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Is 20 watts worth an extra $125?


Kellie in CA

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Kellie in CA

Hello! I am new to the forum and I appreciate everyones help! I am looking at purchasing a new tank, I have looked at 2 set-ups, and since I have no knowledge of lighting I have a few questions. 2 different fish stores have offered to put together a 30 gallon package for me one has 2x55 watt lights, the other has 2x65 watt lights. The price difference is $125. Will the 20 extra watts be worth the extra $125? Everything else about the packages are the same.

 

BTW I am not planning on keeping anything too difficult to start out with, this is my first try with saltwater and if I really like it I wil probably move on to a much bigger tank.

 

Thanks! :)

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annamarie421

You could ask the LFS offering the 2x55w package how much more they would charge for a 2x65w setup. That's what I'd do.

 

Anna :)

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Not worth the price difference IMHO. You will not likely see a difference at all in light output. If you look at the bulbs for those sizes, they all say 55w/65w so I'm assuming either way they use the exact same ballast. If you give all the details about the setups, then I am sure we could help you put together something just as nice or nicer for the same price or cheaper.

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The ballast determines the wattage. The 55/65w bulbs can go on both a 55 and a 65 ballast. There is no true 55w or true 65w bulb.

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Kellie in CA

Ok, so say I just buy all of the components on my own. Lets say I get a 40 or 50 gallon glass aquarium and a stand. Then what? I am totally confused as to how I could set up my own appropriate filter, I have always done freshwater and used the Eclipse Hood (which worked wonderfully!). I assume for the lighting I would just buy one of those light strips with the legs, but what do I put on top so the fish can't jump out? I am hopeless!!! I just want to make sure I buy all the right stuff the first time. :)

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neanderthalman
Ok, so say I just buy all of the components on my own. Lets say I get a 40 or 50 gallon glass aquarium and a stand. Then what? I am totally confused as to how I could set up my own appropriate filter, I have always done freshwater and used the Eclipse Hood (which worked wonderfully!). I assume for the lighting I would just buy one of those light strips with the legs, but what do I put on top so the fish can't jump out? I am hopeless!!! I just want to make sure I buy all the right stuff the first time. :)

 

That's a very good attitude to have - starting out with the right equipment and setup makes a world of difference.

 

For filtration - liverock is your primary filtration. All you've got to do is heat the water, move the water, and light the water. The LR will do most of the rest.

 

There are things you can do to assist the liverock where it falls short, namely, nitrate reduction, by growing macroalgae. You can also reduce the amount of filtering that is needed by using a protein skimmer to remove nutrients from the water BEFORE they break down.

 

To keep fish from jumping out, I recommend eggcrate from the lighting department at Home Depot. It's basically a plastic grid that's used in commercial fluorescent fixtures. Works great and gives you the advantages of an open top without the carpet surfing.

 

For lighting a 40 or 50 gallon, I am going to strongly suggest that you go with more light than 2x55W. I'd be getting a 250W MH because of the height of the tank. Yes, it can cost you a few bucks, but if you want the right setup, MH is the way to go, IMO.

 

A 250W MH fixture can cost around $300 - sometimes more. You can cut a $100 or so off that price if you build the fixture or hood yourself and get a retrofit kit with bulb, ballast, lampholder and reflector. Not sure how DIY friendly you are, but that's an option to consider.

 

The nice thing about the 250W MH is that, if you take the DIY route with a retrofit kit, you've got decent lighting for a larger tank already. Instead of buying a completely different lighting setup and scrapping/selling your old one at a loss, you can get a second retrofit kit and use both 250W MH to light your new, larger tank.

 

Planning for the future makes upgrades easier and cheaper.

 

Welcome to Nano-Reef! :)

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If you want to do it right the first time then I would totally buy metal halide for lighting...You can get a nice 250 watt pendant for around $230

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