What do you trust? Par Meters or Eyes?

BRS

What do you trust the most when it comes to lighting?

  • A PAR meter

    Votes: 251 63.4%
  • Your Eyes

    Votes: 114 28.8%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 31 7.8%

  • Total voters
    396

Burray

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I'm still learning but it seems the Par meter would be the safe way to go and although expensive you can rent for a week from BRS, according to one of their sites.
 

BTimms

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I was one of those who thought my eyes were better than a par meter and could tell proper PAR and spectrum, UNTIL I tried using a PAR meter, and boy was I surprised!

While I was sort of close in my guess, a PAR meter helped me to dial in those numbers and sincerely helped in optimization and understanding of my reef environment.

I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in knowing your exact readings. In fact I think it should be a tool that all hobbyists use, specially when starting a new tank.
 

BTimms

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I'm still learning but it seems the Par meter would be the safe way to go and although expensive you can rent for a week from BRS, according to one of their sites.
Check your LFS. Mine loaned me one for free for a week, as I was a regular customer.
 

Wasabiroot

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I was one of those who thought my eyes were better than a par meter and could tell proper PAR and spectrum, UNTIL I tried using a PAR meter, and boy was I surprised!

While I was sort of close in my guess, a PAR meter helped me to dial in those numbers and sincerely helped in optimization and understanding of my reef environment.

I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in knowing your exact readings. In fact I think it should be a tool that all hobbyists use, specially when starting a new tank.
Were you surprised at how low or high your numbers were? Just curious. :)
 

BradB

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Using your eyes to judge the intensity of light is foolish. Twice the PAR only looks a little brighter, and as you get close to 400nm, light is very dim.

Using your eyes to judge your coral is another matter. I know if I bleached my coral blasting it, or if it needs more light, just by looking at it. Knowing it is under 400 PAR or 100 PAR is not helpful.

If I buy coral from a friend, knowing it was under 400 PAR or 100 PAR is extremely helpful. If I start 400 PAR coral under 100 PAR, it will be a long time and a lot of moving it around before it gets to 400. If I start a 100 PAR coral under even 200 PAR, I might fry it.
 

Waynerock

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Maybe I have been lucky or just the fact I start low and work my way up until my corals say hold up that crap’s bright! Don’t get me wrong the info is definitely valuable but if you can’t get a little coral whisperer going on the numbers wont help much. I can count on 1 hand how many corals I have lost to too much or not enough light over the 17 years I have been reefing. I know several people who went solely by the numbers and fried everything because they did not try to understand what the corals were telling them
 

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Sean W.

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I use an Android app on my phone called " Light meter", it measures lumens using the ambient light sensor on your phone. If you take the lumens and divide by 70, that gets you pretty dang close to PAR. It's not exact, but it's better than licking your finger and putting it in the air. I would say it gets to within 10% accuracy or so. I have set up MANY tanks this way and always had success.
 

LPS Bum

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A PAR meter of course, but the truth is I think it's overrated for my tank. I have a majority LPS and softie system, so PAR really isn't that big of a concern for me. I've read the PAR levels that the manufacturer states, and my corals seems to be doing well, so I'm not too worried about it.

If I was keeping Acros, I'd be a lot more invested in PAR levels.
 

chaoticreefer

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Definitely par meter, but it's actually both, your eyes to determine your coral health, not the light itself.

Par meter became important once LEDs were introduced, because of hot spots, whereas MH have huge reflectors (spreading the global light source all around) and T5s (spreading along the long tube). The way LEDs are designed, they are more of a "one directional" light source. Yes it still spreads, but at a more narrow focus.
 

Rick's Reviews

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Your eyes definitely... are number one, I say this is the most important of any kinda test! If you are aware of any issues you see you are straight on it to deal with, no test kit in the world will provide you spotting 'what's that doing there' .

Only your eyes and lack of them seem to be a big part of alot of aquriams problems
 

alton

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Actually coming from someone who ran metal halide for 10+ years it saved me on buying lamps. The rule has allways been to change lamps once a year. On average checking it every so often my Radium and Phoenix lamps where lasting 18 months and where changed after they dropped 10%. I had one lamp last 24 months, and one only lasted 12. Doesn't take long to pay for the $400 meter.
 

chaoticreefer

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So let me undertsand this!

Instead of a 1200 usd light fixture plus bulbs, you need to get 3 -899 light units and a 500 par meter to run these new light so you can save some electricity?
Absolutely...there's no doubt my LEDs saves me money in Southern California electric prices, even with a $500 par meter. You also have to calculate in the cost to cool off your tank if you have MHs. A heater that is constantly on for 8-12 hours year round or a heater that only comes on during winter and only when warming is needed. Plus there's no regular bulb replacements (MH and T5 wise, which cost $$$ and are only to go up in the future because of government laws phasing them out, directly or indirectly) with LEDS and no ballast replacement (average every 2 years or so for MH).
 

design.maddie

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I LUV knowing what my PAR ratings are all over my tank. It is easy to asked for recommendations on corals in odd placements. Medium flow[laminar] and 175-190 PAR, It is on a peak of the rocks. With this information people can really give you workable suggestions.

FYI: that really did describe a place I am trying to find a coral for. :p
 

Buckster

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BRS used my lights on one of their videos. They explained how many inches over the water for a 24" tank. Detailed the spread for a 48" and 72" tank. Mine is 72, and I have followed the exact measurements and am pleased with my coral growth.
 

Midrats

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Actually coming from someone who ran metal halide for 10+ years it saved me on buying lamps. The rule has allways been to change lamps once a year. On average checking it every so often my Radium and Phoenix lamps where lasting 18 months and where changed after they dropped 10%. I had one lamp last 24 months, and one only lasted 12. Doesn't take long to pay for the $400 meter.
This is how I gauge when it's time to change my t5 bulbs, except I use a $15 lux meter. Works perfectly.
 
BRS

Have you ever torn down a tank over an issue you couldn't seem to beat?

  • Yes! I have. (Tell us about what issue you faced in the thread.)

    Votes: 134 23.7%
  • No. Thankfully, I haven't.

    Votes: 293 51.9%
  • Nope, but it almost happened. (Share your experience in the thread.)

    Votes: 45 8.0%
  • Not yet, but I'm almost there. (Tell us what you're dealing with.)

    Votes: 47 8.3%
  • If you reef long enough, this will eventually happen to you.

    Votes: 37 6.5%
  • Other

    Votes: 9 1.6%
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