PSA ON THE LAMENTATION OF THE OCD LED'ER

BoomCorals

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He said he runs them at 80-100% but at 18-24" above the water. You even point this out. But then you go on to say don't try this at home, referring to the 80-100% but at normal height. But you're the one who made that statement of 80-100% at normal height so I'm not sure why you're blaming it on Adam. :p

Also I don't know of any LED that doesn't have UV and blues, usually in abundance. So regardless of fiddling, you will be providing the necessary spectrum for growth. I think that's his entire point.

There is actually scientific research that specifies which spectrum corals will thrive at, so to say "it doesn't matter" is patently false. The Zooxanthellae that provide the energy for Corals need light in the violet and blue wavelengths. BRS has a few youtube videos on lighting that explains all of this in detail and the spectrum put out by the ATI blue plus bulb closes matches what corals crave. Not to say that is the only thing that doess, but come on, there is plenty of science out there to just completely pretend it doesn't exist is not great for the hobby. Honestly, it's kind of irresponsible considering people look to you for advice.
If your point is that people shouldn't get hung up on having the intensity and color settings perfect, well you're wrong there too. Anyone who has an LED that allows them to adjust intensity and spectrum should absolutely make an effort to have sufficient intensity for their corals to thrive AND the spectrum that is both pleasing to eyes and keeps the corals happy and growing. A responsible thing would be to recommend people borrow a Par meter from their local reef club or LFS and tune their LED to the known recommended Par values for the corals they want to keep. All of that information exists. It's really not a mystery. Lastly, for a hobbyist, it is not practical keeping their lights so high above the tank. Way too much light spill into the room. Anyone who tries to run their Radion Pros or whatevers LED at 80-100% intensity at a normal height will just straight up fry their corals so that whole thing needs a "kids don't try this at home" disclaimer too.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3962463/

http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2012/10/aafeature
 
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Battlecorals

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There is actually scientific research that specifies which spectrum corals will thrive at, so to say "it doesn't matter" is patently false. The Zooxanthellae that provide the energy for Corals need light in the violet and blue wavelengths. BRS has a few youtube videos on lighting that explains all of this in detail and the spectrum put out by the ATI blue plus bulb closes matches what corals crave. Not to say that is the only thing that doess, but come on, there is plenty of science out there to just completely pretend it doesn't exist is not great for the hobby. Honestly, it's kind of irresponsible considering people look to you for advice.
If your point is that people shouldn't get hung up on having the intensity and color settings perfect, well you're wrong there too. Anyone who has an LED that allows them to adjust intensity and spectrum should absolutely make an effort to have sufficient intensity for their corals to thrive AND the spectrum that is both pleasing to eyes and keeps the corals happy and growing. A responsible thing would be to recommend people borrow a Par meter from their local reef club or LFS and tune their LED to the known recommended Par values for the corals they want to keep. All of that information exists. It's really not a mystery. Lastly, for a hobbyist, it is not practical keeping their lights so high above the tank. Way too much light spill into the room. Anyone who tries to run their Radion Pros or whatevers LED at 80-100% intensity at a normal height will just straight up fry their corals so that whole thing needs a "kids don't try this at home" disclaimer too.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3962463/

http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2012/10/aafeature

Hi there,


Thanks a lot for the post, really appreciate the feedback, and the links. I remember reading those myself and will confess some of the science ultimately went over my head then, just as much as it does today. My "hopelessly unscientific" jab at my self was quite sincere I assure you.

The point I was ultimately trying to emphasize with the write up, was that with the advancements and adaptations in led technology, specifically in fixtures designed for aquarium use, (even since 2012 when the AA was written) that corals will adapt and thrive under just about any aesthetically pleasing combination of color settings you can come up with. The quality of the light is sufficient at any given aesthetic spectrum, and that people who are constantly adjusting their lights would be much better served to dial in an aesthetic that they enjoy viewing, and let the corals stabilize and adapt to that rather than satisfy some arbitrary need they believe the coral has.

Please understand that I’ve had this conversation with may people desperate to know exactly what I personally am doing with my own lights, and all I can really tell them, is that I am doing essentially “nothing” with regard to any specific spectral setting or chasing. It is this observation over the years that led me to the simple conclusion that sps can and will thrive under any broad settings they are placed under as long a they are relatively consistent. There is definitely a human element in determining proper intensities. I’ve kept sps successfully for over a decade before I ever got my hands on a Par meter. An enormous part of reefkeeping, is observing whats going on in front of you, and determining what works and what does not, and reacting, as opposed to adhering to specific metrics.

