Crabby's "Elite210" tank at the Romberg Tiburon Center

Discussion in 'Tank Journals' started by Crabby, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. Crabby

    Crabby Guest

    Last March I acquired Elite's 210 gallon tank to use as a public display aquarium at the Romberg Tiburon Center (http://rtc.sfsu.edu). This tank is 30" wide, 54" long, and 30" deep, and fits well in the space available. Starting this week I'm going to be setting up the tank, so am starting a thread here. I'll post some pics of the tank build later this week, but wanted to ask a question to the club regarding lighting.

    The tank will be a SPS/Clam/LPS reef. At present, I have 2X 400W MH 20,000K PFO retrofits, and about 8 65W PC ballasts, but no reflectors. The MHs have been in a canopy on my 120G tank, but for the new tank, I'm thinking about hanging pendants above the tank instead of having a closed canopy. The nice pendants are for DE HQI bulbs, but my ballasts won't run those. I'd like to have some fluorescent lighting on a different photoperiod than the MHs, and ideally would like to just have 2 pendants, one on each side of the tank. Anyone have suggestions for pendants that have both MH and PC where the MH and PC are independently controlled?

    Thanks!

    Jonathon
     
  2. A_Lee

    A_Lee Guest

    How about the Current USA Outer Orbit MH/HO T-5 pendant? But those don't come in 400w, and I don't think they'd give you the light spread a PFO would :(
     
  3. Gomer

    Gomer Honorary Member

    I can't think of any 400watt combo fixtures.
     
  4. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Well if you have any fabrication skills, you could make some pendants for your fluorescent lighting and simply have your MH separate. Or you could simply build a floating canopy, which basically is a big uber pendant, but you can pretty it up with wood or what not, plus whatever your reflectors look like doesn't make much matter.

    Going along the lines of a floating canopy...
    I would take a look at those 65w PC ballasts, I'm betting they can fire 54w T5 bulbs no problem, and you'll get a lot more light out of a 54w T5 with a good reflector than a single 65W PC bulb.

    With a tank that has a 30"x54" foot print you have quite a bit of lighting options at your disposal, a couple lumenarcs with T5s (or PCs if you really feel you need to stick with them ;)), you could even do DE pendants, which won't give you any where near the coverage of the lumenarcs, they might focus the light more so (which could be useful if you don't want corals to the walls.
     
  5. fishnfst

    fishnfst Guest

    Hello Jonathon I might have some decent pc reflectors laying around if you end up wanting to do a canopy for a retrofit.. I think lapsan here had a 2x400w mh pendant for sale awhile back.. I can't remember if it was a combo fixture or not..
     
  6. iani

    iani Guest

    Only 400w combo fixtures that I know of are sfiligoi's. Those cost a pretty penny.
     
  7. Crabby

    Crabby Guest

    [quote author=iani link=topic=5682.msg71210#msg71210 date=1230022725]
    Only 400w combo fixtures that I know of are sfiligoi's. Those cost a pretty penny.
    [/quote]

    Those look ideal, but way out of my price range....
     
  8. Crabby

    Crabby Guest

    [quote author=sfsuphysics link=topic=5682.msg71207#msg71207 date=1230016624]
    Well if you have any fabrication skills, you could make some pendants for your fluorescent lighting and simply have your MH separate. Or you could simply build a floating canopy, which basically is a big uber pendant, but you can pretty it up with wood or what not, plus whatever your reflectors look like doesn't make much matter.

    Going along the lines of a floating canopy...
    I would take a look at those 65w PC ballasts, I'm betting they can fire 54w T5 bulbs no problem, and you'll get a lot more light out of a 54w T5 with a good reflector than a single 65W PC bulb.

    With a tank that has a 30"x54" foot print you have quite a bit of lighting options at your disposal, a couple lumenarcs with T5s (or PCs if you really feel you need to stick with them ;)), you could even do DE pendants, which won't give you any where near the coverage of the lumenarcs, they might focus the light more so (which could be useful if you don't want corals to the walls.

    [/quote]

    I hadn't thought of making my own hanging canopy - good idea! I have adequate skills....Also, I didn't realize that I could power T5 bulbs with PC ballasts! How do I determine whether my ballasts are capable of doing this, besides buying a T5 bulb and socket?
     
  9. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Well your PC ballast CAN fire T5s, with that I have no doubt, however whether it'll be ideal is another matter, but recall PC's basically are bent T5s.

    What brand are the ballasts, the only issues that you MIGHT run into are what "special" T5 only ballasts have circuitry that detects the end of the bulbs life and shuts it down. Now this should not be an issue with aquariums as we typically swap bulbs out well before the end of their life, we swap them out when their light output drops or spectrum shifts by an "appreciable" amount, T5 bulbs however can go MUCH longer than the 12-24 months us aquarist time frames we swap bulbs out.

    That being said I'd use the ballasts in a heartbeat unless they're super cheap chinese made ballasts (Odyssea,etc) in which case I wouldn't use them for PC much less T5s, a Fulham Workhorse 7 will fire 4-54w T5s and run you around $40 or so. So definitely are options out there that are not that expensive for replacing the ballasts. Only issue with the WH7 is that you have to fire all 4 bulbs at the same time, you could go for a WH5 however but that only works for 2 bulbs, and the price difference is not half the cost (I think it's $40 vs $30), but you get the ability to micromanage more bulb combos.
     
