What kessil is right for me? Ap9x, a500x, or a360x calling out all kessilheads

BRS

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I have fully cycled and almost matured my aquarium. I am officially ready to start lighting it. The diatoms are clearing up, and I am starting to see coralline algea specks of different shades.

My plans are to expirence a mixed tank before I dive into SPS, but I am questioning my initial lighting plan.

Over the last few months I have been picking one kessil over another.
This is because I don’t know which light is more appropriate for my tank.
I have looked at countless videos on these lighting options, but none of them tailored for my need.

The tank dimensions are 30.5”x15.5”x15.5”

Originally I contemplated the fixture meant for rectangular tanks, the Ap9x. With the light pucks being 9” on center the Ap9x would spill a lot of light for my tank. The light is meant to light a 48”x24” SA

This problem drew my attention to the new kid on the block (a500x). This light is really meant for deep tanks but it covers my footprint at 36”x36” with less light spill on the sides. However shadowing now becomes the concern.

The next consideration was a pair of the a360x with a spread of 24”x24” but I am concerned that these two combined would cause hot spots especially for a mixed tank.

The last option considered was the small a80 lights, these cover an area of 20”x20” but I question wether these lights can grow sps since they cool passively, and it feels like I’d be paying for dated gear since these don’t cover near uv waves.

Would a mix and match be good? X1 (a360x or a500x) and two a80s??

Please impart your wisdom, and advise on the ideal mounting height

I need to get everything ready before reefapalooza, It will be my first saltwater convention for my first reef tank. Wife is already giving me doo doo about lights. I need to urgently get the lights and livestock because of the convention, and our 1st baby is due in November.

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GoVols

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For smooth led spread:

1 - AP9x or 2 - A360x fixtures

It would be best to use an "led" par meter for your height and intensity.

Looks like BRS stopped doing par meter rentals... :(
 
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GoVols

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a500x combined with either LED bars such as Orphek or T5’s. This will resolve the shadowing problem and is the recommended approach

An a500x (with or without t5s) would create a huge hot spot in the middle of Op's reef or a ton of front-to-back overspill.
 
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Forty-Two

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An a500x (with or without t5s) would create a huge hot spot in the middle of Op's reef or a ton of front-to-back overspill.
Not with the 35 degree lens and at the right height and intensity. It’s currently what I’m using and it works great
 
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GoVols

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I almost bought the AP700s until I read the unhappy reviews. Would have saved a lot of money but didn't want to risk it. I went with the AP9X and love them Highly recommended.

I ran the 700 the bugs were improved on, but you can't get its diffusers anymore. I'd move on up too.
 
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Spare time

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Why is everyone telling OP to spend nearly or over a thousand dollars to light a 15inch tall 15 inch deep tank? The a160we covers 18x18 mixed reef and is way cheaper than an ap9x or two a360x. Its not like OP is lighting a 90 gallon. 2 A360x or 1 ap9x on this small of a tank is ridiculous.
 
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