View Full Version : Picture of the week - Lighting setups

03/11/2006, 03:52 PM
Let's see how you've got your lights set up over your tank. In this application, you have to shoot bright lights with your camera, which tends to make everything else in the shot darker. You may have to force the flash to lighting the surrounding area visible.

Here is it without flash.

With flash.

From inside the fishroom.

I run the MH bulbs perpendicular to the tank because this creates a better spread of light. They are suspended by the mounted shelf above the rack, secured to the wall. The lights are:

250w ReefLux 10,000K - 400w XM 20,000K - 250w ReefLux 10,000K
two 160w VHO actinics.

Lighting uses IceCap ballasts or Magnetic ballasts.

The lightrack is made of aluminum, and rolls on those glides to that I get better access when necessary. I can push them forward to access from behind, or push them back to access the front. It creates 12" of space to work in. The roller system is from a pocket door system that I altered for the needs of the tank. I've had this setup for the past 1.5 years, but the bulbs are relatively new.

The rack is 6' long, and 16" wide, 8" tall. The MH are 9" off the water, the VHOs are 4" off the water.

Tell us about your lighting set up.

03/11/2006, 04:44 PM
Alright, Marc! Now you've done it! I actually had to whip out the camera and the flash, and the flash diffuser! THEN... I had to spend a few minutes figuring out how to make the flash light up correctly. THEN... I had to go into Photoshop and crop/sharpen. Geez! You owe me! :)

My tank sits in what used to be a corner unit TV stand, so I knew I'd have to shoot the whole thing for any of this to make sense. Notice the front cover pulled away. Behind this cover, I've mounted a 96w PC bulb for supplementation.


The shelf above how allowed for some pretty nice mounting options. There are two 120mm PC fans mounted on aluminum strips. The same goes for the Kent float valve, which maintains levels via reservoir (up top) and kalk reactor (behind the tank). The last line is the fresh air intake (air pump outside) into the skimmer.


03/11/2006, 07:58 PM
I like that. In my pictures, you can see my IceCap fans in the acrylic holder I built a year ago that blows across the surface of the water if the heat becomes an issue. I usually need it if the day is relatively warm and I'm not using the A/C that day.

Btw, there was another thread recently in this forum about taking an image in Photoshop and separating it in layers to brighten various components, then merging them together to end up with a well-lit image. I thought some of you might try that instead of working hard at getting the flash to work properly.

Jwedehase did a good job using the actual flash. I didn't even 'shop my images, just resize and save for web.

03/11/2006, 08:56 PM
ok well here is a pic of the display, not in perfect picture tkaing condition since tank cleaning is tomorrow, lighting is 2 250w 10K XM on icecap ballast and 2 5' VHO actinics on coralife ballast.


and here is the lighting over the frag tank, 1 175w Iwasaki 14k on icecap ballast in DIY spider reflector, lumenarc mini will be here next week.



03/11/2006, 10:04 PM
I built a hood sort of well it holds the lights and gets them out of the way when I need to work on the tank.


Heres the track they roll out of the way on.


And heres what it looks like over the tank.


03/11/2006, 11:54 PM
Here's the lighting on top of the reef tank at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific.


And the way they adjust them, notice the cables!


Greg R. may have some better photos.

Chaotic Reefer4u
03/12/2006, 10:37 AM
awesome lighting setups...

03/12/2006, 08:41 PM
Very high tech setups

03/12/2006, 08:53 PM
How about low tech? :lol:


Gotta love high speed flash sync.

This is my old lighting set up, 400 watt Iwasakis, 2 VHO actinics and 2 PC actinics. (I hated the yellow Iwasakis.) Now I have 250 watt 10k XM's with "spider" type reflectors. With the new reflectors, almost as much light ends up in the tank as with the 400's, with less spill over in the room. And my electric bill is cheeper! :thumbsup:

03/13/2006, 01:23 AM
aberg, you'll have to take a new picture of the currently setup. Odds are the wall has been finished and we can see the lighting configuration you described too. :)

03/13/2006, 05:08 AM

2x55watts PC, plus 1 x15watt NO under 32x16" canopy.

