what light do i need for a 55 gallon reef tank?

Discussion in 'Saltwater Aquarium Lighting' started by melovefish, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. melovefish

    melovefishValued MemberMember

    I was wondering what lighting i need for a 55 gallon reef tank. I dont want to spend my whole budget on lighting but i want it to be good enough to have healthy corals. If you need more info just ask ill leave a reply. Thanks!:;banaman
  2. Siggi

    SiggiWell Known MemberMember

    I'm no specialist in SW, but it will take a larger part of your budget than FW lighting...

    I'd go for a daylight full spectrum, a 'marine day' and an actinic blue/'marine blue'. Note that these are not just any blue light, but give off the light which the corals feed upon.
    Reef tanks are normaly viewed as heavily lighted tanks, so get bulbs that run the full length of the aquarium.

    I am sure more knowledgable members will give better inputs... ;)
  3. ryanr

    ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    You have 3 choices of technology, Metal Halide (MH), T5HO or LED.

    MH are still considered the best by many, but LED has really caught up, and is arguably better. MH run high wattage, which means more costs in electricity and also heat. LED is a little more expensive to purchase than both MH and T5HO, but runs cooler, lower wattage and bulbs (diodes) will last about 50000 hours (which equates to about 14 years @10hrs per day). LED also don't have a "half-life", they maintain their intensity for the entire life of the diode. T5HO is considered a good compromise, but you need to run many tubes to get high intensity (around 6 tubes is common), but doesn't give the nice shimmer effect that MH and LED can. Both MH and T5HO need the tubes replaced at least annually, if not every 8 months.

    The intensity of lighting you need is determined by the corals you wish to keep, some corals don't need as much light, soft corals, NPS and some LPS are low-medium light, whereas others are high light - particularly SPS.

    I have LED on my reef, it uses 3W diodes made by CREE. With a 50/50 white/blue combination. Many reefers use MH for the day (white) light, and add T5HO actinic tubes for the extra UV.

    Personally, if it's within your budget, I'd go LED - yes you pay more, but after 3-4 years it has paid for itself in cheaper running costs and not having to replace tubes. Marinedepot.com has a good range of LED reef lighting solutions, just look for the ones that use CREE diodes.
  4. JessiNoel21

    JessiNoel21Well Known MemberMember

    +1 Ryan