I was surfing around on the web and found this. It may be of help to those of you who are having problems concerning the lighting of your salt tanks.
That looks like a great reference page, thanks for posting!!!
This is where my concern lies. As is the case with so many other sources, this chart also says that to have a reef tank with anything other than just live rock you have to use MH's. I'm so confused.
Something that may help you sort this out:
Many of the charts that are out here right now are for lighting the way it has been for longer than the past decade. Many of these charts need to be updated with technology changing so quickly... however, many reef keepers are not as informed as to the newest standards in lighting.
Our world is dealing with an energy crisis, and this forces us to work towards a more energy efficient future. MH lighting has been so popular because up until the last 5 - 6 yrs, it was the best source of compatible lighting for keeping a reef tank. Alas, science has advanced, and now its time for us to advance with it.
MH has created some challenges in reef keeping, foremost the heat issues. Vents, fans, pendants... many ideas have been tried and used to control the heat output of MH. Energy standards have also changed, and MH lighting is no longer conducive of these new standards.
As science advances still, some forms of lighting are being obsoleted, such as the famous T12 bulbs that have been around for ages.
If we take the time to trace back the progress made in reef lighting over the years, here's basically what we come up with:
We started out with T12, which became popular sometime during the 70's (before T12 it was standard fluorescent, incandescent, and sunlight), and was the industry standard for many yrs. As technology pushed us forward and our energy crisis continued, we then had VHO and HO T12 (VHO = very high output; HO = high output) made available to us. This gave us more intensity and better spectrum in the same amount of space. Then during the 80's MH became the reef keeping industry standard due to it's spectral output and ability to penetrate deep tanks. Even though it was the "best" form of lighting, it was not without its challenges. MH was a huge consumer of energy and posed a lot of heating issues. Again, science took us a step up, and we were given compact fluorescent. The power compact became popular because it consumed less energy, took up less space, and the bulbs lasted longer, but still was not comparable to MH. Now for about the past 6 yrs, we've had the standard T5 available. T5 advantages over HO T12 and VHO, and power compact were in less heat, less energy consumption and less space (more compact fixtures). With power compact we found similar spectral output as that of the VHO, HO T12, and a touch above the standard T5.
About 5 yrs ago, HO T5 became available, and these have created a lot of stir because the spectral quality of the HO T5 is similar to that of MH, yet it uses less energy, less space, and less heat. So, HO T5 has been the answer to all our prayers, right? If all of this is true, then why is MH still so popular and considered a "needed" resource for a reef tank? Put simply, it is but it isn't. HO T5, while all of the things I've listed apply, still doesn't have the power to penetrate beyond a depth of aboutu 20 inches. For this reason, MH is still considered a requirement for a reef tank over 20 inches tall.
The wave of the future is still rolling, and we have recently been introduced to LED lighting. The advantages of LED are less heat transference to water over any other fixture, much more energy efficient, bulbs last for years vs months with the current fixtures. LED allows us to control dimming, adjustments for kelvin rating, natural light cycles, and much more. It is estimated that over the course of the next 10 yrs LED may work its way up to our leading industry standard in reef lighting, rendering MH obsolete.
Progress, that's what it's all about. We are saving our planet when we upgrade our lighting to the most efficent forms available. As science and technology progress, thus will the standards of reef keeping.
thanks :D very helpful... i also found a good skimmer in there too!
I am very new to this site, but I do know about LED's. LED's are a new to the market but are moving fast. Life 80,000 hr's, very bright, use very little energy. They also bring out colors in a very clean and sharp way.
These people are now into building aquarium lighting also and will build to fit your aquarium. Food for thought! :idea:
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