Considering Hamilton Cebu Sun MH/T5 combo.Please share your thoughts/experiences.

A. grandis

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Cool thanks @A. grandis I am going to call them tomorrow. I have 4x T5 and 4x XR15 Gen 4 Pro's about 9" off the surface with diffusers and I can only get about 250 PAR a foot down into my tank (it is 24" deep). My sand bed is at 200 PAR and my top 6" are at close to 400 PAR. I'd like those to be stronger, and I also think the look of MH / T5 will be much more pleasing. I had the same tank about 10 years ago with 3x250w MH and 2x T12 actinics and I just remember it being absolutely stunning. I've always been disappointed with my LED/T5 combo look compared to my old MH/T12 look. I remember the day I set up my newer tank 2.5 years ago, after spending thousands on LED lights, etc and I just was like "ugh"... gut punch - this doesn't look anything like my MH/T12 I knew and loved a decade ago....
I'm sure you know better than many people using LEDs and because you understand about and can compare results, so you can choose the best! Your tank will be back to that amazing look and explode with life again! Do you happen to have some pictures of the halide times? It's always good to see some nice shots. Yes, give'em a call tomorrow. They have the best customer service there is. Talk to Dave. Cheers!
 
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sgrosenb

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Hey folks - I talked to Dave at Hamilton and he was great. Only issue is that they're basically out of ballasts until summer time... But he offered to sell me just the Cebu Sun and I could buy the ballasts separately. So that begs the question - are there any ballasts out there that people recommend for a 250W Hamilton 14k bulb? I'm thinking electronic is the way to go, but I could be convinced otherwise. Thanks!
 

A. grandis

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Hey folks - I talked to Dave at Hamilton and he was great. Only issue is that they're basically out of ballasts until summer time... But he offered to sell me just the Cebu Sun and I could buy the ballasts separately. So that begs the question - are there any ballasts out there that people recommend for a 250W Hamilton 14k bulb? I'm thinking electronic is the way to go, but I could be convinced otherwise. Thanks!

 
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2Sunny

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I used halide for 15 years. The House of Fins in Greenwich CT uses them in the in store reef that is, in my mind, one of the nicest reefs in the U.S. Except when I was experimenting in the early 2000s going from 150 HQI to 1000 watt bulbs, I always, always, always used Radium 20k bulbs, and that is what is hangin over the House of Fins reef (along with Kessil LEDs). There is no other bulb like it for color and growth. It is the "Holy Grail" of MH lighting. As for ballasts there really is only one choice worth while in the U.S and that's the IceCap electronic ballast. I have done every variety and combo of what you are considering. I STRONGLY urge you to go 400watt with an electronic ballast, Radium bulb, actinic supplements, and Reefbrite strips on the side. To me this combo is simply the best there is for growing colorful coral at any depth and with fantastic growth form. The key drawbacks are heat, cost, and aesthetic look. Given that my system is open and I see the lights hanging from my ceiling I have opted for ATI Powermodules which aesthetically look better and give similar results in color and growth.

This is the reef I grew with a Hamilton hood using Radium 400watt + actinic supplements with Reefbrite strips:

WholeTankinRoom.jpg
2011.Zenith.jpg
 

sgrosenb

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That's great - thanks @2Sunny for the info and encouragement. I think Hamilton said they had 400W ballasts in stock, but I'm not sure they use IceCap - I'll have to ask. How many 400W bulbs would you recommend on a 5x2x2 tank if I got the Cebu Sun 400W?

Also - I thought I read somewhere that the Radion's run a bit bluer and underpowered on electronic ballasts. Am I making that up, or is a non-issue? As I mentioned before, I'm not crazy about a super blue tank - 20K, actinics and ReefBrites seems really blue?

Thanks for all the help!
 

A. grandis

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I used halide for 15 years. The House of Fins in Greenwich CT uses them in the in store reef that is, in my mind, one of the nicest reefs in the U.S. Except when I was experimenting in the early 2000s going from 150 HQI to 1000 watt bulbs, I always, always, always used Radium 20k bulbs, and that is what is hangin over the House of Fins reef (along with Kessil LEDs). There is no other bulb like it for color and growth. It is the "Holy Grail" of MH lighting. As for ballasts there really is only one choice worth while in the U.S and that's the IceCap electronic ballast. I have done every variety and combo of what you are considering. I STRONGLY urge you to go 400watt with an electronic ballast, Radium bulb, actinic supplements, and Reefbrite strips on the side. To me this combo is simply the best there is for growing colorful coral at any depth and with fantastic growth form. The key drawbacks are heat, cost, and aesthetic look. Given that my system is open and I see the lights hanging from my ceiling I have opted for ATI Powermodules which aesthetically look better and give similar results in color and growth.

