Reef / LED Lighting
I have never run a saltwater aquarium before. I inherited a 125 gallon tank with a stand and inoperable (what I assume are) freshwater lights.
So far I have purchased an Aqueon hang-on overflow box model 110 and a 20 gallon tank to use as a sump.
I have made the final decision to purchase:
1. a marineland in-sump 300
2. 80 lbs of marco rock/sand with supplemental live rock/sand from LFS
I have not made a final decision on the return pump yet
My focus this week is on lights. I was going to go with a cheap all in one unit i found on ebay, but I was too late. And as i surfed about the net this weekend i noticed that the more economical combos (mh +T5+Lunar) are either nonexistant or no longer economical.
Before you ask, I want to say that I have no idea what i want to put in the tank. Definately no interest in FOWLR. This will be a reef tank. My plan is to just go with the flow as to what I add in and I am in no hurry to get it "Done" I plan on this being my only system and want it to grow old with me.
I want a lighting system that will cover most of the basic lighting requirements for a reef tank with all types of corals. I will be suspending
the lights, no interest in retrofits or a "hood"
So now that you have read all that what are your recommendations. What lighting systems are ya'll usin' on your reef systems. AND has
anyone had any experience with the LED's yet?????
Marineland Reef Capable LED Light - 48 in. to 60 in. with Free $10.00 Gift Card | LED Lighting | Lighting Systems | Aquarium - ThatPetPlace.com
This looks really neat. This "46 x 1W 10,000k White Daylight LEDs 8 x 1W 460 nm Blue LEDs " looks like the right amount of wattage and K for corals AND its economical in both price and electrical costs.
I have seen alot of banter on the equip but not that much on lighting. I hope we can get a good thread going here.
Something you want to watch for when looking at LED fixtures is the type of LEDs they use. The fixture you linked uses 1watt LEDs when most people using LED lighting on their reefs are using the more powerful 3 watt Cree LEDs. Just about the only way you can get a 'good' affordable LED light setup is to build it yourself. Alternatively these AI units are gaining a good rep and its American made which is nice
but these are far from cheap
I am very happy with the T5 light fixture on my reef. If you are looking for an nice economical solution I would look into T5s. They have the best color of any light option (people who run MH or LED usually supplement with T5s for color). The only real downside is the yearly lamp replacement which will run you 20-25ish per bulb.
I also looked into an LED fixture when I converted my FOWLR tank to a reef. I couldn't find anything powerful enough to accomodate what I might want to keep in the future for a reasonable price, though. I ended up getting a T5 fixture with two whites, two actinics, and LED "moon lights".
i like them all..metal halides are the best in my opinion and as stated you will want to acomidate them with another spectrum..T5s ,HO, and VHOs are nice and i do like the LEDs but if we are talking money here LEDs are definatly the most expensive unless as njudson mentioned you DIY it wich it sound like you dont wanna do..oh and the LEDs dont tend to have as much spread to the lighting...more like spot lights so really intense when distributed right.my most succesfull setups are metal halide with T5 HO acomidations .i do deal with alot of heat as well but as you have read there are pros and cons to every little thing.
Assuming that LED's are not in your budget here are the types of corals and their lighting requirements. Keep in mind that depth of tank is also a concern because light dissipates at a rate called inverse square law. I won't go into detail there because i'll get tired of typing! but looking at that tank it appears to be the standard 24" depth.
SPS- small polyp stony corals- requires extreeme lighting. They typically need MH lighting or T5 lighting. If you go MH you'll need 2 x 250 watt lights. normally those lights have supplemental lighting and i would recommend at least 2 T5's with that. MH lighting get's real hot but it gives a shimmering effect not seen with T5's. If you go T5's you'll need 8 bulbs across the entire tank. It appears to be a 5 foot wide tank so i'd recommend 8 x 48" bulbs with individual reflectors if you go that route( we can discuss bulb selection later)
LPS- Large polyp stony corals- requires somewhat extreme lighting and is the middle of the road as far as lighting needs. If you go MH I'd recommend 2x 150 watt along with the supplement lights of 2x t5's. for T5's I'd recommend 6 x T5's with individual reflectors across the entire tank ( if you te we can discuss bulb selection later)
Soft corals requires the least amount of light other than the nonphotosynthetic corals (which requires none or very little). You could go MH 2x 150 and supplements or T5's X4 individual reflectors across the entire tank.
