View Full Version : Switched from Orbit Marine LED to 3x165W Black Box... questions on intensity

is null
09/05/2017, 07:37 AM
Like the title says, I just switched from 48" Current USA Orbit Marine LED I've been running for a few years to 3x VIPARSPECTRA 165W Black Box units mounted lengthwise across my 60" 100 gallon tank, about 10 inches above the water's surface. I paid a little more than the ebay price just to have Amazon's customer service and free returns so I want to get these things dialed in and working well in the 30 days I have to work with.

The tank is still pretty sparsely populated as far as corals, I've just been dipping my toe into the reef part (tank had been FOWLR for years) so I've only got 1 duncan, 1 pink nepthea, 1 torch and 2 zoas. I threw together temporary mounting using PVC last night and set a basic 8am to 8pm schedule with the whites at 10% intensity and the blues at 15% intensity.

Anyway, I'm unsure what I should be doing with the lighting intensity. Running them at 10% and 15% looks a fair bit brighter and the spread is way better, lighting up a lot of cleaning of the glass that I need to do that was hidden by the Orbit Marine. I've read some comments about people bleaching corals and causing other damage. The instructions that came with the lights say to start at 30%. I did also pick up a Luxmeter with the lights, so that may help, but i have no idea how to use it yet. The math probably doesn't work this way, but napkin math based on the specs says Orbit Marine is 46W and these are 165W x 3 so 495W so 10% intensity on the new lights should ballpark equal the old ones?

Also, how quickly can/should I increase the intensity? How high should I eventually bring it up to?

is null
09/05/2017, 10:15 AM
Alright, just realized the Lux meter isn't really going to give a clear picture of the PAR at the different levels, so much for that idea.

Ron Reefman
09/05/2017, 12:57 PM
If you can't borrow or rent a PAR meter, then try the 'Canary in a Coalmine' test.

Get a small frag of a red cap monti or any other inexpensive plating coral, and set it in your tank as high or higher than all the other corals. Start your acclimatization at a low number and raise it every week. You can raise it a bit faster early on, but get much more careful as you get up to higher power levels. When you raise the light intensity too high, the red cap should start to bleach before any other corals. At that point, dial the power back a bit (5% to 10%) and you should be good to go.

is null
09/05/2017, 07:46 PM
Bump. Just picked up one Acan, one Hammer, and one red encrusting coral.