This is the reef I grew with a Hamilton hood using Radium 400watt + actinic supplements with Reefbrite strips:

WholeTankinRoom.jpg
2011.Zenith.jpg
Very nice tank!
The wattage of the halide system will most likely depend on the size of the tank and ballast to be used. The photoperiod and adaptation of the system is very important for halides. In most cases we should use 400W bulbs for tanks higher than 30" or so, generally speaking.
250W Radium bulbs should be used with M80 ballasts for better results because the bulb was designed to be used with that particular ballast for it's best performance. The 400W radium can be used with electronic without much differences, many say. The 250W Radium on M80 is already a really strong bulb with it's wattage reaching ~330W.
The best choice for electronic ballasts available today is Hamilton bulbs.
Hamilton 20K with electronic ballast will give a visual result very similar to Radium on M80. The wattage from the M80 will be higher though, so the electronic ballast will give the punch, be coller and save some electricity.

I'm very interested to see more pictures of your systems using the 1000W bulbs. Can you give us more info? What did you observe? How was the adaptation to the wattage? What ballasts are those in the pictures. More pics, please?
How did you hook the Reefbrites? Get some nice close up shots?
Nice! Thanks!
 

A. grandis

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That's great - thanks @2Sunny for the info and encouragement. I think Hamilton said they had 400W ballasts in stock, but I'm not sure they use IceCap - I'll have to ask. How many 400W bulbs would you recommend on a 5x2x2 tank if I got the Cebu Sun 400W?

Also - I thought I read somewhere that the Radion's run a bit bluer and underpowered on electronic ballasts. Am I making that up, or is a non-issue? As I mentioned before, I'm not crazy about a super blue tank - 20K, actinics and ReefBrites seems really blue?

Thanks for all the help!
250W for a 2 feet tall tank is more than enough with the proper ballast and fixture, specially with supplemental T5s. Too much wattage turns the system touchy to the photoperiod, less comfortable for many.
Back in the day we had so many people using overkill wattage and the tanks were amazing. I'm very interested to see more shots of the tanks with higher than average wattage. This is great!
HERE IS A SYSTEM WITH 600W BULBS:
 

sgrosenb

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Well folks... I went ahead and pulled the trigger. I purchased the 60" Cebu Sun from Hamilton (Dave was awesome!). I purchased the IceCap Electric ballasts elsewhere since Dave at Hamilton was out of them at his shop. I went with the 14k Hamilton and then actinic T5's; I can't wait to see how it looks and how coral growth changes (if at all). I'd like to add a strip of ReefBrites for nighttime viewing, but I'll see how the T5's suffice first.

I greatly appreciate everyone's help and information in guiding me to the finish line. I'll follow back up with pictures of my setup once done - hopefully next week!

-Scott
 

A. grandis

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Well folks... I went ahead and pulled the trigger. I purchased the 60" Cebu Sun from Hamilton (Dave was awesome!). I purchased the IceCap Electric ballasts elsewhere since Dave at Hamilton was out of them at his shop. I went with the 14k Hamilton and then actinic T5's; I can't wait to see how it looks and how coral growth changes (if at all). I'd like to add a strip of ReefBrites for nighttime viewing, but I'll see how the T5's suffice first.

I greatly appreciate everyone's help and information in guiding me to the finish line. I'll follow back up with pictures of my setup once done - hopefully next week!

-Scott
Great! Hopefully we could have more Cebu users posting here. Cebu is one of the best choices here in US for halides. It's a complete system with the T5s.
Congratulations!
 

2Sunny

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That's great - thanks @2Sunny for the info and encouragement. I think Hamilton said they had 400W ballasts in stock, but I'm not sure they use IceCap - I'll have to ask. How many 400W bulbs would you recommend on a 5x2x2 tank if I got the Cebu Sun 400W?

Also - I thought I read somewhere that the Radion's run a bit bluer and underpowered on electronic ballasts. Am I making that up, or is a non-issue? As I mentioned before, I'm not crazy about a super blue tank - 20K, actinics and ReefBrites seems really blue?

