Best lighting on the market? Is there one?

rgulrich

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These things happen. The unfortunate result is more folks decide to not even bother contributing their experience due to the level of shouting that goes on - we'd rather spend some constructive time with face pressed against the glass of our reefs. Or scratching an old dog behind the ears. Or cutting firewood. That's the drawback of these bass fishing tournaments...:rolleyes:

Cheers,
Ray:cool:
 
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stephj03

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He's still a big advocate for metal halides, and why? Because he knows what that broad spectrum means when it comes corals. Literally the only thing he said. Considering it was brought up in response to a question over LED channels being left off, I'd look at his answer more as advocating for the simplicity of halides. Plug in, turn on, and you have a spectrum good for your corals. LEDs with the 2-6+ channels of color allow for more customization of look, but this doesn't mean it is better, or worse, for the corals.

Its interesting that people who advocate for LEDs in this thread can be called cultists, but only those people. Not someone that comes into any thread on lighting sharing the same youtube videos, offering the same opinions repeated as fact, using the same appeal to authority fallacy, but only the authority before they switched to LED because then they are mistaken. I legit don't know how many times I've seen the reference to that one yellow porites as 'proof' LED bad. There isn't some conspiracy by retailers to not sell halides, halides just aren't selling well. On that point, why is it conspiratorial for BRS to push LEDs, not halides, because they want to make a profit? But then coral sellers, who theoretically want to make a profit selling corals, use LED and the conspiracy you push there is that they are just in league with LED manufacturers. Any paper on light is dismissed, and anecdotes offered as a response. Off hand suggestions that halide/T5 users somehow care more for the health of the corals. But LED users are cultist...

Light is light. T5 and Halide have the advantage of easy replaceability, new bulbs every 8-12 months and the fixture likely can chug along for decades. My 5 year old LED fixture just lost its 3 moonlights. I could replace them, but soldering new LEDs in isn't exactly my strong suit. But at 5 years old, and something like 18k hours on, its still running strong. The new LED panels coming out, Coral Care and ATI Stratton seem absolutely top notch. Good coverage, avoiding the issue that puck style deals with, good color blending, and control/form factor for sure. LED/T5 hybrid I'd say is likely to be the "best" but that is such a subjective thing to ask, at this point I'm sure OP is really regretting having asked.


I'm confused. Has there not been a participant on this thread that only ever brings up the same info on LED on every thread like this? And became very short on words and advice regarding even the 4 T5 bulbs OPs friend is considering?

Pretty "culty".....
 
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stephj03

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Oh man, perfect timing hahaha.

@sde1500 , that doesn't come across a little culty???

Or am I fully off target here and we all need to trade in any lights we have for a handful of the least powerful strips Reefbrite makes. You know, the one that sit on the sale forum for wks on end with no takers.
 

stephj03

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I honestly didn't jump in on most of these until I saw that JDA figured out that this particular voice gave out years of one sided advice to countless newbies while not having had a reef tank.

While that may have now changed, something about that stuck with me and def draws me in more than it should to these threads and I do apologize for that.
 
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oreo5457

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I honestly didn't jump in on most of these until I saw that JDA figured out that this particular voice gave out years of one sided advice to countless newbies while not having a tank.

While that may have now changed, something about that stuck with me and def draws me in more than it should to these threads.
Why do you think its one sided?
Numerous times I stated for growth Iwasakis 6500k were an undeniable historical winner..
Just don't like scientifically inaccurate statements.

Note I also said CMH's if ever the spectrum range is expanded for corals is a "new game"..
No it's you and JDA that don't quite "get' where I'm coming from.

Ask yourself this.. do you criticize a light (even tech) that you didn't use?

I mean by your metric nobody can say anything until they tested EVERY light vs Every light with EVERY coral.
Or your opinion doesn't count..

Last most is opinion anyways, unarguable .
I prefer to collect and analyze all sorts of data to create an opinion. no more no less.

Want to know what I think specifically about LEDs? I've done this numerous times.
Any need a wide blue spread including wavelengths in blue AND cyan.
The past lensing sucked.
Past marketing sucked
Panels beat pucks.. for now.. and pucks are better hung higher.

I'm more flexible in my opinions because I have no vested interest here, besides the truth.
There are no "magic photons" nor any "best"
Best for you maybe.. not best ..period.
This covers ALL needs/wants.
NOTE the reefbrights vids were led vs t5 not MH.
And am I not allowed to post a source that actually tested them because I'm ...me?

Seem you like to shoot the messenger but ignore the message.
 
