Week 20: Metal Halide lighting and the reef tank: A recipe for success | 52 Weeks of Reefing #BRS160

November 14th, 2015
Today’s episode is our second of five where we really explore lighting in the reef tank, in this one we are going to focus on metal halide lighting. We will start with who halide lighting is ideal for, the general advantages and disadvantages of halide lighting, and then evaluate halide lighting based on the criteria we developed a couple weeks ago including some really cool tests we performed based on those criteria. We'll share the importance of selecting the right reflector and bulb types, discuss some hybrid options and finish with some common installs and tips.

Similar to T5’s, halides are a proven technology absolutely cable of maintaining awesome coral health combined with that high contrast visual appeal and shimmer everyone loves. Today’s halide users are those that only care about one thing: and that’s results.

The number one advantage halides have is the longest track record of success. If maintaining a successful reef tank full of heathy corals is the only concern you can probably stop looking because halides are one of the best options and a staple in reefing for longer than most of us have even been in the hobby.

The halide bulbs can produce both highly intense lighting with high PAR ratings as well as highly diffused light or even a hybrid of both all depending on the type of reflector and bulb used. The result is typically a really high contrast tank with plenty of light coverage but also a sense of depth that comes with some slightly darker areas in the tank.

Halides are also considered to produce the best shimmer lines in the tank which gives that sense of movement that makes the tank look like an actual section of the reef rather than just a picture of one. The shimmer is also very natural looking and doesn't produce a "disco ball" effect.

Follow along next week as we cover LEDs!

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