I really appreciate your input, and willingly admit this entire write up was built entirely on anecdote, and as I stated based solely on my own observations over the years on what has worked, in an effort to help people struggling with what they believe to be issues related to their leds specifically. The good news is that this simple advice has works for many people now over the last few years.

I invite any and all criticism and/or analysis to the points I have made here with open arms. Please don't hesitate to chime in.
 

welly18

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I remember when PFO released their new LED fixture, the Solaris, in 2006 at the IMAC show in Chicago. It was extremely expensive, it had no proven track record at all, and ultimately wasn't really refined enough to serve as a suitable replacement for halide or T5’s in any way. But it was darn cool! And it was a starting point.






Looking back, I can’t help but be extremely impressed at the lengths we’ve come since that fixture hit the market, only to fizzle amidst a swath of red tape, sadly taking PFO with it. But their initial innovations along with pioneers like Tullio Dellaquilla, who I had the pleasure of meeting that year at IMAC as well, served to pave the way for the modern concept of LED aquarium lighting as we know it today. And where PFO left off, the DIY’ers picked up, rapidly building and experimenting - adapting LED's to fit for success in light dependent reef systems. What was once a nearly ineffective novelty, has become an industry mainstay - with good reason. LED’s work, and they work well! This has been firmly established over the last few years. The once fiery debate over “do they” or “don't they” has been practically extinguished. It seems that one of the last true mysteries with LED success is simply “what do I need to do with them to get my coral to look good?”





I’ll admit often times the catalyst for some of my write ups is that I find myself answering the same questions, or very similar ones, frequently. One question in particular regarding LED use is leading the pack by a mile and that is, “How do you run your LED’s?” Specifically, how do I run my own led fixtures? A simple question with a simple answer. I run them all at 80-100% every channel, and keep the fixtures high off water. A lot higher than most - at roughly 18-24 inches. Seems simple enough, right? Mount them high, run them high, spread and coverage is great, and par is more than adequate. No muss no fuss, in fact, I don’t even use the internal timers anymore, relying on my old T-101 timers to turn them on and off each day. Just as if they were halides. Nothing to it, I swear.


But further then the quandary goes into exactly what is the “ideal” spectrum for SPS, and "how exactly do I get SPS to look alright? Under precisely what spectrum, duration, intensity, height, etc?" The perfect recipe for color spectrum being sought after with highly regarded, yet puzzling desperation. Convinced this elusive “perfect spectrum” will immediately "edenize" their tanks, solving any and all problems associated with coloration and vitality of their SPS.





Here's the thing. My honest and hopelessly unscientific answer since I fired up my first LED fixture, based entirely on my own trials, failures, and success, is this: There is no singular quintessential combination of slider locations and durations, or individual intensities, that will produce results beyond that of any other setting you can come up with. Literally, this setting does not exist! I am convinced that if your crucial water quality needs are satisfied, and your corals are acclimated properly to the light provided, they will adapt and thrive under any color combination you want to keep them under. You might want to read that last sentence again.

Here's the trick, and there is nothing to it. This is one of those rare instances in reefing where sheer laziness or even apathy will be absolutely beneficial. Your LED's, or whatever fixture you happen to have mounted above your reef, STOP MESSING WITH THEM!!! And I really mean that. Stop, stop, stop! The constant tweaking, and that search for “ideal” spectrum - you will not find it. It takes time for the results to show, there is nothing instantaneous. I could actually say you already have it. Believe me or not, by constantly messing with those sliders in your search for the perfect setting, you are only providing an unstable environment at best. Look at it this way. If you were running halides or T5’s, how obviously unnecessary would it seem to swap out bulbs daily. Experimenting with different colors and wattages to no end? You wouldn’t do it, plain and simple - and the same notion should be applied to your LEDs. Think of your light like you think about alkalinity. It is still all about consistency and stability and the more you apply that line of thinking to your LED's, I believe, the more will you find success with them.






I have been using LED's intended for aquarium use for a number of years now, and also have observed many of the nuances regarding spectrum and intensity, as well. I am 100% convinced that any color combination in modern fixture with halfway decent quality diodes, will ultimately achieve and provide the same types of results in our SPS. In other words, it literally does not matter to your SPS what color you rain down upon them as long as the intensity is satisfactory and spectrum is consistent day to day. I truly believe this. To have long term success with LED's, the key is stability, not ambiguous spectral chasing.


The best advice I can give people is this: Dial in your fixture to a visual aesthetic that appeals to YOU! Get that color looking so good that every time you walk in the room you are taken back by just how happy you are with the actual appearance of the light itself. Then kindly remove or disable any app or apparatus you have to modify the light again. Believe me, 9.9 times out of ten your SPS will adapt and thrive under this combination you have chosen. As long as you just stop messing with the thing.








I know what your thinking.......


