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Old 02/22/2016, 12:14 PM   #26
slay
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Can someone explain to me the reasons and needs for running LEDs at less than maximum power and how to dial in my needs? I'm a returnee to the hobby, used to running a 400w metal halide for every two feet of tank. This has been my first foray into LED lighting.

I bought three EcoTech Radion G3 Pros and currently have them above a temporary 75g (my 180 is in a unfinished basement room which I'd like to have done with the tank as a feature - I bought the oversized gear I'd need in the future, not the gear I need today). I keep mostly SPS but consider my tank a light-demanding mixed reef. How and why should I go about tuning the intensity of the lighting cycle?


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Old 02/23/2016, 06:05 AM   #27
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Can someone explain to me the reasons and needs for running LEDs at less than maximum power and how to dial in my needs? How and why should I go about tuning the intensity of the lighting cycle?
The reason for running many/most led fixtures at less than 100% power is because at that level you would bleach/burn your corals. Especially corals that are in the upper part of the water column. The led is 'focused' light and therefore much brighter than you would think given the lower wattage.

Set your initial power levels low and adjust them to a color (shade of white/blue) you like. I'd suggest you start at something like 50% blue and 25% white (or even less) and then bump it up 10% every week or two. I run my fixture at 100% blue and 50% white. But understand, that is after a full 3 years of slowly bumping up the power levels from the 50% blue and 25% white when I started. Put a sacrificial coral as high in the tank as your highest coral and when it starts to show signs of bleaching, dial the power back a touch and you are good to go.

Even after you have hit a 'final' power level, you can still bump up the power again after a few months. You can dial up the power another 2% to 5% as the corals will have acclimated to the old max level.

If you have access to a PAR meter the whole process is much easier. Put the sensor at the bottom of the tank and set the power level so you get a reading of 100 to 200 and you should be good to go. PAR meters very easy to use but they are also quite expensive and not very useful otherwise, so try to borrow one from an LFS or a fellow club member in your area. I loan mine out a lot in exchange for a coral frag.


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Old 02/23/2016, 08:53 AM   #28
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TYVM Ron. I *just* got and set up a wireless Reef Link box/EcoSmart Live software for my Radions, which is amazing - among other great features, there is an acclimation period function, allowing me to start my lights out at any percentage I want and gradually let them ramp up to where I want over a time period (in weeks) of my choosing. Lighting sure has come a long way since I left the hobby.


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Old 02/23/2016, 09:18 AM   #29
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Glad to offer any help I can. That sounds like a nice software package. With 4 tanks I'm not willing to go for the very top end in lighting. But then EverGrow, ReefBreeders and OceanRevive fixtures I've been using for 3+ years have served me well. And they have more than paid for themselves in MH and t5 bulbs and total electrical savings. Heck, my 1hp chiller use to run 30 minutes out of every 60 during the day in the summer (it's outside in the shade). Now it may run 2 to 4 minutes an hour and in the dry season (what you would call winter) I turn it off.


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Old 03/06/2016, 08:23 PM   #30
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Hey guys, I'm pretty new to the hobby and bought a 20g innovated marine. I bught the skky 18w lights with it can anyone tell me if they will be good enuf for sps even tho I know I'm no we're ready for sps but I was wondering for down the rd.. Thanks


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Old 03/08/2016, 04:10 AM   #31
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Tell me if I assume correctly, your 20g is 15" deep and 24" long, right? And the Skkye 18w fixture is just 6 leds (3 watts each)? I think you will need at least 2 fixtures to cover the tank evenly. As for being able to keep sps, tough call, maybe with 3 fixtures. I think lps should be OK, if you ever try an sps, keep it close to directly under the leds.

I have a fair amount of led and sps experience, even with shallow tanks. But I have no experience with such a small led fixture. But my 24"x24"x12" frag tank has an led fixture with 48 leds and runs at 120 watts if that give you something to compare it with.


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Old 03/08/2016, 04:42 PM   #32
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Many fish stores are going LED now; if you buy a coral, it's good to observe what level [depth] it was in the sale tank, and outright ask the owner about the LED setting, that being what the coral is used to. They can probably tell you exactly what they're doing.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge lps reef: 3 firefish, yellowhead jawfish, yellow watchman, 3 chromis, tailspot/starry blennies, pink margin fairy wrasse, mandarin, kalk, radion pro, gyre, Eshopps s-200 skimmer, basement sump.
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Old 03/09/2016, 12:52 PM   #33
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Hello,
I am working on a 40 breeder AIO The area that will need to be lighted will be 28x18x16. Was wondering how many LEDs I would need if I went DIY. Or if there are any pre-builts that would work for this?


