Opinions on lights.. new hobby for me!

Discussion in 'Equipment, Lighting, Hardware, Aquarium Filtration' started by Hurley009, Jun 9, 2014.

  1. Hurley009

    Hurley009 Well-Known Member

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    So I'm not sure what kind of light that I have.. I was given it w the tank.
    So looking for a new one soon. I don't wanna drop 500 bucks though. So I'm looking for reasonable. I know they are expensive and such but I only have a 45 gallon tall tank.

    I don't under stand the 20k talk or what full spectrum really does. I will have coral and fish. I do currently have a Torch.
    Just need some guidence... there's so much stuff!!
    Do the blue lights do anything as well?

    Thanks!
     
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  2. Daddio

    Daddio Well-Known Member

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    My advice would be to spend more than you can afford :)... I made the mistake of going too economy when I first started and ended up spending even more once I realized what I had bought wasn't really good enough.

    That being said, I think a lot of people have good luck with T5 fluorescent fixtures as long as you aren't going to try to keep SPS or really light demanding corals (but I have seen tanks on here with T5s that have SPS growing out the top though). Those fixtures aren't super high dollar. But I think you have replace the bulbs fairly often - even though they may not be burnt out. They lose the correct color temperature over time in my understanding.

    You need bulbs that mimic the sunlight underwater as closely as possible. That is what 10k, 14k, 20k is referring to - the "temperature" or wavelength of the light. Someone that has T5s i'm sure will chime in and let you know which bulbs are best.

    The "blue lights" (actinic) are not really that necessary - but they do make your tank look nice and show off the colors of your coral and fish (I'm sure the blue lights add some beneficial light to the spectrum though). Only having white light makes your tank look "flat". A lot of fixtures let you turn on the blue lights first and then the white after some time using timers. This will mimic sunrise and sunset and not a harsh on-off effect that startles the fish - it will give your fish time to 'wake-up" causing less stress.

    Hope this helps even a little. There are people on this forum that have a wealth of knowledge to share and by listening to them and doing your own research, I'm sure you will find what works best for you and your budget.
     
  3. Hurley009

    Hurley009 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you! This was very insightful! I hope they do share. There is so many different things and I didn't realize how complicated thus hobby got... but I love it! I'll definitely just invest into a better one then!
     
  4. Daddio

    Daddio Well-Known Member

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    If you research and keep your approach simple and within what you are comfortable with (that is, knowing how much time you want to devote your tank) it doesn't have to be complicated.

    Good light, good skimmer, reliable heater, live rock and observation will go a long way. Keeping your water stable is priority number one - even if it is not "perfect". Wild swings in water chemistry are the worst for your tank.

    I am by far not an expert and know that I don't have the time, diligence or cash to have a crazy tank. The key for me is to feel comfortable and to understand or be able to test what I am adding to my tank. If I can't understand or test for it, I don't add it.

    Two of the most basic things I have learned are:

    - Get in the habit of testing your water fairly regularly and write down your results. I basically only regularly test for salinity, alkalinity (super important in my opinion) and calcium. If these are in range, pH is usually fine If you are just starting out, nitrates and ammonia are important to watch. Try testing around the same time of day. Some parameters may be different at different times of the day. Having notes helps you see trends in your tank over time.

    - Use RODI Water! Either get it from your local fish store or get a RODI unit. This is so important. Because you will be adding fresh water in to make up for evaporation, even small amounts of pollutants add up over time.

    - Go slow! Usually knee-jerk reactions have caused more harm to my tank than leaving it alone. If one of your water parameters are way off (say alkalinity or salinity), you can do more harm quickly brining these up to correct levels than by leaving them alone - unless someone with great knowledge tells you to do so. I have made this mistake many times - its human nature to want to get everything back to "acceptable" levels instantly.

    You get in tune with your tank over time and you'll be able to tell when things aren't "right". I think that keeping it simple makes it more comfortable and fun. It is easy to feel overwhelmed with all the equipment choices out there. Just read through threads online, talk to your LFS and then think if what they say makes sense to you. If you look at all the tank photos here, it seems like everyone has their own way of doing things - but I can't honestly say one tank is more beautiful than the next.
     
  5. Reefing Madness

    Reefing Madness Carbon Doser Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    T5s are good with any coral, providing its at least a 4 lamp unit. Using only one white or daylight lamp and the rest a mix of bkue or blues plus and an actinic. Blue light penetrates water depth better than white light does. T5s are what alot of SPS guys use. Next in line would be using a 250w 14k metal halide, but for the corals your going with a good LED unit would do you nicely.
    Ocean Revive has a couple of relatilvely cheap and very good units
    Reef Breeders Value unit would do also.
    On your tank if going with a halide or leds, id suggest 2 units.
     
  6. Reefing Madness

    Reefing Madness Carbon Doser Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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  7. vic67

    vic67 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    Is it a standard size 45? (36 1/4 x 12 5/8 x 23 3/4) You could also go with Par38 LED bulbs. They'll fit into standard light sockets and you could get hanging cords for them. Two bulbs would most likely fit your needs.
     
  8. Hurley009

    Hurley009 Well-Known Member

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    This will be extremely helpful. Thank you
     
  9. steventaylor702

    steventaylor702 Well-Known Member

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    I would go with the reef breeder the most bang for your buck.
     
  10. samba_dad

    samba_dad Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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  11. Pete polyp

    Pete polyp acro serial killer R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    This one would probably be better than the oddysea. Less heat, more even light dispersion, and probably more par.

    http://m.ebay.com/itm/351057968987?nav=SEARCH

    I have this light fixture and replaced the bulbs with ati. I couldn't be happier.
     
  12. Hurley009

    Hurley009 Well-Known Member

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    I like this one! The one I currently have has the 1 lamp in the middle and yes.. it does heat my tank up a decouple degrees when on. Definitely want a T5. Just wanna make sure I get blue in there. I want the colors on my coral to pop!

    Are T5 light systems good for coral growth too?
     
  13. Pete polyp

    Pete polyp acro serial killer R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    I have great growth with that t5
     

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