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

Sleepydoc

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If you're asking whether your eyes can substitute for a PAR meter, absolutely not.

The question I always have with PAR meters is that of spectrum. We know that light intensity varies over spectrum and different frequencies matter for corals but a PAR meter lumps everything down to one number. How do you compare equal PAR numbers with different spectra?
 

G Santana

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Par meters give you par, your eyes tell you whether the corals are happy with the par they are receiving, par can't tell you that. So it's nice to have access to a par meter but the ultimate decision maker is your eyes.
 

vetteguy53081

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3.5 decades of using my eyes and they must be good as I have happy specimens
 

rtparty

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This is a MUCH larger topic than PAR meter vs human eyes. Our eyes were never designed to tell us PAR. It is like asking do you trust the scale or you jumping in the air to tell your weight more? One tool was literally designed for telling you. The other was not.

The real question here is should a PAR meter be a necessary tool in today's reefing world? If so, why? Why are we, the hobbyists, allowing these companies to charge $900 a fixture and giving us zero info? When did that become okay? Why should BRS have to do the testing FOR them? So we can get some YouTube videos? I'd rather see Ryan and Randy tackle other topics. Let those selling us the lights actually put out info. It is not difficult to write a program telling you what your PAR levels are in your tank with these LEDs. What size tank? How high off the water? Where are the lights mounted? Etc. You can get a very close guess that would be correct for 90% or more of the tanks out there.

It is like buying a truck for off roading and the manufacturer doesn't tell you ground clearance, enter/exit angle, if the tires are even off road capable, and a myriad of other things. Instead we get, Hey! Buy this shiny new toy to go off roading. Don't worry about any of the specs or how to actually use this tool we are selling. Just know it HAS to be better than our last generation truck and you SHOULD buy it.

I have a PAR meter and find it useful. I used it 2-3 times the few months I had it and haven't touched it since. I will use it again shortly when I think it might be time to change my halide bulbs. In the end, my corals don't seem to care what PAR they sit at under halides. They are all happy and growing better than I can ever remember. Can't say that under LEDs. I had to be very careful where everything was placed. Had to make sure they didn't have too much PAR. Now with halides I have some corals getting 4x the amount of PAR and they are as happy as they have ever been.

It was menetioned earlier but it is quite ridiculous that some people are being told to drop $3000 for lights and then in the same breath being told what's another $500 for a PAR meter? This is a GREAT way to get new people into the hobby...said no one ever
 

Funston07

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I always use a par meter to set new lights up then adjust coral placement as needed. I just bought a reefbrite fixture and was gonna keep the meter this time just so I had it but the coverage from these lights are so good I'm going to return the meter. Wont need it for a long time again. Par levels are extremely consistent throughout my entire tank.
 

Glenner’sreef

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So I’m one of the few “OTHERS” out there. Both par and eyes are real important but there is another direction that I’m sure everyone on the site can relate to: It’s the overall buzz about a given product and all of the information that accompanies the buzz. Par would certainly be one of those bits of information.
I’m presently (today as a matter of fact) in the process of purchasing 4 Kessil 360X. I’m very excited about it. But it’s not only because of par or looks, it’s because of what everyone is saying about it. Reefers are pretty truthful about gear!
 

Pattys

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Thank you to @Sleeping Giant for the QOTD idea!

When it comes to measuring lighting for your reef tank the most common tool available is a PAR Meter. But just because you can "measure" your lighting doesn't mean that you will automatically know what amount of light is best for your particular reef tank. For that you need to factor in many things like tank dimensions, types of corals and other variables. So what is a healthy amount of light for your reef tank? Do you trust the PAR meter or your eyes? Let's talk about it!

When it comes to knowing what the right amount of light is for your reef do you go with what a PAR meter says or what your eyes see?

