20 gallon Par Meter Experience and Results!

Macsreefs

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Hello fellow reef enthusiasts!

The Journey to a Par Meter:
I'm thrilled to share that I finally got my hands on a Par Meter! After struggling to find someone with a similar tank size, I decided to take the plunge. I ordered the "Vabira Par Meter" from Amazon for under $200, a steal compared to other options out there. Here's the link to where I got it: [Vabira Par Meter on Amazon](https://www.amazon.com/VBR-Aqua-PAR-Meter-Aquarium-Seperately/dp/B0C7GRLQC4/ref=sxin_14_pa_sp_search_thematic_sspa). The reviews were convincing, and the price was much more palatable than the $350 models or renting one for $100.

My Tank Specifications:
- Dimensions: 23 3/4" L x 15 1/4" H x 13 3/4" W
- Water Level: 14 inches (1 1/4 inch below top glass)
- Lighting: AI Prime 16HD, positioned 11 inches above the water surface. It's slightly offset to the right (by about half an inch) to favor my torches and hammers, and a half-inch forward towards the front glass due to my aquascaping.

Testing Process:
I've conducted a series of tests under various light settings, which might be useful for anyone looking to experiment like I did. Importantly, I kept the flow on during testing to ensure more realistic results. The tests were performed at 100%, 75%, 50%, and max output, across different sections of the tank (top, middle, and sand bed). I made every effort to maintain consistent angles and positions for each measurement. Please Note: The PAR values indicated are approximate estimates. During testing, we aimed to record the average number displayed, but please be aware that the actual PAR could fluctuate by approximately 10-20%. For instance, a noted value of 100 represents an average, with actual readings potentially ranging from 80 to 120. While some measurements remained consistent, others varied due to water flow and other factors. These figures should be considered as close estimates rather than precise values.

Results and Chart:
My girlfriend created a comprehensive chart detailing the PAR readings across all different percentages tested (the first photo). The next three photos show my tank's current settings at 2:20 PM with the PAR readings labeled above each coral. The fourth and fifth images display my lighting settings at peak morning blue at 11:50 AM and my settings for 2:20 PM, respectively. These lighting settings correspond with the PAR readings seen in the three images of the tank. The chart made by my girlfriend will give you a broader view of the various light intensities and their impact on different tank areas.

Current Settings and Advice Sought:
My current light cycle starts with high blues in the morning, transitions to whites, then back to blues for nighttime viewing. I'm including the exact settings and their PAR readings as shown in the images. I'm open to suggestions and tweaks, so please share your insights!

Pictures and Links:
1st. Par readings
tempImage9Uv3Wy.png

2nd: Current tanks par readings
tempImageNKslUu.png
tempImage5hYrRx.png
tempImageDn6WXq.jpg

3rd. My tanks settings, starting blue then transitioning to white then back to blue for night viewing.
IMG_3805.PNG

IMG_3806.PNG

-- [Vabira Par Meter on Amazon]

I'm eager to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Let's make our reefs thrive together! tempImageg56RVp.png
 

Ron Reefman

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That looks like a pretty nice PAR meter , especially for that price.

I've had an Apogee meter for many years and although I don't use it often, it does get used occasionally. Specifically when I set up a short term quarantine tank for critters I collect in the wild when snorkeling.
 
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Macsreefs

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That looks like a pretty nice PAR meter , especially for that price.

I've had an Apogee meter for many years and although I don't use it often, it does get used occasionally. Specifically when I set up a short term quarantine tank for critters I collect in the wild when snorkeling.
I live over in South Florida and we do quite a bit of diving and stuff like that. Ive always wanted to start a QT tank to start collecting some cool critters and get them into my tank but always worried due to some others bad experiences. How has it went for you? what kinda stuff have you collected and any advice if I do start?
 

Ron Reefman

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I live over in South Florida and we do quite a bit of diving and stuff like that. Ive always wanted to start a QT tank to start collecting some cool critters and get them into my tank but always worried due to some others bad experiences. How has it went for you? what kinda stuff have you collected and any advice if I do start?
The only issues I've ever had was getting thing back to SW Florida (a 5 hour drive) in good shape, and collecting a few sponges (don't even try).

