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Discussion Starter #1
So I'm going to pick up a 125gal tank, stand , and various accessories from an estate sale sometime this week (brand new tank that's never been setup). It's a standard AGA, 72x18x22 with cross bracing every two feet.

My question is whether it's better to center 24" fixtures over the three openings, or if it'll work just as well to use 36" wide fixtures which span the braces. Will the braces case any massive shadows should the lights span over them?

Both options have pros: I already have a pair of 24" Aqualights over a 29g that I'll be breaking down in favor of the 125. But I also use 36" fixtures over my 40g so I would only have to order/stock one size PC bulb if I go that route.

I know MH is another option, but that's getting pricey and I'm not too keen on the short lifespan of MH bulbs (or their replacment cost).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, the tank I'm buying comes with a hood, but I'm not too keen on using it since it makes it that much more inconvenient to get into the tank. Plus I like being able to still have a light over the tank while I'm rooting around in it.

Still, I haven't seen how the hood opens (it's just part of the package) so I should reserve judgement on whether I'll use it or not. If I do I'll definitely go the AH Supply kit route.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Oh, and using the 55w fixture makes it difficult for me to use the 8800K bulbs I've come to love. AH Supply has already told me that it takes their 2x55w ballast to run a 65w 8800K bulb. Plus the 8800K bulbs are all [::] versus the [....] fixtures.

What gets confusing is thatHelloLights list their 8800K bulbs as 55/65w, while Champion lists them strictly as 65w. I know the CSL 8800K bulbs I bought on clearance from Big Al's are marked 65w.

All of which makes me want to go with 36" fixtures and say hell with the center bracing. :lol:
 

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You know I spent two years with the same dilemma you are facing. I tried several NO fluorescents, power compact etc. My only suggestion would be to get a plan now. 55 watters would be nice, but even with 4, supplemented with NO fluorescents, I was disappointed. Then I wanted to upgrade to the 96 watters. Finally I just broke down and went with three MH and love it.
 

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They would be pretty boring right now. I completely tore the tank down, replaced substrate and changed the CO2 set up. Right now I have a bunch of stem plants helping to balance the tank out. i'm waiting for the real plants to get here sometime this week. But let me know if you want I can get some posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hop, I was tempted to get the three MH pendants...good thing I didn't as my 125 only has a single center brace (with glass bracing on either side of it) so the center pendant would've cast a major shadow down the center of the tank.

I ended up ordering four 1x96w CoraLife Aqualights instead. Should that turn out to be lacking I would probably swap two of the fixtures for 2x96w ones. The major benefit to this is having the same type bulb over both my tanks.
 

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Yeah, I read that on another forum I think after I posted. I think you will be happy with the PCs. Did you get a retrofit, 2 32" or the mother of all shipping charges, the 72"?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I ordered four 1x96w CoraLife Aqualights from Innovative Lighting. They're local for me and ordering four got me a discount that matched the lowest price I'd previously found on the net. I chose to do the four fixtures as it allows me to spread the bulbs out more front to back...somthing that I've learned works well with two of the same fixtures over my 40 gal.

I opted not to do the retrofit since I don't know how long I'll keep the canopy over the tank. Without it I can reach most of the tank without using a step ladder which is a major convenience factor when mucking around in the tank. But there's no denying the SAF (spousal acceptance factor) with it on. :)
 

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LOL. I understand the SAF factor. I got over that one by getting her a 110 gallon tank. Now she's got the bug and is nearly as bad as I am. Except she wants to go the salt water route soon. :shock:

You'll have to fire off some pics of the tank soon!
 
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