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Old 09-26-2014, 01:16 AM   #1
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Lighting frustrations

Hey guys, I've have a 40b cycling as we speak. I have been researching lighting for a month straight and it seems the more I read the more confused I become, so I'm bringing my questions to you guys since I couldn't answer them myself. I am only looking to grow low-med light corals right now as this will be my first reef tank experience, so Ill start with the softies and see where it goes from there. My first question is fluorescent (t5ho, t8, or t12?) VS LED. What size would I need in each? Also I am capable of building a fluorescent with a little guidance with specific components (I have an electrical systems degree). Would this be an idea to entertain and would There be a significant price advantage to build my own?
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Old 09-26-2014, 03:01 AM   #2
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Lighting frustrations

T8 and T12 are out. Not strong enuff.

A 2-4 bulb T5 HO would provide enough light for most corals.

However, if you want to build, LED is the way to go. There are lots of videos of people building their own fixtures.

I would go with a 3 channel controller (Blues, whites, green/red). Use Cree LEDs in 3 and 5 watt, high efficiency outputs. You could use simple power supplys as your controllers (hooked to timer switches) or more costly programmable controllers. Get enough LEDs that you only need to run them at 66% max output at full to prolong the life of the LEDs and controllers.
240 watts total output is more than enough, so design with 330-360 watts in mind.



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Old 09-26-2014, 03:31 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. Is the LED a better route because of the lifespan of the light, less heat, more efficient etc..? Am I achieving the same thing with the T5HO at a lesser cost? Sorry just trying to understand, a lot of people seem to lean toward the LED and I am just wondering what reasons are driving that choice.
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Old 09-26-2014, 09:34 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by jdwhite807 View Post
Thanks for the reply. Is the LED a better route because of the lifespan of the light, less heat, more efficient etc..? Am I achieving the same thing with the T5HO at a lesser cost? Sorry just trying to understand, a lot of people seem to lean toward the LED and I am just wondering what reasons are driving that choice.

Yes to all 3, bulb replacements on t5 units get expensive and should be done twice a year minimum IMO (I would change them out every 4 months when I ran t5s).
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Old 09-26-2014, 10:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdwhite807 View Post
Thanks for the reply. Is the LED a better route because of the lifespan of the light, less heat, more efficient etc..? Am I achieving the same thing with the T5HO at a lesser cost? Sorry just trying to understand, a lot of people seem to lean toward the LED and I am just wondering what reasons are driving that choice.
For all of the reasons you listed is why LEDs are so popular. The taotronics are just so cheap and effective, people can't say no.
Though personally, I love that I can adjust my Radions from my phone.
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Old 09-26-2014, 12:20 PM   #6
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I would personally skip building your own light fixture. I did it for my planted tank and could never make it so I am happy with it.

The taotronics are effective and cheap. Really the best option out there unless you want to drop $500+ on a fixture.

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Old 09-26-2014, 12:48 PM   #7
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I got the LED lights off eBay. You'll prob need two but they work well and work out cheaper in the long run
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Old 09-26-2014, 03:46 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the help guys. I think I am gonna fall for the Tao LED's. What size should I be looking at and how many? Preferably I would like to only be running one light that would put me into the low-Medium range. I am new to Reefs and will only be trying my hand at soft corals for the time being. I would add another maybe later when my skill set advances.


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Old 09-26-2014, 03:49 PM   #9
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For full coverage of a 40b you will need 2. I would suggest getting 2 dimmable ones so you can adjust the lighting to fit your needs.
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Old 09-26-2014, 04:02 PM   #10
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I would get enough lights for high light coral and dim them because in the future you may want high light corals and would need to get more light s the
n It is cheaper to get a more powerful light now than have to ad more latter
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