But what about a daily shift from white to blue and back, and lights that ramp up or down essentially creating the same kinds of inconsistencies I just rallied against? That’s a good question and a very valid concern. The same rules still apply. Once you are 100% happy with the the visual aesthetic of the cycle then stop tweaking. Corals will adapt to a consistent daily pattern for sure. As long as it remains consistent. In the wild, duration intensity and spectrum swing pretty dramatically as well, but the daily patterns remain relatively consistent day to day.



I know there are plenty of people on these boards a lot smarter than me, and with a whole lot more experience with the in's and outs and complexities of the science of LED's, and I encourage any of you to chime in with knowledge and insight you may want to add. The crux of this write up is based solely on my own observations of what has been effective, and what has not, and the many conversations I have had with people experiencing the same kind of problems over and over. Although, I really think people are getting it more and more. But if you are one of those, still struggling, trying to find the “right” spectrum, let your own tastes do the work and dial in that fixture to the setting that you find the most visually appealing. This truly is the trick to running LED's.


 

welly18

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This is exactly what I needed to read. I am guilty of messing with my lights daily knowing its probably not a great idea. Thanks again. Im headed to recovery now
 
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Battlecorals

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This is exactly what I needed to read. I am guilty of messing with my lights daily knowing its probably not a great idea. Thanks again. Im headed to recovery now

That's excellent man. Thanks for the post. Feel free to come back and share any results!
 

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There is actually scientific research that specifies which spectrum corals will thrive at, so to say "it doesn't matter" is patently false. The Zooxanthellae that provide the energy for Corals need light in the violet and blue wavelengths. BRS has a few youtube videos on lighting that explains all of this in detail and the spectrum put out by the ATI blue plus bulb closes matches what corals crave. Not to say that is the only thing that doess, but come on, there is plenty of science out there to just completely pretend it doesn't exist is not great for the hobby. Honestly, it's kind of irresponsible considering people look to you for advice.
If your point is that people shouldn't get hung up on having the intensity and color settings perfect, well you're wrong there too. Anyone who has an LED that allows them to adjust intensity and spectrum should absolutely make an effort to have sufficient intensity for their corals to thrive AND the spectrum that is both pleasing to eyes and keeps the corals happy and growing. A responsible thing would be to recommend people borrow a Par meter from their local reef club or LFS and tune their LED to the known recommended Par values for the corals they want to keep. All of that information exists. It's really not a mystery. Lastly, for a hobbyist, it is not practical keeping their lights so high above the tank. Way too much light spill into the room. Anyone who tries to run their Radion Pros or whatevers LED at 80-100% intensity at a normal height will just straight up fry their corals so that whole thing needs a "kids don't try this at home" disclaimer too.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3962463/

http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2012/10/aafeature
IMG_0756.JPG
 

Velcro

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There is actually scientific research that specifies which spectrum corals will thrive at, so to say "it doesn't matter" is patently false. The Zooxanthellae that provide the energy for Corals need light in the violet and blue wavelengths. BRS has a few youtube videos on lighting that explains all of this in detail and the spectrum put out by the ATI blue plus bulb closes matches what corals crave. Not to say that is the only thing that doess, but come on, there is plenty of science out there to just completely pretend it doesn't exist is not great for the hobby. Honestly, it's kind of irresponsible considering people look to you for advice.
If your point is that people shouldn't get hung up on having the intensity and color settings perfect, well you're wrong there too. Anyone who has an LED that allows them to adjust intensity and spectrum should absolutely make an effort to have sufficient intensity for their corals to thrive AND the spectrum that is both pleasing to eyes and keeps the corals happy and growing. A responsible thing would be to recommend people borrow a Par meter from their local reef club or LFS and tune their LED to the known recommended Par values for the corals they want to keep. All of that information exists. It's really not a mystery. Lastly, for a hobbyist, it is not practical keeping their lights so high above the tank. Way too much light spill into the room. Anyone who tries to run their Radion Pros or whatevers LED at 80-100% intensity at a normal height will just straight up fry their corals so that whole thing needs a "kids don't try this at home" disclaimer too.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3962463/

http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2012/10/aafeature
Also, these photon v2's don't have much of a blinding glare when they are mounted 18-24". The G4 radions definitely do. Light spill is actually less than I had with an ATI t5 fixture.
 