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Old 03/09/2016, 12:55 PM   #34
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Partly it depends on your rock stack, ie, where your corals are located, and what sort of coral. My tank is 36 wide running on one Radion Pro, but my rock (ergo my stony corals) are on a sharply pitched tall pyramid of rock, which considerably narrows the required spread.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge lps reef: 3 firefish, yellowhead jawfish, yellow watchman, 3 chromis, tailspot/starry blennies, pink margin fairy wrasse, mandarin, kalk, radion pro, gyre, Eshopps s-200 skimmer, basement sump.
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Old 03/09/2016, 01:26 PM   #35
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Will mostly be softies, zoas and LPS maybe a few sticks, but they would be up high. was planning on a centralized rock stack.


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Old 03/09/2016, 02:58 PM   #36
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One MIGHT do it.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge lps reef: 3 firefish, yellowhead jawfish, yellow watchman, 3 chromis, tailspot/starry blennies, pink margin fairy wrasse, mandarin, kalk, radion pro, gyre, Eshopps s-200 skimmer, basement sump.
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Old 03/16/2016, 09:26 PM   #37
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Researching Lights...and everything else

Hi - I'm new to the community. This is my first post.

I'm planning a 75 gallon FOWLR tank (48 x 18 x 21). After researching and talking to people at my LPS, I see value in spending more up front on lights for quality, rather than having to buy new ones in a year. My question is, will two Radion XR 15 pro LED lights be adequate for a tank of this size? I'm also planning on using the custom tank mounts that Radion makes.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated - thanks!


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Old 03/17/2016, 02:58 PM   #38
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Certainly should be enough.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge lps reef: 3 firefish, yellowhead jawfish, yellow watchman, 3 chromis, tailspot/starry blennies, pink margin fairy wrasse, mandarin, kalk, radion pro, gyre, Eshopps s-200 skimmer, basement sump.
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Old 03/17/2016, 04:58 PM   #39
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Cool - thank you.


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Old 03/24/2016, 07:56 AM   #40
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Kessil A160 Question

I everyone, I'm new to the hobby... I'm considering picking up two Kessil A160's for my 55 gallon. the tank is 48" long, 13" to the back, and 19" tall. I want to grow LPS. Would two A160's be sufficient enough?
I email Kessil and they said "two A160WE-TB for easy LPS/Softies tank, and some sps that is placed higher in the tank as well."
I just cant afford the 360's right now or in the near future, but I want to have a little fun in the meantime. I appreciate your thoughts on this.


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Old 03/25/2016, 11:52 PM   #41
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I want to first go back to original thread. radion pro will work great. don't forget you have the acclimation mode. on the 80 gallon cube here 30x24x24 one light does ok but 2 would be better. I run this one at 65% about 9-10" off the surface. it covers the whole tank but there is some shading on sps.

CHOX- I had 3 Kessil A360WE's on my 180. It was mostly LPS and some Softies with about 2 Acros , some monti's and a couple other SPS. The Acro's grew if they were within the top 8" of the tank but did not keep color I ran them at 100%. I switched to Hydra 52 HD's now on that tank and Acros colored up with 3 weeks to original. Don't get me wrong I loved the Kessil's and I have seen other people keep SPS with them in shallow tanks but for me they are best for LPS, Softies and Anenomies.


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Old 03/26/2016, 12:25 PM   #42
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Check out Reef Breeders

It may be worthwhile to have a look at Reef Breeders. A lot of bang for the buck. Their website has a spreadsheet with recommendations based on tank dimensions. You can get them with a built in controller if you want to program. I am in no way affiliated. I have them on my current 40 mixed reef and my now cycling 125 gallon and am very satisfied. Purchased based on recommendation from my LFS. Great customer service from them, as well. Just thought I would throw that out there. I am only running mine at 40% and all corals are happy.