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WVNed

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tamanning

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So I have a friend who’s about to drop 1,400 on a t5 light fixture with 2 Kessil A360X. I feel like that’s soooo much for money for just those 3 things. He says that’s what’s the best in the market.

I’m just wondering if he was lead the wrong way? Are there better lights for the same price or less? Is he making the best choice? I gotta look out for my fellow reefer so I’m wondering what you all think.

Is there something better? What’s your all’s perspective. He mainly has zoas and mushrooms. Some encrusting corals. Oh and a few anemones. For a 125g long tank
You my friend have touched on a loaded subject. I am a diy person all the way. Most things in our hobby are very expensive if you just mention it's for saltwater the price doubles. I've had great results from t5s and that was is a plant growing I got on ebay for 20 bucks and free shipping. I bought two 2 foot fixtures with two ballasts each so I could divide the blues from the whites. I ended up with 8 2 foot tubes instead of 4 4foot tubes. But it cost me a lot less and works great.
 

Bluefish17

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Right now, The PAR and colr blends from Orphek OR3 light bars are hard to beat and affordable. Blue plus are excellent
I have a cheap nicrew led light around 85-90 par could I add the orphek or3 light bars to my existing led lights or would it be better to run those orphek or3 lights by themselves. Thanks again
 
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shred5

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My profuse apologies to the OP if I put this thread into a bit of a power drift going around this curve,

I understand the angst topics like this can cause. I don't even have a pickup truck. I do, however, have a Harley. It serves my purposes well, too. I also built some Suzukis in the past, a GS-1000 and a GS-750E (from scratch, a road rocket...). I still like my Harley, now that I remember that I'm still mortal. I also like my '76 Kubota L245DT, but I live on a small farm so it comes in mighty handy.
Some folks mistake these threads as a big-bucks bass tournament and drop the lures off the back of the boat, if you "catch" my "drift". ;)
I read, and even understand some things about physics (although the new stuff on travel faster than light speed is just now sinking in...) and photons being photons (h/t to Dana!) and the reactions some aquatic lifeforms have to some of these photon-thingies. Lotsa research papers out there to read and not nearly enough time...
I'm on the forum to get ideas from other reefkeepers and hopefully provide some insight into what went into my decision matrix for my current reef while preventing some problems for folks here that haven't been keeping aquatic critters for a number of, uh, um, decades, to pick up a few ideas themselves for success.

Background: This 300 gallon reef is a 360' walk around viewable from all sides. The reef itself is built from the visible back left corner to the right front corner, with another pillar on the back right corner. Lots of caves and arches formed by rock and coral. When making decisions about things like lighting, filtration, food, cooling, heating, and all that, we should make the decisions on our individual circumstances and requirements.

The view from the left end:


I needed a lighting solution that provided the following, and it took me a while to get there:
1. Could provide enough light to support acropora under 27" of water without overpowering the planned top of the reef, but down the entire length of the reef as well. So I needed kind of a uniform PAR all the down, within, say 100-150 PAR.
2. Able to keep the temperature in the living within reasonable limits without buying the executive staff of the local power company a fleet of new limousines (they have a enough already, frankly) with my summer air conditioning bill. This also goes in the category of maintaining a good relationship with my significant other.
3. Able to run off of an average 15amp circuit in the house, something the six(!) 250W metal halides (@2amp per ballast) I converted from had difficulty doing if anything else was plugged into the circuit and switched on.
4. Gotta look pretty good - highly subjective from somebody that spent a major portion of their life floating with a mask and snorkel...
So, I began my LED journey. I went through a few iterations and even some DIY to get to what I wanted, and ended up with an array of moderately inexpensive ViparSpectra to provide the smooth, broad coverage meeting minimal lighting requirements 27" down. I removed the stock lenses and affixed a dispersion panel (95% transmissivity) to increase the light spread. I'm running at about 250 PAR across the entire bottom of the aquarium at about 50% across blue and white channels. The top of the reef sees about 350-400 PAR across the length and width.
The array supports zooxanthellae down there, and the coral grows quickly and well -






I supplement these with an array of six Kessil A360WEs - a more expensive option, but this covered two bases. They made things "look good" by providing that extra kick of point-source lighting that produces the "glitter lines" under water. They also add another 150 or so PAR during the "high noon" part of the day, about five hours mid-day an extra dose of photons is chucked into the vat. I think many of my longer-limbed acros really appreciate this and tend to stretch out a bit more toward the surface. The shorter-branched varieties tend to pull in their outer polyps to lower the surface area exposed.

I hope this helps the OP a bit in their decision, or perhaps anyone else that doesn't doze off while reading it.

