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Unread 06/01/2004, 01:31 PM   #1
JB NY
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Lets talk about lighting an SPS tank

Lets talk about lighting an SPS tank.

There seems to be an awful lot of confusion going around. I'll start with a few easy ones.

The lamp you choose, is not the end all be all of producing colorful corals. Great coloration can be had with 10K as well as 20K lamps.

10K almost always grows Acroporids faster than 20K or 14K.

Corals can look very different depending on the light they are under. Here are some pictures from another thread.

click for larger image

10K Ushio


20K Radium



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Unread 06/01/2004, 01:55 PM   #2
Typhon
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I totally agree. Lighting is just a piece of the puzzle. Water quality, flow, etc.. are also very important to the colorations of corals.


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Unread 06/01/2004, 02:00 PM   #3
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Agreed, some nice SPS tanks are VHO only. Typically the higher the kelvin, the less life the bulbs will have.


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Unread 06/01/2004, 02:37 PM   #4
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I found that my 10k grew sps faster than running 20k. Colors were different after a while, not necessarily better. I prefer 20k, visually, but right now I am running 10k to increase growth.
I am also trying to greatly reduce nutrient levels in the tank; I believe that has a huge impact on coloration.


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Unread 06/01/2004, 02:46 PM   #5
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I find that the focus for both growth and coloration is always on Kelvin.

I personally believe that if thats the only thing focused on you are NOT going to be happy with the results. You can have the perfect blend of intensity and spectrum,,but if you have bad water quality/to little water flow/ ph ca alk etc out of wack, you are going to end up with problems that no 10K or 20K bulb can do anything about.


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Unread 06/01/2004, 02:46 PM   #6
ReefRaf
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So Joe...why is it that whenever someone posts pics of their tank with awesome acros, the first (and generally only) question is what temp bulbs are being used. Nobody ever asks "hey, what kind of PO4 levels do you run?" Or "how much flow is in there?", things like that.
I agree that it's so much more than lights, but the masses still seem to hang on to K values.
Thoughts?


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Unread 06/01/2004, 02:48 PM   #7
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Are we forgetting about intensity? 10k 175 watt, or 20K 400w.

It seems that 10k grow corals faster just out of pure intensity. I would like to see a study using 10k with the same par as a 20k and see if the growth rates would be any different.


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Unread 06/01/2004, 02:50 PM   #8
ReefRaf
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I agree that the 10k give more growth than 20k due to greater PAR, not wavelength concerns.


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Unread 06/01/2004, 02:51 PM   #9
Leviathan
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ReefRat..

I think personally its because when someone is viewing a picture thats the first thing that registers ( the visual aspect ) and therfore the most normal question to ask is what made it "look" like that...

I may be wrong,,but it would seem to make sense.
Especially if you see a picture posted that shows hints of equipment,,then you typically see many questions about the hardware.


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Unread 06/01/2004, 02:54 PM   #10
ReefRaf
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Agreed, but my perception (which could be way off) is that many/most people want to believe it's all about bulbs. Wattage, K values, etc.


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Unread 06/01/2004, 02:57 PM   #11
Jahkaya
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Since this thread is about lighting, should we not assume that tank parameters are optimal.

We could get way off topic talking about the effect that ALk will have on coral growth or that corals will put on the same amount of skeleton, with lower flow, just extend it to longer, thinner branches making the coral appear to grow faster.

So providing that the water quality is as it should be......lighting?


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Unread 06/01/2004, 03:04 PM   #12
ReefRaf
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Back to lighting then :-)


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Unread 06/01/2004, 03:09 PM   #13
JB NY
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Quote:
Originally posted by ReefRaf
So Joe...why is it that whenever someone posts pics of their tank with awesome acros, the first (and generally only) question is what temp bulbs are being used. Nobody ever asks "hey, what kind of PO4 levels do you run?" Or "how much flow is in there?", things like that.
I agree that it's so much more than lights, but the masses still seem to hang on to K values.
Thoughts?
I think most of it is most people just do not know. People look at a picture and think all they need to do is put the same lamp on their tank, and they will get the exact same results.

IMO, pick a lamp that puts out a color you like 6500K ( not for me), 10K or Blue (14K, 20K and the rest of the blue bulbs I put into this category) has decent PAR, and leave it at that. Spend the rest of your time and energy into water quality, the colors will generally come.

Some lamps do help with coloration, I agree. Different lamps can bring out some colors a little more than others, but only up to a point IMO. After that, It's everything else (that we never seem to talk about) that makes it happen.

Purple acro under 10K Ushio



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Unread 06/01/2004, 03:10 PM   #14
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Anyway, I believe that depending on the coral different spectrums are needed for it to color to it's full potential.

