My LED / T5 Options Part 2

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Aquarium Advice Addict
Feb 23, 2011
Deltona, Florida
Ok. I am ready to take the plunge and get some new lights for my 20g rimless coral tank. I am not completely satisfied with the 150w metal halide clip on fixture that i currently have. My corals seem to be stretching towards the light so that can't be good.

I initially wanted to do LED's but the expense and sheer amount of products kinda turned me off. The only unit I am even slightly considering is this

Aqua Illuminations NANO SOL SUPER BLUE Touch Controlled LED System - AquaCave

This is the absolute most I can spend, have to stay under budget this time around. LOL

My questions are with this unit do I need a controller or any other cables? Any other added amount I need to worry about? Does anyone have this unit and how does it work, it says you can touch it to turn it on... And finally on this SOL fixture how much coverage can i get? I know it depends on how high I hang it but I want to be able to have a nem and a clam if I want. The tank is 24" X 12" X 16.5 tall.

The other option is of course T5's. i am very familiar with them and wouldn't hesitate to buy some as long as I can keep the clam and/or a nem. I wanted a 6 lamp fixture but the tank is only 12 inches from front to back and they are all at least 15", even the metal halide fixture i was eying will be too wide.

I know this was long, my bad. :) Sorry...

Anyone care to comment or help me out?

Thanks in advance guys!
Cary I think it is time for you to do a diy led. Fixture. This is what I recommend; get your self 6 white 3w LEDs with 40degree optics as the center row, stager the white with 6 blue 3w LEDs with 60 degree optics then around the edge of the fixture use 8 3watt royal blue LEDs with 60 or 80 degree optics. Use dimming drivers incase you wan to add a controller. You can get all these and heat-sinks from this fixture would be able to keep whatever you wanted with a total of 20 3 watt LEDs. I think your price should be around the $200 ish mark.
i would not DIY. my reasons are:
1. no warranty
2. it's going to be hard to sell if you want to sell it.
3. no where near as attractive as a store bought unit.

you need a controller for any LED unit, so you can adjust the blue and white to make a perfect look. otherwise it's just gonna be on/off.
mr_X said:
i would not DIY. my reasons are:
1. no warranty
2. it's going to be hard to sell if you want to sell it.
3. no where near as attractive as a store bought unit.

you need a controller for any LED unit, so you can adjust the blue and white to make a perfect look. otherwise it's just gonna be on/off.

All that is very true and i agree. Although what I have seen a lot of people do from my local Reece club, is they will take a used fixture such as a nova extreme and use that to make the led fixture. This is what I am going to do for my 48" nova extreme pro 8bulb t5 fixture. 2 of the ballast are out and I figured it would be better to diy an led set up. This is going to be my winter project.
Do you think it will be enough light to grow clams? It's not individually reflected.....
hmm...i'm not sure. if the tank is only 14" deep and you have a sand bed in there, i would think you'll be ok. how to keep the calcium and alk level stable would be a greater concern to me.
Just lots of testing is in my future I guess. lol So far it's been stable and I only want to add a few more corals....
Guess I'll be dosing calcium when the time comes. :-D It's all good, I'm up for the challenge. lol

I'm heading out to a reefkeeping convention today so maybe I will find something better as far as lighting. hehe...I'm sure I will find quite a bit of stuff.

Just wanna make sure a 4 bulb light will be enough light for the tank. If it is then I will worry about the dosing later. :-D

Thanks X, you are the greatest!
Anyone have any last words? I've got the credit card out and am planning on buying the fishneedit fixture. Here are my points of concern or where i want more input. End result is I want to be able to keep a anemone or a clam as the highest light requiring critters.

It doesn't have individually reflected bulbs

Will the bulbs that come with it generate enough par for all corals?

If so,will swapping out the 10k bulbs with ATI AB specials be enough or do I need to swap out the actinics too?

I would like this to be a serious little coral tank so I want the best for the corals. BUT I can't swing the leds now or in the near future what with the 90g moving forward. So I am hoping that a quad t5 setup will work . I'm always so nervous right before I buy an important piece of gear. lol
I ordered the fishneedit fixture. Got 2 10k bulbs and 2 actinics with it. I figure I will see how the light is and decide if I want to change bulbs. :)

I hopefully will get it this week as I ordered it last night, I was fixing to get a clam this friday or saturday. :)
I guess I'm to late, but good choice to go with t5's Carey. I'm not super happy with my ai sol lights so far, mainly because of growth. The growth of all my corals have slowed considerably. Can't figure out why. Color is another area of complaint for me. The colors of great looking corals keep wanting to go either towards brown or the colors dull. The intensity adjustment seems like a blessing, but it's very hard to find a great setting for both the eye and the corals. The intensity is either to high or to low. I wish I could go back to ati, but I can't justify the $1200 loss to my wife.
Thanks for sharing your experience, I just hear so much that they are the best I was going mostly on that. I'm pretty familiar with t5's anyways so I'll be going back to more that I know. lol I'm just not convinced the led thing is as good as people say, pretty sure that depends on the fixture but for $1200 I would expect ALOT from those lights.
Dan is the only person i have heard a bad review from so far. i know a few people that own them and can't say enough about them. they also put out so much PAR that corals need acclimation, and in many cases bleach and or morph as a result.
i would have to disagree that it was a better choice going with T5's unless it was a money issue.
deepseadan said:
Mr. X, I'm not to argue but here's a thread from rc with some unhappy people as well. I guess my main complaint is with nicely colored sps. Lps seem do do fine.

Sorry Mr. X, my stupid phone took away the word "trying" should have said I'm not trying to argue. I in no way was implying you were. I respect your opinion and always enjoy reading your posts, they usually say it as it should be. But a couple last notes on the ai sols. I am very impressed with the build, the quailty, adjustability and intensity, but after months of experimentation with sps (especially acros), I can't seem to find an intensity that acros prefer. My old 250 watt mh's were amazing. Everything grew and thrived best, even far better than t5's. I would love to say my $1200 investment is the greatest, but so far its been just a battle. I've come to the conclusion that 30% white and 50% blue and 10% royal seems best for acros and keeping most of their colors, but still not even close to mh growth. Maybe I just need more experimentation.
i just know a few people that have them and love them. they can't say enough about them, especially when it comes to sps.
spideybry, on this site, is one. he's got a tank thread somewhere.
i don't have any experience myself with LED fixtures however. i can say that i got as good or better growth with t5's over halides, so there is more than one way to "skin a cat", for lack of a better term.
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