  10. bookfish

    bookfish Guest

    I would also check w/ Dan and Tom at PGS. They fabbed Rich's dual reflectors for him and they don't charge too much
    http://www.pacificgardensupply.com/
     
  11. Crabby

    Crabby Guest

    [quote author=bookfish link=topic=5682.msg71235#msg71235 date=1230055832]
    I would also check w/ Dan and Tom at PGS. They fabbed Rich's dual reflectors for him and they don't charge too much
    http://www.pacificgardensupply.com/
    [/quote]

    Good tip - thanks!
     
  12. Crabby

    Crabby Guest

    [quote author=sfsuphysics link=topic=5682.msg71224#msg71224 date=1230048635]
    Well your PC ballast CAN fire T5s, with that I have no doubt, however whether it'll be ideal is another matter, but recall PC's basically are bent T5s.

    What brand are the ballasts, the only issues that you MIGHT run into are what "special" T5 only ballasts have circuitry that detects the end of the bulbs life and shuts it down. Now this should not be an issue with aquariums as we typically swap bulbs out well before the end of their life, we swap them out when their light output drops or spectrum shifts by an "appreciable" amount, T5 bulbs however can go MUCH longer than the 12-24 months us aquarist time frames we swap bulbs out.

    That being said I'd use the ballasts in a heartbeat unless they're super cheap chinese made ballasts (Odyssea,etc) in which case I wouldn't use them for PC much less T5s, a Fulham Workhorse 7 will fire 4-54w T5s and run you around $40 or so. So definitely are options out there that are not that expensive for replacing the ballasts. Only issue with the WH7 is that you have to fire all 4 bulbs at the same time, you could go for a WH5 however but that only works for 2 bulbs, and the price difference is not half the cost (I think it's $40 vs $30), but you get the ability to micromanage more bulb combos.
    [/quote]

    I'll have a look at the PC ballasts tomorrow and report back on make/model.
     
  13. Gomer

    Gomer Honorary Member

    And if you go PC, you can see about getting reflectors from AHsupply.com
     
  14. Crabby

    Crabby Guest

    [quote author=sfsuphysics link=topic=5682.msg71207#msg71207 date=1230016624]

    I would take a look at those 65w PC ballasts, I'm betting they can fire 54w T5 bulbs no problem, and you'll get a lot more light out of a 54w T5 with a good reflector than a single 65W PC bulb.

    [/quote]

    I found three of my PC ballasts (either 5 are missing, or I've lost my mind - either is possible...), and they are PFO EL1-2, capable of powering 2X65W PCs. So, not cheapos... OK, so here's a stupid question that shows I'm a biologist and not an electrician: does this ballast only work for 2 X 54W T5s (108W total), or could I also use it for 2X24W T5s? Or, can I use it for 4 X 24W T5s (96W total)?

    my MH ballasts are PFO AQI 400MH (not eye or HQI). I have been running 20K SPS bulbs.

    So, with these ballasts I could run the 2 MHs, and either 6X 65W PCs or some number of T5s...

    Here's the rub - because of the tank configuration and how I am planning the lighting, I need to use lights that are ~24" long. Thus, I can either use 65W CFs or 24W T5s. If I can each ballast to power 4 X 24W T5s, then that's maybe the way to go...otherwise, are 2X 24W T5s going to be better than 2 X 65W PCs?

    Thanks, and merry christmas/happy hanukah/good kwanzaa/super solstice (missed it!)/ etc...
     
  15. dswong01

    dswong01 Supporting Member

    It should work for 2X54Watt. Here examples using fulham ballast for diffrent type bulbs

    http://www.fulham.com/Find_Process.php
     
  16. Crabby

    Crabby Guest

    [quote author=dswong01 link=topic=5682.msg71376#msg71376 date=1230148469]
    It should work for 2X54Watt. Here examples using fulham ballast for diffrent type bulbs

    http://www.fulham.com/Find_Process.php
    [/quote]

    Thanks Dudley - just to be sure, on that site I was able to select a 4X24W T5 configuration using the attached wiring diagram. Does this look to be the right one?

    Also, each of the cords from the ballast to the PC has 8 wires, four to each PC. One is red, one yellow, one black and one blue. The attached wiring diagram only talks about yellow and red, so what do I do with the black and blue wires? Or, do I need to take apart the ballast and re-wire inside the ballast?

    p.s., the frags you gave me are doing great! I'll try to take some pics in an hour or so.
     
  17. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    [quote author=iani link=topic=5682.msg71210#msg71210 date=1230022725]
    Only 400w combo fixtures that I know of are sfiligoi's. Those cost a pretty penny.
    [/quote]

    PFO has been making these for years (since teh late 90's) and since PFO is dropping all MH/PC/VHO you should be able to get them on the cheap soon :)
     
  18. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    Crabby, your stuff doesn't have to be UL? Every public aquarium has to have everything UL, but I don't know about discovery centers :)
     
  19. Crabby

    Crabby Guest

    [quote author=GreshamH link=topic=5682.msg71384#msg71384 date=1230149807]
    Crabby, your stuff doesn't have to be UL? Every public aquarium has to have everything UL, but I don't know about discovery centers :)
    [/quote]

    Excellent point - answer is that yes, almost certainly the fire marshall will have a cow if the lights are not properly wired. And no extension cords or power strips allowed! That said, we do a lot of our own wiring (our facilities guys do), so I'll ask them what would be allowed and not allowed. Won't know for some time tho since everyone is on holiday starting 36 min ago.
     
  20. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    So does that mean you can't use something like an Aquacontroller? Since the controlling switch could be considered a "power strip"
     

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