LED OR CONVENTIONAL LIGHTHING (T5, ETC)

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LED OR CONVENTIONAL LIGHTHING (T5, ETC)

Postby country3646 on Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:12 pm

Hi-
Just wondering in anyone can guide me as to what kind of lighting to buy--starting a 75 gal reef tank and am kind of a "newbie". Thanks for any help!!

Biggest dilemma is LED vs. Conventional. Will prob go LED just for space considerations, and so would like to know what brand to get if I go this way. Any suggestions??
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Re: LED OR CONVENTIONAL LIGHTHING (T5, ETC)

Postby okcChief on Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:10 pm

What's the depth of the tank and what is your budget? Also, are you going to be growing coral or fish only?
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Re: LED OR CONVENTIONAL LIGHTHING (T5, ETC)

Postby country3646 on Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:36 pm

would say standard depth of 18 on the tank. budget well I don't want to go over the top but understand lighting is very key with this tank. will be fish and corals here will be my liking. thanks for any help with this
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Re: LED OR CONVENTIONAL LIGHTHING (T5, ETC)

Postby Jeromi on Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:31 am

Led would be the best investment right off the bat in my opinion. Energy consumption adds up quick. If I could start over that's the way I would have gone. But I took the cheaper initial investment and went with t5. If you go Led, the bigger debate is DIY or retail? Full spectrum...? cool! dimmable? Sure! uv? Makes sense:) my advice is, look at as many tanks with different lighting and decide what you like. Then once you know what pleases you, figure out your budget and get the most options and qualities you want within your budget (don't forget customer service). Oh and Don't fall for all the hype would be my advice:) For some reason, I don't feel like I was any help:) good luck!
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Re: LED OR CONVENTIONAL LIGHTHING (T5, ETC)

Postby Socratic Monologue on Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:20 pm

Jeromi wrote:my advice is, look at as many tanks with different lighting and decide what you like. Then once you know what pleases you, figure out your budget and get the most options and qualities you want within your budget (don't forget customer service). Oh and Don't fall for all the hype would be my advice:)


That's all really great advice. People in this hobby who say "XYZ is absolutely the way to go" or "XYZ sucks" are usually just trying to attract attention to themselves. (Some of us recall when everyone was falling all over each other to shout about how power compact was the end-all, be-all, A-number one lighting option for reefs...)

LED, any linear florescent (t5, t8, t12 HO or VHO), halides, even PC are viable ways to light a reef tank. I've heard of tanks lit by sunlight through Solatubes. Like Jeromi said, just look at a lot of tanks with different lighting and see what spins you.
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Re: LED OR CONVENTIONAL LIGHTHING (T5, ETC)

Postby okcChief on Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:35 pm

country3646 wrote:would say standard depth of 18 on the tank. budget well I don't want to go over the top but understand lighting is very key with this tank. will be fish and corals here will be my liking. thanks for any help with this


If you have $900 to spend on lights, I'd go with the AI Hydras. A great mixture of colors and all controlled over WIFI. Other LED's can be much much cheaper. I did a few Rapid LED builds that turned out nice. Metal Halide are the best for growth and provide great color, but they run hot and changing blubs gets expensive fast. T5's are nice, but IMO don't pop as much as the fore mentioned. You might check Craigslist. I would stay away from Power Compacts, since they run hot and don't provide as much light for growth. If you have an opportunity to see some tanks locally, that might help steer you in a direction.
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Re: LED OR CONVENTIONAL LIGHTHING (T5, ETC)

Postby Camaron on Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:43 pm

I am also a "newbie" and set up a 92 gallon corner tank and was just curious what the best brand is for a t5? I have done a lot of research and it is very inconclusive but figured you have a lot of experience.
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Re: LED OR CONVENTIONAL LIGHTHING (T5, ETC)