Cheers,
Ray:cool:

Hey someone who makes a claim and shows the actual pictures.

Tell me more about the dispersion panel (95% transmissivity) you use?

Looks really nice.


So many charts and people making claims without showing the outcome. Charts are nice but what is on paper rarely works out in real life.

People need to realise there is a difference between what is better for growth vs coloration.
Chlorophyll charts mean little because these are animals that can manipulate light and not plants.
Sometimes spectrum that is not wanted for photosynthesis is what causes the coloration in coral. UV is another factor that causes coloration in shallow water SPS by causing them to produce pigment to protect against UV. These pigments and proteins are what causes some of the colors. It is not just about photons unless you just want to grow coral.
 
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rgulrich

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@shred5 - Here's a link to the manufacturer's site.

The product line you'll be looking for is SatinIce Light Diffusion.

if you take a look at how they make this product, you'll see why they are worth the time and effort.

They no longer sell direct to the public, but you should be able to track down someone near you to order via the site.

There is a tradeoff between opacity and blending. The less light transmission, the more blending. I threw the dice and 95% transmissivity worked out great for me with some inexpensive black boxes. I had removed the stock 90' lenses from the LEDs and I use a number of Neodymium magnets to hold the diffuser sheet in place. I had the sheet cut to fit the entire LED surface area plus some overlap to the metal case for the magnets. The result between the native 120' lenses (Epistar LEDs, if I remember correctly) in combination with the diffuser lens produces a pretty solid band of light with no discernable spotlight effects from individual LEDs - even at a short distance.

If I ever put up a build thread for this reef here on R2R, I have some good shots of the entire process. Of course, the build has gone on for nearly eight years now with this reef...;)

Hope this helps. Drop me a note if you need anything else.
Cheers,
Ray:cool:
 

shred5

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@shred5 - Here's a link to the manufacturer's site.

The product line you'll be looking for is SatinIce Light Diffusion.

if you take a look at how they make this product, you'll see why they are worth the time and effort.

They no longer sell direct to the public, but you should be able to track down someone near you to order via the site.

There is a tradeoff between opacity and blending. The less light transmission, the more blending. I threw the dice and 95% transmissivity worked out great for me with some inexpensive black boxes. I had removed the stock 90' lenses from the LEDs and I use a number of Neodymium magnets to hold the diffuser sheet in place. I had the sheet cut to fit the entire LED surface area plus some overlap to the metal case for the magnets. The result between the native 120' lenses (Epistar LEDs, if I remember correctly) in combination with the diffuser lens produces a pretty solid band of light with no discernable spotlight effects from individual LEDs - even at a short distance.

If I ever put up a build thread for this reef here on R2R, I have some good shots of the entire process. Of course, the build has gone on for nearly eight years now with this reef...;)

Hope this helps. Drop me a note if you need anything else.
Cheers,
Ray:cool:


Thank you. Good info, Yea I have seen this stuff. I work in the light industry so it should not be hard to track some down.
I was thinking of using something similar. I have a t-5 led combo that sits close to the water and was looking to blend and diffuse the light some.
 

rgulrich

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You shouldn't need much more than .060" inches (1/16") to diffuse the light. Again, if you're using a more powerful light source, you could go with a thicker diffuser. I'd keep an eye on cooling the T5s with a diffuser, too. Perhaps get some air pushing across the surface of the tubes with the lens in place.
Give it a shot with a couple different thicknesses and opacities, and use a PAR meter to gauge your results. If you have a spectrometer handy I would love to see or hear about the results as well.
Cheers,
Ray :cool:
 

oreo5457

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You shouldn't need much more than .060" inches (1/16") to diffuse the light. Again, if you're using a more powerful light source, you could go with a thicker diffuser. I'd keep an eye on cooling the T5s with a diffuser, too. Perhaps get some air pushing across the surface of the tubes with the lens in place.
Give it a shot with a couple different thicknesses and opacities, and use a PAR meter to gauge your results. If you have a spectrometer handy I would love to see or hear about the results as well.
Cheers,
Ray :cool:
Acrylics are pretty transparent to all visible wavelengths so shouldn't lose any particular band.
They do have a fairly large cutoff at 400nm and below.

Shouldn't effect any light sources much but MH's. Specific UV bulbs excluded of course.
Referencing the table below, general purpose acrylic naturally filters all UV light below 345nm (100% UVB), but only 35% of UVA light. Simliarly, ordinary window glass passes about 90% of the light above 350nm, but blocks over 90% of the light below 300nm. Many applications, such as document, artifact, and artwork preservation call for a material which absorbs ultraviolet light in its most damaging range from 285nm to 400nm.
 

