Very Surprised by My Low Par (Kessil AP700’s)

JCas06

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Hello all,

Been reefing for 7 years now. The first 5 went really good had a 72 bow front with 4 ATI bulbs and grew corals well and easily. Monti caps, birds nest, stylo, and hydnophora were my higher light corals and then I had things like torches, zoas, war coral, green star polyps which all grew well.

Anyways 3 years ago I upgraded the tank to a custom 100 gallon (48“ long x 20” high x 24” wide) and switched to 2 Kessil AP700’s. Watching the BRS par videos And hearing it’s a powerful light I hung them 11.5 inches off the water and started my lights at 15% and from what I remember my corals didn’t look happy like they were getting burned but I have gradually increased the light to 52%. Corals have come and gone but I have never been happy with my growth and color of the corals since upgrading the tank and lights. I am sure it’s been some water chemistry problems and I have really been working on that but I decided to rent a par meter from BRS just to see if I am burning the corals because I loose color on frags I buy within a month or so and they look pale and poor polyp extension, and slow growth. My hydnophora has been slowing dying from the bottom up. A tubbs stellata I purchased as a frag and have up the highest in the tank grew a little at the base then stopped. A The Freak anacropora has paled considerably but is growing slow. A pink birds nest has lost almost all its color but is growing slowly.

My first intuition was my nutrients were too low at zero and I was also told this on the Randy Holmes forum. I tried feeding more, dosing Red Sea aminos, turned skimmer off, stopped and purchased a couple more fish. I only had 4 and bumped it up to 7. Still looking to add more. Still couldn’t get nutrients up so started dosing phos and nitrate. I’ve now had nutrients in the tank for a couple weeks. My water Params are as follows:

Alk - 9 dkh
Cal - 440
Mag - 1350
PH - 8.2
Phosphate - 5 to 25 ppb
Nitrate - 2
Salinity - 35 to 36 ppt

One mistake I have been making is my water change water which is beautiful south Florida natural sea water is 1.8 DKH lower than my tank and I had not been correcting for that. I have since started and doing smaller water changes.

So like I was saying I rented a par meter because of the pale colors figuring I might be over lighting the corals as well and I was shocked to see how low my par numbers were. I know I have the light up high at 11.5 inches but at 46% power I was getting around 200 par average just under the waterline, mid tank was around an average of 135, and on the sand average of 100.

I then tested 60%, 80%, and 100% and will post pictures of my readings below along with what my tank looks like. The highest par I could measure at 100% was 300-315 just under the waterline. I’m the middle of the tank directly under the lights at the waterline I was averaging around 280 again at 100%. Mid tank under the lights was around 180 and sand-bed 150. Does this seem low for these lights?

After all these readings I lowered my lights to 9.75” - 10 ish off the water and will test again tomorrow.


Thanks,
Jason

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OpCode

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This probably won't be as useful as you'd like, but those par numbers sound quite like my 3Yr old AP700. I look for higher par in the center area of the tank for the clams on the sand and sps, which range in depth, so I went with the $300ish AquaticLife T5 hybrid. It only adds about 100 par or so, but just under top of water is around 450 IIRC with T5 +100% AP mounted at 8". It's a 40B by the way. I"m getting 330 par at mid-depth.
I'll check my par again tomorrow since I'm unsure of numbers. Sorry it's not more helpful, but just saying AP700 is in no way a lost cause and I love T5 with them.
 

MantisReef

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Kessil AP700 set heavy blue and ATI Blue plus/Coral Plus 50/50 for 8 hours mid day is a great combination for sps coloration and growth. I’ll post pictures later
 
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JCas06

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You would think that at the price these lights were you wouldnt need to add t5’s on top of them. I agree that these kessil‘s combined with t5’s would be a great setup giving a blanket of light eliminating shadowing, still having great shimmer, and good par numbers. But I spent $1,800 on LED’s so I wouldn’t have to replace bulbs anymore and to have a really modern looking setup. Adding a t5 hybrid fixture is more money and would change the sleek look.

I did lower my lights to 10 inches off the water and took new par readings. At 100% power just below my waterline I am getting around 320 par average. Mid tank 225 average. Sand bed is 195 average.

I watched the BRS videos on these lights and they showed plenty high par didn’t they?

Anyone else have par readings for their AP700’s?

Do LED lights loose par over time?
 

MantisReef

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I totally agree with everything you just said, it would be great if we didn't have to supplement these LED's with t5, but the truth is, I tried and wasn't able to do it. I know a lot of people who feel the same way about all sorts of other high end LED lights. I have the same experience with Ecotech's and would never run them without ATI Blue plus supplementation. I'm pretty sure Jason Fox and WWC would agree with me.
 

piranhaman00

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You would think that at the price these lights were you wouldnt need to add t5’s on top of them. I agree that these kessil‘s combined with t5’s would be a great setup giving a blanket of light eliminating shadowing, still having great shimmer, and good par numbers. But I spent $1,800 on LED’s so I wouldn’t have to replace bulbs anymore and to have a really modern looking setup. Adding a t5 hybrid fixture is more money and would change the sleek look.

I did lower my lights to 10 inches off the water and took new par readings. At 100% power just below my waterline I am getting around 320 par average. Mid tank 225 average. Sand bed is 195 average.

I watched the BRS videos on these lights and they showed plenty high par didn’t they?

Anyone else have par readings for their AP700’s?

Do LED lights loose par over time?

LEDs dont last forever and frankly, not long enough to make the bulb replacement argument realistic.

