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FAQs about Light Emitting Diode (LED) Lights for Large/r Marine Systems 

FAQs on: LED Lighting Science/Rationale, LED Lighting for Small Systems (< 40 gal.s), LED Lighting Installations, LED Lighting Troubles/Repairs, LED Lighting Manufacturers,

Related FAQs: Metal Halides 1, Compact Fluorescents, Regular Fluorescents, Lighting Marine Invertebrates, LR Lighting, Tridacnid Lighting, Small System Lighting,

Related Articles: TMC's AquaRay MultiControl, AquaBeam 1000 HD Ultra, and AquaBeam 600 Ultra on test. Review By James Gasta, LED Lighting, the New Horizon in Aquarium Lighting? by James Gasta, Switching from Metal Halides to LEDs by Michael Maddox, Orphek's Pr-156 Power Reef LED Pendant, reviewed by James Gasta, Coral System Lighting,


Excitement and Travels; LED f'     1/26/19
Hi Bob,
Since I'm writing I'll also share that I took your advice and did the rock/anemone surgery you suggested!
It was a mess, as anticipated, but successful. I have the two on one small rock in a contained area now and am looking for a good home for them. One where they can be the only anemone colony in a tank. If you know anyone you would recommend please put them in touch. My concern is getting them into a
great place not in making money from them. I have also asked two fish stores and MARS about potential homes.
<Ahh! Am very sure you will have takers soon>
Otherwise I'll have to set up a second tank ugh! Since I had to remove the hood to get to the rocks anyway, I upgraded my light system. I'm delighted to report than LED systems have gone way down in price! That was a nice surprise. The Anthias colors are so much more visible now! They won't be very good but I'll send some pics.
<Please do>
I also took out a lot of the Sinularia and of course that green button polyp rock, and bought cultured branch rock and a few SPS frags, so exciting tank changes have occurred. :)
<A good time/occasion for this>
I would be very interested in hearing about your Copper Canyon trip! I have to admit I'm on a tight budget with Africa coming up, but maybe...
<I've sent you along the April itin. Have you rec'd it? BobF>

Metal Halide to LED      7/20/18
Hi! Just wondering if you can point me in the right direction…I have been running 3 250 watt halides (14000k) over my reef for about 12 years and am thinking of switching 1 of them over to an LED just to see if I would prefer the change…less heat…lower cost to run…with all the options out there can you give me advice as to what I would need from an LED to replace the 250 watt Hamilton's I am running now? Which brand should I be looking at? How many watts?
Thank you,
<I hear you re saving costs of operation by switching from MH to LED technology. There are some "general rules of thumb" re LED application. Rather than elaborating re all possibilities, would like to narrow down the response here by asking 1) how deep your system is... the water depth to the photosynthetic life, and 2) what sorts of photosynthates you have, intend to have. I'll assume you're shooting for moderate growth, color.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Metal Halide to LED      7/20/18

The system is 2 feet deep X 2 feet wide X 6 feet long…have mostly soft corals, a couple of crocea clams, and some LPS.
<Mmm; okay... well; do make sure to investigate means for directing, concentrating the LED light (reflectors, lenses)... Depending on the make/model of fixture/s employed, you're likely looking at 3-5 watts per gallon here. Fixtures are variously reviewed on WWM. On the lower cost end ZooMed and Current USA are faves of mine; higher end include Current USA Pro line, Koval, Orphek and several others. None are going to appear as bright as your MHs... and you will need to photo-acclimate your livestock to the new lighting. See WWM re this process: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PhotoAcclimGasta.htm
Bob Fenner>
Re: Metal Halide to LED      7/20/18

Very Helpful!!! Thank you Bob!
<Welcome! Do write back w/ your decisions, input. BobF>

LED lighting       12/21/15
Hello WWM Crew,
Thanks for all the great reading so helpful. I have a question about lighting and would like your opinion, I’m not sure if my LFS is just trying to sell something 3 times the price. On a 72”tank 26”deep would 2x36” Current USA Orbit LED lighting with 144 led’s, 72 daylight and 72 actinic on each fixture total of 36 watts each, and 4x36” T5 HO 10,000K daylight be enough for various soft corals. My LFS said I would have to go up to the USA Orbit Dual Pro for corals. I value your expert opinion. Thanks is advance.
<Mmm; well.... depends (as usual...) on what you mean by "corals"; where they're placed, and what you want them to do mostly (there are a few other more minor considerations). Allow me to expand. There are some "low/er light intensity" stinging-celled groups; like Alcyoniids/soft corals, Pennatulaceans/sea pens.... and even amongst stony corals; typically the fleshier so-called large polyp corals are less light demanding (not all) than the small/er polyp species; notably the Pocilloporids, Poritids and Acroporids.... then again, not all of these share the same light-adaptability/use/tolerance.
Re the placement; of course one can "mount" their organisms "up higher" in the water column; adjust the PAR/PUR exposure therein.
And the note concerning "what you want"; refers to whether you'll be happy w/ a slower boat under wind power, or that you prefer the fast motor boat of high energy input; along w/ the necessities of current/circulation, alkaline earth and other nutrient application.
To sum up: You COULD get by easily with the first fixture here; and IF you wanted more color, growth (with the concurrent maintenance mentioned); you could use the second.
Understanzee? Bob Fenner>