Thanks for all the help!
Once upon a time Radium bulbs were considered "blue", but by today's standards a Radium bulb is not even close to being "blue" like LED blue or BluePlus T5 blue. Nor are actinics blue, they are violet. Back in the day it was accepted knowledge that magnetic ballasts tended to run Radiums "bluer" while electronic ballasts ran Radiums "whiter", and the whitest, brightest and best ballast for Radiums was a PFO-HQI, but I don't think those are available.

400 watt Radium and ballast - here's a thread from 2008

Sadly no other 20k bulb that I have tested can duplicate a Radium. I can not tell you what is different; I can only assure you that my statement is based on the experience of many, many, many old time reefers. So net net, a Radium will be much more white than you expect and will completely overwhelm the Reefbrites and the actinics. The only reason for adding the actinics is to give a slight benefit to coral coloration from UV bandwidth. Since the Reefbrites will give you the dawn/dusk effect you do not need to use the actinics for that purpose which is what we did back in the day. Champion Lighting even used to make a retrofit piece of equipment you could wire to a Hamilton Hood so you could dim the actinics which were originally VHO bulbs and not T5s thus giving you a real dawn/dusk effect. It is true 250 watts will get the job done, but Radium's run "dimmer" with less PAR than other metal halide bulbs and you have a 5 foot tank. You will not regret using 400 watt Radiums if you decide to go that path.

Spectral Analysis of MH Lamps

Here are some macro shots taken under Radiums on Blueline electronic ballasts which were the precursor to the IceCaps - these are all from 2011. As I mentioned earlier today I am running ATI Powermodules now.

EDIT: I will add one caveat. I have not tested or used metal halide in at least 5 years. It is possible based on the information above that the Hamilton bulb can duplicate a Radium's performance today. I'd be interested to see and or hear from someone using them.

TyreePurpleMonster.jpg


LookDownA.jpg

Anemone.jpg
 
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A. grandis

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Once upon a time Radium bulbs were considered "blue", but by today's standards a Radium bulb is not even close to being "blue" like LED blue or BluePlus T5 blue. Nor are actinics blue, they are violet. Back in the day it was accepted knowledge that magnetic ballasts tended to run Radiums "bluer" while electronic ballasts ran Radiums "whiter", and the whitest, brightest and best ballast for Radiums was a PFO-HQI, but I don't think those are available.

400 watt Radium and ballast - here's a thread from 2008

Sadly no other 20k bulb that I have tested can duplicate a Radium. I can not tell you what is different; I can only assure you that my statement is based on the experience of many, many, many old time reefers. So net net, a Radium will be much more white than you expect and will completely overwhelm the Reefbrites and the actinics. The only reason for adding the actinics is to give a slight benefit to coral coloration from UV bandwidth. Since the Reefbrites will give you the dawn/dusk effect you do not need to use the actinics for that purpose which is what we did back in the day. Champion Lighting even used to make a retrofit piece of equipment you could wire to a Hamilton Hood so you could dim the actinics which were originally VHO bulbs and not T5s thus giving you a real dawn/dusk effect. It is true 250 watts will get the job done, but Radium's run "dimmer" with less PAR than other metal halide bulbs and you have a 5 foot tank. You will not regret using 400 watt Radiums if you decide to go that path.

Spectral Analysis of MH Lamps

Here are some macro shots taken under Radiums on Blueline electronic ballasts which were the precursor to the IceCaps - these are all from 2011. As I mentioned earlier today I am running ATI Powermodules now.

EDIT: I will add one caveat. I have not tested or used metal halide in at least 5 years. It is possible based on the information above that the Hamilton bulb can duplicate a Radium's performance today. I'd be interested to see and or hear from someone using them.

TyreePurpleMonster.jpg


LookDownA.jpg

Anemone.jpg
Really nice shots!!! I appreciate you sharing them! Thank you so much!
Ok, the ATI True Actinic can be called "violet" today, but the Blue actinic bulbs are still blue. We could somehow substitute the name "actinic blue" (VHO/T12) for " Blue Plus" (T5) to address the differences in color for VHO/ T12/ T8/ T5 relationship. I just want to post this observation because back in the day, when we had the VHOs with halides, we didn't have T5s yet, so the ATI True Actinic bulb didn't exist.
Yes, I have used Radium bulbs with HQI ballasts and electronic ballasts as well and in my case the Radium with the magnetic M80 will actually give a whiter look than using with electronic ballasts. I think you got a bit confused about the it when you were writing.
I also had the newer version of the 250W Hamilton 20K on electronic ballast for a while here and it is very similar to the Radium on M80 to my eyes, a nice whiter blue bulb. The Radium on M80 will emit more PAR because it's driven at ~330W. So the differences between them are also in regards to the intensity they are running, depending on the ballast/bulb. The look of the Radium on M80 and Hamilton on electronic a bit whiter than we would call some of the "true 20Ks" back in the day. The XM and other older brands would be much bluer to my eyes.
Thanks for the links! It's great to have you here to enrich this thread!!
 