T5s are just better than LEDs in all grow factors. If you want to run only LEDs you need a lot to get the equal spread of T5s and it still wont be the same.
 

MantisReef

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My point being, if you can figure out a way to cleanly add some t5's to your setup, I think it will be well worth your time and money in the end, make lemons into lemonade. Your corals will be happier and will thank you with increased growth and coloration.
 

Greybeard

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The attached photo is from my 2x AP700's a few months back. As with others above, I have since purchased a Hybrid light and placed the AP700's in the center. I'm running 2x ATI Blue+ and 2x Giesemann AquaBlue 15000k bulbs. Adds a good 150 to these par numbers. I am experiencing MUCH better coral growth and health since I added those T5 bulbs. Prior to doing so, I'd say my results were much as the original poster suggested. Less than ideal growth and coloration. Currently, I'm running the T5's 9 hours a day, and the Kessels only 5 hours, mid day, at power levels as shown in the 3/5ths power test.

In reading the data, I've got two rock 'islands' in my tank. Tank is 60 x 30, and 18" tall. All measurements were made as low as I could place the sensor. On top of the rock islands, as high as 5" or so under water level. Away from the rocks, it's 17" deep or so.

Did the tests using the intensity buttons on the AP700's. They have 5 steps of adjustment, I recorded output at four of these levels. Color was 'mid point' all the way through, using the spectrum adjustment buttons.

KesselAP700ParTest.jpg


A shot of the light bar from below:
Lightbar.jpg.jpg


and a tank shot. Excuse the filthy glass, I missed my Sunday cleaning this week :D

TankwLight.jpg.jpg
 
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JCas06

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I bit the bullet and ordered the 48” aquatic life t5 hybrid fixture this afternoon. The extra cash expenditure hurts and is aggravating and the tank won’t look quite as clean but I have to say I’m excited about having t5’s again because I was so successful with them years ago and I want to start growing coral again! I am going to go with 3 blue plus and one coral plus Along with the two ap700’s. Just need to figure out how I’m going to mount It now
 

Kodski

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I bit the bullet and ordered the 48” aquatic life t5 hybrid fixture this afternoon. The extra cash expenditure hurts and is aggravating and the tank won’t look quite as clean but I have to say I’m excited about having t5’s again because I was so successful with them years ago and I want to start growing coral again! I am going to go with 3 blue plus and one coral plus Along with the two ap700’s. Just need to figure out how I’m going to mount It now

Unfortunately I'm a little late to the party, but did you consider adding a LED bar to the lights instead of the T5's? I know you mentioned that you switched to LED's to get away from bulb changes so that's why I mention it. Two OR3 bars would add a lot of color but also quite a bit of par to your tank. About as much as a T5 hybrid fixture. In another on going thread people are saying they are getting around 100 extra par per bar on the bottom of their tanks. They would also look a lot cleaner as well.
 

Greybeard

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I bit the bullet and ordered the 48” aquatic life t5 hybrid fixture this afternoon.

Best of luck. Don't know how your setup works, but the 1st thing I had to do was rebuild the AL unit... darned thing has a power cable coming out at both ends. I'm running a peninsula, NO WAY was I going to let that happen... so, I reengineered the unit, moved stuff around, so that both power cords came out the same end.

As for mounting the Kessel units, the AL had mounting bars that worked out well for me. Just _barely_ enough space, but I'm OK with that. I did have to pick up some screws that were slightly longer to replace the four screws in the top of the AP700's. See if your hardware store carries 10mm M4 cap screws. The screws that come with the AP700's aren't long enough.
 
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JCas06

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Unfortunately I'm a little late to the party, but did you consider adding a LED bar to the lights instead of the T5's? I know you mentioned that you switched to LED's to get away from bulb changes so that's why I mention it. Two OR3 bars would add a lot of color but also quite a bit of par to your tank. About as much as a T5 hybrid fixture. In another on going thread people are saying they are getting around 100 extra par per bar on the bottom of their tanks. They would also look a lot cleaner as well.

I did lightly consider it. But my proven growth with t5 in the past, and the talk at BRS of LED/t5 combo being the new gold standard I felt it was the safer choice. I think if I would have seen more about people using LED strip bars with LED’s I Kay have gave it a harder look. I just kept seeing people adding t5 in my research.
 
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JCas06

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The attached photo is from my 2x AP700's a few months back. As with others above, I have since purchased a Hybrid light and placed the AP700's in the center. I'm running 2x ATI Blue+ and 2x Giesemann AquaBlue 15000k bulbs. Adds a good 150 to these par numbers. I am experiencing MUCH better coral growth and health since I added those T5 bulbs. Prior to doing so, I'd say my results were much as the original poster suggested. Less than ideal growth and coloration. Currently, I'm running the T5's 9 hours a day, and the Kessels only 5 hours, mid day, at power levels as shown in the 3/5ths power test.

In reading the data, I've got two rock 'islands' in my tank. Tank is 60 x 30, and 18" tall. All measurements were made as low as I could place the sensor. On top of the rock islands, as high as 5" or so under water level. Away from the rocks, it's 17" deep or so.

Did the tests using the intensity buttons on the AP700's. They have 5 steps of adjustment, I recorded output at four of these levels. Color was 'mid point' all the way through, using the spectrum adjustment buttons.

KesselAP700ParTest.jpg


A shot of the light bar from below:
Lightbar.jpg.jpg


and a tank shot. Excuse the filthy glass, I missed my Sunday cleaning this week :D

TankwLight.jpg.jpg
Is that the 48” aquatic life hybrid or larger? How high off the water are your lights?
 
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