Acclimate New Corals to Leds
My current tank specifics are a 65 gallon mixed reef (eventually) tank currently cycled with a 2-3 inch sandbed and about 50 pounds of live rock. I have a hob reef octopus 1000, a hob, and multiple powerheads. There is a very modest cleanup crew, I am aware these few snails and crabs do ultimately add bioload so numbers will remain sparse. My parameters are ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates under 10 ppm, alkalinity 8.0, temperature 79 F. I am writing because after much deliberation I purchased two Kessil 160s to serve as primary lighting for a range of soft corals and perhaps, conditions permitting, a few lps. Specifically I am looking for advice on how to allow newly acquired specimens to adjust properly to the lighting.
<Ahh; thank you for providing such detail. The Kessil Pendants will work well here; including for light acclimation. IF you have available (perhaps a fish store or club will lend you) a PAR or PUR meter... to measure out the useful light arrangement in your system. I would place new "corals" of most any species on the edges, borders.... at depths... that yield some values in the 50's... in weeks time if they're hermatypic types that require/appreciate intense illumination (e.g. Acroporids, Poritids, Pocilloporids...) moving them to areas with PAR/PUR values higher than 100>
Most will be arriving from a lfs that uses a mixture of metal halides and some tanks with t-5's. I know this would have to be a broad generalization
but, for instance, how long do I run the Kessils per day and or at what intensity?
<Can only be determined with a meter; your using a probe at depths, making a detailed drawing of values you measure>
Is there a standard or this primarily a try and troubleshoot method?
<The latter; empirical is best>

Is there an order of addition of coral to the tank by estimating the individual light requirements?
<Oh yes indeed.... and more to this... You want to be studying, placing the less allelopathogenic species first....>
I know I will be starting with polyps, xenia, and mushrooms, unless you suggest otherwise?
<Depends on what you intend to add later... Also; I would isolate all incoming for a couple, plus weeks (in another system) to give them a chance to rest up (treat w/ Iodide-ate here), allow you to examine for possible hitchhikers, pests... and to see if the colonies are going to live>
Future success might lead to the addition of a hammer, torch, or bubble coral.
<Oh! Am currently writing a series for the UK mag. UltraMarine on this family... can be rough on other Cnidarians... need to be placed distal... with several inches gap twixt others>
As is usually the case, I don't have the financial means to stock the tank to capacity from the onset of suitable conditions so much thought will be given to adding them in a way which doesn't stress previous inhabitants while considering the needs of potential newbies.
<Best to take your time period.... look into buying, trading frags....>
I have searched and researched and I may be more confused than I was prior to internet surfing. I realize there isn't a hard and fast answer but any advice or knowledge or even steering in the direction of factual information would be so appreciated and well received. Thank you in advance.
<Oh! There's a bunch of avenues for knowledge, inspiration. DO consider joining a club or more... and chatting w/ other like-minded folks on the Net, or better, face to face... DO develop good relations with local stores. Mmm; and do remain a bit skeptical (even of my spiels) re what you experience other than first-hand. There is also much disinformation and phony products to be had. When, where you can, read w/ a discerning mind. Bob Fenner>

LED System for Salt Water Tanks         7/2/15
A friend of mine highly recommended your page for information and I can see why. So much awesome information. I have enjoyed reading your FAQ sections quite a bit however I am on a bit of a time crunch unfortunately. I work at a college with a Nature Lab and I have to order a light fixture in time before our grant window expires.
SO! We have two 165 gallon saltwater tanks. We would like to get lighting fixtures for both. LED seems to be the way to go in terms of cost, heat, future benefits. We change out what wild caught fish we keep in there from time to time. The tanks are by some large windows. Not sure how much supplemental lighting is needed if any.
<Depends on the type of life; your wanting to boost its physiology, and capacity for providing for this additionally (use of foods, supplements)>