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Battlecorals

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Also, these photon v2's don't have much of a blinding glare when they are mounted 18-24". The G4 radions definitely do. Light spill is actually less than I had with an ATI t5 fixture.
I don't mind the bleed over so much on the prop system, but I agree its pretty well contained, but I will say that on a display, it is one of those things I absolutely can not stand. I'm a hood guy forever.:)
 

Bob E

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personally I love consistency. I like the idea of finding or setting to what you like and leaving it there. There will always be times I think you will need to make changes mainly intensity . Like getting the coral Acclimated for example
 
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Battlecorals

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And if you want that "AS SEEN ON BATTLECORALS' R2R FORUM" authentic DIY LED building caffeination mug, it can be purchased here: https://www.smokiesinformation.org/shop/salamander-campers-mug-43

Proceeds go to a good cause too, because biodiversity matters, marine or otherwise ;)

Excellent info Tim! Thanks a lot for sharing. No Diy shop would be complete with out the salamander mug! I'll admit it was the mug on the heat sink that made me want that pic from you for this one :) Really ties everything together. In case anyone has been wondering, that is Tim's meticulous handiwork there.
 

simonsays

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Totally agree with you on coral adapting to the light they are under! I went with an led strip for aesthetic purposes. LFS said I would not be able to keep SPS. Not only am I keeping SPS but the colors are getting better with time!
 

Waalker

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Great write up indeed, I think "Stop messing with it" is the best advice you can give, and some I need to take as well. When they give you these fancy new toys and controllers with all the bells, what reefer doesn't go crazy trying to figure it out?!
 

Opus

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Did the people that sued PFO actually ever come out with their own light?
 
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Battlecorals

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Did the people that sued PFO actually ever come out with their own light?

Man that is a really good question. My bet is they never even intended to but I don't know how it all ended up.
 

Grey Guy

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I still don't get it. Why is the fixture that can fry my corals, the right one for SPS, even though I run it at 75%., but a smaller fixture is not enough at 100%. I'm starting to think that if we all started taking PAR readings in our tanks, we could separate the truth from all the hype. But, as soon as all the way up is too much, then I will always be in doubt of the best settings. The article that started this thread is excellent, but without seeing PAR or following someone else's success, I think that LED spectrums will still keep me perplexed. Then there is the double speak. I can run my fixture at 55%, and at the same time, run all my color spectrums at 100%. So I ask the LFS, What percentage do you run your Radion?" I get the answer, "We run them all at 100%." But last-week, they said 100% would fry there corals. So I got confused.
 
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Battlecorals

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I still don't get it. Why is the fixture that can fry my corals, the right one for SPS, even though I run it at 75%., but a smaller fixture is not enough at 100%. I'm starting to think that if we all started taking PAR readings in our tanks, we could separate the truth from all the hype. But, as soon as all the way up is too much, then I will always be in doubt of the best settings. The article that started this thread is excellent, but without seeing PAR or following someone else's success, I think that LED spectrums will still keep me perplexed. Then there is the double speak. I can run my fixture at 55%, and at the same time, run all my color spectrums at 100%. So I ask the LFS, What percentage do you run your Radion?" I get the answer, "We run them all at 100%." But last-week, they said 100% would fry there corals. So I got confused.

I can hear the frustration in your post man truly, and trust me you are not alone. Thanks a lot for the post. Sps can be extremely adaptive and resilient, but the key is to do thing gradually. You can hit and acro with 800-1000+ par if its been acclimated properly for sure. And it may take a while to really fully adjust and thrive but it can and will. Of course, this is more of an extreme example and not really a suggestion. What will stress out sps tremendously is rapid and dramatic changes in intensity. Frags are certainly more resilient to this sort of thing, but more mature pieces may not do as well.

When it comes to individual vs overall intensity, like those adjustment parameters found on the Radions for example, consider the spectrum sliders only as a means to dial in your visual aesthetic. The overall, is the measure of total intensity of that aesthetic Not much different than a sound mixer in many regards. Guitars, bass, voc's and drums can be blended any way through the individual volume/gain sliders to balance the sound the best, but the master volume still controls the total volume of the mix.

If you have access to a par meter, a really good starting point would be to measure par at the surface, just above the water line and dry, at anywhere from 500-800. Using this standard, you can raise the light as high as possible to get better spread and coverage, and adjust the over all intensity to hit around 500-600 around the center of the light, just above the water line. Distance from the water is irrelevant then as long as you are hitting your target par but I really prefer to get that fixture as high as possible, especially in instances where bleed over isn't a issue. Not sure how deep your tank is but this should be ample enough to keep sps pretty and not to pale them out, but you're concerned at all, then go to the lower end on that and measure par at 500 at the surface. It's a starting point for sure, but just remember to make any changes gradual and give coral some tome to adapt.

If you have any other questions at all, please don't hesitate to post.




Edit: no idea why it's turning the word "target" to a hyperlink to the store automatically. I have tried to fix this twice now and it keeps turning it to a link?

Edit 2: Fixed:)
Edit 3: nope, there it is again lol. I give up
 
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