Lighting an IM 100G mixed reef

Nick Steele

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Okay so I’m starting to plan my next upgrade for 12-18 months from now. I have 90% figured out but I’m somewhat torn on which lighting I want to go with.


Tank is 48”x24”20

I have two ideas that I think would work good making a mixed reef and maybe a third one.

#1 3 AI Hydra 32’s spaced front to back

#2 2 AI Hydra 32’s spaced horizontal with a reefbrite xho 50/50 along the back.

#3 2 48” photon V2. I think this will give a little to much light and would be the most expensive option.


Anyone have any input into which would make a better setup. I’m not concerned how it would look as I plan to have a floating canopy.
 

minus9

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For a mixed reef I would do a combo of Kessil's and Orphek OR3 blue sky bars. The great thing is, you can always add more of each light if the sps bug hits you. Or you can use the Hydras with bars or T5's. Honestly, right now there are a million ways to light your tank with LED and none of them are bad. I think you have to figure out what "look" you're going for? If you want diffused light, then T5, panel style LED's will be your choice. If you want contrast, shimmer, etc.. then point source, puck style LED will get you there. I love a combo of both, but prefer more contrast and shimmer, as this is what it reminds me of snorkeling on the reef.
 
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Nick Steele

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For a mixed reef I would do a combo of Kessil's and Orphek OR3 blue sky bars. The great thing is, you can always add more of each light if the sps bug hits you. Or you can use the Hydras with bars or T5's. Honestly, right now there are a million ways to light your tank with LED and none of them are bad. I think you have to figure out what "look" you're going for? If you want diffused light, then T5, panel style LED's will be your choice. If you want contrast, shimmer, etc.. then point source, puck style LED will get you there. I love a combo of both, but prefer more contrast and shimmer, as this is what it reminds me of snorkeling on the reef.
Yeah I’m not a huge fan of the look of t5’s. I have two AI primes on my 20G now and like the look that’s why I plan to stick with hydras when I upgrade I’m just torn on which one would be better.
 
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Nick Steele

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#2 with pure actinic xho's. Just put them on a dimmer

XHO in the front?
While I haven’t seen them in person. I’m not a huge fan of super blue lighting which is why I chose the 50/50.

To start I’m thinking b hind light but in 2+ years I might have one in front angled back to help with shadowing of the sps once I get colonies.
 

Mywifeisgunnakillme

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Marc at Melev's reef might be able to tell you what the 50/50's look like. Maybe shoot him a comment on youtube.

He mentioned in a video that when looked at reefbrites the first time it was 50/50's on friend's tank. He's not a blue light guy either, but he thought the 50/50's were "pointless". He opted for the pure actinic to supplement halides and now Sky's. I don't think the 50/50's can control white and blue LED's independently. That's one reason i suggested the pure actinic with dimmers... Run your main lighting whiter and then add XHO blue actinics to blueness/brightness with the dimmer as you desire....

If you run 50/50's i think you'll be controlling the blueness of the tank via the main lighting because the XHO's will be a white and blue combo but not adjustable, which may be nice, but the reefbrites have a really nice 100% blue actinic and its better than anything i've seen--so you may want 100 blue so as to be able to control the blueness of the tank with them independently....

Just a thought!
 

Mywifeisgunnakillme

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@Mywifeisgunnakillme interesting I haven’t read that one yet. I guess I’ll just have to find some in person before I decide good thing I have at a minimum a year before this build. Everything else is planned and budgeted for but the lights.

Definitely check them out, both models. I think of XHO's 100% actinics as replacing, or heavily supplementing, the actinic of my main lighting.... You can run a very white tank with the reefbrite actinics dialed down on the dimmer and the main lighting whiter.

One tank i saw in person that was like this was phillips coral care with XHO blue actinics.. The blue just made corals pop. The tank was white. If was a very nice combo. The owner tried for a couple months without the actinc XHO's--but broke down and bought them because he could not live without them, lol... Sounds like that may be what you're trying for...

If the 50/50's offered white and blue controls independently, i might consider them, but really any light can offer a nice white--it's the reefbrite actinics that are special IMO.
 

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