Please explain your answer and why you choose one over the other.

image via @HKAVR45
PXL_20201020_185340209.jpg
I never used a par meter. Not saying I would never used one. But I use my eyes. I see how the coral is responding and will move if needed
 

bkhunt

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Other

Par meter is a great tool to help you ensure you lights are working properly via spectrum and brightness. Can help tell you if bulbs need replaced or slight adjustment to led colors. That is what they are a tool.

I prefer using my eyes to adjust my lights to what my tank wants. Look at your corals and you will be able to tell if they need more or less light. IMO nothing beats your eye by observing your tank.
 

WallyB

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It' pretty obvious that a Par Meter will be more accurate than human eyes for PAR measurments. Same could be said that a properly calibrated thermometer will be better at temp check than your finger tip.

A Par Meter is very handy to get a feeling of Lighting at various coral placement points (rockscape or bottom), to know what kind of corals can go where, and possible tune the intensity of your favorite light spectrum settings.

I think it's a good idea when setting up a new tank, new lights or change in DT scape. Then lighting should be left alone if you want coral acclimation success. (To Map out your tank PARS and store in a handy place for future reference when selecting/adding corals)

If you have LED lighting like most people to these days, the PAR doesn't change much unless you muck around with settings. In the past having a PAR meter was more handy to check on T5's and MH bulbs as they aged.

I've rented a PAR meter before to get things setup, but couldn't see myself owning one to check Par Daily, weekly, etc

Would I spend money on a par meter and leave it in a permanent place in one's tank to check my daily PAR cycle. Nope!!!

I do borrow a PAR meter from a fellow reefer (once in while) and he has a SeneEye monitor. Just uses it for PAR readings.
Price is pretty good, if you just use it JUST for a Par Meter, since the PAR feature works even if you don't use the other features and no need to buy replacement slides if you don't want to measure PH and Ammonia.

https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/seneye-reef-monitor.html
 
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MiniCoco

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I voted for the PAR meter. A funny thought ran through my mind when I started reading the posts to this question of the day. So many people find it difficult to read color wheels and charts in regards to testing different parameters that a company, Hanna to be exact, has profited very well in. So why would anyone not use a PAR meter to ensure the proper levels of nutrition can even be achieved for all the animals we purchase and/or acquire that are photosynthetic or have a symbiotic relationship with photosynthetic zooanthellae? Having access to a PAR meter is at the same level of care as quarantining in my humble opinion.
 

ClownWrangler

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Your eye are useless for measuring PAR for a number of reasons.

The first reason is the one talked about plenty here, the spectral response curve of your eyes and LUX meters are drastically different than a PAR meter and photosynthesis, so there is no "conversion factor" unless you are dealing with a specific spectrum profile such as a metal halide. The conversion factor would be equipment and setting specific. So you could borrow a PAR meter to create your own LUX conversion factor, but it would no longer be accurate if you changed anything about your LED color balance settings.

Example, Blue light with the same PAR as white light will look far more dim. Then there's every degree in between.

Second, your pupils are constantly dilating to adjust to ambient light. I learned about this before I ever started reefing after killing many houseplant due to inadequate lighting. "High" light indoors tends to be lower than "low" light outdoors, but you would never know it without a meter, because your eyes play tricks on you. Your pupils dilate constantly which creates variable gain error and totally screws up your perception. It would be like trying to judge the intensity of sound through a closed door or ear plugs vs direct exposure where the attenuation is constantly changing.
 
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ClownWrangler

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I want a par meter, but enjoy my marriage. I think she’d be super ticked if I bought something for $500 to use annually.

After seeing all the marriage comments in this forum, I decided I ever get married, there will be a prenup for this sort of thing.
 
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: 133 23.8%
  • No. Thankfully, I haven't.

    Votes: 289 51.8%
  • Nope, but it almost happened. (Share your experience in the thread.)

    Votes: 44 7.9%
  • Not yet, but I'm almost there. (Tell us what you're dealing with.)

    Votes: 47 8.4%
  • If you reef long enough, this will eventually happen to you.

    Votes: 36 6.5%
  • Other

    Votes: 9 1.6%
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