Seeking input on lighting 72x30x31” MH & viparspectra

Reefinmike

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Hey all,

I’ve been struggling to decide my next reef’s dimensions- lighting cost, form factor, desired looks, long term sustainability etc all come into play. I’ve ruled out a 96x30x31 and a 72x36x31- deciding that a 72x30x31”290g”(actually ~250g) is better suited to my budget and what I can realistically care for. As funds allow, I can always add that clam look down tank later down the road. Weighing all my options for lighting, I considered shimmer, overall look, canopy access, amount of cords, long term maintenance costs, addition of heat(generally welcomed in my house), controllability and ample PAR for future coral growth.

I started looking into metal halides and was saddened to see the old lumenarc III reflectors I grew up on are no longer produced. Initially I dismissed the Reefbrite pendant however the more I look into it… I think i’m sold. I know Tulio has a great reputation in the industry. The 0-10v controllability on the RB ballast really grabbed my attention. Does the reduced wattage directly translate to reduced bulb wear? For example, do bulbs ran 12hrs @ 66% last just as long as a bulb ran 8hrs @ 100%? It would be nice to use the dimming for a longer photoperiod, staggering peak intensity and allowing room for increased par demand with coral growth. I could also program my apex to dim the halides if temp gets slightly out of range.

The Reefbrite twin arc bulbs are also pretty appealing. Using the standard “replace yearly with 8hr/day use” for single arc bulbs- I would presume the twin arc bulbs should be replaced every two years. I would probably run them longer(10hr total) and plan on replacing them every 15 months… likely staggering their introduction and moving each bulb down the line of fixtures such that the right fixture always has a 0-5mo bulb, the middle has a 5-10mo bulb and the left has a 10-15mo bulb.

I already own 5 new viparspectra “165w” led fixtures. If the general consensus approves, I would add MH to the mix buying:

3x Reefbrite SE pendants @$236ea- $708
3x RB 400w 0-10v ballast @$217ea- $651
1x Icecap 400/250w ballast @$165
12x RB 400w 20/20k bulbs @$74ea- $888
MH total- $2412
5x “165w” viparspectra @$160ea- $800
MH & LED total- $3212

I feel that this setup should keep me covered for 5-6 years. There is a spare LED for parts/wear/failure and the icecap ballast serves as a spare while leaving the option to use a 250w bulb if 400w is too much in an area. Spacing is a little tight but I feel it’s enough since I will be adding canopy ventilation fans. I should have a 2” gap between each end fixture to the canopy wall and a 1.3” gap between each adjoining fixture.

Does anyone have concerns or advice on this setup? My biggest concern is the spread. I own a neptune(apogee) par sensor and 6 older kessil 360we’s that I can add if needed.

ECD2335D-0218-4B7C-A407-B268E603FEA8.jpeg
 
REEFTIDE

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That is a lot lot of light. Just for the heck of it, I'd try the kessil's you already own where the MH would normally go. You could put two of them per a "column" in that picture, which would give you the shimmer and spread. This sounds like if for some reason you aren't happy with it, you can always swap them out for the MH. This would definitely save you a ton of money.

If you go the kessil route, turn the intensity of the vipars down and maybe not hang them 24 inch above like many recommend.
 
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Reefinmike

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That is a lot lot of light. Just for the heck of it, I'd try the kessil's you already own where the MH would normally go. You could put two of them per a "column" in that picture, which would give you the shimmer and spread. This sounds like if for some reason you aren't happy with it, you can always swap them out for the MH. This would definitely save you a ton of money.

I will say that would be too much light imo.
I’m a cheap butt and this absolutely crossed my mind. The kessils are 3-6 years old and a couple of them have dead diodes. I suppose I could put the 4 good lights where the center halide would go and use the other two kessils as backups. That would save me ~$800.



-The new tank will cost ~$2500 + tax
-The stand will cost ~$2100 + tax
-Travel to pickup tank/stand, glass suction cups and movers will cost ~$1500
-proposed lighting will cost $3,212
-finishing construction, electric, canopy etc will cost ~$1500

That’s roughly $11k & you can add another 2k for stuff like plumbing, sand, salt, additional base rock, etc etc. thankfully I already have a boatload of apex stuff, dozens of dosers, A couple good UV’s, 8 Wav pumps, 100lb of good rock in wet storage etc. At this point in my “system”, I don’t think it’s smart to implement something that’s no longer produced to save $800.

Ps- the viparspectra are kinda disappointing. They claim 165w but only pull 95w with all channels at max. At 100B:50W they’re only 70w
 
REEFTIDE

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I think you’re better suited with the RB halide pendants, I have two and love them. I would suggest that you make the tank shallower, it will make gaining access to the bottom a little easier, plus the benefits of wider vs taller are always favorable. Of course, it’s personal preference, but I’ve never been a fan of taller vs wider. Standard 55g always comes to mind.
 
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Reefinmike

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I think you’re better suited with the RB halide pendants, I have two and love them. I would suggest that you make the tank shallower, it will make gaining access to the bottom a little easier, plus the benefits of wider vs taller are always favorable. Of course, it’s personal preference, but I’ve never been a fan of taller vs wider. Standard 55g always comes to mind.
The RB halide pendants are what I’m planning on!