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Old 04/05/2016, 09:44 PM   #43
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Hi all, I am new to saltwater tanks. I have a 55 gallon tank with 40 lbs sand, 50 lbs live rock and 10 lbs pukani rock. I have a cascade 1000, protein skimmer, 2 power heads and 2 wavemakers along with 2 AI primes. I have 2 clownfish, 2 pajamas, a sailfin tang, bt trigger(female) , coral banded shrimp, and a fire shrimp. I can not get any coral to grow, I have lost more coral than fish, I have only lost 2, but the coral is another thing. I have 1 small sps and 2 others that look like toadstools. These seem to be doing ok but I lost a very nice mushroom about 4" when open, it turned to mush and guts. Water parameters are safe, calcium lvls are at 500, I have not tested for phos. Yet but will tomorrow. I am aclamating at 50% right now. Any ideas why I am having such a hard time with my corals?


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Old 04/06/2016, 10:54 PM   #44
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I'm currently planning a 40 breeder. I'm currently looking at the Hydra HD the 26 and 52. My rock will probably be spread out and I plan on having mushrooms, zoas, and acans mainly. However I feel like the Hydras wouldn't limit me as far as corals. What would be ideal for my tank?


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Old 04/07/2016, 01:00 PM   #45
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I am probably going to wind up with a 55 gal tank since Petco has their $1/gal sale going on. Dimensions are 48" w, 12" d, 21" h. I was wondering if this light from amazon (or any from amazon) would be sufficient to maintain a mixed reef. I would like to try a little of everything eventually.


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Old 04/08/2016, 08:06 AM   #46
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I'm currently planning a 40 breeder. I'm currently looking at the Hydra HD the 26 and 52. My rock will probably be spread out and I plan on having mushrooms, zoas, and acans mainly. However I feel like the Hydras wouldn't limit me as far as corals. What would be ideal for my tank?
Ha! Sorry, I don't mean to laugh at you, but the question, "What would be ideal for my tank?" is something you need to decide. There is no ideal fixture. If there were such an animal, then all fixtures would be the same.

Given the corals you want to keep in a 40g tank, most any led fixture will do, except the fixtures that use leds that are less than 1 watt each like the Marineland and Current Orbit which are only OK for coral in very shallow tanks (like 12" or less). I'm less familiar with Hydra fixtures, but I think they will work fine.

The questions for you are, what do you want?

Do you care about having sunrise/sunset ability? It's totally unnecessary, but I love having it on my display tank. But then I'm retired and home during the day alot, so I enjoy seeing the tank change over time. BTW, your fish and corals could hardly care less. This extra control costs more.

Do you want more color control? Most fixtures have 2 channels, blue and white (with some red and green usually in the white channel). But some people are really picky about the color of the light in their tank, so they get fixtures that offer more channels and some even have a channel for every color. Is this kind of control important? Not to me. But some people go crazy over color control. Do your corals care? Not much, they are pretty happy with getting twice as much blue as they get white and that will keep them healthy and growing. This extra control costs more as well.

There is no 'ideal'. Just get enough fixture to cover the area at the bottom of your tank and with 3 watt or better leds and 2 channels with dimmers. Anything more is about what you want and not about what your corals need.


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Old 04/08/2016, 07:01 PM   #47
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I would suggest that one criterion in choosing which LED to use is lifecycle cost, or cost-of-ownership if you prefer, and that it should be considered and compared over a 3-5 year span. I went through this process very recently comparing several LED's and T5 since that is what I have historically used. The simple formula I used is

Fixture cost + bulb cost (for the T5's) + electricity cost, all times 3 years = total cost

I was caluclating cost for lighting my 60" x 24" x 24" 150g. Once I had the formula created in Excel, I simply input the data from various combinations of fixtures to get my comparitive lidecycle cost.

Electricity cost here in mid-PA is currently about 12 cents per KWh. So, for me, using a 10 hour per-day light cycle, my annual elecrical cost is $43/100w. This has significant implications since a 165w "black box" fixture will cost 5 times more in electricity cost than a 30w TMC Aquaray Tile that covers the same basic area. So, without getting into all of the other criteria, one really has to look at total cost over time. The cost difference between a $100 MarsAqua fixture and a $400 Kessil is not really $300, its $300 - the difference in electrical costs over a certain period of time. The elctrical cost would not totally close this gap but it may get it close enough that you are willing to pay a bit more for the Kessil given its other advantages.

