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Old 08/23/2008, 11:09 AM   #1
hobogato
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gone solar

i have posted all of this in my build thread, but i thought i would post here as well since the tank is 80% sps. about three weeks ago i took out the 5 MH lights from my 240 and installed 3 solar tubes. i kept the 580 watts of T5 actinic, and redid the configuration of the top of the tank. first, ill post a few before and after pics of the work i did, and then i will post weekly coral comparison pics to document the changes.

here is the way i did the tank originally:

front

back

here is what it used to look like inside the "canopy"


now, here is what it looks like

front

back

from above (i have covered the T5 lights with acrylic covers since this pic)


here is a comparison of the lighting in the tank:


here are hourly progression pics on a sunny day - left side is with the actinics off and right side is with them on


tank was without lights for two days while i did all of this, and within a week of installing the sundome tubes, everything was a nice shade of brown. the first coral pics i took were at that one week stage. i will try to take the same pics of the same corals weekly to show color and growth progression....


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Old 08/23/2008, 11:13 AM   #2
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the one week pics were taken on a somewhat cloudy day, so the overall look of the pics is different, but the coral colors are pretty acurate.

valida 8-10-08

same top down 8-10-08


ultimate frag's best stag ever 8-10-08


tyree lime in the sky 8-10-08


texreefer green with blue tip stag 8-10-08

same top down 8-10-08


texreefer A. chesterfieldensis 8-10-08

same top down 8-10-08



texreefer blue tip stag 8-10-08


seaworld sa blue tip teal stag 8-10-08



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Old 08/23/2008, 11:13 AM   #3
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Interesting, how do you know it is going to be enough light? What happens if it isn't? Would you put the halides back in? How did you decide to change over? I am not being critical, I am genuinely interested about your thought process of the whole thing. I really like the idea, I hope it works.


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Old 08/23/2008, 11:14 AM   #4
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Wow, very impressive....and very green. Aren't you going to miss the high electric bill? Wish that was an option for me. Here in NE Ohio the sun only shines 3 months a year

I would bet you will see significant growth from the change. Keep us posted.


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Old 08/23/2008, 11:14 AM   #5
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B&B A. efflorescens 8-10-08


ATL tulip A. millepora 8-10-08

same from back of tank 8-10-08

same top down 8-10-08


AKM yellow A. sp. table 8-10-08

same top down 8-10-08



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Old 08/23/2008, 11:18 AM   #6
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Corals look pretty happy. I am betting that is more sufficient light. Be interested to see that verified with a par meter. My guess is you are getting better par now.

Worst case, you could throw some T5's or VHOs to supplement in the winter.


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Old 08/23/2008, 11:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by sjfishguy
Interesting, how do you know it is going to be enough light? What happens if it isn't? Would you put the halides back in? How did you decide to change over? I am not being critical, I am genuinely interested about your thought process of the whole thing. I really like the idea, I hope it works.
the tubes i put in are 14", and they bring in as much light as my halides produced starting at around 11 am. the light continues to increase until about 2pm and then starts to decrease. it is as intense as my halides were until about 5pm. i was running a 7 hour photo period before, so the photo period now is a bit shorter, but much more intense for about 3 hours in the middle of the day.

Quote:
Originally posted by serpentman
Wow, very impressive....and very green. Aren't you going to miss the high electric bill? Wish that was an option for me. Here in NE Ohio the sun only shines 3 months a year

I would bet you will see significant growth from the change. Keep us posted.
just got the first electricity bill - looks like the change will save about $150 a month i didnt think it was an option for me for a long time, since we have a two story house and the tank is on the bottom floor. when i really started looking into it, i realized we would only lose about 15" of closet space up stairs, and i wouldnt have to cut any floor/ceiling joist or rafters, it was a go.


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Old 08/23/2008, 11:36 AM   #8
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Wow that is amazing, the corals look great. Amazing how intense the light gets, hows the heat from the lights? The colors look like they improved a lot, really noticeable with the ATL tulip A. millepora. Also any effect on algae?


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Old 08/23/2008, 11:36 AM   #9
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Not sure if you care to divulge, but what is the ballpark price of getting solar tubes?


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Old 08/23/2008, 11:50 AM   #10
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there is virtually no heat coming in from the tubes - my chiller almost never kicks on now - as far as algae, i cleaned the glass four times in three weeks (a little less often than i had to with the halides) no new algae, and one nice surprise with an existing algae........more on that later

Quote:
Originally posted by Treef
Wow that is amazing, the corals look great. Amazing how intense the light gets, hows the heat from the lights? The colors look like they improved a lot, really noticeable with the ATL tulip A. millepora. Also any effect on algae?
i did the installation (with a friend's help), so the materials for all of it (three 14" tubes at 16') was $1300 shipped.

Quote:
Originally posted by Husky_1
Not sure if you care to divulge, but what is the ballpark price of getting solar tubes?



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Old 08/23/2008, 11:55 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by hobogato
i did the installation (with a friend's help), so the materials for all of it (three 14" tubes at 16') was $1300 shipped.
Nice, sounds like they will pay for themselves in less than 9 mos. Do you foresee any issues with the winter months


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Old 08/23/2008, 01:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by serpentman
Nice, sounds like they will pay for themselves in less than 9 mos. Do you foresee any issues with the winter months
i was just going to ask that


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Old 08/23/2008, 01:06 PM   #13
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i think even in the winter time there should be enough light, but i can always change some of the actinic out for 6500k in the t5 fixtures if needed


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Old 08/23/2008, 01:38 PM   #14
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Who makes solar tubes?
Do you have a link?


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Old 08/23/2008, 01:47 PM   #15
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the ones i used came from a place in florida called sun dome


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Old 08/23/2008, 02:15 PM   #16
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Looks awesome! I've been running them on my reef for a couple years now. Man I wish I had a tank big enough for three 14" tubes.

Way to go!

Jim


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Old 08/23/2008, 02:21 PM   #17
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how about some pics jim?


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Old 08/23/2008, 02:23 PM   #18
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whoa, looks like your corals love their new light..kinda wish i can do that..


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Old 08/23/2008, 03:06 PM   #19
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looks good. would like to try it myself but the home owner association probly wouldn't allow it.


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Old 08/23/2008, 03:15 PM   #20
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hmm... not sure they would even notice, here is what it looks like on the roof

here it is at night when the actinics are still on (looks like im calling aliens )



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Old 08/23/2008, 04:33 PM   #21
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That's really cool looking. I can't believe they transfer light that well!

Do they heat up the tank a lot less than the halide lights?


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Old 08/23/2008, 05:40 PM   #22
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great pix. great thread.


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Old 08/23/2008, 06:34 PM   #23
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Just think on a new system the ROI is less, if you are building a new system and consider that a good ballast,good reflectors, and bulbs will run about $300. So really, you are only paying a premium of $130 per light. ROI is now less than 3 months, you are positive in the 4th...Wow I think when I do my upgrade I will be doing the tubes.


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Old 08/23/2008, 07:05 PM   #24
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well, i did sell my old halide setups for $100 each (good deal for the people that bought em - electronic ballast with home made lumenarc mini type reflector and reeflux 12K bulb), so i really only paid $800 out of pocket.



almost no heat from these - my chiller is hardly kicking on now

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Originally posted by scaryperson27
That's really cool looking. I can't believe they transfer light that well!

Do they heat up the tank a lot less than the halide lights?



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Old 08/23/2008, 07:15 PM   #25
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This is a really good idea. Please keep us posted on how the corals respond in growth. How do you think your growth is so far?


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