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Lights,the next big step...


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Posted this on RC, too, but I usually get more/better help here.


I have a 30h tank with a 32W PC and a 15W actinic. The PC is one of the smartpaq retrofits that I jimmy rigged onto my tank. The actinic is just your standard "All Glass" aquarium hood light.


My question is, what is the best way to up my lighting? 47W for a 30gal tank hardly seems enough. However, going MH would be too expensive and probably boil my water.


For my PC's, the ballast says "32/40W" so I assume I can put a 40W in there. Which kind is the best? What I have is a "32W 10000K daylight/460 NM actinic" but on MarineDepot.com, they have other combos to choose from. Is dual daylight or actinic better that the mix?


For my standard All Glass 18" guy, is there a way to retrofit something better in there myself? Money is an issue, so I'd rather not buy a whole new kit. I'd like to DIY as much as possible. Would putting VHO's work?


Any suggestions would be great, I'm kind of a newbie at the whole lighting thing. Thanks!

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The steps from bottom to top for output are PC, next up VHO, then T-5 with proper reflector, then MH as GENERICALLY speaking as possible to light output per bulb.


I love the T-5 light vs a PC and VHO, but I like the shimmer of the MH, but I hate the heat of the MH. For that reason on my large tank I run T-5 to get best light to the corals. I have a tank with MH I just setup and also another with 96w PC in a 21 gallon, but overall I like the MH if you can contain and remove the heat. Secondly I like the T-5, way less heat and lots of choices still for bulbs. Third I still like the VHO and PC depending on what I am keeping but they have there place as good products as well.

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You would need a ballast and starter that match the bulb.


On my 21 gallon 20"l x 16"w? x 20"t gallon I run the 96w quad PC with hard and soft corals, it does well.


If it was me a tank that size you should look at wattage comparable to that or more depending on what you want to keep and the growth you want.

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I don't think I'll go beyond softies for now, seeing as I'm on a grad school budget right now (tank before food!)

How do I go about setting up some more PCs (or t-5s)? Is it possible to do it all for under $75? Even $100?

Like I said, its nothing critical, but if I can make it fit in my budget, I'd like to do it.

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I found a used quad pendant I paid $20 for it, ordered a new bulb $40. I was out $60 total for the setup. If you decide on T-5 it will be unlikely you can do it under $200. PC on the other hand just search classifieds, post what your looking for and search craigslist, you should find one with some patience. I have my old pendant I would give you but its a lousy 13w x 2 so not getting you where you need to be.

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