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Correct lighting for correct corals


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I was wondering if anybody could recomend a good article/ book/ website/ magazine/ anything with info on corals and their practical light requirements... I want to start a nano but dont know how to mach the corals I find interesting with the correct lighting and maybe other compatible corals...

Any 2 cents?;)

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I'm too lazy to go find an article.


Many gorgonians are non-photosynthetic and do not require any light. Of course, they're also really hard to keep (for this reason among others) so I wouldn't recommend them for a newbie.


Green Star Polyps (GSP), shrooms, xenia, and zoanthids can tolerate relatively low light....there are folks here who would tell you it is possible to grow these under a flashlight. I do not recommend this...I'd go for a decent power compact fixture of some sort...I'm partial to Coralife fixtures. At any rate, these are the best beginner corals. Hard to kill. There are lots of others that fall into the "low light" category, but I'm not knowledgeable or awake enough to list them all.


Then there are the more difficult corals...this encompasses most small- and large-polyp stony corals (SPS and LPS). These are harder to grow, and for the most part require stronger lights. SPS especially are known for basically requiring halides (except for the few ppl out there who can grow them like weeds under power compacts because they have luck or voodoo or something). Anyway, these suck for beginners because they want very clean water and tons of light. Yes, there are exceptions....certainly among the LPS corals there are several species that can be considered beginner corals.


But for the most part, I'd stick with shrooms, GSP, xenia, and zoos at first.



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Cool man... Thanks a lot!


"But for the most part, I'd stick with shrooms, GSP, xenia, and zoos at first"

Just to clear that...what kind of light would you use for those "newbie proof" species?

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I wish I had a tank already... I am on the first stages of planning/ learning...this would be my first experiece with sw... I was thinking about a 5 or a 3 gallons.....I know they may not be the best for newbies but I am willing to learn as much as I can before drawing my wallet and risking little lives...

Any good tips on the lighting planning?

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Blind Tree Frog

I'm kind of partial to the 10 gallons right now as i figure out how to set up my 10 gallon, if for no other reason then lighting is easy, just go by the 96W coralight for like $100 and you should be good for anything that you want to put in the tank.


Unless you have a reason to jump into it right away (I stumpled across a live rock sale that I wanted to take advantage of and save a $3 a lb... though in the end, it may not of been worth it) look into what kind of tank you want first. Right now I'm thinking of a bunch of stuff I could of done tank wise had I not jumped in so early and grabbed a 10 gallon. not that I'm not happy with it, just other things I could do if I went with something else regarding refuge and pumps and such. Figuring it out now though.



Look through the gallery and find stuff you like. If they don't give neough info in their thread, PM people and see if they will maybe share some more.

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Not because I wouldnt have more "fuN" with a bigger tank, but for little or almost no room, I'll have to go with a 3 or 5g... I know it is a challenge, but I am willing to tackle it! Still need to learn a lot, tho...

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  • 2 weeks later...
Originally posted by Seaweeeed

Just to clear that...what kind of light would you use for those "newbie proof" species?


I would recommend a decent wattage power compact light. These are relatively inexpensive lights (unless you build your own metal halide setup, these are WAY cheaper then MH....even if you do build your own halides, these are still a little cheaper). Yes, halides are awesome and great, but for a newbie I'd recommend power compacts. They're what I use over all my tanks. Essentially, they work on the same principles as the fluorescent lights you buy at Home Depot, but these are on steroids. They're very small (hence "compact") but oh so very bright for their size. I have a 24" fixture from coralife that has two 65 watt bulbs in it, over a 20 gallon "high" tank. This is a good setup. For a 10g, I'd recommend the coralife PowerQuad. For smaller setups, I'd recommend the Coralife Mini Might.



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Originally posted by Seaweeeed

As newbie-like as it may sound, I also need to learn the uses of actnics, MH, PC and the whole nine yards...


Types of light:


PC = power compact. See above post. 96W Coralife Powerquad cost me $50 plus shipping on the used section of this site (with a new bulb!), my 2x65W 24" fixture for my 20g cost me $75 plus shipping.


MH = metal halide. The king of saltwater aquarium lights, but usually a little more pricey. You can build your own and save quite a bit of $$, but then of course you risk electrical fire/electrocution if you don't know what you're doing (like me). I don't own any halides. Been thinking about getting some from LampDr on this site, but don't have the $$ right now.


VHO = very high output fluorescents. These are basically crunked fluorescent bulbs that can be used in the same way power compacts are. They're usually pretty long (15" to 48") and hence are usually too big for nanos. There are folks who have successfully used them over 10 gallon tanks and nano cubes before, though.


Now moving on from types of light to light spectra....


Actinic = a blue colored light. These are designed to emulate the spectrum at about 20 feet of depth under the ocean's surface, where many corals come from. Filtering of the light due to refraction and particulate matter ("dust") makes the light look blue. This is the same reason the sky is blue....but under water it's a lot more blue.


6500K = noonday sun

10000K = more blue than the noonday sun. Usually paired with actinics to give that gorgeous color you think of when you think "marine tank."

20000K = very blue light...not quite actinic, but close. Usually used alone, without actinic supplementation.


Moonlight = a blue Light emitting diode (LED) that many hobbyists put above their nanos so they can watch the fish at night. Emulates the light of the moon.





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