Preferably there should be 6500k, 20k 10k, 14k, over each 2x2 area. That way the coral ould be satruated at all spectrums and I beleive that blues wouldn't turn purple (or vice versa) yellows to Greens (vice versa) reds to pinks etc.etc.

As we already know reds and yellows tend to do best under 6500k's and 10k's while blues and purples tend to do best under 14k's and 20ks.


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Unread 06/01/2004, 03:12 PM   #15
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as for Joe's coral above.....possibly more green under 6500k and much more purple under 20ks.

However, I think it is awesome just the way it is.

I think it also depends on what colors you like to keep as well.


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Unread 06/01/2004, 03:12 PM   #16
JB NY
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jahkaya
Since this thread is about lighting, should we not assume that tank parameters are optimal.
I guess the point is to talk about lighting, but also get lot's of people to understand that what they are trying to achieve with lighting is more than they realize.


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Unread 06/01/2004, 03:14 PM   #17
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Beautiful coral Joe. Looks a lot like the one in sawjacks (Bill) avatar...

Quote:
Anyway, I believe that depending on the coral different spectrums are needed for it to color to it's full potential.
I call this the Japanese approach where they have bulbs "spotlighting" different corals to highlight the desired colour.



Last edited by pi; 06/01/2004 at 03:33 PM.
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Unread 06/01/2004, 03:15 PM   #18
ReefRaf
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jahkaya

As we already know reds and yellows tend to do best under 6500k's and 10k's while blues and purples tend to do best under 14k's and 20ks.
I've found that the corals "look" different under different bulbs, but that if you tookthem outside under natural sunlight, they would be almost the same whether they had been under 10k or 20k. I know that some of my colonies looked much nicer under radiums, but when I put the Ushio back on, it was identical to when the Ushio was originally on it. Just MO.


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Unread 06/01/2004, 03:16 PM   #19
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Well,

I have to agree that water quality excluded, intensity spectrum etc... does play a role in coloration. I have witnessed it first hand when I upgrade my dual 175watt 10k's to dual 250 20K's.

I had a nice green digitata that had turned a really dull tan/brown and a pavona that was also on the verge of browning out, while they were under my 175's.

Within 2 months under the 250 20K's the Digitata returned to its original green, and actually colored up a bit also. The pavona has colors in it now that I had never even knew it was able to have.


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Unread 06/01/2004, 03:17 PM   #20
Jahkaya
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I agree 100%

Lighting tends to be in everyones mind "the way" to get corals to color. AS shown from Joe's tank, you don't need 400w 20k radiums(doesn't hurt) to get awesome color. I am sure joe has wonderful water quality to assist in his colors(flow, ca/alk, low nutrients). I think that lighting is only the first step in the battle. I would venture to say one of the top three parts of the puzzle.

So that is why Joe brings it up.


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Unread 06/01/2004, 03:23 PM   #21
Jahkaya
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reef raf:

Were the bulbs the same wattage? If so it could be an intensity issue. I agree that most corals look different from bulb to bulb. a True Test would be to look at the coral under natrual sunlight as you said after it has been under 10ks for several months or 20ks for several months.

I have natural sunlight shing on my tank in the morning and the corals have color, but nowhere near when my 400w radiums and actinic on.

The Natural sunlight should be a "control" for colors.


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Unread 06/01/2004, 03:36 PM   #22
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My observations are:
10k's are needed to keep yellows. Yellow turns green under 20k
20k's are better for keeping blues and deep purples
Mixing 10k's and 20k's are optimum for keeping all colors.


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Unread 06/01/2004, 05:33 PM   #23
invincible569
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jahkaya
Anyway, I believe that depending on the coral different spectrums are needed for it to color to it's full potential.

Thats right. The more diverse you are on your spectrums, your chances of a beautiful colored coral are high. Your not just limiting your coral to one, but all of them. And with this, they will thrive on what you feed them (light).

I've tried to put most of the spectrums in my AQ. It doesnt all have to be MH, but I have noticed a difference just by adding a T5 Blue 450nm that brings out the blues in my blue corals!


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Unread 06/01/2004, 05:34 PM   #24
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I've found that Intensity is just as important. Especially when using lower wattage like 175's.
I had 2 10k Ab's over my 54 corner pretty bright, I wanted to add some blue because the 10k's are pretty harsh.

So I Put a XM 20k in and it looked nice but i started to lose color on some things right away. Intensity was cut in half with the Dim 20k lamp.


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Unread 06/01/2004, 05:39 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by AlgaeMan
My observations are:
10k's are needed to keep yellows. Yellow turns green under 20k
20k's are better for keeping blues and deep purples
Mixing 10k's and 20k's are optimum for keeping all colors.
I totally agree with that .
I'm down to 10k only though because of the inconvenience of trying to run both .


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