Should I turn my lights up?

MrPatel

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 14, 2023
Messages
50
Reaction score
44
Location
Rockville
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Rookie reefer here!

Running a 15g with five frags: 3 zoa, 1 duncan, 1 candy cane

The zoas went in first. For the first few days, they weren't really opening much. I thought maybe the light was too strong, so I lowered it. (60% power, 10H including ramping) Then after a few days, they were opening just fine! Retroactively thinking, maybe this was because they needed additional time to acclimate to the new aquarium.

Duncan and Candy Cane went in later under the same conditions. I don't see any problems with them either.

It's been about a month. They're all looking pretty much the same. Opening and closing with the light. Some of the zoas look a little bigger, but I haven't seen any new polyps yet.

Would increasing the light power/time accelerate growth, or would it be risky to do that?
 

Lavey29

10K Club member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
Messages
10,561
Reaction score
10,967
Location
United States
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Literally had no idea that was a thing. Thanks!
Some people even put their phone in ziplock bag and check underwater but I don't recommend this. I compared the photone app with a par meter and surprisingly it was fairly close to accurate above the water line.
 
OP
OP
M

MrPatel

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 14, 2023
Messages
50
Reaction score
44
Location
Rockville
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Some people even put their phone in ziplock bag and check underwater but I don't recommend this. I compared the photone app with a par meter and surprisingly it was fairly close to accurate above the water line.
I got the app and paid for the full spectrum LED. Looks like about 50 par at the surface. I think increase?
 

Lavey29

10K Club member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
Messages
10,561
Reaction score
10,967
Location
United States
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
I got the app and paid for the full spectrum LED. Looks like about 50 par at the surface. I think increase?
I just used free version but if you have only 50 par at the surface your tank is way under par and needs more light. Increase intensity slowly though. I increased 1% per day over 30 days. How deep is your tank? What types of coral?
 
OP
OP
M

MrPatel

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 14, 2023
Messages
50
Reaction score
44
Location
Rockville
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
I just used free version but if you have only 50 par at the surface your tank is way under par and needs more light. Increase intensity slowly though. I increased 1% per day over 30 days. How deep is your tank? What types of coral?
It's a 15 gallon cube, so about 15 inches to the bottom. I have the light maybe 8-10 inches from the water surface. Running the light at 60%, so I assume I can go up to about 80 par at max

Right now, 3 zoa colonies, one candy cane and one duncan
 

Lavey29

10K Club member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
Messages
10,561
Reaction score
10,967
Location
United States
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
It's a 15 gallon cube, so about 15 inches to the bottom. I have the light maybe 8-10 inches from the water surface. Running the light at 60%, so I assume I can go up to about 80 par at max

Right now, 3 zoa colonies, one candy cane and one duncan
For those corals you want at least 100 par which would mean probably close to 200 par at the surface required so 15 inches down its 100.
 

Narideth

Fishaholic
View Badges
Joined
Jan 15, 2023
Messages
454
Reaction score
806
Location
Florida
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
50 PAR at 60% power seems way low for that light at the surface. Is this 60% blue and 60% white or some other combination? I would doubt the veracity of that reading.

This light is rated for 100 PAR at 100% at a distance of 24 inches in open air. I have a nicrew 30w black box which has the same number of LEDs in a different configuration, and I'm about to return my rented PAR meter today. If you can give me the exact power for blue/whites before I head out I can approximate the same 8-10 inches and see what an apogee meter says?
 
Last edited:

Narideth

Fishaholic
View Badges
Joined
Jan 15, 2023
Messages
454
Reaction score
806
Location
Florida
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Well I decided to do it anyway because everyone should have the benefits of a good PAR reading. At 60% white/60% blue, my 30w Nicrew was getting a solid 350 PAR at an open air distance of 10 inches. Yours should be getting at least the same, if not better.

The black box Nicrew light has a wider spread of LED diodes than the puck shaped one does, and the puck shaped unit is able to drill down deeper into the water column, according to the default PAR maps provided by Nicrew, since it's more like a spotlight. PAR is exponentially reduced by distance, though I don't know if there's any kind of equation for it.

Left map is the Black box, the right map is your light by comparison. Same LEDs just a different layout and configuration.

