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Old 07-31-2011, 09:47 PM   #1
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Natural sunlight has to be the best illumination for your coral, right? But it has been hard to control in a aquarium setting. Has anyone used the "light tube" technology where there is a unit on the roof that conducts the natural light to a fixture? The fixture could be regulated for light output with a simple flapper in the tube and supplemental lighting used in the evening or cloudy days. Seems to me to be a great option and would give full spectrum with no energy bill.

Sorry, I should have put this in the hardware forum I guess.
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:05 PM   #2
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I definitely wouldn't even where I live(Miami beach), I would have to have good lights because of all the days that are cloudy so it's not worth it.
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:27 PM   #3
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Greg here is a guy in Arizona who is using solar tubes and t-5 supplements. Very cool setup.

http://www.azreefs.com/forums/showth...=solar%20tubes

And another thread that shows a conversion.
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...readid=1457056

Looks like phenomenal results so far. Very interesting stuff!
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:36 AM   #4
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Pretty cool thread, thanks Maya. Arizona gets more sun than we do, but on sunny days, doesn't look like your lights would have
to run much. I can't use the tubes in my current home, but plan on doing something down the road. My power bill is too high as it is.
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:57 AM   #5
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The second thread is from Texas.. Again way sunnier than we get up here in Ohio but I love the idea of going with natural sunlight. Both of those threads contain pretty elaborate reef set-ups with DIY sunlights. Love the idea of DIY energy-savings so I have been following these for some time. Even with some supplemental t5 actinic lighting they are reporting energy savings of between 600 (the guy in Texas) and 1800 (arizona at 150 a month) a year. That's incredible! Especially considering the initial cost for the tube lights was about 1300. I found it interesting that both reported a decrease in nuisance algae with the sunlights, as I would have assumed the opposite. I always love the guys who are willing to experiment outside the box... Lol!
Also appreciated the supporting pics in those threads offering pretty concrete evidence of good coral growth under this lighting. Can't argue with that kind of documentation.
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Old 08-01-2011, 02:05 AM   #6
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No, there is always somebody that disagrees, and many times with good merit. My move to LED lighting was not without controversy. I have learned that LED is still superior, but that you have to use a boat load of them if you want hard corals. That's why I think plasma lighting, or better, controllable natural sunlight has to be they way to go for hard coral tanks. I would see having the LEDs anyway, but turn them on as the weather sets in, or even during cloud passage. A little natural light hits my tank each day in the winter and it is remarkable the difference in color depth with the sun light.
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Old 08-01-2011, 02:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregcoyote
No, there is always somebody that disagrees, and many times with good merit. My move to LED lighting was not without controversy. I have learned that LED is still superior, but that you have to use a boat load of them if you want hard corals. That's why I think plasma lighting, or better, controllable natural sunlight has to be they way to go for hard coral tanks. I would see having the LEDs anyway, but turn them on as the weather sets in, or even during cloud passage. A little natural light hits my tank each day in the winter and it is remarkable the difference in color depth with the sun light.
I was really dead set on led lighting for my future SPS tank, but honestly, it was too difficult finding an led fixture that was really actually able to sustain SPS coral.

Oh yeah and i do things that people disagree with me on too! I use NSW from my backyard and I've even used sand from the beach. People say it's stupid, and it might be but so far, it's worked perfectly.
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Old 08-01-2011, 02:55 AM   #8
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It a matter of numbers and understanding the difference in PAR and PUR ratings with LEDs. Most fixtures simply don't have enough, or the right color of high power LEDs. The rest is in circuitry and heat sinking. You need a panel that won't blink out if one LED burns out. I ran MH for many years and fluorescents before them. The LED panels are the easiest light source I have ever used. I am adding a couple of older 36 watt blue florescent units to spike the blue up a bit more, since I had them. Will post any difference, but have heard this mixture of lights might be optimum. Again, I am concentrating on hard corals mostly.

As far as sand, it probably isn't the best idea to use beach sand, but as you have found, if washed and sterilized, sand is sand.
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:54 AM   #9
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There is a gentleman in my local reef club who uses natural sun lighting using sun lights and reflective mirror.. I have actuall pictures of it .. if I can find them I will scan and post them its really easy what he did using skylights..
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Old 08-01-2011, 02:56 PM   #10
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Cool! City aquariums have some of this, but I have seen few hobbiests try it.
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