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Old 09/25/2018, 05:49 PM   #1
gonioporagirl
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Cheapest lights to grow coral?

I recently upgraded from a biocube to a 90 gallon custom made tank. I have everything set up except the lights. I find that lighting is probably the most expensive part of reefing, and I was wondering what the cheapest type of lighting is that could cover a 5 foot long tank and be able to grow LPS and softies. I don't really care about customization, I just want corals to be able to grow under them. Any info you can provide is appreciated


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Old 09/25/2018, 05:54 PM   #2
Bpb
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Probably a pair of mars aqua lights is about as cheap as it gets for that tank


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Old 09/25/2018, 05:56 PM   #3
mcgyvr
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Yep..2 of the 165w black box leds or 1 x 300w from Amazon/ebay..
Commonly called Chinese Black Box leds...mars aqua, viparspectra, and many more companies


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Old 09/25/2018, 05:58 PM   #4
Jason9488
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I have 2 mars aqua and they are great. Growing sps, Los and zoos with ease


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Old 09/25/2018, 07:03 PM   #5
cvrle1
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These are cheaper than MarsAqua, but a bit better IMO. They are almost identical to ViparSpectra unit (difference being that this one has 2 UV lights, and 2 red LEDs are in a bit of a different spot)

I got these, but havent tried them yet, as I havent started with setup.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/BLOOMSPECT-...e/332782539617

PS: Dont trust "last one" as it said the same thing when I bought mine. 2 more sold after as you can see.


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Old 09/25/2018, 08:24 PM   #6
dabob79
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Check out 21ledusa.com. Awesome lights and very affordable


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Old 09/30/2018, 12:53 AM   #7
CAPT_Dave
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I've been running a pair of SB Reef LEDs over my 120 for a year or so. I've had great results with LPS and zoas and pretty good with montis. They're another brand of the Chinese black box lights but they claim to have stricter specs and do seem to be of better quality. For the price, I really like them. Google sbreefs.

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Old 03/29/2019, 09:33 PM   #8
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I've been running a pair of SB Reef LEDs over my 120 for a year or so. I've had great results with LPS and zoas and pretty good with montis. They're another brand of the Chinese black box lights but they claim to have stricter specs and do seem to be of better quality. For the price, I really like them. Google sbreefs.

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sbreeflights lies about their better quality. i.e. they say they used upgraded heatsinks.. This is not true. IT's the same flat license plate that marsaqua and the others have. Also, their leds do not last a year. If you don't believe me, open up your light and take off the optics. I'm sure you will see nice burned up leds. also, they do not honor their warranties. I have extensive pics and documentation if anyone is considering buying these lights. My advice. Do not buy!!! They are not nice people.


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Old 04/01/2019, 08:38 AM   #9
Orsamax
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If it were me (but its not) I'd go with the Photon V2s. They are made by Mars Aqua (so I hear, but I don't have the proof) but they look to be several steps above. For the price of an AI Hydra 52 you can light up a 5 foot tank with lights that will just about bake any kind of SPS you want to grow. They are very aesthetically pleasing, and they seem to be better constructed than the "black box" variety (though they probably aren't too much better in construction). However, they strike me as a perfect balance between "black box" and something that will last a long time and get the job done. When I upgrade my IM Nuvo 40, these will be the "cheap" lights that I go with, as it looks like you are paying for a quality item that will have more than enough power and the right amount of user interface without having to pay the sticker price of radions, etc...


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Old 04/01/2019, 08:47 AM   #10
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Cheapest lights to grow coral?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orsamax View Post
If it were me (but its not) I'd go with the Photon V2s. They are made by Mars Aqua (so I hear, but I don't have the proof) but they look to be several steps above. For the price of an AI Hydra 52 you can light up a 5 foot tank with lights that will just about bake any kind of SPS you want to grow. They are very aesthetically pleasing, and they seem to be better constructed than the "black box" variety (though they probably aren't too much better in construction). However, they strike me as a perfect balance between "black box" and something that will last a long time and get the job done. When I upgrade my IM Nuvo 40, these will be the "cheap" lights that I go with, as it looks like you are paying for a quality item that will have more than enough power and the right amount of user interface without having to pay the sticker price of radions, etc...


Mars Aqua is just a retail brand of the “black box” made by the evergrow light company in China. The photon v2 is an evergrow product also, but sold and serviced by the American based company reef breeders. It uses an updated housing and higher quality diodes than the base level model


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Old 04/01/2019, 09:29 AM   #11
Uncle99
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30 months, 2 Visparspectra 165watts, love them, well built, super quiet fan.


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Old 04/01/2019, 06:21 PM   #12
neoh74
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I love my viparspectra also. Just grabbed another.


