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Old 12-26-2010, 04:14 PM   #1
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90G reef with LED lighting

Just starting a topic here to keep a journal of my reef with the new lighting. I've given us a gift of four 48" Reefbrite LED lights for our 90G reef. The tank was previously lit with HO T5 (6-bulb fixture from Tek).

I will be watching the tank and reporting on progress with coral growth.

The key livestock that I will be watching are a GBT nem, two types of acro, pocillopora, and some montis. As well, I will be watching the LPS, shrooms and zoas. The key ones will be the higher-light livestock. Another factor will be watching for algae growth.

Once I get some photos of the current setup I'll add them. The thread will be a test for anyone else considering a full LED setup for their reef.

Each 48" Reefbrite strip is supposed to be equivalent to around two T5 bulbs. With 2 blue, one white, and one 50/50 strip I can say that it looks to have about as much light as the 6-bulb Tek fixture. That doesn't mean that the LEDs are less powerful. Just a visual observation.

So far, the colour with the two blues, 1 50/50 and one white seems a little blue. It looks really good, but some people may prefer two blues and two whites. The shimmer is really nice and the heat generated in the LEDs is almost zero. You could touch these things after 8 hours of on-time without a problem.

Initial feeling: the blue (actinic) lighting of the LEDs is mind-blowing. I've never seen my corals fluoresce so much. As well, the LEDs are similar to MH in the way that the light is very straight. It doesn't have the same "spread" as T5 bulbs, which may be why they seem only as bright as a 6-bulb fixture. So far the SPS have been extending their polyps.
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Old 12-26-2010, 08:50 PM   #2
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If you could source a PAR meter you could give an accurate report on XvsY
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Old 12-26-2010, 10:13 PM   #3
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yes, i'm interested in PAR numbers as well. it's very strange that they use 3 watt Cree LEDs and only push them not even half way. seems like a bit of a waste. also, the gaps between the LEDs makes me curious that without optics, how much is the PAR dropping off between the groups.
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Old 12-27-2010, 02:04 PM   #4
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I was thinking the same thing Doug. The LEDs should last 5 - 10 years at full power. Why run them lower?
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:40 AM   #5
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Very true about them running them only halfway. Sadly, I do not have access to a PAR meter. I can tell you that I will be moving some of the zoa frag plugs that I have lower in the tank. I have them on a small piece of eggcrate and the oral disks are now pushed as close to the ceramic disk as possible.

I haven't seen any difference in the lighting between the groupings of LEDs but I would assume that if you metered it out you would notice a difference.
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:33 PM   #6
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I've got two photos here that were taken with my iPhone. Why the iPhone? Well, the basic camera on it isn't smart enough to try to fool with colour balance, etc.

These are straight from the phone. One shot is close to the tank and shows a one inch acro frag on a ceramic plug. The second shows the top to bottom of the tank (it's too wide to fit in the whole shot).

I haven't played with colour balance or anything, so it's not exactly as the eye sees things. It actually looks whiter than in the pictures.

You will all have to excuse the spots on the glass. I've lost the plastic bolt for my scraper to attach the razor blade and there are patches of coraline growing all over. I've checked at three LFS here an some carry replacement blades but none have the attachment part. I guess that I will have to bring it to Home Depot to see if they have anything that would work.
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxst2 View Post
If you could source a PAR meter you could give an accurate report on XvsY
What does all that mean? PAR? XvsY???
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Old 12-28-2010, 04:39 PM   #8
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PAR is an abbreviated term. the expanded is "photosynthetically active radiation". basically, it's the usable light that our fixtures omit. it's not just intensity(that would be measured in lumens), it's the light that can actually be used in the process of photosynthesis.
here you go...
Photosynthetically active radiation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

jaybird, i don't see any dim spots. the camera does make the tank look a bit on the red side.
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:36 PM   #9
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OK thanks X
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Old 12-29-2010, 09:15 PM   #10
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The camera does make it look red. The iPhone really buggers with the white balance but I don't want to shoot with my DSLR and play with the shots in Lightroom. With the lights on it looks like it used to with the T5s but with a Fiji Pink bulb in the mix. It's a little more blue than white but it does look good. Perhaps I should have gone with two blues and two whites instead of the 50/50.

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Originally Posted by mr_X View Post
jaybird, i don't see any dim spots. the camera does make the tank look a bit on the red side.
Here is a closer shot with just one of the blue strips on. Again, the iPhone doesn't do justice to the fluorescence of the corals. There is more day-glo colouring in there than at a rave. With the two bulbs on (without the white and 50/50) the tank looks like a freakshow. I can see why people are buying them up to add to their existing fixtures. Instead of using two actinic t5s in a fixture you could add one of these.

In the attached shot is a one-inch frag of monti (kind of like what they call superman) and two ricordia (one florida and one not), as well as some acan. The acan really pops. As well, in the back you can see some purple montipora capricornis that's about the size of a desert plate.
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