Par meter may have saved the day.

reefinnewb

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So I've been trying to rent a PAR meter for some time and BRS ended theirs. I see they now have an option labeled as wet tested or something along those lines. However I've been having issues with growth for a while, slow to non existent. I initially blamed it on my DIY LED light fixture not having enough par for my larger tank. I bought a new Photon v2+ and used BRS to set my baseline readings for SPS and then lowered them a touch for a mixed reef. Over a month later, still little to no growth. All parameters were in check. Nitrates and phosphates were a bit low so I worked on upping them. Got a little bit of growth over a few weeks but nothing like in the past. I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy the Apogee SQ-120 and wire it to a multi-meter. My Initial reading at the top of the rockwork (after x5 and a 1.33 correction) I was showing 550-650 par at the top of the rock work!! I have a few acros and montis and they weren't bleached but didn't show great color. I have lowered my light 35% just to get to the recommended 250-350 par range. I couldn't believe it was that high! I then watched the awesome MACNA talk that @DanaRiddle did about lighting, flow, and photosynthesis. At the higher readings, photosynthesis basically stopped until the lights dimmed to evening. This only gave me about an hour of usable light per day. Now that the PAR is in an acceptable range, I am really hoping I can see some growth and deeper colors.

Moral of the story, if you have LED lights and have an extra 200 to spend, I highly suggest measuring your PAR.
 
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T-J

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Glad you got everything worked out!

It's funny, but a few months ago I posted about making sure people measure their PAR and most of the replies were people telling me that it's not needed. I was kinda taken aback by the comments.
 
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reefinnewb

reefinnewb

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I started in this hobby back when power compacts were the rage. Then to MH and T5ho. They were easy! Acclimate the tank to the light and you were good to go. Now with LED, I've never felt more lost. I'm a Network Admin so I like techy stuff and data. Just the little bit of data I got yesterday is making me feel more at ease already. Once I build the wand for it and map out the whole tank, I'll be happy. I'm hoping to finally see the color and growth I'm so used to. Hell, in one of my prior tanks, I didn't have any fish for nutrients and still grew coral great. I would have almost nuisance growth on my monti caps. I'm leaving for vacation Saturday. It'll give me a week away from the tank to let it do it's thing and let my eyes reset. I'll take some pictures and monitor everything when I get back.
 
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Lost in the Sauce

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So I've been trying to rent a PAR meter for some time and BRS ended theirs. I see they now have an option labeled as wet tested or something along those lines. However I've been having issues with growth for a while, slow to non existent. I initially blamed it on my DIY LED light fixture not having enough par for my larger tank. I bought a new Photon v2+ and used BRS to set my baseline readings for SPS and then lowered them a touch for a mixed reef. Over a month later, still little to no growth. All parameters were in check. Nitrates and phosphates were a bit low so I worked on upping them. Got a little bit of growth over a few weeks but nothing like in the past. I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy the Apogee SQ-120 and wire it to a multi-meter. My Initial reading at the top of the rockwork (after x5 and a 1.33 correction) I was showing 550-650 par at the top of the rock work!! I have a few acros and montis and they weren't bleached but didn't show great color. I have lowered my light 35% just to get to the recommended 250-350 par range. I couldn't believe it was that high! I then watched the awesome MACNA talk that @DanaRiddle did about lighting, flow, and photosynthesis. At the higher readings, photosynthesis basically stopped until the lights dimmed to evening. This only gave me about an hour of usable light per day. Now that the PAR is in an acceptable range, I am really hoping I can see some growth and deeper colors.

Moral of the story, if you have LED lights and have an extra 200 to spend, I highly suggest measuring your PAR.
I wasn't aware there was an attachment for a multimeter to read par.. I run a bluepoint dvom. What device is it that you picked up?
 
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reefinnewb

reefinnewb

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Apogee sq-120. Wire the leads to a multi meter. Move the dial to 200mA. Take that reading and multiply it by 5. If using underwater, take that reading and multiply by 1.33. A bit more of a process than just spending the 400+ on a meter but I already had the multi-meter. So 185 out of pocket and I can get a good idea of my par.


Just checked Apogee's site and don't see it anymore. Was just there two days ago.
 

oreo5457

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Apogee sq-120. Wire the leads to a multi meter. Move the dial to 200mA. Take that reading and multiply it by 5. If using underwater, take that reading and multiply by 1.33. A bit more of a process than just spending the 400+ on a meter but I already had the multi-meter. So 185 out of pocket and I can get a good idea of my par.


Just checked Apogee's site and don't see it anymore. Was just there two days ago.
Some Apogee stuff on sale here:

Old style sensor for laptop..
Don't exactly recommend i but people have used it for years..

upgrade:

Though might as well go err "state of the art"
 

jgirardnrg

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Some Apogee stuff on sale here:

Old style sensor for laptop..
Don't exactly recommend i but people have used it for years..

upgrade:

Though might as well go err "state of the art"
I have the 420 and it's a pain to drag around the laptop sometimes but it does work well. I thought about upgrading so I ordered the 520... well the readings were within 8-10 PAR of each other (tested side by side) so I sent the 520 back and stuck with old faithful.
 
