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Re: To Watt or not to Watt

MG asked:is 7.11 watts/per gallon too
> much, and is 3.55
> watts per gallon too little if I don't want to be too
> limited with what I
> can grow?

At 7wpg you probalby won't be limited in the amount of
algae you can grow even if the lamp is extremely
inefficient.  That amount might be okay for reef tanks with
certain corals but it's overkill for a planted tank.  Maybe
an expert could pull off using that much light and avoiding
too much algae, but a lot of the light would still be

3.5 wpg is plenty in most cases.  Think of 3.5-4.5 as one
end of the desireable range and 1.5-2.5 and the other.  At
1.5 wpg you can get things to grow but very slowly, which
isn't necessarily bad, it's low maintenance.  At the other
end, things happen fast, algae can be harder to avoid,
maintenance is more demanding, and when things get out of
whack, they can do so quickly and badly.

Personally, I find almost everything from Coralife to be
overpriced.  I've been disappointed with the value of
everything I've bought under its brand.  But the brand has
been around for a while so some folks must like them.  I
suggest shop around further.  Consider function first and
style second.

My favorite lights are AH Supply kits.  I make my own hoods
or gut inexpensive ready-made hooods.  AH Supply has
respectable wooden hoods too.  Their reflectors are the
best, the prices are very good.  Others might be able to
comment on alternative brands of ready-mades.  

Scott H.

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