Postby MadCityReefer on Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:47 am

okcChief wrote:
country3646 wrote:would say standard depth of 18 on the tank. budget well I don't want to go over the top but understand lighting is very key with this tank. will be fish and corals here will be my liking. thanks for any help with this


If you have $900 to spend on lights, I'd go with the AI Hydras. A great mixture of colors and all controlled over WIFI. Other LED's can be much much cheaper. I did a few Rapid LED builds that turned out nice. Metal Halide are the best for growth and provide great color, but they run hot and changing blubs gets expensive fast. T5's are nice, but IMO don't pop as much as the fore mentioned. You might check Craigslist. I would stay away from Power Compacts, since they run hot and don't provide as much light for growth. If you have an opportunity to see some tanks locally, that might help steer you in a direction.


The Hydra LEDs are definitely a very good bang for the money. I currently run t5's on both my systems. Stocked with lps, sps and softies. I have wonderful growth and good coloration but I do supplement with blue LED's to get that extra pop. If your looking to spend under $300 t5's are the way to go but there is the additional cost of replacing your bulbs every 9 months or so with an average of around $20 or so per bulb. You may want to come check out my system and see for yourself.
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tank build: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=12927
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Re: LED OR CONVENTIONAL LIGHTHING (T5, ETC)

Postby MadCityReefer on Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:51 am

Camaron wrote:I am also a "newbie" and set up a 92 gallon corner tank and was just curious what the best brand is for a t5? I have done a lot of research and it is very inconclusive but figured you have a lot of experience.


the best t5 light fixtures in my opinion are
Aquaticlife
ATI
Sunlight Supply even thou the company doesn't focus on the aquarium side of things anymore. There's also Hamilton Technology but you don't really run into those t5 light fixtures very often. I would stick with the Aquaticlife or ATI if I were you.
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Re: LED OR CONVENTIONAL LIGHTHING (T5, ETC)

Postby drdavis on Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:52 am

I have LED's and am looking at adding T5 lights. In my opinion T5’s are a good choice overall. They are quite a bit more affordable, last a long time, the wavelengths available are broad and you can support a variety of animals.


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Re: LED OR CONVENTIONAL LIGHTHING (T5, ETC)

Postby salmonshutters on Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:20 pm

I have a sunlight supply t-5 fixture, IMO they are the best bang for your buck. A new 4 bulb 24" fixture runs about $125. You will need to buy new bulbs most likely any ways to get the color temp. how you like it.
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Re: LED OR CONVENTIONAL LIGHTHING (T5, ETC)

Postby MM on Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:01 am

Let me put in one vote for MH. I have given up on t5s because of the number of bulbs and the ballasts occasionally burn out. I have gone back to MH and VHOs for most of my tanks. Until LEDS are cheaper and better tested on all types of coral I am going beith black body radiation from MHs with VHOs for a additional deep water blue.

- Mark
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Re: LED OR CONVENTIONAL LIGHTHING (T5, ETC)

Postby Longinus on Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:56 am

I have been liking the results I have gotten from my LED's, I did a DIY setup from StevesLED's a while back and was able to pretty comfortably customize the color combinations in my LED's. They build wasnt too bad, and since I had an old laptop power supply lying around it was a good bit cheaper than buying a decent set of T5's and replacing the bulbs every 9 months. I have a shallow tank though, so optics were optional which are normally an added expense.
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Re: LED OR CONVENTIONAL LIGHTHING (T5, ETC)

Postby fishlips on Fri Feb 28, 2014 7:08 pm

I have a 75 gal reef tank with fish and corals. I haven frags over 1 year old which have multiplied quite a bit. As an example, I bought a frag of 3 bambams last Feb 2013. Today it is over 60. I have a red and green moniporas bought 6 months ago. They have doubled in size. While led's are convenient, I don't think they give off the light needed for some coral growth. If you choose to use led's I would consider using some type of supplemental lighting such as a metal halide or a smaller t5 , maybe 2 bulb. This may not work for all but it works for me.
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