Just trying to catch up on all my updates here. I havnt added pictures for a while and my tank has been through quite a few upgrades.
The first of which was a coralife clamp on metal halide fixture. I would not recommend coralife to anyone looking for a new fixture for their tank. Overheating was a problem for this fixture and it needed to be supplemented by another fan. Light output was poor due to cheap reflectors. Also, the fixture quality seemed pretty cheap for a $350 piece of equipment. The neck is also not adjustable enough to fit on a tank less than 12 inches wide making light spillage an issue. For the price, I would have expected a little more quality.
Next, I upgraded to a 6 x 24watt 24″ T-5 fixture by Catalina with dimmable LEDs. Unfortunately, because my tank is 30″ long, the fixture did not sit flush on my aquarium, which is the main reason I do not use this light any longer. The fixture comes with individual reflectors, and that combined with 6 high quality bulbs was a great combo that produced a ton of light. All my coral seemed to do well with this light and the light spread covered every inch of the tank. However, the light does not have any type of internal cooling (no fans), and for T-5 bulbs to run optimally, they must be under a certain temperature. So, I had to add a small fan, which isnt a big deal, but again, for the $400+ price tag, you would expect it to be perfect out of the box.
Another reason I chose to upgrade to another fixture is the fact that the bulbs can get expensive. Most good quality bubls are in the $20-$25 each price range for the 24″, and that times 6 equals a little too much for me every 6 months. Also, when I purchased the fixture, I did not know very much about light spectrums and color, and I chose a poor color, but high par spectrum. This means that my coral was happy, but the color was not to my liking. Overall, its a nice fixture, but I would go with the current t-5 fixture over this for the quality, cooling, and similar price.
Finally, I upgraded to Currents line of metal halide fixtures called the Sunpod. This is a high quality, solid, professional fixture. It looks and functions very well. Light output if very high and all my corals are loving this fixture. I opted to go with the Ushio 20k bulb, which is very blue, but really makes the coral pop. I opted to go with the shorter fixture because I am going to be installing a hutch on top of my aquarium shortly and I needed something that would fit inside with no problem. Also, I decided to go with this fixture instead of a retro because I like the warranty and this fixture has all the fans and LED moonlights already installed.
However, not everything about this fixture is desirable. Unfortunately, the fan on both the ballast and the fixture itself are pretty noisey. Also, this fixture puts out a lot of heat, but this is to be expected with a metal halide fixture. Other than that, this fixture is perfect.