61QQNyCUlLL._AC_SL1500_.jpg
61Sb1Wj9jlL._AC_SL1500_.jpg


A month of seeing no growth is not unusual, depending on the variety of corals - particularly the zoas. I have Bam bams that will put out new heads weekly, and I have Utter chaos that I've had for 5 months without a single new head growing. It's great to know your PAR though to rule that out, and I tested all of my tanks to within an inch of their lives while I had this meter, but honestly your light as it is currently is probably fine for the corals you currently have.

That being said, if it IS 60/60, I personally would slowly up the blues to 100. 60% white and 100% blue at 10 inches in open air measured at 410 PAR. Without knowing your rockwork, the spread of various places, how your water disturbs the light or lowers the PAR it's a guess, but some extra blue tones will have the added benefit of making your corals pop in color. I have a 50w nicrew black box over my 15 gallon that I was running pretty low and after adding a bit more light, my already happy corals plumped up quite a bit in thanks.

And just for hecks and giggles, 100% white and 100% blue at 10 inches in open air was 600 PAR, hopefully that will help you deduce with the map above some guesswork numbers. These are deceptively powerful lights, like a lot of LEDs. You'd be more likely to cook your corals than under-light them.

Hope this helps!

PS. More light may equal more algae, so take that into consideration. Balancing everything is a long-term process. Higher lights, lower photoperiod etc to counter it.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
M

MrPatel

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 14, 2023
Messages
50
Reaction score
44
Location
Rockville
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
For those corals you want at least 100 par which would mean probably close to 200 par at the surface required so 15 inches down its 100.
50 PAR at 60% power seems way low for that light at the surface. Is this 60% blue and 60% white or some other combination? I would doubt the veracity of that reading.

This light is rated for 100 PAR at 100% at a distance of 24 inches in open air. I have a nicrew 30w black box which has the same number of LEDs in a different configuration, and I'm about to return my rented PAR meter today. If you can give me the exact power for blue/whites before I head out I can approximate the same 8-10 inches and see what an apogee meter says?
Thanks for the feedback. I think I might have used the app incorrectly if that's what the reported numbers are. I'll play around with the app and try again.
 

Lavey29

10K Club member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
Messages
10,561
Reaction score
10,967
Location
United States
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
I agree with the above poster. You want blue and uv spectrum at 100% for corals. Red, green and white much lower like 25%. Corals do not need white light. It is basically for viewing pleasure and can help increase par if needed but more white can lead to more algae.
 

Narideth

Fishaholic
View Badges
Joined
Jan 15, 2023
Messages
454
Reaction score
806
Location
Florida
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Thanks for the feedback. I think I might have used the app incorrectly if that's what the reported numbers are. I'll play around with the app and try again.
I know it would feel nice to have something in hand that you can rely on, but those apps don't have the best reputation. I'd just be wary of really trusting them.

That being said, the numbers I gave you from the apogee par meter are accurate up until the point where the light hits water, so at least you have a baseline to work from. The meter is now gone, gone back to the fish shop, so good luck with the rest of your lighting queries. :)

I agree with the above poster. You want blue and uv spectrum at 100% for corals. Red, green and white much lower like 25%. Corals do not need white light. It is basically for viewing pleasure and can help increase par if needed but more white can lead to more algae.

I agree with this stance, you'd probably get good results shifting everything more blue as well as lowering the whites. I didn't even consider lowering them, but it's good advice. Try 40 white/100 blue - a gradual change over a few weeks, and see if your corals react positively.

What you can be sure of now, is that your corals are opening and have been doing so for a month, which means their basic lighting needs are most likely being met. Where you go from here depends on your goals!
 
OP
OP
M

MrPatel

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 14, 2023
Messages
50
Reaction score
44
Location
Rockville
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Well I decided to do it anyway because everyone should have the benefits of a good PAR reading. At 60% white/60% blue, my 30w Nicrew was getting a solid 350 PAR at an open air distance of 10 inches. Yours should be getting at least the same, if not better.

The black box Nicrew light has a wider spread of LED diodes than the puck shaped one does, and the puck shaped unit is able to drill down deeper into the water column, according to the default PAR maps provided by Nicrew, since it's more like a spotlight. PAR is exponentially reduced by distance, though I don't know if there's any kind of equation for it.

Left map is the Black box, the right map is your light by comparison. Same LEDs just a different layout and configuration.

