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Thread: Lighting For 55 Gallon Reef Tank

  1. #1

    Lighting For 55 Gallon Reef Tank

    I am new to this hobby and sold myself sort on lighting. Thankfully, I have not done much more than set the tank up and begin to stock live rock.

    I bought a T5 lighting unit which rates 108 watts. I have a 55 gallon (48x18x13) and want to do corals, LR and fish. I have the following questions:

    1 . Any suggestions on how to proceed with improving lights?

    I would love to not have the unit I bought be a wash and use it somehow, but not sure the best way.

    2 . I have read that in using the 4-6 watts per gallon rule that you consider displacement by substrate and this true? Is a 55 gallon really only figured as if it were a 45-50 gallon?

    3. Without going the route of MH, how much wattage and what type of fixtures would anyone reccomend?

    I look forward to learning from the experts here!


  2. #2
    Professional Rusty's Avatar

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    Jul 2007
    Lees Summit
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    The first question I would ask is what type of corals are you wanting to keep? The second question is what is wrong with the light you have? As far as I know there is absolutely nothing wrong with T5 lighting, you might just have to purchase a little more to get the color and output you need. As far as the watts/gallon rule I don't know how accurate that would really be. It depends on depth of the tank, reflectors on the lamps, height of the lamps, type of lamps and so on and so forth. In other words there are a lot of factors not only gallons of water in the tank.

  3. #3
    • JNicho's Tank Stats
      • Tank Size:
      • 125G
      • Type:
      • Mixed LPS/Softy
      • Equipment:
      • Beast of a DIY skimmer...CLS on a PanWorld 100-PX...ATS
      • Lights:
      • 6 x 54W PC Staggered
    JNicho's Avatar

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    Nov 2007
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    Forget you ever heard the "watts per gallon" rule...that has been around for a long time and really applied to things when there were very few choices available...there are so many different options today that it just doesn't apply.

    Can you provide a bit more info on your current lights...IE. brand, # of bulbs, type of reflector.

  4. #4

    I like the light fine, just from what I have read I may need more that 108 watts???

    I am interested in Soft, LPS and SPS corals. My tank depth is about 18 inches give or take considering substrate.

    Here is what I have.

    Current USA Nova Extreme T5 X2 Aquarium Lighting Fixture, 2X54 Watt, 48 inch

    One 54 Watt SlimPaq 10K and one 54 watt 460nm Actinic Blue T5 HO fluorescent lamp
    Dimensions: 48" x 4.25" x 1.5"
    108 Watts
    Individually contoured reflectors
    Plastic mounting legs
    Cooling fan

    Performance driven electronic ballast. No independent control over 10K and Actinic lamps.

  5. #5
    • jdejay02's Tank Stats
      • Tank Size:
      • 40B
      • Type:
      • mainly LPS and softies getting a few sps now
      • Equipment:
      • Octo 110 skimmer mag 5 return pump, vortech mp10
      • Lights:
      • ice cap 250w MH w/ phoenix 14000k HQI
      • Wants:
      • a winning lottery ticket and a bigger tank preferably one like cathys
    jdejay02's Avatar

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    Feb 2008
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    IMO on a 55 that fixture should be good with softies and most lps. It probably not enough for most sps if you want sps you should have 4-6 bulbs instead of just 2. I would just buy another fixture like it and just use 2 and i think you will be ok. If you just want to start with some softies and lps i think you may have the ticket already. The watt per gallon rule was kind of shot when T5s hit the market.

  6. #6
    • clown69's Tank Stats
      • Tank Size:
      • 600 gal
      • Type:
      • fish only and reef
      • Lights:
      • 2 400 MH 2 vho full spectrum
      • Wants:
      • I want another 150-200 gal glass tank for ref
    clown69's Avatar

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    Aug 2008
    Wellsville KS
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    You should be fine with any thing you want to put in there with those lights as long as you keep up with replacing your bulbs when they need to be. and goood water quality, cleaner water will let light pass threw deeper.

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