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Discussion Starter #1
I have been reading the 9325K thread, and am REALLY impressed by the differences I see. My question is this - I'm building a canopy (well, Brother-in-law is making it for me) out of Aluminum for my tank. 115G, 51" L x ~24" W x ~24" Deep (I have exact measurements at house) and am planning on using two 175W Ice Cap electronic MH ballasts, two 'spider' reflectors with mogal bases attached. I have been looking at buying a pair of 6500*K bulbs and that's it.

Are there some 175W MH bulbs folks would recommend? Or the 9325K thread mentioned using High-Pressure Sodium? Would I do better to do 2 x 175W MH + 2 x 96 PC or something?

I've got one good shot at this (income tax refund) and while money isn't a big concern now, I won't have it to re-spend again later.[/b]
 

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I think it comes down to personal preference. K rating is hard to compare between flourescents as is, even harder comparing between flourescents and MH. The 9325K for example, you'd think it's somewhat close to the look of a 10000K, instead it's so red it comes closer to a 4000K.

With MH bulbs, and I'm no expert in them as I just started using them recently, most of them seem to have a very good full spectrum regardless of kelvin rating. I bought these ones as I was limited in choice for 100W bulbs:

http://www.lighting.philips.com/nam/feature/mcolor/pdf/MHC011.pdf

But in the 175W range you should have a far better selection to choose from. There's the 5500K and 6500K bulbs for example here:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/sc_view.cfm?siteid=6&pCatId=8074

I would purchase the MH bulbs first, see how you like the overall color, then make any corrections by supplementing with specific CF bulbs.

I wouldn't use HPS, I have some at home but are too red for my tastes. Not sure on spectrum output however, they are popular for hydroponics but usually in combination with MH lighting.

Hope that helps
Giancarlo Podio
 

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If your getting the metal canopy custom built, I assume your putting retrofit lighting into it. If this is the case, I highly recommend you stay as far away from MH as you can if you like the look of a 9325K bulb. Take it from someone who has wasted $1000+ on MH lighting for freshwater :lol:

Most people using MH use 6500K or 5500K. The 5500K makes your tank's water look like apple juice. The 6500K I have tried always look a tinge blue untill they burn into a white. The look good for a week or two white, then start burning in yellow. The older the get the more yellow they get. In the end they too make your tank's water look like apple juice.

High Pressure Sodium is one option because it peaks very strongly in the red. The light is as close to a 9325K as I have ever seen in MH, HPS or MV. I do't have access to much MV though.

Look into a nice kit from AH supply. Go with 65W bulbs, and you can use a wide variety of bulbs to achieve the exact visible spectrum your looking for. The heat is MUCH less of a problem, if any problem at all. Consider a MH bulb burns at 2300oC on the filament. A similar wattage in MH and CF is two TOTALLY different heat problems. I have no problems with 250W of CF on a 46G Bow, but a 250W pendant makes my room feel like a sauna. Not to mention I would need a chiller for my tank. In most cases, MH = headaches.
 

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Well, i agree with justin that MHs run hot, as every emergent leaf / flower i get under my 175 watt (5500K) scorches if it gets with 6 inches of the pendant. BUT i have gotten the most rapid and substantial growth of crypts (mostly undullata, wendtii "Mi oya" and blassi) under said light.

not to mention over this particular tank, any other light would look awful and likely not penetrate as well as the metal halide does.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sorry, was out for the weekend. :)

Okay, I am having this custom built. I was planning on using an E-Line Dual 175W Electronic Ballast Kit from Champion Lighting. It comes with a dual 175W Electronic Ballast, and two reflectors with Mogal bases, and the quick-disconnect wiring.

I REALLY like effect MH's have in a tank.. I like the 'ripple on water' effect they cast into the tank. But, if everything is going to look 'washed out', I'm open to options. You just might have to work at convincing me a little. :lol: I was planning on using a pair of 6500K bulbs that a friend got as part of a kit when he set up his reef. Has less than 1 hour on the bulbs, just long enough to test before he mounted his 20K's.

I can not get them, and instead grab some HPS, but I'd need some guideance there.

I don't see any 65W bulbs on AHSupply's site, so I assume you're talking about 55W's. This tank is 115G, 24" deep with another 3" to the lip the bottom of the new canopy would sit on. Figure another 3-4" up from there to the actual bottom of the bulb(s). Would CF be able to get a reasonable amount of penetration to that depth?

As for the heat, I was planning on installing either two or four 80mm fans (1+1 or 2+2) in a wind-tunnel design. One end intakes, other end exhausts. I was also planning on using a pair of 95W CF single-kits foreward and rearward of the MH's to give some color balance. Something that kinda looks like this:
 

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CheyD,

The glitter lines you see from the MH lights is a by product of the high amount of surface agitation you get from having a high amount of water movement. In a plant tank surface agitation is minimized as to not allow loss of CO2. Since the surface agitation is minimal, so is the glitter lines. You will most likely not see any glitter lines, I didn't. I do get some glitter lines over my SW tank and it uses CF.

As for penetration, that depends on wether or not you plan to have dense planting, and the plants in question. My CF are roughly 28" off the bottom of the tank and I have no problem. I plant to move them up atleast another 12" as well.

As for the fans, you only need 1 or 2 blowing hot air out of the canopy and a vent to allow cool air in. Any air being pushed out has to be pulled in somewhere. I have 2 small fans in my Aqualight, and do not require any lights in the hood.

As for color balance using 96W, there is not much out there in choice, and you going to find you have a LOT of light. Possibly more then you want.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Justin.

I did a little playing today. Found some HPS 'Conversion bulbs' that are made for use with MH Ballasts. They are listed as 150W and I was planning on 175W ballasts, I don't imagine I'll end up with too much trouble with them. Did some thinking, and you're right about the 96W's... I've dropped those to 55W's.

I'll give up on the glitter lines from what you posted... I just like them, not a needed. And yes, I knew about not agitating the surface to prevent CO2 losses. I just thought the glitter lines were a product of single-point light sources, instead of tube-sources.

I'm still sticking with four 80mm fans in a 2+2 wind-tunnel arrangement. Just makes me more comfortable. And the cost is MINIMAL.

Thanks for the feedback, BTW.
 

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Your welcome. The wind tunnel effect you state is correct, but make sure you have some really quiet fans, or it's going to sound like a wind tunnel too. :lol:
 
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