Newbie looking for light advice.

armandoarturo

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Hi everyone!
Ive been in the fresh water planted aquarium hobby for a while and now ive decided to jump in the coral hobby.
As for the planted aquarium, light is one of the most important things to consider, and I know same goes to corals.
Ive been reading for days but can Not take a decition, and I dont want to make a mistake.
My tank mesurements are:
30” large, 13” wide and 20” tall
Im thinking mostly keeping corals, and might add one or two fish/ invertebrates in the futuro... but my focal point will be corals.
My budget Is somewhere between 200-250 dollars.
What would be your advice?
 
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nereefpat

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I don't think AI makes the hydra 26 or 52 anymore, and they would be significantly over the OP's 200-250$ budget.
The Orphek would also be 320$

@armandoarturo , do you want LED? T5? Are you looking at any specific lights currently?
 

Arcticfirefighter

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Unfortunately you are going to be hard pressed to light a tank with those dimensions in that budget to be able to keep any corals outside Softies. I have a tank that is the same length and depth and I made the mistake of going the cheap route on my first lights. I eventually upgraded to 2 AI Prime HDs and even those didn't cut it in the long run. I ended up adding a EcoTech Gen 5 XR15 in the middle with the 2 Primes on the outsides. I had only Softies and LPS, and the were surviving off the Primes but not thriving. Now that I have upgraded the difference is night and day.

I only say this because I am trying to save you from making the same mistake I did. I ended up spending more money in the long run because I bought the wrong lights upfront. If possible, I would recommend saving up the money and buying a little better light when you can. I wish I would have done that and not wasted the limited budget I had on an impulse buy. This is just my 2 cents, good luck to you on whatever decision you make.
 
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armandoarturo

armandoarturo

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Unfortunately you are going to be hard pressed to light a tank with those dimensions in that budget to be able to keep any corals outside Softies. I have a tank that is the same length and depth and I made the mistake of going the cheap route on my first lights. I eventually upgraded to 2 AI Prime HDs and even those didn't cut it in the long run. I ended up adding a EcoTech Gen 5 XR15 in the middle with the 2 Primes on the outsides. I had only Softies and LPS, and the were surviving off the Primes but not thriving. Now that I have upgraded the difference is night and day.

I only say this because I am trying to save you from making the same mistake I did. I ended up spending more money in the long run because I bought the wrong lights upfront. If possible, I would recommend saving up the money and buying a little better light when you can. I wish I would have done that and not wasted the limited budget I had on an impulse buy. This is just my 2 cents, good luck to you on whatever decision you make.
Thats exactlly what Im trying not to do... I dont wanna go cheap at first (just to save a couple of bucks) and then end up upgrading to a good one because the first wont be good enough.

Im willing to spend a bit more just to get a good enough one for a nice looking coral reef.

Thank you for sharing, this is a mistake I do not want to make and is nice to learn from experienced people.

So... which one would you say I should go for?
 
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armandoarturo

armandoarturo

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I don't think AI makes the hydra 26 or 52 anymore, and they would be significantly over the OP's 200-250$ budget.
The Orphek would also be 320$

@armandoarturo , do you want LED? T5? Are you looking at any specific lights currently?
Im willing to spend more... I dont want to go for a cheap one and then end up buying another one because it doesnt fits my needs...
Im just trying to get clear in my head which are good options, because Ive been reading a lot and seems that everyone have different opinions.
(It was way easier to find a good light for my planted aquarium because I had a friend with lots of experience and it was very clear what brand had the best light option).

Ive read LEDs are better, they dont heat up and usually come with built in bluethoot / wifi controllers...
 

nereefpat

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Ive read LEDs are better, they dont heat up and usually come with built in bluethoot / wifi controllers...

Better is subjective, for sure. LEDs have certain advantages, and certain disadvantages. I'm a T5 guy. Some guys are Halide users, or a mix of 2 types.

If you want an LED fixture or 2 that has bluetooth, WiFi, ramping, etc then your budget will have to go up considerably. At minimum, if buying new, you're looking at 2 AI Prime or 2 Kessil 160 or 2 Ecotech Radion...so 420$-800$.

If you want LED and you don't care about Bluetooth or Wifi or ramping (Read: they aren't needed), then a black box or two like MarsAqua or Viparspectra can grow any coral and would be in that 200 dollar range.

Lots to think about. Do you know what type of coral you want to grow?
 
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armandoarturo

armandoarturo

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Better is subjective, for sure. LEDs have certain advantages, and certain disadvantages. I'm a T5 guy. Some guys are Halide users, or a mix of 2 types.

If you want an LED fixture or 2 that has bluetooth, WiFi, ramping, etc then your budget will have to go up considerably. At minimum, if buying new, you're looking at 2 AI Prime or 2 Kessil 160 or 2 Ecotech Radion...so 420$-800$.

If you want LED and you don't care about Bluetooth or Wifi or ramping (Read: they aren't needed), then a black box or two like MarsAqua or Viparspectra can grow any coral and would be in that 200 dollar range.

Lots to think about. Do you know what type of coral you want to grow?

Ok, so I guess I could skip the Bluetooth part if it isnt needed like you say and go for a good one in the $$ range. So , your advice would be to get one or two MarsAqua or viparspectra?
Im thinking I could also go for one and then buy the second one when I get some extra budget.
 

38bill

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I would think a single AI Hydra 26 HD would work. They are going for around $200 lightly used. BRS has a great video on them over 24" cubes but 30" may be pushing the length a little. With the 20" tank height there should be adequate light for most corals. I have one over a 24" X 24" X 24" cube. I have the power turned down to around 45% with a total photo period (including ramp up and down) of about 15hrs. Another thing with the Hydra is if you up size you can just add another one or two as needed.
 