We sometimes keep Kreisels above the tanks for smaller fish set ups. Attached is an image of our tanks with only one Kreisel over one tank.
<Very nice>
My big question is what models or specifications would you recommend for these tanks? The tanks are 80x30x14 and we were hoping to suspend the lights.
<Good; I would... for function, flexibility and safety's sake>
Our goal is to try and have some macro algae or maybe some soft corals. Someone recommended the AI Hydra 52 LED system? But it seems that that may only light half of the tank?
<Mmm; wouldn't be my choice, no>
I'm new to salt water systems and am trying to do the best that I can. I feel really bad emailing this question rather than doing the research myself but again I'm on a time crunch and am really hoping for a hail Mary touchdown pass.
Thank you so much,
<T'were they mine... on the lower cost side I'd just get/use four four foot ZooMed units; if more funds are available, I'd look to the Orphek line... same number and length of fixtures. Bob Fenner>

LED light for FOWLR selection     12/12/14
Hi WWM Crew,
First let me say that I am so very grateful to all of you for this wonderful service you provide. The wealth of information in the FAQ’s is invaluable, and the timely and knowledgeable answers each time that I have asked a question has been greatly appreciated. Even though I have not had a tank set up for the last two years, I’ve still been regularly reading FAQ’s and learning more and more.
<Ahh; so gratifying to read, value your statements here>
I am in the planning stages of setting up my next tank, a 75 gallon (48” by 18” by 21”D) drilled tank (my first with a sump/refugium). I’m really excited about that part. The tank is going to be a FOWLR though I MAY eventually get a few soft corals. My question today is about lighting. I wanted to go with LED lighting for this tank primarily because I want to save money on electricity and bulb replacement. However, because the tank will be a FOWLR, I don’t need something fancy or really expensive. I have a friend who is in the setup/maintenance business who can get me a really good deal on a Current-USA Orbit Marine LED (the four foot long one). Here is the link to their website: http://current-usa.com/aquarium-led-lights/orbit-marine/
<Ah, yes. Know of these folks. Gave a talk at their facility in N. San Diego last year>
The question is would this light fixture allow me to have live rock with macroalgae and POSSIBLY a few soft corals in my size tank?
<Oh yes; it would. Do look about... ZooMed also has a worthy, inexpensive, simple four foot HO LED fixture worth comparing>
Thank you so much,
<Welcome and happy holidays. Bob Fenner>

LED Lighting (Ready to replace MH?) – 05/16/14
Hi Bruce here,
<<Hey Bruce…Eric here>>
I have found your website very helpful over the years.
<<Ah! A collaborative effort and redeeming to know>>
With my new tank setup I am debating on staying with MH 10,000K with T5 actinic and LED moon lights or switching over to all LED. Tank is 72” x 30” x 30” plan on mainly SPS.
<<I have an SPS dominated 96”x30”x30” tank that I switched from MH to LED about a year and a half ago>>
Current lighting is 3-250 watt double ended HQI 10,000K, 8-39 watts actinic T5 and 12 blue and 12 white moonlights. I have always had great growth and color with Acros under 10,000K MH with actinic supplement, but I am looking to reduce heat so I can reduce electric bill from lights and chiller here in SoCal.
<<Understandable… I was able to take my chiller completely off-line when I made the switch from MH to LED and I live in hot and steamy South Carolina>>
I know LED can grow SPS but LEDs are changing so fast.
<<Indeed…and though honestly I am still not convinced LED is currently “better” than MH in all instances…I think it will get there>>
I was wondering if you have any recommendations based on the height and depth of tank of 30”?
<<I have some thoughts on this, yes>>
From what I have been able to make sense of, if I was at 24 x 24 it would be 3--4 fixtures but at 30 x 30 is where I am not sure.
<<This will depend much on the quality, power/intensity, lens spread, and overall dimension of the units you choose to use. As stated my display tank is also 30” deep and 30” high…the units I am using (AppolloReefLED.Com) are “recommended” to be employed as one unit per two-feet of tank length…and though I don’t think it is stated I do think they assume maximum ‘spread’ front-to-back will be 24” or less. My units have 90-degree lenses, are suspended 8” above the water’s surface, and based on my observation/opinion provide sufficient ‘intensity’ to the bottom of the 30” depth for “most anything” that requires illumination for growth/vitality. I have five of these units mounted end-to-end down the centerline of the 8-foot tank and this is more than sufficient re light spread along the length of the display. Light intensity does seem to trail off significantly at the outer edges of the 30” depth (front-to-back), but my tank is an in-wall system viewable from two sides with coral growing on “bommies” located down the centerline so this is not an issue for me. Even so, I could likely raise the light fixtures a few more inches to mitigate this>>
If I were to go with many more LED fixtures the initial cost would cover a lot of bulb replacements and electrical cost.
<<Very true>>
At that point the savings would be the cost of running the chiller.
<<And perhaps not insignificant of itself…but aside from this, I also noticed a reduction in heat/increase in comfort in the rooms where my tank is located>>
I have reviewed your website and others there is good info out there but also much misinformation. T5 and MH are such proven performers it is hard to make the change to LED on a large scale without some good input.
<<I agree, and had the same reservations…but there are units out there that can/will serve you well here I think. While cost is a consideration, you will need to get units with enough intensity (my suggestion would be a “minimum” of 110-watts of LED output per two-feet of tank length for an SPS dominated system) and spread (or enough units overall) so take your time with your research. I also like units that have a good mix of both warm and cool white (along with the blue and UV) versus all cool white with some green and red…but that’s just my choice>>
Thanks, Bruce
<<Happy to share…Eric Russell>>
Re: LED Lighting (Ready to replace MH?) – 05/29/14

