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I know several lighting questions have surfaced recently so I thought
I'd throw mine in as well while we are on the subject... I could sure
use some clarification please. Sorry this is long but I am trying to
make it as clear as possible. Before someone advises me to do this, I
have read the Krib, archives, Karen Randall's articles in every AFM, the
new Planted Aquaria Magazine (great magazine!!!) and am still not clear
on a couple of points in terms of lighting.
I recently bought the All-Glass 92 gallon corner tank. Obviously with
its weird shape (90 degree angle with curved front), lighting will be a
challenge. It is 24 inches deep which concerns me on getting light to
punch that far down. Due to marital constraints, it will not be an open
top. I am having a hood, as well as stand, made for it. Initially
considered MH. I grow orchids with one and am familiar with them. On
the other hand, I had also considered the PC flourescents. I intend to
utilize a CO2 system and have already procured the laterite and heating
cables. I am always seeing questions related to the ballasts and am
curious if the fixtures include them or if people simply upgrade them or
what... I was considering either:
A) One 175 watt MH fixture (horizontally mounted and probably from
Hamilton) and Iwasaki 6500K bulb which would give me 1.9 watts per
gallon, perhaps a 250 watt would be better... that would raise it to
2.7 watts per gallon.
B) PC lighting. If I understand correctly, the retrofit PC fixtures
from AH Supply can be mounted in my hood and no additional
hardware/ballasts/etc are required. I can fit two 96-watts, one
55-watt and one 9-watt (depending on exactly how much space is required,
I possibly could replace the 9 watt with another 55) The initial
description would give me 256 watts which would be 2.8 watts per gallon
if the second were possible, 302 watts which would be 3.3 watts per
I understand that 2-4 watts is optimum for the setup and the 250 watt MH
or the initial PC description falls within that but here are my issues:
1) Noise. - This will be in my great room and a hum from the ballast
won't be welcome. Also, the ballast from a MH would have to be located
under the tank, there is nowhere else to put it which raises the heat
issue in #2. Not sure if the PC ballasts is on the fixture or remote...
2) Heat. - I will have a muffin fan installed and the hood will be
vented but am concerned about heat from both the bulbs and ballast (in
3) Quality. - I know CRI needs to be high to more closely approximate
sunlight and temperature is important as well so I guess my question is
this, is the quality of the Iwasaki 6500K bulb as good/better/worse than
the 6700K PC? I have seen articles in the past that seemed to indicate
the MH's have a better quality of light (more closely approximates
sunlight) as opposed to the PC's, yet I have seen contradictory
information that stated just the opposite. Perhaps it depends on which
you are selling he, he : ) ! Is 250 watts of 6500K MH equal to 250
watts of 6700K PC?
4) Depth. - Is either set-up going to be better/worse than the other in
terms of being able to provide adequate lighting in a 24 inch deep tank?
Can one "punch" as deep as the other?
5) Equipment. - The ballast thing still isn't clear. Don't the
fixtures have one or is it inadequate etc...
Thanks alot in advance.