A. grandis

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I do hate the fact that I have to repeat over and over my words! But that is the way newbies learn!

Let's face it, this forum is in it's majority about LED discussions and mainly many types of problems about them. The majority of hobbyists have struggling corals under LEDs and some of them don't even know those corals are struggling. You guys already saw in some of the videos! If you don't, this isn't about your corals then, but the majority is suffering to save electricity or whatever! That is the truth! Don't lie to yourself! Stores show blue/violet tanks as they would be the best example ever. What a joke, IMO! The market is pushing LEDs and basically trying to eradicate metal halides and T5s from it, trying to replaced both completly with LEDs. To emulate? Metal halide and or T5 users are oppressed when they try to communicate here and teach others about the technology. That needs to change! Some of the friends here are very knowledgeable about the subject but they are tired of the oppression every time they come here to offer their help with halides and T5s! We should have room for everyone.

The majority of LED companies compare their products with metal halides and T5s, trying to prove their LEDs will give BETTER results growing corals HEALTHIER!!! Another great joke! One could go against those claims and say that halides and T5s will at lest keep corals "as healthier". Would that be just? See what I'm trying to say here? LED club? Or worse than that??? Although in reality, many halide users actually say that wouldn't be the case, and halides will surpass the results of LEDs any time. We all have our own opinions.

We still have 2 American companies that are working hard to supply metal halide equipment (@Reefbrite and @Hamilton Tech), willing to push with great efforts, besides the strong opposed marketing competition we all see. Those companies also sell LEDs FYI. I applaud them! There are so many coral breeders and hobbyists still in favor of metal halides as the best way to provide light over their reefs simply because of the amazing results, the way they like. Is halide a minority in the market now? Yes. Are they selling more and more each day? Many times what we could expect! Should we all respect such numbers and support? Yes! Should online stores open space to accomodate and take advantage at this time? Absolutely!!

If the scientists can't prove why halides give the results they give, how could we refer any papers here? That is the reason why I post videos! Everything becomes relative and a matter of opinion when we don't have enough scientific evidence to explain all the process. Ask @Dana Riddle what would be the scientific evidences for the differences between the results. I mean, if we can offer intensity and spectrum from LEDs (PAR/ spectral graphics), why would halides have results so exceptional in comparison? Shimmer? Heat (IR radiaton)? True UV? Without further experiences and more papers we simply can't explain! Dana has contributed amazingly, more than anyone I know. There is no one I respect more than him in terms of lighting for reefs specifically about zooxanthellae/ pigmentation, etc. He feeds the hobby directly with his knowledge! That is very important!!! A life dedicated to our hobby!!!! I'd like also to add other authors, like Sanjay, Julian, Paletta, and many others... that is what makes the foundation of this hobby. So, yeah we need science here!
Tullio has been publishing his absolute favoritism for metal halides, but he never actually went deep in any explanation.

Those who believed in my words have tried and testified. The halide user numbers are growing! Is that an evidence? That's why Hamilton doesn't have most of halide gear in stock right now! Is this a bad thing? Should we call this club or cult? How stupid would that be? We are all together in this! Only a hobby, guys!! Let others enjoy the benefits of metal halides and T5s. They are amazing lights and provide extraordinary results!

The best LEDs I know are the ones that try their best to imitate halides and T5s. Their results are the best results! Does that make halides and T5s better in that category? Absolutely! Simply because they are the example to be followed. No LED can provide 100% of what metal halides and T5s provide yet. They are trying to... Power to that! Lots of money to get one of those though!

I am against the lies published by some to diminish halides and favor LEDs, period! I am against any cultism in any format! You can call what's happening here "halide movement" or whatever... My vision is to have halides available again to every hobbyist so we can enjoy them and be able to choose between LEDs, halides and T5s. That's all!

It's time to accept that metal halides are coming back and that it is a good thing! Actually great thing! After all, no one is putting a knife in your throat to run halides. We just want to be able to express our favoritism! I exercise my right and freedom of speech, simply.

Some things are inevitable and if the halide market starts to grow again, hey... this hobby is full of surprises.
 
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Are your corals ever subjected to the open air with no water for water changes or tank maintenance?

  • Yes and I wish I had planned my aquascape better

    Votes: 29 11.1%
  • Yes even though I planned my aquascape for the possibilty

    Votes: 77 29.5%
  • No as I planned for this not to happen

    Votes: 64 24.5%
  • No not yet and I haven't planned for it

    Votes: 72 27.6%
  • Other (please explain in the thread)

    Votes: 19 7.3%
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