rope for haning from your ceiling. the nicest thing about that, and it's what I use, is that all of your tank is accessible without hassling with your light.
 

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Careful what you say......

I build military housing......

Can you say Fort Hood?

Camp Mabry?

The fixtures only weigh in around 10 lbs or less. The ballasts live on the floor somewhere of your choosing. I'll look for that link and send it your way. One of these days when I get a chance I'll take a really nice pic of my tank but for now I'll say this,



That's similar to how the tank is set up. The pic is probably about 6 months old and was back when I was in an LPS phase. You'll see just how nicely the fixture fits above my "false" canopy. No cooling problems at all. In fact you can see the lines to my 1/2hp chiller that I never bothered buying a controller for since I ended up not needing it.

This pic is some of the work I put into remanufacturing my fixture to my liking, this was $500 later. That does not include the $500 I spent on it and was unsatisifed with the results. Like I say, it's cheaper to buy it right the first time than to keep buying it over and over again. 2 days after I finished redoing my fixture I found the one on Ebay that was even better and cheaper than what I had invested in my lights.



You can see by the reflector on the left how I doubled the size of the reflector. I never knew what I was missing until I fired it up. It was amazing.
 
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