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  1. this makes sense to me. the corals were colored up so nice to block all that blue light you were blasting them with. this may have prevented the zoanthids' from having enough surface area able for their zoozanthellae to absorb the small amount of the other colors of light produced by the 20k bulb. this combined with a possible nutrient/food source problem would easily cause them to look great but grow slowly. the environment seems more ideal for colors than growth. any generalizations or comparisons in growth cannot be valid after you changed tanks!!! the two environments are radically different and there are too many variables all changing at once. regardless, you seem to have found a good setup right now for growth and coloration. bravo! i'm actually in a similar situation, in that I changed from a low-nutrient-nano to a high-then-low-nutrient-55g. My zoas grew best when nutrients were high, and slowest when nutrients are low. Light spectrum seemed to have no effect on zoanthid growth (but they do develop the best color under 20ks, even when viewed outside in the daylight). my SPS (acros, birdsnest, and monti's) exhibit best growth and colors under stable water parameters, low phosphates, and high light intensity. they could care less about light spectrum. diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks.

    is that a 400w metal halide? and why sand? nice to see you trying some sps
  3. 250W MH... What Bulb?

    the ushio 20k/electronic ballast looks perfect, in my opinion. it is very blue without being too purple...no need for actinics at all. the intensity is much less than 10k but much better than I expected. We'll see if it has enough PAR long-term to keep the color in my acroporas.
  4. Too much light?

    it might be even better to get an iwasaki or similar high-par 10k light and use the PC's as actinic supplementation. this will give you the most PAR with decent coloration. the color shift of MH's is greatest in shorter (i.e. blue) wavelengths, so supplementing those wavelengths with longer-lived PCs and relying on the greater intensity of the MH for the higher wavelenght light (i.e. reds, greens, yellows) is your best bet.
  5. 250W MH... What Bulb?

    do you have a magnetic or electronic ballast? generally the mag. ballasts will slightly overdrive the bulbs. My PFO HQI ballast with a 250w DE phoenix was not as blue as I expected, but was very white and very very very bright. people have reported that phoenix with electronic ballast is perfect....I haven't tried it yet. I'm about to try 150w DE ushio 20k on electronic ballasts, hopefully i'll like it. if not, i'll go back to phoenix 14k.
  6. Best 20K Bulb?

    Yes, every MH bulb will develop this coating eventually as a result of the halides or phosphors or whatever changing in structure into a non-usable form over time as a result of running the bulb. The residue is a product of the same process that causes spectrum shift in the bulb as it ages. read how metal halides work. yes, its normal, but that residue indicates use. there is no way to tell if this was from "test firing" (why test fire every bulb?) or several months of use. the inconsistency of residue coatings should make you wonder.... did the ebay seller tell you "they test fire and burn them in at the factories"? the ad says "new from the manufacturer," but somebody has to manufacture the box they put used bulbs in... edit: i've bought 4 new MH bulbs from ushio, phoenix, astralux, and ushio again, and all of them were perfectly clear in the center. maybe my experience is unique.
  7. Best 20K Bulb?

    all of the bulbs i have looked at from that seller look used. new MH bulbs should not have coatings of used-up elements inside them. look at this: they do not gaurantee the bulbs are new, they just warn that if you bid you are agreeing with their description. don't want to rain on anyone's parade, just be wary of what you are getting.
  8. Sammy's 40 Breeder

    i'm not sure where you want to drill this tank, but here's a tip. Don't drill in the center of the long sides, because it will be much weaker than out towards the corners. I found this out the hard way on my 20L when I cracked it by pulling on the overflow plumbing. your tank has thicker glass, but moving any bulkheads over to the corners where there is more support is still a good idea. =) like i said, you may have already thought of this but I had to learn the hard way!
  9. lighting DIY for 20g

    actinics are nice b/c the actinic spectrum of the MH bulb is what will shift (i.e. lose intensity) first. plus you can do a dusk/dawn effect. There are specific security-light reflectors that will be better for your application than others. I have used the regent 500w fixture and it was very good at punching the light down over a smaller area (like a cube). my tank is a 20L so I wanted to spread the light out more, and use a different "wide-angle" security fixture. it doesn't have the punch in a small area like the regent reflector, however. ps. that regent reflector was a heat trap--make sure there are holes to ventilate the fixture, no matter what anyone says!
  10. Ceramic on the end of HQI chipped is it ok

    i have broken the ceramic almost completely off my 70w bulb and it works fine. as stated above its the electrical connection with the socket that matters.
  11. elegance coral. any update on that research?

    they are usually very hardy, easy corals to keep. Then, for a long time, they became very hard corals to keep. they all seemed to succomb to a disease that was sometimes present in the wild, but never in plague proportions. eric borneman made the observation that when collected, corals are taken off the boats and placed in large holding tanks by species (e.g. frogspawns with frogspawns, elegance corals with elegance corals). these tanks are always running, and are never broken down, sterilized, etc. So, some infected corals get mixed with the healthy corals and soon the whole tank is contaminated. even healthy, new corals coming in become exposed to the disease. Combine this with the stress of shipping and acclimation and very few elegance corals managed to survive. The exporters don't care because the corals are already shipped out and they already have their money. (this is one of the few things I agree with Bourneman about!) I have noticed a huge increase in the number of elegance corals for sale in the past 6 months compared to the 2 years before that, and they do seem pretty healty, and some of you seem to be having great success with them again. It seems that somewhere in the supply line, some changes were made and now the risk of contagion is much less. I'd probably try one if I had the tank space. there is also a woman in california (i think) that has been propagating elegance corals. can't find the link, sorry.
  12. Thoughts on Coraline

    great pics! i've noticed slower coralline growth in my tank since I've added stony corals (a couple montipora frags and a small birdnest colony). it seems they "outcompete" the coraline for calcium, but it's hard to make generalizations like that.
  13. 50/50 combo pc bulbs

    hellolights.com has very good 50/50 bulbs, and I believe they use actual actinic phosphors that were originally used in photograpy (then appropriated by reefkeepers). They should not drop in spectrum like many others that use a different phosphors that "blend" to 420nm. When I purchased some they had everything in straight- and square-pin configuration. JBJ bulbs are bad because they use an all 10k bulb and just put a blue liner on the inside of the glass to make half of it it look blue. the liner actually decreases output and after awhile they just look green. I think they do the same thing on the bulbs that are all actinic as well. if you don't believe me, break open an old bulb (carefully!) and see for yourself.
  14. DIY 70W MH > 96w Coralife quad?

    bulb life, maybe not. spectrum? YES!!! MH bulbs drop in spectrum output as they age or when run too hot. I learned this the hard way when I used an astralux 14k in a regent security fixture, and it burned at about 6500k after a month of use. This particular fixture had no vent holes and a tight seal with the glass shield, so it was the worst possible set-up. Using a much more open design as made the light much more blue (about 10k now) but the damage to the bulb is already done. you probably don't need a fan in a security light fixture (PFO, Reefoptix, etc. pendants don't, even at 250w), but you do need to drill some vent holes if you use a security fixture without them.
  15. 250w too much for regent?

    the regent fixture was too hot for my 70w--it made my 14k bulb look about as yellow as a 6500k!!! I ditched it for a much better reflector/socket from a lithonia fixture from home depot. Metal halide bulbs age prematurely when overheated and lose their nice blue spectrum fastest. you will have to put LOTS of vent holes and either lose the bottom glass entirely or get a fan.