Lighting Requirements


Active Member
Reaction score
I am new to the world of saltwater. I bought a tank and gear from a friend about 7 months ago. 125 gal w/ wet-dry. It currently has two 36" CF lights with 192 watts each (384 watts total). I would love to keep some beginner corals, mushrooms, zoos. Please let me know what you suggest. Do I have enough lighting? I have been changing 30 Gal of water every month. I now change 15 Gal every two weeks. I have 7 small fish; clowns, gobies, cardinals and a sailfin tang(3 in), also a condi and a bubble tip. All advice would be appreciated

Hello and welcome to the site.

If my calculations are right you've got just over 3 watts per gallon of lighting which should be sufficient for some lps or soft corals for sure. More light is always a good thing though.

You didnt say how much live rock you had, most will recommend minimum of a pound or so per gallon for a reef and with good flow use it for filtration. I have not used one but I understand the wet/dry filter may eventually cause nitrate problems. Something to consider.
Welcome George,

It sounds like a you have enough light, but I would probably recommend a little more. You should be able to keep some low light corals though without much of a problem.

Another thing to consider is Power Compacts bulbs, aka Compact Flourescents, need to be replaced at least every year.

Good luck and keep us posted about your tank.

I need to add some live rock, I have 70 lbs of live rock. Although a couple of pieces were closer to base rock than live rock. In terms of filtration does base rock work.
Nitrates continue to be a problem somewhere between 30 and 40 ppm. I'm hoping the smaller more frequent water changes will help. Any ideas here would be helpful as well.
I would surely add some more live rock.

Base rock will eventually have the filtering properties of live rock but, as with all reefkeeping - it will take some time.

I am sure you are aware that the flow in a reeftank is normally at least a 20 turnover ratio but the more flow the better - but with more flow comes potentially more heat and on and on - but your at the right place for answers, there is a knowledgeable bunch here.

good luck
Hey George,

Can you tell us a little bit more about your wet/dry filter? I have heard that they can eventually cause nitrates. Can't remember where I read that, maybe someone else can chime in.

Also, are you using RO/DI water for your water changes?

:welcome: WELCOME TO THE ARC!!!:welcome:

One other thing you may want to look out for is the anemones that you have. They require alot of light and PCs may but be suffient for their needs.

Realistically, if youre considering a reef setup now then you may want to start looking into (and saving for) Metal Halides.
Once you start getting corals in there, you're going to be addicted just like the rest of us :help:

Base rock or live is just as good. You can save yourself a bit of $$$ by adding some more baserock. What you have in there will seed it and after 6-10months you wont be able to tell the difference anyway. I agree with everyones suggestions on adding more rock and removing the wetdry.
A good skimmer would also be a nice addition (can you hear the sound of the cash register?) With six fish and a tang (they eat a ton) you'll definately need some extra filtration in there to help keep high water quality.

In my opinion you should work on your nitrates. Think about your maintenance schedule, feeding habits, etc.
I would focus on:
a) getting a quality skimmer
b) strip the wet/dry
c) adding some rock (live or base)
d) consider a lighting upgrade

Come on out to some of our meetings as well... its a great way to meet people in the hobby and ask away with questions. We've got a great group of folks here and everyone is willing to help out. Give us some more details on your setup and post some pics!!

Again... welcome to the ARC! Glad to have you on board!
As long as you guys are willing to keep this thread going. What do you mean by strip the wet/dry. And if I abandon it what do you recommend.

I have let the anemones position themselves and both have chosen a bottom tank position with my level of light. Should I move them up.

I am looking forward to the next meeting (November I guess).

Hey George, Welcome to the ARC!

What everyone means by stripping your wet/dry, I believe, is that your sump contains blue Bio-Balls, or whatever color they may be. What happens with these balls, is that they start to become nitrate factories. And now you start pumping all of these nitrates, which in small quantities is basically harmless, but in large quantities is very harmful, back into your display tank.

So what you do is, start to remove a few balls everyday to lessen the stress on your system. In maybe 2 weeks or so, you will have completely removed all of the balls. You don't need them.

As noted above, you definitely want to add some more rock, whether base or live, depending on your budget.

And as noted above, you will definitely want to look at a quality skimmer to clean the water in your tank. I really like my MR-2 skimmer from, plus they are an ARC sponsor and provide 10% off to ARC members.

Using RO/DI water is almost a must, to prevent further complications from algae blooms and so forth.

So my newbie order would be:

1. Protein skimmer / Remove Bio Balls
2. RO/DI unit, if you don't have one already
3. Live/Base Rock
4. then worry about upgrading your lighting

Also, I wouldn't worry too much about your anemones. If they don't like where they are, they will move. Just keep an eye on them and see how they are doing.

Look forward to seeing you at the next meeting. And post as many questions as you need until you fully understand what you need to do and why you are doing it. This is a super friendly and flame free environment. We're all here to learn and help each other out.
I have a wet/dry and it made a lot of nitrates. Then I added a 15 gallon refugium. I havn't had any nitrate problems since. I have a ton of plants growing becuase of the nitrates and, when i prun them back, it ends up being an extra treat for the tangs. They love their greens. Its just another suggestion or thought.