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Old 06-20-2007, 05:16 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big Tank. Big Lights. Need Advice.

Now that you mention, I didn't realize I hadn't finished filling in my profile. We are just north of Columbus, OH.

I think we have made a decision (see new attached image). We are going with metal halide. I know the "shimmering" effect you are talking about. We have a LFS here that has about a 300 gallon tank lit by MH, granted it's a reef tank, but I can get the picture. I think it will look amazing on video tape (high definition even!).

Without a doubt, MH is going to give a better picture on TV than fluorescent. I've already experimented with this on my 55 gallon using fluorescent and our MH tv lights to light the tank.

After much discussion we feel that four 250 watt MH fixtures can't possibly create much more heat that a cabinet crammed with fluorescent. We are pursuing SKSuser's idea of off site fan ventilation.

MH ends up cheaper in up-front cost.

Plus the depth penetration IS a concern. We really want this tank be green (we think kids would like it ).

Now that we have decided on Metal Halide, where do I get them!?

I was looking at four of these:
http://www.hellolights.com/index.asp...ROD&ProdID=170

They would give us 1000 watts which is exactly 2.5 watts a gallon.

Anyone have any other ideas on places to purchase? How about any companies that would like to work with a 501c3 non-profit organization in return for being mentioned in the credits of every show using the aquarium? Plus you get a tax right off!
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Old 06-20-2007, 05:20 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big Tank. Big Lights. Need Advice.

...uh, did you check out the hydroponics fixtures I linked you to? They'd be cheaper.
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Old 06-20-2007, 06:15 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big Tank. Big Lights. Need Advice.

I got my MH retro kit from Hellolights. They're great to work with and their packaging was absolutely top-notch.

I think you might like this one better:
http://www.hellolights.com/index.asp...OD&ProdID=1325

I have the 150W version of this same reflector on my tank. The nice thing with this one is that it comes with glass covers which shield the bulb from splash & spray damage. You really need a UV shield of some sort with MH bulbs. If you don't go with a covered reflector you'll need to design a glass cover somewhere else between the bulbs and the water. It's a few more $$ per unit, but you might save in the long run.

Talk to the guys at Hellolights on the phone before ordering. They were very helpful to me and had some great ideas which I used in my setup. Who knows, they might even be willing to make a deal with you.

BTW, for comparison, 2.5 wpg over a 400g is probably equivalent to 4 wpg on a standard size tank (20-60g). That is VERY intense light (with a huge potential for algae issues). You could almost certainly grow anything with 3x250W.

Personally, if this was my pet project in my home I'd go with 1,000W, especially considering the depth. The extra might make it easier to play around with a few more plant species. If the tank needs to look good every single day then I'd go with less - maybe 1.5 - 2.0 wpg. You might not be able to keep Rotala macranda looking nice and red all the way down to the substrate, but the margin of error between algae soup and a beautiful tank will be much, much larger. A high-light setup will be fairly demanding in terms of careful, consistent CO2, fertilizers, trimming, etc.
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Old 06-20-2007, 06:18 PM   #34 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Big Tank. Big Lights. Need Advice.

That is a great Idea about the donation in return for publicity.
Many big companies have budgeted for situations like these and when no body asks, they just go unclaimed or into a CEO's pocket.

I would propose to any and all of the places you look for lighting, you might even get them to send out an expert and get a professional installation as well.

Sunlight Supply
Hellio Lights
Foster and Smith
That Pet Place
PetCo
PetSmart

any others out there, give it a try, it won't hurt, and I bet you will get offers from more then one and they will start a bidding war for you.
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Old 06-20-2007, 06:46 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big Tank. Big Lights. Need Advice.

epicfish: Believe me, I did not ignore your advise and will looking at those again and considering all the options!

guaiac_boy: I would love to get HQI with the covered reflector, but they don't have the 6500k bulb in 250 watt. When I emailed them, they gave me the link to the one I showed you. How will plants grow under the 10,000k lamps? The bluer tint may look better on tv anyway (I'd need to test that). Or... if I went with those lights from them, should I just get several more 150 watt fixtures? I know the cost would not be as good, but perhaps having more 150 watt fixtures would give better overall tank coverage than just three 250 watt fixtures? I'm heeding your advice and cutting down the amount of light. The last thing we need is algae soup. Plus less cost.

goalcreas: Thanks for the names! The good news is that we have plenty of time before we are actually ready to make the purchase. We have to finish remodeling the entire building and sell our previous building before we are ready to actually install the tank. So we have time to approach about any and everyone to see if they would like to work with us.

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Old 06-20-2007, 06:56 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big Tank. Big Lights. Need Advice.

Also try reefgeek.
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Old 06-20-2007, 07:18 PM   #37 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Big Tank. Big Lights. Need Advice.

aquacave
big al's
even try aquaforest and or ADG
pet solutions
that fish place
aquabuys

I am sure the bigger the company or the more national esposure the company has the better the chance.

Then of course try your more local companies as well.

anybody else have a favorite supplier, post them here for more ideas and chances.
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Old 06-20-2007, 08:23 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big Tank. Big Lights. Need Advice.

Of course we'll try all sorts of different companies, but you would be surprised how sometimes the "little" guys are so willing to help however they can, but the big "chains" have canned answers and don't give you the time of day (even thought they financially have the best ability). Thanks for more names!
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:08 PM   #39 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Big Tank. Big Lights. Need Advice.

That can be true, I guess it depends on the company and what they are donating and what they are getting in return.

I have found that the big pet stores have been very generous in handing out large gift cards or many small ones for community events around here that my wife organizes and she goes right into the stores and comes out with so much nice stuff it amazes me. That goes the same for the restaruants and other stores like Curcit City and Best Buy and Costco and just about everyone around here when she organizes an event.

Of course you have a different situation, but you can offer a different benefit to boot.
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Old 06-21-2007, 11:09 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big Tank. Big Lights. Need Advice.

Hmmm, about the lights - I personally use 8,000K ADA bulbs now. When I first set the tank up I used 6,500K bulbs. They were too yellow for my taste. I haven't used 10,000K bulbs before, but lots of people do and like them just fine. The "optimum" is felt by many people to be in the 8,000K - 9,000K range, but there are very few bulbs made in this range. I suspect that for TV it would be better to be a little on the high end as opposed to the low end of the K rating. Anything between 5,000 and 10,000K grows plants fine - it's just a matter of personal taste.

I'd probably stick with 250W fixtures since you'll get more bang for your buck and they might penetrate the depth a bit better. As long as they're up from the surface 12 inches or so you should still get good coverage with 3 fixtures. The usual wisdom is to use one MH light for every 24"x24" of surface area. Your tank is a tad bigger so you might have a few shadows in the top few inches of the tank in the corners. Usually this isn't a big deal since there will be great coverage down at the substrate, in the mid-zone, and well up into the higher portions of the tank where it's less critical.

You can improve coverage by raising the lights up even higher but the tradeoff is a corresponding loss of intensity. Still, I think the 250's would end up working out ok. A few small shadows up in the corners sometimes produces a nice visual effect, provided you don't over-do it.

I'm sort of re-visiting my advice to go with 750W instead of 1,000W. Either would work fine, but you might have more options with 4x250W. You do have a pretty large surface area and deep tank. Hmmm. I'd personally go with 4x250, but I'm not afraid of an algae fight either. You can always plan ahead so that adding a reflector and re-positioning the others wouldn't be that difficult. Just leave room for an extra ballast, cable, and reflector in your design.
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