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Old 03-21-2012, 11:38 PM   #1
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Question Reef Lighting System Decision

Hi everyone, I'm back with a question.
I am debating on which lighting system to purchase for my future 65 gallon tank set up.
My tank is 36" Length & 24" Height.
I plan on having a Reef Aquarium, with a little of everything in it.
Here are my two choices:
(Feel free to leave me a comment on which one you would prefer and why, and if you have any other suggestions please let me know, thank you).


1. Marineland Reef Capable LED Lighting System 36-48-inch
$273.10 (Amazon)
Description: 10,000K White and Actinic Blue one watt LED Lighting system
50,000 Hour of Rated Life
Lumens: 2610
36 - 1 watt White LEDs
6 - 1 watt Blue LEDs
Total Watts: 57


2. 36 inch AquaticLife 4 Lamp T5 HO Light Fixture
$339.99 (Amazon)
Description: 24 hour Reef Aquarium Illumination
Produces 420/460nm & 700nm Spectrum to keep Corals growing
1 watt LED Lunar lamp provides ideal lunar lighting
Built-in Timers, control each lighting type independently for creating an effortless
-24-hour cycle
Includes: (2) Actinic (420/460nm)
(1) Purple (460/620nm)
(1) White (10,000K)
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Old 03-22-2012, 12:41 AM   #2
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The marineland lights don't have enough power to support corals. If you are interested in LEDs, there are affordable ones that can support many corals up to and including SPS.

As for aquaticlife units, they will def do the job. They are a tad pricey, I was looking into them as well. I ended up going with Ecotech Radions due to them providing what I needed and for roughly the same price (getting 2 Radions) as what I would have ended up spending on an 8 bulb T5HO from aquaticlife, changing the bulbs to what I needed (ati bulbs and fiji purples), and 6 month replacement of before mentioned bulbs.
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Old 03-22-2012, 12:44 AM   #3
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Like he said those do not support life as they claim ...I'm pretty sure you want to go with 2 to 3 watts per gallon or per led I don't know which but it's one of those .....check out rapidled.com
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Old 03-22-2012, 12:57 AM   #4
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Check out mr.x build thread to get all the info on the fixtures but...Get 2 120watt led fixtures. They are about 160each and are plenty powerful to sustain Sps corals on the sandbed in a 24"deep tank.
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Old 03-22-2012, 02:48 AM   #5
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Thanks to all three of you for your response!

Sniperhank: I looked up the EcoTech Radion on Amazon
Amazon.com: EcoTech Marine Radion XR30w LED Light Fixture: Pet Supplies
the cost for this product was around $750.00 (that's pretty high, since the other two I was looking at were around the $300 range). What's your opinion about that? Or am I looking at the wrong Radion?

Reefpete: I really didn't know that Marineland Reef didn't live up to it's description, almost every review I've read has been positive, and since the name states Reef in it, I automatically thought it would be good for a Reef tank.

Tomchong22: I'm new to this 'Forum' and I have not idea on how to look up that tread by Mr. X Build. I'll keep trying to find it, but thanks for your time.
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Old 03-22-2012, 08:19 AM   #6
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You are looking at the correct unit. Yes, it is much higher in price. The options it has like some of the cheaper ones have are things like having one plug instead of 2 and being able to work with your lighting schedule via computer. Ecotech units can work and talk together wirelessly, not just with the radions, but also with the powerheads like the mp10s. At the touch of a button I can have it turn off the ph for feeding, lights and ph for acclimating a new arrival, and other things that I feel I can't (or shouldn't) have to handle manually. There are many reasons and features that I could list, but you read them so I will not go on. It is worth it's weight, if it wasn't I wouldn't have bought it.

But, like stated above, there are many other LED options that can support corals. 2-3 watts will do the trick and can be found on ebay easily. The build that was mentioned is Mr. X's 250 in wall build or something like that. He is running the "chinese knockoff" LEDs off ebay and has been reporting nothing but good things.
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Old 03-22-2012, 01:07 PM   #7
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Oh okay I get it, well let me keep doing my research on them and see what I come up with, they are a little over my budget especially since I want to set up a reverse osmosis system and an auto top off system once I have my tank installed. Of this unit you mentioned, Sniperhank, the EcoTech, do I need one or two of them?
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Old 03-22-2012, 02:19 PM   #8
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I have been importing the "Chinese knockoff" LEDs for 2 years now and use them on my reef. There are several that look identical but aren't, so use a known importer that has reef experience to be sure you are getting a quality fixture. 2-3 watts per gallon is fine. I would recommend 2 watt or better emitters with 2/3 to half of them actinic blue (royal blue). They generally go for about $2 per watt, although eBay has had some closeouts and the panels that were bought have been reported to be fine.

I use the dimmable version of the 120 watt panels for lots of different sized tanks. They are a good average wattage to use unless your tank is especially deep. I use a controller on my reef, but don't integrate the lighting cycles like you can do with the radions. I don't really mind not having those functions and as PAR is PAR, I went with less costly. I just turn on the banks of emitters in stages. Heck, you can buy three Chinese fixtures for the cost of one radion and have three times the light output. Not that I am bashing the radions in any way...they are deluxe...it was just my choice as to where I wanted to spend my money.
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Old 03-22-2012, 05:45 PM   #9
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Odyssea Metal Halide System

I bought the 24'' version of this fixture and have been very pleased. I have upgraded the ballast and bulbs (which really didn't make a huge difference)

I paid: 174.00 for the light and ceiling mounting kit.
80.00 for an ice cap ballast for the halide
26.00 for 2 T5HO zoo med coral sun 420nm actinics
38.00 for 2 True lumen 460nm actinics
55.00 for a Phoenix 14k MH bulb
I sold the original ballast for $50

So I have $373 total in the fixture minus $50 so $323, and I have pretty high quality parts and extra bulbs to play around with. The only thing that didn't really make a difference was the icecap ballast, I think the newer models of this fixture have a pretty decent ballast (unlike the older models that many people online really talk bad about) so it didn't make much difference. The best upgrade was the Pheonix MH bulb b/c the stock bulb was a little yellowish in comparison but not ugly by any means.

I liked that I can kind of pay a little as I had spare cash and not put out $500+ at one time. I also like that I can experiment with different bulbs and maybe overdrive the t5ho's in the future.

I think that my upgraded 350 dollar fixture would perform equal to/better than compareable 500+ dollar fixtures like these.

Hamilton Metal Halide + T5 HO Belize Sun Light Fixture

24" Current USA Outer Orbit 1x150W 10,000K HQI-MH w/ 4x24W T5 HO & 12 Lunar Lights* - AquaCave.com
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Old 03-22-2012, 06:54 PM   #10
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Yeah, you could spend ~350 bucks on MH systems or get two LED setups.

TaoTronics 120W Aquarium Coral Reef Tank White Blue LED Grow Light- White | eBay
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