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Old 08-08-2012, 08:17 PM   #1
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please explain to me THOROUGHLY the difference between LED's, t5's, and metal halides

Would someone out there please explain to me THOROUGHLY the difference between LED's, t5's, and metal halides. I mean I know what they are and what they look like, but I don't completely understand what they do and what the actual difference is between them.
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:22 PM   #2
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I'm at work and wish I could type you out a great comparison but I apologize I just don't have the time right now. I would like to help however. A quick google and I found these hopefully helpful sites.

http://www.americanaquariumproducts...._Lighting.html

This one includes charts, measurements etc.

http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2010/2/aafeature2/
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:23 PM   #3
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Alright thanks. I appreciate it.
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish_freak23
Alright thanks. I appreciate it.
No problem I hope it sheds some light on the subject

Yea I know that was lame but what can ya do...
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:31 PM   #5
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There are some threads on this forum that cover the pros and cons, but in short;

The goal is to provide sufficient light to grow what you have. It is measured in a value called PAR. Generally, the more the better up to a point.

All lights mentioned can grow corals. Hard corals and clams need more, soft corals and obviously fish only tanks need less.

IMO

T5's

Pros

Inexpensive
Relatively low heat projected into water
Grows most corals

Cons

Bulbs need replacement AT LEAST once a year
They don't seem to project very deep, so in deep tanks they don't work as well
Use high voltage, so some shock hazard
Poor ripple effect
Cannot be dimmed

MH

Pros

Inexpensive
Grows all corals
Penetrates deep
Makes nice ripple effect


Cons

Really heats up the water. Chiller is almost always needed when generating enough light to grow hard corals.
Bulbs need replacement 1 per year.
A bit more dangerous as they get really hot and they have associated transformers that can catch fire.
use high voltage so some shock hazard
Cannot be dimmed


LED

Pros

No heat projected into water
Grows all corals
Easier to hang
Safer as the emitters run on low DC voltage
They can be touched while running without burning yourself
Can be hung right over the water
Last 50,000 hours.
Makes nice ripple effect
can be computer controlled and dimmed

Cons

More expensive
Can burn corals if not used conservatively

In summary, it is important to note how much actual output (PAR) the fixture produces and over what area and at what depth.
LEDs are getting cheaper every day and I believe they will replace both T5 and MH fixtures in the near future. I would never use anything else other than LEDs again.

JIMO, please add comments as needed.
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:51 AM   #6
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Wow. Thanks for all of that. Now like I said, I'm new to corals, so I'm going to sound like a newbie. But how are LEDs so strong when their wattage is nothing? And I'm setting up a 90 gallon mixed reef hopefully very soon, what light or lightS would you recommend for 48"? I should also tell you I'm looking to spend around $600 and no more than that. I want to figure out something in my price range that I'm going to be happy with till the tank has to go and I won't be kickin myself because I forgot something or I got something I don't need and spent the extra money for no reason. LEDs sound awesome. I just don't understand them.
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Old 08-09-2012, 02:27 AM   #7
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They work in a totally different manner than t5 or MH. Their efficiency is on the order of 300-400% more efficient with power. Little power is lost as heat compared to MH.
A 120 watt LED designed properly can replace up to a 250 watt MH, maybe even more. There are plenty of 120 watt panels available for under $300. You might use two for your 48" of coverage.
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Old 08-09-2012, 02:58 AM   #8
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What led fixture do you recommend? so I could grow all or mixed coral including sps. What do you think about the vega from aqua illuminations? Ive been waiting for it to come out so I could watch some videos of them, just can't find any.
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Old 08-09-2012, 03:24 AM   #9
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Yea what would you recommend? I need to know these things haha. I'll have to do some research and look all this stuff up.
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Old 08-09-2012, 04:34 AM   #10
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There are panels made here and there are panels made in Asia. Both work. Check the forums for recommendations of brands. I use Chinese panels and have used them for over 4 years. Many on this forum have had good luck with them and they are cheap. Others love the Radions, but they are more on the high side. Wattage counts. If they say a 30 watt led light will grow coral in a 55 gallon tank, they are meaning soft corals at best.
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