61QQNyCUlLL._AC_SL1500_.jpg
61Sb1Wj9jlL._AC_SL1500_.jpg


A month of seeing no growth is not unusual, depending on the variety of corals - particularly the zoas. I have Bam bams that will put out new heads weekly, and I have Utter chaos that I've had for 5 months without a single new head growing. It's great to know your PAR though to rule that out, and I tested all of my tanks to within an inch of their lives while I had this meter, but honestly your light as it is currently is probably fine for the corals you currently have.

That being said, if it IS 60/60, I personally would slowly up the blues to 100. 60% white and 100% blue at 10 inches in open air measured at 410 PAR. Without knowing your rockwork, the spread of various places, how your water disturbs the light or lowers the PAR it's a guess, but some extra blue tones will have the added benefit of making your corals pop in color. I have a 50w nicrew black box over my 15 gallon that I was running pretty low and after adding a bit more light, my already happy corals plumped up quite a bit in thanks.

And just for hecks and giggles, 100% white and 100% blue at 10 inches in open air was 600 PAR, hopefully that will help you deduce with the map above some guesswork numbers. These are deceptively powerful lights, like a lot of LEDs. You'd be more likely to cook your corals than under-light them.

Hope this helps!

PS. More light may equal more algae, so take that into consideration. Balancing everything is a long-term process. Higher lights, lower photoperiod etc to counter it.
Wellp. Figured out what I was doing wrong. I was pointing the camera at the water surface instead of up at the light. So 50 par was the reflection?

I did it with the paper over the camera and facing up at the light this time. I got 1500 par at the surface. Also realized my light is 5-6 inches above the water surface.
 

Narideth

Fishaholic
View Badges
Joined
Jan 15, 2023
Messages
454
Reaction score
806
Location
Florida
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Wellp. Figured out what I was doing wrong. I was pointing the camera at the water surface instead of up at the light. So 50 par was the reflection?

I did it with the paper over the camera and facing up at the light this time. I got 1500 par at the surface. Also realized my light is 5-6 inches above the water surface.

That sounds like it might be closer to accurate, given that twice the distance away by my measurement is a little more than a quarter of the PAR of yours. The square of the distance or whatever the math for it is in open air is supposed to be how much it falls off. Wild.

Confused Thinking GIF
 
OP
OP
M

MrPatel

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 14, 2023
Messages
50
Reaction score
44
Location
Rockville
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
That sounds like it might be closer to accurate, given that twice the distance away by my measurement is a little more than a quarter of the PAR of yours. The square of the distance or whatever the math for it is in open air is supposed to be how much it falls off. Wild.

Confused Thinking GIF
dang you, Newton!!!

OK So. This is what I think I'll do: Increase from 10H to 12H and switch to 40% white 80% blue.
 

Lavey29

10K Club member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
Messages
10,561
Reaction score
10,967
Location
United States
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Wellp. Figured out what I was doing wrong. I was pointing the camera at the water surface instead of up at the light. So 50 par was the reflection?

I did it with the paper over the camera and facing up at the light this time. I got 1500 par at the surface. Also realized my light is 5-6 inches above the water surface.
Did you do the phone calibration to operate the photone app?

No way it's 1500. Do you mean 150?
 

Idech

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 21, 2021
Messages
3,140
Reaction score
2,730
Location
Canada
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Some people even put their phone in ziplock bag and check underwater but I don't recommend this. I compared the photone app with a par meter and surprisingly it was fairly close to accurate above the water line.
That’s what I do and it’s perfect. Someone onYoutube tested it against a common par meter brand and the results were practically identical.

You need to pay to get the automatic level but it’s only 6$ for a month. You probably only need one month.
 

Mixing an (un)intentional concoction: Do you know what you are adding to your reef tank?

  • I am aware of every item that is added to my reef tank.

    Votes: 94 57.3%
  • I know most of the items that are added to my reef tank.

    Votes: 44 26.8%
  • I am somewhat aware of the items that are added to my reef tank.

    Votes: 11 6.7%
  • I follow the directions of others when adding items to my reef tank.

    Votes: 3 1.8%
  • I randomly add items to my reef tank.

    Votes: 11 6.7%
  • Other.

    Votes: 1 0.6%
Back
Top