Many are attracted to the low-cost black box LED's but I suspect many are not considering the related electrical cost penalty that comes with it.

I am not advocating for any one fixture or another, just suggesting a methodology for one point of comparison.


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Old 04/08/2016, 07:22 PM   #48
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For all the people who ask, what is the best light for my tank, I agree with the sentiment that Ron_Reefman just posted... that there is no such thing as a best light for a particular size of tank. To begin to answer this question we, the community who is being asked, would need to know what was important to you and what you were trying to accomplish. As Ron suggested, there is a great deal of variation in the functionality between fixtures, many of which, probably most, don't matter to your coral. There are a few things that do matter a lot to your coral, such as the spectrum of light being generated. But I'll take up some of the technical issues in another post.

Oh, and it is generally helpful, when you ask for advice, to have done enough study and reading, to understand the basics of light energy as applied to aquaria so you can ask better questions and the answers will make more sense. I


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Old 04/08/2016, 10:12 PM   #49
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OK so I'll make an attempt to get at what Sk8r was originally posting about...generally useful information for folks new to LED's or the hobby to know. Well, actually, I'll start with a list of criteria that I believe are useful to consider and compare, some of which matter to coral health and appearance, some are just a personal preference of the hobbiest, and some are of little use or are actually unhelpful and misleading. Lets assume we are dealing with a reef system, not FO or FOWLR.

I'll start with what I consider the the most important criterion...

1. PUR. At the end of the day, what seems to me to matter most, is how well the light fixture is providing the radiation/light/energy (however you want to describe it), necessary for healthy coral. If you do not know what PUR is, go read some more. The point here is that what matters is what specific frequencies of light are produced.

2. PAR. This is a widely used criteria but is of limited value IMO because it measures light indiscriminately, whether the light is useful, desirable, or not. High PAR values that are driven up by green and yellow light over-represent the "amount" of light that that is useful for coral health.

3. Cost of fixture
4. operating cost ( electricity )
5. failure rate, probability of failure ( often due to fan failure)
6. Vendor customer service
7. Personal preference for the appearance of tank...overall “color” as interpreted by the human eye.
8. your ability and willingness to change emitters that come on cheaper LEDs to remove and replace undesirable colors and even if this is possible with a particular fixture.
9. Mounting ease for your particular situation... what is possible
10. Driver electonics... PWM or Current reduction technology. This is a pretty big deal but will take a seperate discussion to explain the difference and implications.
11. Programability, Controlability, including number of channels, dimming, ramp-up down times, etc.
12. Programing software, wireless control, control via phone, etc
13. aesthetics... Physical appearance of the fixture
14. Connectivity to popular control systems such as APEX
15. Coverage, depth penetration, spread, optics, the ability to change optics.
16. Heat generated, lost. Rememberthe more input energy that gets lost in heat, the less energy available to produce light.
17. And OK, here we go..... watts. This is a widey used criterion that I believe is generally misguided because many do not understand what a watt is. Simply put, Watts is a measure of power (a function of voltage and current) that is consumed in the operation of the fixture or emitter. Watts is not a measure of light output. A 3W emmiter does not, by definition, produce more light energy output than a 2W emitter. A 3W emitter simply consumes more energy than a 2W emitter. The wattage of a device tells you how much the device will cost to operate base don electicity usage. It is a measure of input not a measure or representation of light output. While it may be true that a higher watt emitter happens to produce more output than a 2W emmitter, this is far more a function of the efficiency of the emmitter than the power it takes to run it. I disagree with those that say you should strive for a certain watt rating of emmitter. Instead, I suggest that you strive for the most efficient emmitter, the emmitter that creates the gratest input/output ration. In the end, your coral do not care how much power it takes to produce the light they want. The discussion surrounding watts is really about power consumption, not light output.

And I've run out of time so I will have to leave it at that. I'm sure there are more that I forgot at the moment and others can offer to add to the list.


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Old 04/09/2016, 01:24 AM   #50
xambarrgghx
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No hard feelings. I'm slowly learning, I just meant as far as making sure my tank would have the most coverage....in my case I feel like 2 of the hydra 26 HDs would be better than just one of the hydra 52 HDs. I like the functionality of them and the tanks I've seen under them look amazing.


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