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I need to add more lights... help needed.

Lylelovett

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Hi all,

My tank is 2 years old - I feel like I'm now moving out of the "novice" phase and am looking to push harder into LPS and then SPS. (As you can see I can grow softies like crazy lol!) Lighting is what I'm focusing on now. I'm looking to get my PAR levels up to ~200 mid-tank; ~100 at the sandbed and close to 300+ near the top. So I think it's time to add some lights.

Attached is a picture of my tank with current PAR levels and distances. (the picture is slightly overexposed, so don't mistake the brightness for the lighting)

The three Kessil A360s ramp up in brightness to 90% as their peak level.

There are so many routes to go I don't know which path would be best long term.
  1. Do I just add a 4th Kessil?
  2. Do I replace just the middle Kessil with a big unit like the Mitras/Radion/Hydra/AP9x?
  3. Do I replace all three with two of the aforementioned big LED units?
  4. Something else?
Thoughts?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Tank-PAR.jpg
 
Corals.com

14 foot reef

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Aquatic Life T5 Hybrid, cleans everything up and adds all the perfect blanket of par you will ever need.

Watch some of the BRSTV videos on the Kessil/T5 Hybrids.

See my set up .... decent example
 

Fishurama

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You really dont get more depth with the same lights if just add more. Where they intersect/overlap you will get more PAR from both lights, but otherwise if you want light are more depth you will have to use a stronger LED capable of getting more depth. That being said 75 par on the sandbed is fine. I am surprised you aren't getting higher PAR at the top few inches though, but for your corals sake so they dont get shocked from switching lights id personally go with another kessil.
Youll get a bump in par for the first 18 inches or so,not change the colors you already know and may like, and not possibly shock your corals.
 
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Lylelovett

Lylelovett

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You really dont get more depth with the same lights if just add more. Where they intersect/overlap you will get more PAR from both lights, but otherwise if you want light are more depth you will have to use a stronger LED capable of getting more depth. That being said 75 par on the sandbed is fine. I am surprised you aren't getting higher PAR at the top few inches though, but for your corals sake so they dont get shocked from switching lights id personally go with another kessil.
Youll get a bump in par for the first 18 inches or so,not change the colors you already know and may like, and not possibly shock your corals.
I was surprised it wasn't higher at the top also... I bought the lights used - probably 5 years old now, I've had them for 2-ish years. Could they just be getting old and not as powerful? Is that even a thing that happens?

They are currently 6" off the water - do I move them a little closer?
 

Matteo

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Grab this plus the kessil mounts. I will never go back to full LED. I think you will find a Hybrid setup amazing in color and growth.
 
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Lylelovett

Lylelovett

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That is interesting! I will start percolating on that!

So the Kessils would just mount on those three bracketed sections? (I see there are separate brackets to mount the Kessils also...

And I know NOTHING about T5 lighting - I'm guessing there are a like a thousand different bulb options also? LOL!

How is the lighting controlled? I assume my Profilux P4 can control them with the right interface kit...
 

melanotaenia

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T5 are much more plug and play and forgiving, with the hybrid fixture the four bulbs should be plenty to fill out where the Kessils are lacking now. There are not a lot of different bulbs, and definitely not as many crazy settings compared to LEDs. The only downside is you do need to replace T5 bulbs regularly
 

Matteo

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You only have to replace bulbs realistically once a year and there are many who use that schedule.

You would have 4 bulbs and 3 kessils so you would have a power house of a light!

I would run in pairs a Coral + bulb and a Blue + bulb as you will get a really nice 12k look but it will provide very even spreading and growth for your corals as T5s still have a very solid place in the hobby especially for SPS since LED causes shadowing. You then would simply use your Kessils for all that blue pop and shimmer and batta bing batta boom!

You would have to buy the kessil mounts to go with it yes.

Just an example of T5 + LED aesthetic here is my FTS.

P1020544.jpg
 
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Lylelovett

Lylelovett

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T5 are much more plug and play and forgiving, with the hybrid fixture the four bulbs should be plenty to fill out where the Kessils are lacking now. There are not a lot of different bulbs, and definitely not as many crazy settings compared to LEDs. The only downside is you do need to replace T5 bulbs regularly
The DX18 Dimmable looks pretty sweet... ;)
 
Lazys Coral House
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Lylelovett

Lylelovett

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You only have to replace bulbs realistically once a year and there are many who use that schedule.

You would have 4 bulbs and 3 kessils so you would have a power house of a light!

I would run in pairs a Coral + bulb and a Blue + bulb as you will get a really nice 12k look but it will provide very even spreading and growth for your corals as T5s still have a very solid place in the hobby especially for SPS since LED causes shadowing. You then would simply use your Kessils for all that blue pop and shimmer and batta bing batta boom!

You would have to buy the kessil mounts to go with it yes.

Just an example of T5 + LED aesthetic here is my FTS.

P1020544.jpg
That color is gorgeous. Wow.

I don't understand the "pairs" - Coral + Bulb, Blue + Bulb?
 
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Lylelovett

Lylelovett

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I'm assuming the mounting hardware for the fixture holds the weight of the Kessils also?
 
Lazys Coral House

Fishurama

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I was surprised it wasn't higher at the top also... I bought the lights used - probably 5 years old now, I've had them for 2-ish years. Could they just be getting old and not as powerful? Is that even a thing that happens?

They are currently 6" off the water - do I move them a little closer?
You can check if their shroud is cloudy, which like the inside of a cars headlight over time need cleaning. Could just be the LEDs getting weaker with age(LEDs do dim over time), which is a thing,could be a few things honestly. You could move them closer if heat and spread/coverage isn't affected too much, which if you get a 4th should be very easily done.
 

Chibils

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+1 on the Aquaticlife T5 hybrid. It's the simplest solution. You just mount your existing light into it and gain the power of 4 T5s. Check the videos in this link to understand more about bulbs.

Blue+ is probably the most popular bulb. I'd recommend at least one Aquablue Special. It mixes really well with other lights. The remaining two are up to you. If you like a more white, natural look, then try out Coral+ bulbs. For a 20K look, you could do 2 more Blue+, or a Blue+ and an Actinic. It's very hard to go wrong with T5s as long as you stick to ATI/Korallen-Zucht/Giesemann bulbs. Just about everyone uses ATI. There's not nearly as much guesswork as with LEDs. You pick some bulbs that look good to you and turn on the switch, and grow corals.
 
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Lylelovett

Lylelovett

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What about heat with these T5s?

My tank is an open top.

My tank runs at 80 degrees. In the summer because of my setup/house I CANNOT get it below 80.

Are the T5s going to heat up the tank? (If so I'll need to stick with LEDs.)
 

Pntbll687

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What about heat with these T5s?

My tank is an open top.

My tank runs at 80 degrees. In the summer because of my setup/house I CANNOT get it below 80.

Are the T5s going to heat up the tank? (If so I'll need to stick with LEDs.)
I have a 6 bulb t5 mounted just 8in off the water on a low boy frag tank, and have no issues with heat. You should be fine.

I think the issue of heat was more when companies made fixtures that almost touuched the top rim of tanks. Coralife was one of them, the bulbs were at most 4in off the water.

With all the info that's out now from BRS and others on proper mounting height for LED lights (usually much higher than we thought) the issue of heat from the t5 bulbs has been a non factor.
 
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