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One trick to determine this is to turn out all the lights in the room making it as dark as possible. Raise the fixture way up and make a note of the light spillage on the floor. Then lower the light until the light is mostly "captured" by the tank. This will give you the maximum height you would want to run your fixture. At this point you can lower it depending on the locations of your corals and how much intensity you are going for. Of course the closer the fixture to the water the more likely it will get more wear and tear from the salt as well as making it more difficult to work in the tank.
Keep in mind a great deal of the light entering the tank reflects off the glass and will help light up the underside of coral colonies. Some LED options in the market direct so much of the light downward they tend to create shadows since you aren't getting the reflected light off the glass.