New Tank, new options. LED Lighting for a 30x24 shallow SPS build

certain_code

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Long awaiting this moment of getting back into building a new tank after years away from the hobby. Seems like some options have changed but the key players are still around for obvious reasons. So this leads me here and I would appreciate any advice that the community has.

I have had previous varied success with T5s and less so with budget level LEDs with larger (80gal shallow and 55gal cube) tanks. I now am planning on getting a 30W"x24L"x15H" tank from Fiji Cube and am a bit stuck on lighting choice. Budget is not unlimited but I'd like to approach this one of two ways:

Approach 1:
Start off the tank with one fixture but plan on getting a matching second once I venture into SPS in a few months/year. For this I am thinking of something like the AI Prime 16 HD, Radion XR15 G5 PRO, or something from Kessil to start with softies before getting a second to achieve strong light and better coverage.

Approach 2:
Find a single LED fixture that will support SPS from the start for my tank size. For this I'd be looking at likely the AI Hydra 64 HD or as far as a Radion XR30 G5 PRO.

General requirements:
1. LED only. Need to be as power and heat efficient as possible and LED seems to be the best way for both.
2. Must have a rear tank mount option.
3. Ideally has great dimming and settings built in. I am running an older controller and do not want to buy $400+ more in equipment just to control my lights. WiFi dongles or smaller things are okay but not ideal.


So in short, 15" tall tank with a 30"x24" layout. Do I go with two less expensive LEDs (one now, additional later) or do I go with a single more powerful fixture now? Regardless of option, what s everyone's thoughts on the fixture in order to support a thriving SPS tank? Kessil, EcoTech, AI, something else?

Thanks all! Really excited to get this planned out and start the hobby back up again!
 
BRS

blaxsun

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I would get one of the following:
1. XR30 G5 Blue w/RMS mount
2. XR15 G5 Blue x2 w/RMS mount x2
3. Neptune SKY w/RMS mount

Since you're going SPS I'd get the blue over the pro so you can really take advantage of the AB+. You can control either the Radion or SKY with a WiFi app.
 
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certain_code

certain_code

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I would get one of the following:
1. XR30 G5 Blue w/RMS mount
2. XR15 G5 Blue x2 w/RMS mount x2
3. Neptune SKY w/RMS mount

Since you're going SPS I'd get the blue over the pro so you can really take advantage of the AB+. You can control either the Radion or SKY with a WiFi app.

Oh interesting. I had not even seen the SKY to consider it, so thank you for that. My thinking is I will get overall less shadowing and have more focused control with two fixtures at partial power than with a single fixture. So all of your options are probably still the three I will debate between and they all come in around the same cost. The one nice thing about going with the two XR15s is being able to budget them a bit better and start with just the one.
 

nereefpat

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I would not bother with an AI Prime for a 24x30 footprint. The spread won't be anywhere near that large. A single XR15 is slightly better, but again not anywhere near the spread you would want.

You might check out ReefBreeders. Their 24" photon would work well now and in the future. Looks like it's even on sale for 360$, which is 100 bucks less than a single Radion.
 

Intense37754

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I would check out 2 reefi uno’s


Dana Riddle also did a write up on here if you do a search
 
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certain_code

certain_code

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I would not bother with an AI Prime for a 24x30 footprint. The spread won't be anywhere near that large. A single XR15 is slightly better, but again not anywhere near the spread you would want.

You might check out ReefBreeders. Their 24" photon would work well now and in the future. Looks like it's even on sale for 360$, which is 100 bucks less than a single Radion.

If I went with the Prime or XR15 it would only be a single to start (no corals) before grabbing a second to support my eventual SPS desires once things stabilize in the tank. Totally understand just one of either wouldnt be nearly enough for the spread to support even some more demanding LPS/softies.

I had looked into RB before but have not considered them recently for this build. I dont love the coast to coast mounting and the app/controller seems to be lackluster overall. Apex VDM support does seem nice but I also dont love the need for the extra cables and configuration overall. Thanks for the tip on this though, will add it to my list to look more into reviews and testimonials on their fixtures.

I would check out 2 reefi uno’s


Dana Riddle also did a write up on here if you do a search

Have not heard of this one before. Will definitely check it out but at first glance I don't love the look TBH. Not my only deciding factor obviously if it can really drive a healthy show SPS tank but just initial thoughts. Thank you for the suggestion regardless!
 
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oreo5457

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Thought 2 ai are about the same overall cost (controller ect) as on xr15.
2 would offer better spread and cheaper upgrade option.
Their have their warts.
Refii using reflectors over lenses eliminates a big one.
 
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