The Proper Technique to Replace your T5 Bulbs

Discussion in 'ATI Aquaristik' started by ATI North America, Jun 8, 2015.

  1. ATI North America

    ATI North America Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    The Proper Technique to Replace your T5 Bulbs

    We get asked frequently about the best practices for changing out old T5 bulbs, so we wanted to take a quick second to let you know some of our best tips and practices. Changing bulbs on schedule will keep your reef looking great, but follow these tips to make sure you keep your friends in the tank safe as well.

    - New bulbs typically produce twice as much PAR (output) as old bulbs. To avoid shock to your corals it is always best to spread out a bulb change over a period of several weeks (Reef tank golden rule: nothing good happens fast).
    - Change out just 1 or 2 bulbs per week. Doing so will allow your corals to more easily acclimate to the new, brighter bulbs.
    - Brand new lamps have a burn in period of 50 hours. During this time they should not be dimmed; if using a dimmable fixture. They may also illuminate inconsistently or flicker during this period. Don't worry this is perfectly Normal.

    A lot of people do have questions about the 50 hours of burn in. It is not required to be all at once, and can be spread out over 4-5 days no problem. If you have an active dimmable fixture and you are concerned about keeping the life of the bulb perfect, we recommend the option of a “bulb burn in station”. Just buy a ballast and some end caps and mount them in the garage. Burn a pair of lamps in at a time for 50 hours before use.

    Keep your bulbs in perfect shape, beautiful and happy corals will come easier!

    * Please note, many types of corals may not open up as much as before immediately after replacing your bulbs.
     
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  2. Mike4108

    Mike4108 New Member

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    How many hours of use before you need to change the bulbs
     
  3. Addicted2ACRO's

    Addicted2ACRO's Well-Known Member

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    Good question
     
  4. LostInTheDark

    LostInTheDark Active Member

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    I read some post where people recommended a lux meter on your smart phone. Will that help in determining when to replace the bulbs? If so, anyone know the name of the best app to get? I am just starting with an ATI 8 x 80 over my 225 to replace cheap LEDs so I can take readings after break in and then just check them periodically after 9 months or so.
     
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  5. Addicted2ACRO's

    Addicted2ACRO's Well-Known Member

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    Nice choice. I recently purchased the same fixture. I like the natural look I get from my corals with the bulb combo I'm using. I supplemented my fixture with ReefBrite Blues. It really gives a nice color "Pop" to my corals. I'll follow along. I would be interested in that app as well
     
  6. xoomercom

    xoomercom Member

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    I always wondered that too. Everybody loosely says to change bulbs every 12 months but someone might be running them 16 hours a day while others for only 6
     
  7. ATI North America

    ATI North America Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    Where the bulbs seasoned?
    Are the bulbs being properly cooled?
    Is it an instant start or program start ballast?
    What kind coral do you have (how picky are they?)
    How many times per day do they turn off/on? (usually 1 for reef tank...)

    There is no hard fast rule since there are so many variables. I would say if you run 6-8 hours per day you are safe at an annual change, if you run 12 hours per day I would shoot for closer to the 8-9 months. If you do the math it works out to 2800-2900 hours so I suppose you could use that as a reference point.
     
  8. xoomercom

    xoomercom Member

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    Thanks for prompt reply. How does one season the bulbs?

    In my case there is 8 in a non-dimmable sunpower fixture. Assuming designed properly with shield on, yes they are cooled properly.

    Couldnt tell, I guess its instant because the bulbs come on instantly (again, whatever is in my ATI Sunpower 8x80W fixture)

    Mostly softies, few LPS, It's a "1990s" tank as few recent publications seem to go by that term lately.

    Once per day for on and once for off. The cycle goes like this, Fan on, actinic on, daylight on, daylight off, actinic off, fan off

    That's a good reference to start with. I have been going up to 18 months and nobody ever complained - fish only say food, food, food when they see me and corals don't talk much :) - but always wanted to hear pros and cons.
     
  9. ATI North America

    ATI North America Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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  10. cracker

    cracker Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Thanks, I just e/med You about an inexpensive fixture in the garage for burn in.
     
  11. xoomercom

    xoomercom Member

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    This link points back to this very thread.

    Lots of interesting info, a mixed bag ranging from people changing them every 9 months to TOTM owners and others going well past 12.

    If this whole burn-in is so important why isn't it mentioned anywhere on the product nor any product description pages in the many stores that sell them?

    If it wasn't for the fact that the end user isn't going to run back to store to buy another set because they failed to properly burn them in (due to not being aware of such requirement) I'd venture to say that the omission of such statement on the product packaging is purely self serving.
     
  12. ATI North America

    ATI North America Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    I just did a bit of an audit of our literature and while it is mentioned, it is not stated as dire as it should be to prevent failure. I appreciate your comments and have pitched a proposal to include an additional sticker or postcard on all fixtures with a warning. As you can imagine it is a little tough because the more warnings you give people the less likely they are to pay attention. We already have a sticker that warns them to put the bulbs in with the proper end of the bulb in the proper end of the fixture.

    See attached:
    Note the first 50 hours burn in period schedule recommendation.
     

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