I’m a tall tank/ difficult access believer… i will go 3-4 months between dipping my hands in my reef. Tinkering shouldn’t be easy IMO.

the way a reef presents itself in a room is very important to me. You shouldn’t have to look or lean down to see the reef. Light bleeding into the room shouldn’t be tolerated. The water line should be 4-5” above eye level. The top of my reef tanks will always be 72-75”
 

wrassie86

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Maybe I can help, since I just went through this. The vipers are powerful lights growing corals, algea or dinos. My tank is a standard 180g, like you I like my lighting to look good from beginning to end. I have always used MH (DE now) I tried to switch to vipar alone (didn't really like them) then I went 3x MH and 4 viper. while it looked great with MH on, it was border line too much light, so once again not happy with mh off. Tried viper with and without optics, just could not like them.
I settled with popbloom light bars 2x470 blue and 2x full spectrum with the white,green,red optics removed that pretty much gives me a t5 blue + look with staggered on off times. I might replace one of the full spectrum with a light from a different company that gives a better/different mix of blue's. but really the 470's look good by themselves for before and after MH viewing.

I will add that the popbloom light bars are not as powerful as some of the more expensive bar lights.
 
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Reefinmike

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I’m a MH lover as well but that is a lot of light. If you already own the vipraspectra lights and are set on using them. I would go down to 250w and run them for only about 4-6 hours a day.
Agreed, I was considering using 400w in the middle and 250w on the ends however the 400w really isn’t much more expensive. With the dimmable ballast, I can knock the 400w down to ~266w if needed.
 
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nereefpat

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Reef Brite pendant? It's the same pendant for all wattages. They roughly cover a 24x36 area.
If they cover that much, then the Viparspectras aren't needed, at least while the halides are on.

OP mentioned running the MH 10 hours. I would run the MH more like 6-8, without the LEDs, then run the LEDs high above the tank on dim and blue for evening viewing.
 

jda

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Those 400w MH won't need any supplement. I would save the energy and use the panels just for your taste to blue-it-up or provide some dusk/dawn or something like that. I would not run them all of the time and use up electricity nor hours on the boards and diodes. ...just make the panels about you.

I have never used a RB Twin Arc, so this is not experience, but the idea is that with the single color bulbs, there is 2 bulbs in one, so they last twice as long. ...so twice as much money is the same net. With the different colored ones, which I do not see available right now, some liked to use the whiter higher output bulb for large parts of the day and then the 20k later to view them - similar to dusk/dawn, or the like.

I would also suggest that you place the row of lights more over the corals and not center them on the tank, unless the corals are centered. Most keep rocks and corals near the rear, so putting the lights back a bit is not a bad idea. 30" deep tanks are not super hard to light, but even an inch or two near where the corals are can make a difference.
 
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rtparty

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Those 400w MH won't need any supplement. I would save the energy and use the panels just for your taste to blue-it-up or provide some dusk/dawn or something like that. I would not run them all of the time and use up electricity nor hours on the boards and diodes. ...just make the panels about you.

I have never used a RB Twin Arc, so this is not experience, but the idea is that with the single color bulbs, there is 2 bulbs in one, so they last twice as long. ...so twice as much money is the same net. With the different colored ones, which I do not see available right now, some liked to use the whiter higher output bulb for large parts of the day and then the 20k later to view them - similar to dusk/dawn, or the like.

I would also suggest that you place the row of lights more over the corals and not center them on the tank, unless the corals are centered. Most keep rocks and corals near the rear, so putting the lights back a bit is not a bad idea. 30" deep tanks are not super hard to light, but even an inch or two near where the corals are can make a difference.

In talking with Reef Brite, the twin arc bulbs don't last twice as long like you'd think. The big benefit was like you said, having 10k in the day when not home and 20k later for your pleasure.
 

Semisonyx

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I would get a sixth viparspectra and run 2 rows of 3. Flank with a pair of t5 bulbs. You won’t need the halides and it will save you a lot of heat and money. I grew and colored coral like crazy (and just as well as MH) under a similar setup on my 180, having run Radiums/VHO prior to that.
 

wrassie86

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I would get a sixth viparspectra and run 2 rows of 3. Flank with a pair of t5 bulbs. You won’t need the halides and it will save you a lot of heat and money. I grew and colored coral like crazy (and just as well as MH) under a similar setup on my 180, having run Radiums/VHO prior to that.
Were the vipers stock? And wondering what setting you ran the 6 vipers at?
 

Semisonyx

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Were the vipers stock? And wondering what setting you ran the 6 vipers at?
Yeah, they were all stock. I’d have to go back and look at old posts, but they were mounted 14” above the water line for spread/color mixing, and at something like 50% blue, 20-25% white. I prefer a 12-14k look. I ran them for 2 years before switching to Philips Coral Care Gen 2.
 

wrassie86

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Yeah, they were all stock. I’d have to go back and look at old posts, but they were mounted 14” above the water line for spread/color mixing, and at something like 50% blue, 20-25% white. I prefer a 12-14k look. I ran them for 2 years before switching to Philips Coral Care Gen 2.
Thanks, when I ran 6 it was about the same settings/setup, although I could never get past 10 on the whites.
 

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