View Full Version : Magnetic ballast lamp options 250W SE

08/18/2017, 10:09 AM
I got this old dual 250 PFO ballast. It's a big silver box. The lable checkmark had wiped off so I opened it to see what was inside and there are 2 transformers and 2 capacitors and that's about it. I should have taken a picture but the transformsers said 250 on them and they fire 250 watt SE lamps.

I'm starting a 135 SPS dominated peninsula tank on the cheep (http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2647843)

I have 2 big reflectors to hang over my tank and I also have a pair of hammelton I think M80 ballasts at my disposal.

What are the better lamps I can run with he hardware I have? I'm looking for growth and coloration... big suprise :)

08/18/2017, 10:13 AM
Radiums 20k or Phoenix 14k

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08/18/2017, 10:35 AM
Radiums 20k or Phoenix 14k

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Those are actually the ones I remember being the best, though I used to run the German Aqualine (A/B) 10k's. My ballest will fire either of those? I'm considering not using supplemental actenic lighting this time.

08/18/2017, 10:36 AM
The m80 ballistic will

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08/18/2017, 04:09 PM
I would use the M80s and fire 20K Radium - no T5 necessary whatsoever.

For the M58s, Radiums won't be to spec, so you are looking at 20K Hamilton, 14K Hamilton, XM 15K and a whole bunch of others. I find 20K Hamilton a bit too blue and 14K better, but might need an actinic for most folks. None of these ever excited me like 20K Radium on M80 did.

08/18/2017, 05:45 PM
there is nothing like a good old Radium on a M80 ballast !! I think that will be the holy grail of lighting for a very very long time

08/19/2017, 08:27 AM
Some of best coloration of coral comes from Radiums

08/19/2017, 08:31 AM
10K XM or 10K Hamilton really will color corals very well too, perhaps better than Radium or Phoenix... however, it does not do a very good job of illuminating them so it needs some T5 (or VHO back in the day) to show them off too. If you want to super-awesome growth and color, don't overlook 10K bulbs, but also know that you will spend some electricity and money on fluorescent lamps as well.

The Radium 20K and Phoenix 14K do a great job of both coloring and illuminating.

08/19/2017, 11:22 AM
I'm pretty sure my ballast is M58, will that fire the radiums?

08/19/2017, 11:30 AM
M58 pulse start should fire a Radium. Use the M80s if you are going to go 20K Radium... M58 will under drive them. If you have to use the M58s, then 14K Hamilton would be my choice.

08/19/2017, 02:47 PM
Here is what it says inside the ballest. http://reefcentral.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=378307&stc=1&d=1503175579

08/21/2017, 06:16 AM
My m58's are probe start. The only lamps I have found that are probe start in the 14k range are Hamilton and plusrite. :(

08/21/2017, 07:06 PM
I just switched from 250w Hamilton 10ks to Radiums, but I also have 4 T5s going with them.

I didn't like the 10ks because they are so damn bright that even with 4 blue T5s going with it I couldn't get the color blue enough to my eye, the MH just dominated the color of the tank and it was a little too yellow for me.

I really like the Radiums because they look much less bright and they are much bluer by default, so the T5s have more impact on the coloration. Currently I'm going with 2 purple+ and 2 actinics, but I'm still playing around with combinations. The coloration I'm getting now is wonderful though, the Radiums brings out the blues, purple+ brings out the reds and the actinics bring out the florescence.

If I was picked a bulb without any T5, I'd certainly go with something higher than the Hamilton 10k, but at least based on my experience, a MH alone doesn't really compare with MH+T5 in terms of coloration, and it isn't even close. I realize you are on a tight budget but you might want to consider finding a way to get at least a pair of T5s on there, I guarantee whichever MH bulb you pick having a couple T5s to supplement it will make your corals look a lot nicer.

08/21/2017, 07:49 PM
Are you using a m58 or m80 ballest?

I have 13 brand new 65 watt power compact lamps and a few ballest for them to choose if I need actenic.

08/21/2017, 09:37 PM
I have a 250watt hamilton electronic ballast which can drive either type of bulb (though it doesn't drive the Radiums with as much wattage as an M80 ballast).

12/05/2017, 10:06 AM
So, I finaly found a magnetic M80 ballest (sunlight supply practically unused) to run my radiums. My problem is that it takes up a giant swath of space under my stand. Is there a substantial differance between a magnetic and a electronic M80? I could screw magnetic to the top of the stand and free up some must needed realestate under my stand.


20k radiums on a magnetic M80 are spectacular, no need for supplemental whatsoever. They bring out all sorts of colors and even the “POP”. Growth rate is impressive as well.

12/05/2017, 01:32 PM
No electronic ballast is to the M80 spec. They will fire the bulb and be more electricity than a regular electronic ballast, but it is still not the same - it is a trick/fib from the manufacturers kinda like 410nm diodes are supposed to be "UV." They were a bit more blue for me with less output, but hardly the end of the world. A real M80 is still the only ballast to spec.