03/13/2006, 01:50 PM
We need to see Gregr's lighting too. (hint hint)

03/13/2006, 03:39 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=6941953#post6941953 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by melev
aberg, you'll have to take a new picture of the currently setup. Odds are the wall has been finished and we can see the lighting configuration you described too. :)

Naw, it looks the same except for the spider reflectors, and I lowered the lights about 4 inches. Thats basically my furnace and laundry room. No sense in doing a bunch of cosmetic work back there when I'd just splash water all over anywas. :D Here's what it looks like from the other side. Hardly anything to speak of as far as live stock in the tank, as I've been persuing other hobbies lately.


And Melev, thats probably the photo you were refering to that I used 3 exposures and combined them. :D

03/15/2006, 07:41 PM
Mine is fairly simple . Two 150w Oceanlights running 14k pheonix bulbs and two 39w Tek T-5's running Geissman 6000k bulbs.

03/16/2006, 09:37 AM
Those T5's are so high up. Do they really do any good at that elevation?

03/16/2006, 04:45 PM
You would be amazed at the difference of haveing them on or off.
I had a friend come by last year and take some par readings. There was quite a difference in my tank with them on.

03/16/2006, 06:23 PM
Hey Fellow Reefers,
I am in the process of setting up a 210 gallon reef, and thought I might post some pictures of my lighting set up. I am still in the process of setting it up, so I don't even have water in it yet.
Matt Maise

My lighting settup is as follows:
3 400w Metal Halides with Reeflux 10k's
2 6ft VHo Actinics
and 2 Icecap smart fans
I will attept to post the pictures:




03/16/2006, 06:43 PM
Matt, that looks great!!!

03/16/2006, 07:14 PM
Thank you, Marc, I also got your email. Thanks a lot.

03/16/2006, 07:59 PM
Well, mine are basically built inside the wall, so I can't really get a full picture, but here ya go...



2 250W SE AquaConnect 14K metal halides
2 110W 48" VHO actinics

The halides are driven by Icecap ballasts (the old style ballasts, they're actually tuned for the old Sunburst bulbs, but fire the 14Ks perfectly). The bulbs are about 14" off the water if I remember correctly.

The VHOs are driven by an Icecap 430.

VHOs come on around 11:30, MHs on around 12:30, MHs off around 9 and VHOs off at 10. There is an LED moonlight run by the Tunze 7095.

03/16/2006, 08:02 PM
Did you use chains because it was the easiest way to install them, or did you do that to adjust the lightbulbs height from the water?

I doubt you'll get IceCap's seal of approval with the VHO endcaps installed that way. :o That being said, thanks for sharing your setup! :)

03/16/2006, 08:11 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=6972758#post6972758 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by melev
Did you use chains because it was the easiest way to install them, or did you do that to adjust the lightbulbs height from the water?
Both actually. I didn't want to take up space with crossbeams to mount the lights. It's hard enough working in a 6'x3' tank through the small cabinet openings as it is and it's nice to be able to just move the lights out of the way. I also wasn't sure where I wanted the lights positioned. I haven't actually changed them since the initial setup.

<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=6972758#post6972758 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by melev
I doubt you'll get IceCap's seal of approval with the VHO endcaps installed that way. :o That being said, thanks for sharing your setup! :)

Probably not, but quite honestly, I feel it's a safer setup than mounting them to a solid canopy. In my 20 gallon tank, I'm using the same endcaps mounted onto the wood. I've already gone through four sets of them because of heat build up. With them hanging like they are, they stay nice and cool.

03/16/2006, 09:04 PM

03/17/2006, 09:23 AM
<b>Matt</b>, I did want to point out the irony of a guy named "luminary" posting in the Lighting Thread of the Week. :D

That is very interesting about the endcaps not heating up when suspended versus screwed to wood. Mine were mounted to wood over my 55g, but as you saw in my images in the first post of this thread, now they are secured to the aluminum rack and they don't even feel warm to me.

<b>Chris</b>, let's see your light setup please.

03/18/2006, 10:37 PM
My little minibow 7


03/18/2006, 10:52 PM
Amy, that is one pimped out Minibow! ;) Awesome.

03/18/2006, 11:15 PM
Thanks Kayla :D

You need to show off the cube lighting!!

03/18/2006, 11:39 PM
Well, I do have one pic, but it's nothing special - (Oceanlight; 250 DE halide, 2 x 24W T5)

Here's the seahorse tank fixture - (4 x 54W T5)

I'll get better shots of both tanks tomorrow when the lights come on. :)

03/19/2006, 12:44 AM
:thumbsup: Awesome. Can't tell you how much I love that seahorse tank!