Marine lights.

Uzair Aiman

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
May 11, 2021
Messages
243
Reaction score
78
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Malaysia
Hi, my family is planning to make a reef tank in the near future (That is if my small tank succeeds :') ). I have a question :
What is so special about marine lights, why are they so expensive and are there any other substitutions?
If I were to DIY my lights, is it possible and how? is it cost effective? Lets say I put on RGB strips (since its controllable and can change colour), does it work?
why cant normal lights work?

sorry for too many questions but I cant seem to find an answer anywhere online.
 
Click to watch best scape method in 5 easy steps!

Reefing102

Valuable Member
Review score
+1 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 25, 2021
Messages
1,111
Reaction score
1,169
Review score
+1 /0 /-0
Location
Central Ohio
I can give you a basic answer before the more knowledgeable lighting gurus chime in here but the short answer is reef lighting produces high PAR (photosynthetically active radiation). High PAR is required for most corals and other photosynthetic reef organisms to survive. A lot of high PAR is found in the blue, violet and UV ranges which is not found in standard lighting.

Standard lighting (low cost LED, standard fluorescent, and similar) are very low PAR (less than 20, I’d guess) which most coral cannot survive on.

Most people have lights that hit around 100-150 PAR on the sand bed with much higher levels toward the top of the tank. Because of the stronger light needs, essentially trying to mimic the sun, the cost of production goes up which results in higher cost, along with supply and demand and brand name premium

With that said, DIY is definitely doable however you would still want to ensure you buy quality parts. I can’t help too much in this aspect as I’m not a good DIY guy with electrical components.

I hope this helps some. Better answers will likely be provided by those much more knowledgeable than I am.
 

blasterman

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Feb 14, 2019
Messages
1,730
Reaction score
1,941
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
"Mimmick the sun"

Face plant. Then please explain why we don't have 6500k lights on our tanks.

I would avoid DIY. Unless you are real familiar with this kind of electronics work, soldering LEDs, buying heatsinks, etc.

Reef lights are expensive because they have a lof of controls and programming on board and they are low volume electronics. You are paying for controls, not wattage, and certainly not PAR.

Has nothing to do with spectrum or PAR. Reef based lights use mostly blue LEDs, and blue LEDs are the cheapest because they are the base of white LEDs. They just don't have a phosphor applied.

I could go to home depot and buy 100watts worth of LED shoplights and they would throw about as much PAR as a $420 XR15 and grow corals just as well. The color though would be terrible. Reef tank owners want blue dominated lights to pull the color out of corals and tweak just how blue. You are paying for this niche market feature. Has nothing to do with power. Has nothing to do with UV.

If money is tight just use black boxes, Viparspectras, etc. They are big and clunky looking compared to a high end reef light, but they get it done.
 

What would you buy RIGHT NOW if you found an AMAZING deal on it?

  • Equipment

    Votes: 417 51.1%
  • Dry Goods

    Votes: 23 2.8%
  • Fish

    Votes: 78 9.6%
  • Coral

    Votes: 219 26.8%
  • Other Livestock

    Votes: 8 1.0%
  • Nothing

    Votes: 61 7.5%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 10 1.2%
Reef Republica
Top