Friday, August 28, 2009

Q&A with Keith, 8/28/09

QUESTION
I'm new to saltwater aquariums. This weekend I am setting up a 92 gallon corner unit. It will eventually evolve into a reef tank so I want to choose proper lighting for now and in the future . What do you suggest? I'm not sure what type of inhabitants I'll keep yet but I know I want some lunar lights to accompany the fixture.

ANSWER
Lighting a corner tank is no easy feat. I have a 54 gallon corner tank myself and have found it challenging to get full lighting coverage throughout the tank. I run a single 250-watt double-ended pendant called
the LumenMax 3 by Sunlight Supply. It works well but does not provide supplemental lighting (like T5s) for a dawn/dusk effect nor does it have any lunar/moonlights to speak of.

I believe you can use a 36" fixture for your aquarium. Since you didn't mention what type of animals you intend to keep, I will assume it will be a variety that includes fish, SPS corals and clams. A metal halide light fixture would be an ideal solution for this type of mixed reef.

One particular light I think would be a good fit for you is the 3' Maristar from Sunlight Supply. It is a metal halide/T5 combo and, while it does not include the lunar lights you want, you can always purchase them separately since they're inexpensive and easy to setup. Oh, and don't forget the ballast and bulbs ... they are not included with the Maristar either.

Another option is Current USA's popular SunPod fixture. You'll get the metal halide lighting you need plus the lunar (blue and white) lights you want all in one handsome unit. The only downside is that these lights have been discontinued so if you need replacement parts (aside from bulbs, of course) they may be hard to come by.

We carry plenty of other fixtures and pendants if the models I've recommended don't tickle your fancy. Take a moment when you have some free time and browse our lighting section. Consider how you'll want to mount the fixture (hanging or inside a canopy, for instance) and hit us up afterward and we can make additional recommendations.

I could ramble on and on about stocking a reef aquarium but there are a couple of books that already have that covered. The Reef Aquarium Series from DelBeek and Sprung and The Modern Coral Reef Aquarium Series are definitely resources every reefkeeper should have in their library.

I'd also like to encourage you to join our forum if you're not already a member. There is a section called Members' Tanks where hobbyists show the evolution of their aquariums. You'll get a lot of ideas here and you can ask other experienced aquarists what fish, corals and inverts they recommend.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, don't hesitate to contact us for assistance.

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