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Old 08-16-2012, 03:44 PM   #1
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Help with lights

I want EVERYONES opinion on what lightIng system I should buy for my corals. Tell me what lights and why you picked them.
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Old 08-16-2012, 03:57 PM   #2
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What kinds of corals to be more specific?
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Old 08-16-2012, 04:07 PM   #3
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Anything at all.
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Old 08-16-2012, 05:31 PM   #4
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I have an Aquatic Life 6-bulb T5 HO on my 75. I got it becasue I got a good price on it because it was mssing one bulb and the acrylic splash guard. I like that it has one cord and an integrated timer which handles the moonlights, a bank of 4 bulbs and a bank of two bulbs seperately.

On my 37 I'm using a Current 150W metal halide. It was on clearance from Drs. Foster & Smith and I wanted something to replace the DIY 4-bulb VHO I had. I later added a single 24" T5 HO strip I got on clearance from PetSmart to make it a little more blue.

The most efficient set up is going to be LED. No bulbs to replace, generate very little heat and are very energy efficient. In a preconstructed unit, I believe you get what you pay for. The Marineland Reef Capable units are not what the name suggests at all. the top of the line seems to be the Ecotech Radion unit. It is dimmable, programmable, and you can adjust the spectrum of output. I will say I have read a lot of people rave about the value of the Taotronics dimmable units you can get through Ebay. Several folks have been successful with DIY kits from Rapid LED.

LEDs can penetrate pretty deeply (if you get the right ones) and give a nice shimmer effect, plus you get all the energy efficiency with no bulbs to replace. the technology is pretty new and we'll likely see them get better and more affordable in the not too distant future.

T5s generate some heat, and are probably the least expensive in terms of initial cost. Bulb replacement is expensive (allow AT LEAST $120 per year) and there is no shimmer. they may not penetrate well in deeper tanks. You will likely experience some spectrum shift as the bulbs age. With different banks of bulbs, you can create a sunrise / sunset effect if you want to.

Metal halides cost maybe a little more than T5s, but give you a nice shimmer effect. They penetrate the water well. They are very energy inefficient and create a lot of heat that might need to be dealt with via a chiller. The bulbs will also need to be replaced annually for at least $50 per bulb. Although not apparent to our eyes, the quality of the light spectrum the bulbs put out can vary widely. The spectrum is also prone to shifting over time, going from (possibly) blue to white to yellow so slowly you don't realize it until you change bulbs. I think most people would agree that halides look nicest when they are supplemented with a little T5. Metal halides kind of have a built in sunrise effect as they warm up, althoguh it's only over a few minutes.

Ultimately, it's a question of budget and priority as to what you choose. If money was no object, I'd go with the Radion units myself. But that's a $1200 + investment all at once. . .
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Old 08-16-2012, 05:49 PM   #5
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I know what the lights do. I'm just asking what people prefer. Not anything against you because I like what you had to say, but I'm just stuck between LEDs and halides. Everyone is raving about LEDs right now. I know very little about them and I'm not convinced they are the best way to go yet. And yes, the radions better work well for being almost $800 a panel. But the halides have proven themselves.
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Old 08-16-2012, 05:57 PM   #6
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And for a 90 gallon tank I'm looking to spend no more than $750.
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish_freak23
And for a 90 gallon tank I'm looking to spend no more than $750.
Ebay 120w dimmable leds get 120° lenses grow any coral youd ever want with these fixtures 2 fixtures for your 90g somethin like 175-200 $ / each nice color no heat
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Old 08-16-2012, 09:46 PM   #8
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I'll probably get 4 of them since they are knock offs lol. Then when 2 of them die I'll still have 2.
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:00 AM   #9
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I'll probably get 4 of them since they are knock offs lol. Then when 2 of them die I'll still have 2.
Ive never heard of any bad reports from these fixtures make sure you get dimmable and i reccommend 120°lense to spread the light more some like 90° lense but it wont cover as much of the tank and also the light will be more consentrated
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:42 AM   #10
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I have kessil LED. The way that I decided which kind of light to get was to go to a LFS and one of the employees showed my the difference between all of the lights on actual tanks. They have tanks set up with all different kind of lights. I loved the shimmer and blue tone of the LED. I also like that they last a long time. Kessil cost about $300 each including the arm to hold it.
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