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Questions Regarding My 20 Gal High Setup


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I am planning on setting up a 20H and I need some advice on a few things.


First off for lighting I was planning on ordering from Big Als either the:


Coralife 24" Aqualight Power Compact Strip Light- 2X65Watt


or the Current USA Orbit 24" 2 x 65 Watt Power Compact Strip Light W/2 Lunar Lights.


Does anyone have any feedback on these two. I am planning on building a wood canopy, and I am not sure which light would be better fit for going into a canopy. I think this is enough watts for some easy corals right?


My LFS told me that live sand is not worth the extra cost so I will probably just go with regular sand. Is that true?


I am planning on using a few small powerheads, about 15 lbs of LR and an aqua clear 300 (w/o carbon) to start off. Is this a good plan?


Any help would be greatly appreciated

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I can't comment on the lights (no experience with them) but with that lighting you should be able to support the easy softies.


Some corals that would do well would be colt corals, shrooms/zoos, leather corals (toadstools, cabbage, etc) and sinulara, kenya tree coral, clove or green star polyps...


As for live sand not worth the cost...it is really up to you. If you buy dead sand it will become live eventually due to the life rock, it just takes longer.


The amount of live rock sounds good...have to remember the corals you buy will come on rocks too so need to be careful in a nano. ;)

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I am gettin a 20" Orbit fixture for my 10g. It has 80 wats for a ten so i think its awsome. They are on sale at drs. foster and smith for 119

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thanks for the advice. I think I would rather get one of the pre finished hoods listed above. I don't konw if my DIY skills are up to reto fitting lights. Has anyone ever seen someone build a canopy around a PC light strip like these?

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Installing a retro is easy -just a few screws and wires to hook-up; If you can make toast, you can probably install a retro PC fixture.

consider the fact that you're going to want the lights attached to the hood anyway so that they're easily movable when you want to get into the tank (pain in the @$$ when you've got that pre-built fixture to manuver around and possibly push into the tank!)


I personally like T5 lighting as it lasts a very, very long time, but if you're not sure where you'll be w/ this tank in two years - go cheap w/ PC lighting and you'll be happy.





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Also, I think 150W of Halide is a bit much, but if you're OK w/ the $$ get a 70W halide, and supplement w/ one 03 actinic PC light and you'll be very happy.



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just checked big als. Kind of seems weird but the Coralife 24" w/2 x65 wt bulbs is the same price $129, for the retro kit as for the striplight hood. I do like the idea of going with the retrofit so that I can more easily integrate the lights into the canopy, but the good thing about the light strip is I can set it up now w/mounting legs and build the canopy later.


I kind of want to stay away from MHs because of the cost and possible heat issues. Unrelated question but if I build a Fuge in a HOB filter can I get away with buying less live rock for the tank, I think i need a small light to place over the fuge also ( i will look into threads on that).


Also how much time would you estimate I will have to spend on the tank per day/week (assuming the tank contains 10lbs LR, dead sand, and eventually a few easy corals & a clown).


thanks again

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i had a 2 65w pc on my 20h it worked great and softies and polyps and zoo's and shrooms all did well

do not waste your money on live sand instead buy good select araganite and quality lr and take your time cycling and stocking the first 3 months

i would buy on the low side 15 lbs of lr but more is better 25 lbs would be best but if you can pic out for your self all the small pieces and limit your self to 2 or 3 med sized chunks you maybe able to make it work do not be afraid to glue the rock together to make arches or over hangs with crazy glue or cyanocrylate

no buying a hob filter used as a fugw will not limit the amount of rock needed for your tank..but you do not need to light up the fuge you can use alot of lr rubble in the hob as a natural filter that will never need to be cleaned :)


oh yea for the coralife fixture get the legs that goto it and do not worry about a canopy


good luck !

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I have a 20H with 70w MH with one 65w CF Actinic03 and one T5 with no heat issues. I have it in an open topped canopy with a small radio shack dc fan. Really simple- puts off a good deal of light, and I can keep some sps as well. Just my .02

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Holy cow those are some lights, ricky.


In Miami, I have a 20h with a 2x65W fixture from coralife (not currently up and running, was my first reef tank, took it down a year after coming to college, since the 'rents didn't want to maintain it any more). It worked quite well.


I could keep most softies, leather coral, tree coral, GSP, zoos, shrooms, xenia (yes, I know that list was redundant). I decided not to try SPS, clams, or high-light LPS corals, as I felt (a) I didn't know enough about how to keep them happy, and (B) I had a feeling I didn't have enough light. There are those here who do keep clams, SPS, etc. under PCs, and...well....kudos to them if they do it successfully, boo to them if they're starving their animals. I figured in my case (n00b and all) I'd better not risk it.


That said, my new 20H will have 175W metal halide lighting (thanks, jmt). It's not so much that I want to keep SPS, clams, or higher-light stuff. It's more that (a) a lot of "easy" corals (especially zoos) look better under 14000K or 20000K halides, and (B) I want the shimmer effect you get with halides.


If you get a full PC fixture (Coralife or whatever), don't build a hood around it. Just put it on the optional mounting legs above the tank and be done with it.



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Love the shimmer. My zoos have taken off since the addition of the halides. They have grown 5x in size, and they never grew while under just pc bulbs.

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Well due to constraints I would like to keep the total cost before livestock to under $400. I am hoping this is poiible.


Here is a list of what I know I need. Comments would be fantastic:


$130 - Coralife 24" Power Compact Strip Light- 2X65Watt

$30 - AGA tank

$20 - Heater

$30 - premixed SW from LFS

$25 - two powerheads

$15 - dead sand (LFS said live sand is not really worth it)

$65 - Cured LR from LFS - this would be 8 lbs from at there price - can I get away with that amount?


so far thats $315.


Here are things I am unsure of adding:


$25 - AC 300

$65 - Seaclone 100 Skimmer

$30 - deadrock/tufa for aquascaping

$20 - test kits

$20 - misc (thermometer, etc)


So that is $475. Is there anyway to cut costs. I know that used is an option for some items, but lets assume I can't find what I need so I will have to buy new.


I am guessing that I will be told I need more LR to provide more biological filtration. Is there a cheaper way to get the bio - filtration than buying more LR? Does the AC run w/o carbon provide this?


A few things about me...


this is my first SW tank (if you couldn't already tell). Before I lay down a ton of $$$ I want to see if I enjoy the SW hobby.


I may be moving in a year or so (locally) so I don't want to keep it simple until that point.



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order liverock online and cure it yourself. you definitely need a thermometer. mix your own saltwater. ditch the seaclone and get a used bakpak or remora... more expensive, but you will thank me in the end. test your water at the lfs if they will do it for free, i know many do. also, if you're into cutting costs and getting used to SW, don't get the nice lights initally and just stick with fish until you are comfortable with the hobby. you can buy cheapo fluorescent lights at wal-mart for about $10.

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