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View Full Version : Best light for my needs?


dickeybrazil
09/16/2017, 01:15 PM
Hi, looking for recommendations for the following tank:

100g, 48w x 20l x 24h

I want to get a light that would have the maximum flexibility for different types of coral. Good shimmer would be a plus. I don't want to spend more than $1000. Leaning towards Kessil A360WE.

What do you recommend, RC?

jda
09/16/2017, 01:59 PM
IMO, you can do better than Kessil... the only thing that they offer is the shimmer, IMO. If somebody forced me to use LEDs, they might be the last that I would look into unless I had a nano, or something really small.

Better China Black Boxes, ReefBreeders Photon, SB Reef lights are all a better use of money for LEDs, IMO - I don't use any of the these, so take that FWIW. If you want easy going, plug and play the the most foolproof and best results, then a 6 bulb T5 could be good, but it will not shimmer. 150W Halide grow stuff like crazy and definitely shimmer - these are great lights for a mixed reef with low power consumption (300W) and great results and low heat (for a halide). You can have a nice mixed reef with any of these.

All three are going to be about the same wattage for the same amount of light, but you might choose less light from one to another (example, 180W of Kessil is not as much light as 300W of T5 or MH). T5 and MH have bulb replacement costs to figure out. Factor in replacements of LED panels at 5 years - if anybody tells you longer make sure and ask them how long they have had theirs... 5 years is about right if you look around the web enough and the hard-core replace a lot more often than that.

homer1475
09/16/2017, 02:57 PM
You could also have the best of both worlds by either going with a 6 bulb ATI hybrid(T5's and LED's in the same panel) or a 6 bulb ATI with a couple reefbright strips.

Or go all LED's with something like reefbreeders. Any name brand LED for that size tank I think will break your budget.

Cheapreef
09/16/2017, 03:52 PM
I agree with jda, I would not use Kessil as the main light. Over priced and very small coverage, IMO you'd need a min of 4 for that tank.

Potatohead
09/16/2017, 03:55 PM
If you want Kessil you want an AP700.

I would probably look into a couple Hydra 26's for a mixed reef or a pair of 52's for SPS dominant. Of course six bulb Sunpower would be my first choice in that case.

dickeybrazil
09/16/2017, 05:12 PM
You could also have the best of both worlds by either going with a 6 bulb ATI hybrid(T5's and LED's in the same panel) or a 6 bulb ATI with a couple reefbright strips.

Or go all LED's with something like reefbreeders. Any name brand LED for that size tank I think will break your budget.

Thanks, I was looking at the ReefBreeders light. Would that be comparable to the T5 options mentioned in this thread?

jda
09/16/2017, 05:20 PM
They are different. They can both do fine and you might be happy with either, but they will do slightly different things in different ways. You will need to decide which one is for you.

Ron Reefman
09/17/2017, 04:28 AM
Thanks, I was looking at the ReefBreeders light. Would that be comparable to the T5 options mentioned in this thread?

leds and t5 are quite different animals. They both make light that will grow coral, but that's about the end of the similarities.

t5 make a wide range of spectrum (however they do make different spectrum bulbs) and bounce light all over the place so you get less concentrated shadows under ledges and overhangs or under big coral colonies. They do need to have bulbs replaced every year or so as the spectrum does shift some toward red which helps algae grow. In order to change the color of the light in your tank, you will need to buy different bulbs until you find the look you want. And other than one fixture, t5 is either on or off.

leds make multiple narrow ranges of spectrum. Some fixtures offer a 4 or 5 and some offer a wider variety. They also are much more directional with lenses that focus the light down. This creates more contrast between areas that are lit up and areas in shadow. Even cheap fixtures have 2 channels, mostly blue and mostly white, which allows you to mix the colors much easier than t5. They also can be dimmed which all but one t5 can't. Some led fixtures offer 6 or more channels so you can really mix each individual color to your hearts content. Some led fixtures also offer the ability to ramp the brightness up and down over time to create a sunrise/midday/sunset/moonlight effect. This feature does nothing for the corals, but for many reefers it's a nice way to integrate the brightness of the tank into the home and make it 'feel' more natural. Fixtures with leds in 'pucks' tend to concentrate the light and have 'hot spots' while fixtures with big arrays are much more even light. But even these only have a few red and green leds which do create colored shadow edges as well as some red & green lines in the shimmer that many call the 'disco' effect. Some people hate it and some people don't.

In short, t5 offers a little better spread of both spectrum and brightness. And leds offer less expense (no annual bulb expense) and much greater control of color and brightness. They both grow coral, so it's all about what features you want. Some here will tell you that leds can't grow some corals. And 10 years ago that was somewhat true as led fixtures back then were too bright, had no dimmers and they were all white and then improved to white and blue. Even cheap led fixtures now have 5 to 8 colors, they all have dimmers and they grow coral.

I like having easy color control and sunrise/sunset ability, but that's a personal preference I'm willing to pay for. You can see my tank in my build thread: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2593017

ssgss gogeta
09/17/2017, 05:35 AM
What are you going to keep? That will help narrow down what lighting you need


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Brooklyn11220
09/17/2017, 09:11 AM
You can always find slightly used radions. Don't have to get the latest model, gen 3 pros put in work. Research forums. Good luck