Hanging the light is a great way to light your tank. it allows evaporation and air cooling but the pitfall is you will have to topoff evaporated water more often than a covered tank. FYI, my tank is lighted by hanging lights.
"If you go MH I'd recommend 2x 150 watt along with the supplement lights of 2x t5's. for T5's I'd recommend
6 x T5's with individual reflectors across the entire tank ( if you te we can discuss bulb selection later)"
what does te mean?
I thought metal halides were pretty much necessary on my tank because of the depth and the array of fishy life
I wanted to keep. At the nicest LFS, I noticed they had a very similar tank with just 1 x 250 MH and I loved how
everything looked in the tank. They had a little of everything in there. But everyone has been trying to convince me to go with VHO
The unit i had seen for 400 was similar to these.
Belize Sun or Marineland Pro
what do you think about this unit?
60' Metal Halide 250 T5 HO Aquarium Light Lunars NEW! - eBay (item 170508294598 end time Jan-28-11 17:26:27 PST)
it doesn't have a brand name....but the price is right
Since MH run hot, should a chiller be in the budget
and i have a RO unit, just need to replace the filters....SOooooo i can set up an auto top off.
Please don't let my sidenotes distract from the thread. I really wanted to get everybody talking about their lighting setups...
who they prefer and why, what types of t5 bulbs, etc
T5s can surely do Any corals you want to keep. I personally would not go traditional VHO not because they can't do the job but have more limited options and because ur hanging the unit I figure you'd want a decent looking fixture. If you get a fixture that has 6 bulbs with individual reflectors you will surely be able to keep lps corals. MH is just another option but not required. I have kept lps and sps with a 6 vulb fixture before, however I think the sps could have used a little more light and the lps did just fine and this was on a tank that was 26 inch deep.
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I Run MH on my tank and don't have a chiller. Fans are blowing aacross the water surface. If you go MH I'd go with the belieze out of those 3 option u mentioned. You could use this T5 fixture http://www.aquacave.com/aqua-medic-o...x-54w-978.html
If I am understanding correctly.....
Since i am just starting out I could go the cheaper route with the aquamedic and probably be ok for the first 2-4 years.
Then as I start branching off into the prettier sps and lps corals I am going to need the more intense MH's or they won't thrive
as well. i.e. They'll live but not flourish.
I've also heard that if you keep those corals close to the top of the tank then the aforementioned aquamedic is fine....
but who likes being told where to put their stuff.
Fish is not my focus. I am looking forward to them, but i can wait. I was just going to set the whole thing up with some
cuc for the first 6 - 12 months till I developed a good maintenance habit (it takes me a while. I kept killing my spices
for the first 2 years till i learned to water them at the same time i make my coffee) :frustrated:
So presumably....I could get the rest of the equipment, set up the aquarium and get it going as long as I add the light system
before the fish and/or corals, that way I have more time to save up and actually get the belize unit.
I really liked the way fosters and smith did this VISUAL COMPARISON for the different wavelength bulbs.
I like the way trichromatic looks personally.
Will the t5 bulb selections be based on the actual critters inside the tank?
PS i still don't know what that te meant for bulb selection ;)
if you're sure you are going to go sps i'd go for the MH or a 8 bulb T5 fixture right off the bat. Why buy a fixture 2 to 4 years later and end up spending almost 2 times as much. I think a quality 8 bulb T5 fixture will be able to do sps all the way to the sand bed. picking bulb combination is real important for the fixture so if you decide to go that route lmk and i may be able to steer you towards a nice looking spectrum. you can select bulbs to get effect on corals. bulb spectrum will determine coral growth rate and coral vibrance in color. There is a trade off for growth vs color in the coral. typically if your lamp output is towards the white spectrum the corals will grow faster but have less color (unless you are really putting out lots of light) if you go towards the atinic spectrum the coral colors will pop but growth will be alittle slower.
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