Update Not a lot has happened in the last 30 days, which has been kind of frustrating but I have now made progress on two fronts - lighting and rock. I'll start with the lighting situation. I finally received my ballast back from Chris Conti at Coralvue. CV checked the ballast but couldn't find anything wrong with it. Nevertheless they sent me a brand new ballast, which I wired up and tested last night. The radium 250 watt bulb now fires up so something must have been amiss with the old ballast. I'm just happy that I don't have to take the light down and send it back. I already had to pay for shipping on the ballast because BRS wouldn't honor the return due to the length of time between my purchase and testing the product. Here is the light in all its glory. It is like having a small slice of the sun in my den. The only issue is that when I sit in my easy chair, I get a bit of glare from the reflector. The light currently is about 9" above the tank. I could move it down a bit but then I will have less coverage on the outside 6" of either side of the tank. Right now it looks ok at 9" and I'm particularly happy in that there is minimal light spillage beyond the tank. spectra w. all lights by choerenz, on Flickr So moving on to my rock....I was 100% set to go with TBS live rock. While I am very particular about the aqua scape that I want to create for this tank, the benefits of using live rock just seemed to great for me to go with dry rock. So I emailed Richard at TBS and found out that TBS is temporarily closed. Richard has had some significant surgery and can't dive for the immediate future. And I think its probably weeks or months out before he will be back on his feet. So I started to explore a few other options. For my scape, I really want two dominant islands with a natural channel in between where I can showcase some white sand and a clam or two. I also like the idea of having a more dominant island that has a bit of height. My plan is to attach SPS higher up and have acans and other LPS mounted vertically or on angles off the island. The tank that really comes to mind is Chris Krien's amazing tank that he calls his 160 G algae farm. Here is his scape and I think you will see why it inspires me. The grown out tank is even more spectacular so I'd highly recommend searching for this build. You won't be disappointed. Chris Kriens Aqua Scape by choerenz, on Flickr So with the long wait for TBS rock, I started to inquire into some large Pukani dry rock as a backup plan. BRS was out of "jumbo" rocks but Aquacave had some in stock. In fact, they were extremely helpful and sent over a few pictures of the rocks they had in their warehouse. Pukani Pic 1 by choerenz, on Flickr Pukani Rock 2 by choerenz, on Flickr While it will take me a few weeks to bleach, acid wash, and cure these rocks, I started thinking that at the end of the process, I will have the perfect rock for what I was envisioning for my scape - plus its porous, gorgeous rock that you can easily drill and affix sticks to. I immediately contacted Albert from aquacave jumped on these pieces. I had them 2 days later! Best customer service I've had from a major retailer of aquarium products...ever! I still intend to try and get some of the benefits from adding live rock, so I'm also looking into a small order of live rock from Gulfliverock.com, which I would have air freighted and then added to the tank to ensure the system receive some of the beneficial bacteria and critters that I was hoping to get from the TBS rock. Gulfliverock seems to have good reviews so hopefully I can end up with best of both worlds. So as I write this, my Pukani has been sitting in bleach since Saturday, and I'm just waiting for the weather to go above freezing to start the acid bath. More to come soon.