Advice on lighting.....


Reefing newb
I need advice on a lighting system for a 120 gal. fish only tank. My intention is to add coral maybe 1-2 yrs. down the road so I want something I can still use or easily peddle if need be but, (heres the catch) I don't want to spend more than $200 (my wife already has me sleeping on the couch for the money I have spent) So any help would be much appreciated.Currently the tank has just started its cycling process so I would like to get the lights ordered ASAP.
Thanks in advance,
Mike :frustrat:
what are the dimensions of your tank? do you have a canopy? what kind of corals are you wanting to keep in the future? answer those for me and i'll try to throw you some suggestions...and welcome to to Living Reefs :bounce:
If its a year or two away I would just stick with the floresents that came with the tank, most reef system light bulbs have to be changed ever 6 months or so. Don't waste your money on lights yet... work on things like a kick butt skimmer.
For the short term and for fish only you can use the triton flourescent bulbs. they are very bright and you can use standard flourescent fixtures of the freshwater type. This will keep you under 200 dollars. You will probably need at least four. Now this will in no way be adequate for corals. I am not aware of a lighting system for 200 dollars that is adequate for corals unless used and you are at the right place at the right time. hope something here helps. WELCOME TO THE FORUM.
I am not sure if you have canopy that you need a retro fit.You might try this brand I used one(48 inch JEBO HIGH COMPACT AQUARIUM LIGHT 260w LEG
for 6 months before puting a canopy with retro fit.Mine was the 24 inch size.My friend that sold it to is still using it.This amount will provide 2 watts or so per might be able the add some mushrooms.Any other coral you will need to add in some kind of metal halide along with the PC light
Last edited:
Thanks for the feedback!

The tanks dimensions are 24"W X 24"D X 48"L. The situation I am in was the tank and filter (amiracle sea reef and red sea skimmer) were given to me by a friend. The tank had no stand or lighting so I bought a all-glass stand and canopy now im looking for lighting. The lights I was looking at were the HO or VHO lighting.I understand that to be a serious reefkeeper I will need MH and more filteration. So I guess another question would be is what are the HO and VHO lights primarly used for? I see the point in not wasting money on lighting I will have no use for in the future thats why I figured the HO or VHO lights would be a good start.
Thanks again in advance guys,
Mike :frustrat:
Last edited:
The HO, and VHO lighting systems are for system depths up to 18 - 20 inches water depth. also depending on the system, type of animals, glass cover, etc. may not be enough for some of the corals. bulbs will need to be changed more frequently. Best to get a mh setup if at all possible and supplement it with some atinic 03, and 6.5K flourescents. The HO and VHO will give you enough light for some soft corals and maybe a few of the hard corals if high enough in the water collum or if enough lights are added, but to get enough lights to do some serious good your cost will not be 200 or less. just my thoughts. good luck on the lights.

TIP: see page 2 of the helpful articles. there are several articles there that might help you decide which way to go.
Last edited: