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View Full Version : Help me finally decide this lighting thing


muttley000
05/11/2010, 06:26 PM
I am finally getting ready to get my 29 gal set up after 5 years of reading and a year and a half accumulating stuff. I have my skimmer, RODI, salt, substrate, sump/fuge and return pump all in place. I'll document it all in a build thread when I finally get to put it together in June or July. I am now ready to buy my last piece, the lighting. I have built a custom canopy that has 15 inches from the top to the water. Adding fans to it is no big deal. I intend to keep SPS corals and a pair of clowns in the tank. I have waivered between 4 or 6 bulb T5 retrofits and 250 watt MH with T5 supplementation. If I bought today I would go with the later unit. Any last input before I pull the trigger, and any suggestions on which one, would be quite welcome!

Beaun
05/11/2010, 06:36 PM
4 T5's with good reflectors would be fine, 6 would be great. You really don't need MH over a 29 gallon, it's really not deep enough to justify it. I would go with a 6 bulb T5 set up.

muttley000
05/13/2010, 05:31 PM
I haven't found a 6 bulb fixture that will fit over my 29, it's only 12 inches front to back and the closest fixture I found was 13.5 inches. Will I be limited in what I can keep with 4 Very High output t5s?

gonpostal
05/13/2010, 06:54 PM
If your tank is 30" long, you're going to be limited in your choice of T5 fixtures. I had a 30" Current USA Sundial 4 bulb T5 HO fixture on my 56 gallon tank, which was 30" long and 24" tall. I was able to keep LPS and softies with no problems, but never tried SPS. Since your tank is not as tall, you may be able to keep some SPS, especially if you get a good set of bulbs. The Sundial has some nice features (moonlights, timers), and is a decent fixture. It's also only 9.5" from front to back. I'm not sure if there are any other good 30" T5 fixtures out there (haven't looked around lately).
Your other option would be to do a retrofit. If you do this, you can buy the best reflectors, and use as many bulbs as will fit into your canopy. You can even overdrive them with icecap ballasts.

pardalis
05/13/2010, 07:13 PM
I would go with a good retrofit kit that includes separate reflectors for each bulb. You could also run an Icecap ballast and overdrive a four bulb set up. That should be plenty of light to keep anything you like. I am running eight four foot bulbs on Icecap ballast and I have clams, sps, lps etc in my 120g tank.

Johnny C
05/13/2010, 10:15 PM
I owned the same aquarium before I purchased my 57. I used a 6x24w T5 setup and had great results keeping LPS + SPS. Unless you plan to house SPS low in the tank, you can get away with four bulbs just fine. If you do plan to retrofit with an Icecap, be sure to use fans to cool the bulbs.

Either way, I would avoid MH's. You won't get even coverage and will waste money on electricity vs. T5's. JMO! :)

zachfishman
05/19/2010, 02:14 PM
For those of you running 4x24 T5s, how do you think it compares to a 2x65watt PC hood? I'm looking at lighting a 29 as well, and am reluctant to go T5 (for $100 more) vs PCs which I've had such great luck with in the past.

Johnny C
05/19/2010, 05:46 PM
For those of you running 4x24 T5s, how do you think it compares to a 2x65watt PC hood? I'm looking at lighting a 29 as well, and am reluctant to go T5 (for $100 more) vs PCs which I've had such great luck with in the past.
It's probably at least double the amount of PAR and will cost less to relamp. There's a reason that nobody sells PC's anymore! :)