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Re: Your suggestions for lighting please

> I guess the rule of thumb usually tossed around for lighting is 2-4 watts
> per gallon. If I split the difference and aimed for 3 watts/gallon that
> would mean 225 watts. My first question is is that a reasonable figure?

Yes.  If anything, I'd be inclined to go lower than higher.  I'm running
320w of VHO over a 100 gallon, and have to spend more time than I'd like
keeping things balanced.  Lower wattage would allow me to slack off a little
bit more.

> Assuming 225 watts is my target I could get close to that with 4 55w
> fluorescents. I could also do 2 96w CFs plus a 28w CF. Alternatively,
> VHO fluorescents, I could use 2 110 watt bulbs.

Keep in mind that CF are much more efficent, allowing you to go with lower
wattage.  Look seriously at the 2x96w option.  I've got that setup over a 40
gallon reef and have been extremely satisfied.  Currently looking at
replacing my VHOs with a 2x96w setup.

> With metal halides I'm not
> sure. Two 175s would probably be too much. A single 250 watt bulb is in
> ballpark but I don't know if a single bulb will work well for a four foot
> long tank.

I'd stay away from halides.  If you had a larger tank, they'd be a
consideration, but unless you're willing to suspend them, heat becomes a
problem.  You could go with HQIs which are available in lower wattages, but
bulbs in the right kelvin rage could be hard to come by.

> - - initial cost

CF, if purchased through AH supply, are fairly inexpensive, expecially when
compared to halides.

> - - cost of ownership (electricity usage, bulb life and replacement cost)

CF are also one of the most efficent forms of lighting available.

> - - heat from the bulb(s)

Not a major problem, given adequate ventilation.  Heat is a bit of a problem
in my reef, but I'm using a fairly small hood and the heat is being absorbed
by half the water volume.

> - - heat from the ballasts(s)

Not an issue if you remote mount them.  Either way, CF ballasts run very

> - - dimmability

CF are not dimmable, but you can set them up so one comes on half an hour
earlier than the other.  Also, dimming is extremely hard on ballasts, and
the only truly dimmable ballast I know of ofr sure is the Icecap, which, at
$179, you don't want to blow out.  If you don go that route, any of the VHO
bulbs should work OK.

Justin Collins