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sgrosenb

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Hey all - update here - got the new light fixture up and installed. I absolutely LOVE the MH/T5 combo, just as I had hoped. My tank is 5x2xx and I went with the 3x250W MH and 4xT5 setup. MH's are 14k Hamilton and T5's are all 460nm Blue's (what I think of as Blue+ but correct me if I'm wrong). In all honesty it wasn't as different as I had expected vs. my LED/T5 combo, where I had 4x XR15 G4 Radion Pro's and 4x T5. I had diffusers on my Radion's and had them at 100% on all channels. The PAR is much higher with my MH though (roughly 100 more PAR in the middle of the tank).

Two questions:

1) Do you think I'd be a bit happier with Hamilton 20k bulbs vs 14k? The look of the tank now is almost a bit yellowish; I know in posts prior I mentioned I don't like an overly blue tank, but maybe the Hamilton 20k's would look good and get away from the "yellow" a bit.
2) How do you think I should best ease into the MH schedule? I was thinking roughly 3 hours per day to start, and then up it eventually to 6 hours total with MH. I think I'll leave the T5's on for about 12-14 hours. Please advise on your thoughts.

Thanks for all of the help!
-Scott
 

oreo5457

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In all honesty it wasn't as different as I had expected vs. my LED/T5 combo, where I had 4x XR15 G4 Radion Pro's and 4x T5. I had diffusers on my Radion's and had them at 100% on all channels. The PAR is much higher with my MH though (roughly 100 more PAR in the middle of the tank).
Well you replaced 380W (4 gen4 pro @ 95W) with 750W's (3 250's)..Not unexpected..
 

sgrosenb

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Well you replaced 380W (4 gen4 pro @ 95W) with 750W's (3 250's)..Not unexpected..
For sure - that was the hope @oreo5457 ! I didn't want to add another 2 XR15's to try and get the PAR that I wanted, and I like MH/T5 anyway so this got me to where I needed to be! Now I just need to fine tune the Kelvin and adjustment period.
 

oreo5457

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Electronic ballasts btw for the bottom chart.
;)



 

A. grandis

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Hey all - update here - got the new light fixture up and installed. I absolutely LOVE the MH/T5 combo, just as I had hoped. My tank is 5x2xx and I went with the 3x250W MH and 4xT5 setup. MH's are 14k Hamilton and T5's are all 460nm Blue's (what I think of as Blue+ but correct me if I'm wrong). In all honesty it wasn't as different as I had expected vs. my LED/T5 combo, where I had 4x XR15 G4 Radion Pro's and 4x T5. I had diffusers on my Radion's and had them at 100% on all channels. The PAR is much higher with my MH though (roughly 100 more PAR in the middle of the tank).

Two questions:

1) Do you think I'd be a bit happier with Hamilton 20k bulbs vs 14k? The look of the tank now is almost a bit yellowish; I know in posts prior I mentioned I don't like an overly blue tank, but maybe the Hamilton 20k's would look good and get away from the "yellow" a bit.
2) How do you think I should best ease into the MH schedule? I was thinking roughly 3 hours per day to start, and then up it eventually to 6 hours total with MH. I think I'll leave the T5's on for about 12-14 hours. Please advise on your thoughts.

Thanks for all of the help!
-Scott
1) You just need to get used to the yellow look. Your eyes will take a while to get used to. If you actually don't like it and want to try the Hamilton 20K instead, just go ahead, because that isn't too blue. It is certainly very different than the 14K though! I love both on e-ballast!
2) Yeah, leave for 3 hours for like a week or so, then add n hour every week. 5 to 6 hours are enough for MH. I leave mine for only 3-4 hours a day, but I have 4 X t5s for 9 hours ON and I keep only zoas here.
No need more than 10-12 hours of light total.
 

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