I have a 7g bucket with a lid and a battery powered bubbler in the Zodiac. I have a 2nd bucket back at our motel room. Every morning and every evening I do at least a 50% water change. I do a water change just before we drive home and there is a bubbler in the bucket.

I tried sponges a couple of times. The first time some of them died in the first 12 hours and made a mess of everything that was in the quarantine tank. I did better the next couple of times (only 1 or 2 sponges). But they still end up dying over the next 4 to 8 weeks in my aquarium.

These days I collect mostly CUC like snails, ceriths and hermit crabs because I already have full tanks. I have collected sea stars, Rock Flower anemones, sea cucumbers, pistol shrimp, coral banded shrimp, mantis shrimp, rock boring urchins (I find these to be very good citizens in the tank), other urchins (less nice as they like to carry stuff around), small clams, flame scallops, occasionally an Emerald crab, some zoas and gorgonians. I don't even try for fish and, of course, all stony corals are illegal. And I adhere to the limits set by FWC; 20 animals max per day and some inverts have individual limits, like only 5 zoa polyps per day.

I still run everybody through some amount of quarantine when I get them home. But it's short term for most. Like 2 to 7 days. I've never had any issues with any diseases or parasites. But I have had some hitchhikers. The worst is Curley-cue anemones. They propagate just like aiptasia.

BTW, my QT is just a 5 or 10g tank with a HOB filter system, a light and, if necessary, a heater. I set it up before we leave home and tear it down after everybody has moved to my tanks.

If you haven't already, check out the link in my signature below that takes you to my collecting & snorkeling thread.
 
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Macsreefs

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The only issues I've ever had was getting thing back to SW Florida (a 5 hour drive) in good shape, and collecting a few sponges (don't even try).

I have a 7g bucket with a lid and a battery powered bubbler in the Zodiac. I have a 2nd bucket back at our motel room. Every morning and every evening I do at least a 50% water change. I do a water change just before we drive home and there is a bubbler in the bucket.

I tried sponges a couple of times. The first time some of them died in the first 12 hours and made a mess of everything that was in the quarantine tank. I did better the next couple of times (only 1 or 2 sponges). But they still end up dying over the next 4 to 8 weeks in my aquarium.

These days I collect mostly CUC like snails, ceriths and hermit crabs because I already have full tanks. I have collected sea stars, Rock Flower anemones, sea cucumbers, pistol shrimp, coral banded shrimp, mantis shrimp, rock boring urchins (I find these to be very good citizens in the tank), other urchins (less nice as they like to carry stuff around), small clams, flame scallops, occasionally an Emerald crab, some zoas and gorgonians. I don't even try for fish and, of course, all stony corals are illegal. And I adhere to the limits set by FWC; 20 animals max per day and some inverts have individual limits, like only 5 zoa polyps per day.

I still run everybody through some amount of quarantine when I get them home. But it's short term for most. Like 2 to 7 days. I've never had any issues with any diseases or parasites. But I have had some hitchhikers. The worst is Curley-cue anemones. They propagate just like aiptasia.

BTW, my QT is just a 5 or 10g tank with a HOB filter system, a light and, if necessary, a heater. I set it up before we leave home and tear it down after everybody has moved to my tanks.

If you haven't already, check out the link in my signature below that takes you to my collecting & snorkeling thread.
will do thank you!!! I love Zoa's and rock flowers that would be awesome finding some of those!
 

Ron Reefman

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As a diver, you may be able to find some RFA down deeper than I do as a snorkeler. Shallow water RFAs tend to be a lot less colorful, although they can have some cool patterns in white brown, black and some green. I've recently saw some very cool bright lime green RFAs in shallow water, but their feet were in solid rock and that makes them very difficult to collect.

And the zoas I've seen, have all been mostly green with a lighter center. But after collecting 5 polyps a few years ago, I have a rock that is 9" x 5" and is jam packed with them!

If you want to know were I go, it's all in the collecting & snorkeling thread. But I expect you to share finds as well. LOL! :eek::face-in-clouds:
 

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