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oreo5457

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I have the 420 and it's a pain to drag around the laptop sometimes but it does work well. I thought about upgrading so I ordered the 520... well the readings were within 8-10 PAR of each other (tested side by side) so I sent the 520 back and stuck with old faithful.
Have you tried just logging using just a 5v wall wart?
Not sure if that is more or less convienent.
I assume you set an interval in software and go from there.
 

jgirardnrg

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Have you tried just logging using just a 5v wall wart?
Not sure if that is more or less convienent.
I assume you set an interval in software and go from there.
For how often I need to use it I just grab the laptop. Not a huge deal but would be nice to use the iPad or phone. The mobile app doesn't support the 420 though.
 

denvereefroli

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So I've been trying to rent a PAR meter for some time and BRS ended theirs. I see they now have an option labeled as wet tested or something along those lines. However I've been having issues with growth for a while, slow to non existent. I initially blamed it on my DIY LED light fixture not having enough par for my larger tank. I bought a new Photon v2+ and used BRS to set my baseline readings for SPS and then lowered them a touch for a mixed reef. Over a month later, still little to no growth. All parameters were in check. Nitrates and phosphates were a bit low so I worked on upping them. Got a little bit of growth over a few weeks but nothing like in the past. I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy the Apogee SQ-120 and wire it to a multi-meter. My Initial reading at the top of the rockwork (after x5 and a 1.33 correction) I was showing 550-650 par at the top of the rock work!! I have a few acros and montis and they weren't bleached but didn't show great color. I have lowered my light 35% just to get to the recommended 250-350 par range. I couldn't believe it was that high! I then watched the awesome MACNA talk that @DanaRiddle did about lighting, flow, and photosynthesis. At the higher readings, photosynthesis basically stopped until the lights dimmed to evening. This only gave me about an hour of usable light per day. Now that the PAR is in an acceptable range, I am really hoping I can see some growth and deeper colors.

Moral of the story, if you have LED lights and have an extra 200 to spend, I highly suggest measuring your PAR.
I saw that Dana Riddle talk and I'd have to agree, 200 PAR is all that is needed most of the time.
 

tjcmtnbiker

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Apogee sq-120. Wire the leads to a multi meter. Move the dial to 200mA. Take that reading and multiply it by 5. If using underwater, take that reading and multiply by 1.33. A bit more of a process than just spending the 400+ on a meter but I already had the multi-meter. So 185 out of pocket and I can get a good idea of my par.


Just checked Apogee's site and don't see it anymore. Was just there two days ago.
Thanks!
BTW, First time customers can use 10% coupon code "save10" .....
 

Dana Riddle

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@reefinnewb - Glad that presentation was useful. It took a full year to get all that data. I'm amused (in an odd sort of way) that some reefers will fret over a low calcium or magnesium concentration yet completely ignore measuring light intensity.
 
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reefinnewb

reefinnewb

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@reefinnewb - Glad that presentation was useful. It took a full year to get all that data. I'm amused (in an odd sort of way) that some reefers will fret over a low calcium or magnesium concentration yet completely ignore measuring light intensity.
We spend some much money on lighting and coral, we should know the par.
 

tjcmtnbiker

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Apogee sq-120. Wire the leads to a multi meter. Move the dial to 200mA. Take that reading and multiply it by 5. If using underwater, take that reading and multiply by 1.33. A bit more of a process than just spending the 400+ on a meter but I already had the multi-meter. So 185 out of pocket and I can get a good idea of my par.


Just checked Apogee's site and don't see it anymore. Was just there two days ago.
So I made the purchase however I can barely get a reading on my multimeter... I am thinking I got a bad sensor as I know I have more par than 7 at the top center of my tank! Any ideas what I may be doing wrong? At the center top, I get a reading of 1.06mA x 5 x 1.33 = 7.049 par...
 

oreo5457

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So I made the purchase however I can barely get a reading on my multimeter... I am thinking I got a bad sensor as I know I have more par than 7 at the top center of my tank! Any ideas what I may be doing wrong? At the center top, I get a reading of 1.06mA x 5 x 1.33 = 7.049 par...
Sounds silly but you did take the cap off?

wiriing.JPG
 

Uncle99

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@reefinnewb - Glad that presentation was useful. It took a full year to get all that data. I'm amused (in an odd sort of way) that some reefers will fret over a low calcium or magnesium concentration yet completely ignore measuring light intensity.
That presentation was absolutely excellent.

I watched it many times as there’s a lot to absorb.
I rented a PAR meter right after watching, yup, very very over lit, had to reduce PAR everywhere by half.

I have employed all those ideas in your presentation and can’t be happier.

Thank you @Dana Riddle for a great piece of work.
 
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