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nereefpat

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So , your advice would be to get one or two MarsAqua or viparspectra?
What I would do, is get a non-dimmable 4 bulb 2' T5 fixture, but I'm not the norm.

If I had a tank with those dimensions, and someone made me get LEDs, I would probably go with two Noopsych K7s. They would be similar to the AI Hydra, but less expensive, so you could get two for about the same price as the AI Hyda 32s and get better coverage.

Black box is another option. Here is a 32 page thread about the Viparspectra: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/viparspectra-165watt-anyone-using-these.317612/
 
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armandoarturo

armandoarturo

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What I would do, is get a non-dimmable 4 bulb 2' T5 fixture, but I'm not the norm.

If I had a tank with those dimensions, and someone made me get LEDs, I would probably go with two Noopsych K7s. They would be similar to the AI Hydra, but less expensive, so you could get two for about the same price as the AI Hyda 32s and get better coverage.

Black box is another option. Here is a 32 page thread about the Viparspectra: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/viparspectra-165watt-anyone-using-these.317612/
Thank you sooooo much!! I will spend my afternoon jumping into all the information I can get on this 3 options and see If I can make up my mind and take the best decision.
 

nereefpat

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I will spend my afternoon jumping into all the information I can get on this 3 options and see If I can make up my mind and take the best decision.
Much to ponder, and lots of options even beyond the three that I gave. People do love Radions, and Kessils, and Primes too. Good luck.
 
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armandoarturo

armandoarturo

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So... Ive been reading and reading.
Seems that my best option is LED indeed. I live in a pretty hot place and one of my concerns will be to save energy and also keep the area as cool as possible.
I wont be spending money in something I will have to upgrade at some point. I would rather wait until I have enough money and get what I need to have a good looking and thriving coral reef

So the options are:
- AquaIllumination Hydra 32 ($366.50)
- Kessil A360WE ($349.00)
- VIPARSPECTRA 300 W ($259.99)


Seems like Viparspectra will fill all the lenght of my 30 inch long aquarium but seems that Hydra and Kessil are more powerfull (correct me if Im wrong), BUT expensier.
I Still dont find which is better option between Hydra and Kessil.

So the thing would be... Shoudl I just get Viparspectra and would it be enough for LPS/ SPS? Or... Should break my savings and get Hydra/Kessil?
 

NanoReefs

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The Hydra and Kessil are very high quality products and last a very long time. I would go with either one of those, because if you buy the Viparspectra you might end up upgrading in a year or two anyways....
 

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My personal experience for ya...used to have a measly 2 T5's in a 90 gallon, just barely enough for low light softies (mushroom, Kenya Trees etc), supplemented with a Fluval 3.0 Marine Spectrum Bluetooth. Gives me best of both worlds, a sun up, down option on the LEDs and my T5's are on during full daylight hours. Corals are looking much better all around as well Anemones. Firm believer in both now. T5'S will fill in dead spots that LED's can't from what I have read here and elsewhere. And the LED's are great to supplement and program to your liking. I think you'd likely find a similar setup to this for just under 500 bucks. You won't be able to do the stoney's with a setup similar but most of the other stuff should IMO be ok lighting wise.
 

Bepis

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So... Ive been reading and reading.
Seems that my best option is LED indeed. I live in a pretty hot place and one of my concerns will be to save energy and also keep the area as cool as possible.
I wont be spending money in something I will have to upgrade at some point. I would rather wait until I have enough money and get what I need to have a good looking and thriving coral reef

So the options are:
- AquaIllumination Hydra 32 ($366.50)
- Kessil A360WE ($349.00)
- VIPARSPECTRA 300 W ($259.99)


Seems like Viparspectra will fill all the lenght of my 30 inch long aquarium but seems that Hydra and Kessil are more powerfull (correct me if Im wrong), BUT expensier.
I Still dont find which is better option between Hydra and Kessil.

So the thing would be... Shoudl I just get Viparspectra and would it be enough for LPS/ SPS? Or... Should break my savings and get Hydra/Kessil?

okay so A. Look into the orphek OR3s B. A single Kessil on a tank like that one fixture won’t do, instead of a A360x I would do 2 a160’s if you decide to go with the kessils. C. Same thing with the AI’ s level and even par relies on on a spread out light which with the hydra 32 is concentrated but with 2 fixtures per say 2 ai primes16 HD’s you’ll have much better spread

D. Big thing I just realized is your tank a 29g Aqueon Tank?
 
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armandoarturo

armandoarturo

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okay so A. Look into the orphek OR3s B. A single Kessil on a tank like that one fixture won’t do, instead of a A360x I would do 2 a160’s if you decide to go with the kessils. C. Same thing with the AI’ s level and even par relies on on a spread out light which with the hydra 32 is concentrated but with 2 fixtures per say 2 ai primes16 HD’s you’ll have much better spread

D. Big thing I just realized is your tank a 29g Aqueon Tank?
Ok
a) Im looking at Orphek OR3 on Amazon and there seems to be 3 kinds... "blue plus", "Day reef plus" and "UV plus" ... Im guessing Day reef plus is the one I should be looking at and comparing?

b) Would 2 kessil 160s do the trick? ... The thing is that If I get the 360x I would get another one at some point in the future and have the pair to get better spread.
c) Same would be with the Hydra

d) No... is just a regular tank I have had for several years empty
 
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