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Old 04/02/2019, 07:58 AM   #13
lightcycler
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Mars Aqua is just a retail brand of the “black box” made by the evergrow light company in China. The photon v2 is an evergrow product also, but sold and serviced by the American based company reef breeders. It uses an updated housing and higher quality diodes than the base level model


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First off hello . I'm coming back into the hobby after a 10 year lay off.
So all that being said are the Photons worth the price difference. Hard to say I'm sure but about double the price?


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Old 04/02/2019, 08:49 AM   #14
Orsamax
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"Worth" and "Value" are so subjective Speaking for myself (because its all I CAN do) they seem to be worth the difference to me. I've not had either of them. I've heard (key word, "heard") that bulbs can burn out, etc on the viparspectras and that they don't last more than a year or two (I know users will chime in here, and they should). The value for me is in the aesthetics, better heat dispersion, increased LED wattage (most of the lights on the Photon V2s are 5 watt), and the incrimental better overall construction that I have (only) heard about. I have no dog in the fight, however. In fact, I'd love to be wrong because it would mean that I could get the same value out of cheaper lights. Viparspectra owners, what say you?


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Old 04/02/2019, 08:49 AM   #15
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The price difference is because of the options.

With photons, you can control intensity of several colors instead of just blue and white. You can also ramp up different channels throughout the day. And the lights themselves look a little nicer.


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Old 04/02/2019, 09:10 AM   #16
Bpb
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Yes I think it’s worth it


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Old 04/02/2019, 09:53 AM   #17
devastator007
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I have a Viparspectra light, and another black box LED that I can't recall the exact brand. I've had them running for 2 years, and 5 years respectively. Have not ever had an issue with either of mine. I do like the Viparspectra because of the built in timers and digital selection of whites and blues intensity. My other black box only has a single power plug, and no built in programming, so I am unable to set blues and whites on separate photo periods. Not a big issue, but If i had to re-buy, I'd get the Viparspectra.

One important note if considering the black box style of LEDs is the wattage is exaggerated. For instance, the "300W" one I have only pulls 200W, and the "165W" one only pulls 110W. They say 300W and 165W because that is the rating of the LEDs, but they do not run them at full power, even with the intensity turned all the way up. A bit misleading, but seems to be the case for all the black box LEDs. I don't know if this is true of the name brand LEDs.

I'd suggest (2) of the 165 watt versions as you can spread them apart more than a single 300W, and cause less shadowing at the ends of the tank.

I have a 300W and a 165W over my 150 gallon and can grow softies, LPS, and SPS just fine. I have growing acros, and a birdsnest that's over 12" in diameter, all grown solely from the black box lights.


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Old 04/02/2019, 10:11 AM   #18
lightcycler
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Awesome information. I'm starting a 75 gallon build and this helps me tremendously .....thanks for the original question gonioporagirl


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Old 04/02/2019, 02:56 PM   #19
dadnjesse
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I would get the best lights you can afford, you will be changing them out later if you don't.


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Old 04/02/2019, 03:16 PM   #20
Bpb
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I would get the best lights you can afford, you will be changing them out later if you don't.


Much as I hate to say it you’ll likely be doing that anyway even if you bought really nice lights. People get bored with their lights and tend to replace them even when it’s not necessary


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Old 04/03/2019, 10:10 AM   #21
houstonreefer
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Those lights are affordable and worth of a try. highly recommend on a budget


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Old 04/03/2019, 11:13 AM   #22
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Much as I hate to say it you’ll likely be doing that anyway even if you bought really nice lights. People get bored with their lights and tend to replace them even when it’s not necessary
Yep. Which is why Lightcycler ought to at least consider an ATI SunPower fixture. Bulletproof, and no upgrade cycle.


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Old 04/03/2019, 11:26 AM   #23
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I have two ViparSpectra 165s over my 40 breeder and have to be very careful. They're running 40% on both channels and I've fried a few acro frags with them. Pretty sure these things could literally give me a sunburn.

No complaints about them either. The color looks best to me with blue and "other" channels the same intensity. They also seem to look better at higher intensity. Like others have said, my skimmer is FAR louder than all 4 fans running. The built in timer was also a must have for me.


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Old 04/04/2019, 10:18 PM   #24
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Yep. Which is why Lightcycler ought to at least consider an ATI SunPower fixture. Bulletproof, and no upgrade cycle.
But going to t5 vs led right? I ran a champion ballast and t5s 10 years ago....some times newer isnt better but gotta think LEDs hold alot of advantage?


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Old 04/04/2019, 10:26 PM   #25
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But going to t5 vs led right? I ran a champion ballast and t5s 10 years ago....some times newer isnt better but gotta think LEDs hold alot of advantage?


They have some advantages. Yes. But not all


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