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Re: Lighting large tank

David wrote:

How would you light a 40x40x40 inch tank (280 gallons)??   400w metal
halide?    What would you put in it?   Altum angels?   And some monster red
sword plant?   And some crinum?   And some Crypt. aponogetifolia?  or
?????   This may actually happen......

I reply:

That tank is much deeper than the usual tank and I have no experience at all
with something that deep. I would think that the obvious answer would be
would be MH lamps. Unfortunately, because of the size of the tank there is
probably nothing commonly available in a single lamp that would light the
bottom of the tank except for 1000 watt lamps. I doubt if a single 400 watt
would do the trick. The 1000 watt lamps are sometimes used in things like
stadium lighting. The fixtures are generally rectangular and are designed to
illuminate things pretty far away. I think this might work very as at close
range the fixture should throw a sort of rectangular spot that sort of
matches the shape of your tank. Philips MHN lamps are made in 1000 watt
sizes and look like they have a nice wide spectrum that should be good for
growing plants.

I would worry though that this could be a little too much light for your
tank but I really don't know because of the depth thing. Also the cost of
operation of this kind of system is going to be pretty high. The lamp and
ballast typically actually draw a little more than a 1000 watts. In my area
that would cost in the range of $250 per year.

I visited the Newport aquarium this summer and they had a few deep planted
aquariums. They weren't all that great to look at which I found suprising
considering how much money they had spent in general. I quickly realized
that they must have had a terrible time maintaining them. It must have been
so difficult to prune the plants that they just didn't bother. I bet if you
picked a shallower tank it would be easier to maintain and easier to light
with a single lamp.