<<Hey Bruce, sorry for the delay in responding…I think this must have gotten ‘hung up’ somewhere>>
What can you tell me about the fixture that is all over the net especially EBay.
They all look like Evergrow but everyone seems to rename them.
<<This seems to be a popular chassis used in development of aquarium LED fixtures. I imagine its ready availability, price, size and construction make it a desirable starting point for many>>
I know this is common for items made in China. I read good and bad reviews on them.
<<Indeed…one must be cautious and diligent in their research of these products>>
Are they adequate? They are called 120 watt or 165 watt depending on whose website you are on.
<<The power of these units should be based on the number and wattage of the LEDs employed. But other factors come in to play such as the type lenses utilized>>
I can buy 6 of them for $630.
<<Mmm, you know what they say… If it seems too good to be true…>>
No they do not have all the features of some of the others but they are priced so low they can be called disposable.
<<I reckon that depends on your perspective here. Even if you are happy with replacing these units at whatever rate they “go bad,” do make sure you have done your due diligence to assure they provide what you need. It may make sense to get a single unit first, to see just what it does and check out the quality/fit/finish of the unit…and perhaps test the output/PAR of the unit yourself>>
I do like the Apollo Reef SolarBlast UV-6000 that can be hooked to controller.
<<I have five of their “manual” non-controller units (and looking at the website, these don’t seem to be offered any longer) that were a reasonable purchase at $300 apiece at the time, and have served well thus far (about 18 mo.s)>>
Thanks, Bruce
<<Happy to share, EricR>>

55 gal LED lighting        3/21/14
Hello guys, I just have a question regarding LED lighting for a 55 gal reef tank. My tank crashed a few years ago because my 4x 65w PC flour light failed and at the time I could not afford a replacement. Now I would like to get it started up again and trying to decide on a fixture. My budget options are either a 4x55w T5 fixture or I found a LED option on Build My LED which would only be around $75 more. They seem to have very good reviews and list that PAR around 12" deep runs around 140. I would like to try some LPS corals and possibly a E. quad anemone in the future. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
<Have you read James Gasta's articles, input on LEDs on WWM? Am shuttling this msg. over to him. BobF>
Re: 55 gal LED lighting    /James      3/21/14

One thing you should be aware of is that PAR value alone means nothing if the light being measured is not in a favorable spectrum that
corals/clams/anemones respond to which is commonly referred to as PUR (photosynthetic usable radiation). To properly tune a spectrum capable of providing the proper light spectrum for these type animals requires a spectrometer to aid in developing a spectrum. Can Build My LED provide you with a spectrograph of the light being emitted from their lights. Most photosynthetic animals do best with a spectrum between 390-550nm and 620-700. This range provides the light needed for good growth and color.
Please read here and related articles found in the header.
James (Salty Dog)

LED lighting and Kessil A350     6/3/13
<Hello Nathan>
I have read your other discussions about LED lighting in larger aquariums and still have a specific question about my aquarium's lighting needs.
Here are the details:
My system is a 65 gal (36"w x 24"tall x 18" deep) display tank on a 46" custom base with an open to the ceiling 12" tall hood. The lighting would be mounted above the water anywhere from 6" to 12" (open hood and pendant hung allow flexible options). My goal is to have mostly SPS 16" or less from the water surface then LPS below that. The tank came with a Kessil A350 (narrow lens).
My question, after reading your other LED discussions, is will two of these fixtures be sufficient for my SPS and LPS plan? I want to have a very good lighting set up for SPS growth and color so if the one Kessil it came with plus one more is very good (as opposed to decent or worse) then I will purchase another one. If not, I will sell the one and look into an Orphek or other for deep 24" tanks.
A comment on Kessil's website, they do not give clear PUR and PAR ratings/information which is a sign to me that they may be more about selling versus willing to be compared and chosen by educated buyers.
<Yes, beware of companies that cannot provide PAR charts and most importantly, a spectrograph.  Intensity means nothing if the needed spectrum is not provided by the light. Have you contacted Kessil for this information?>
 Do you find the same lack of detail on their products?
<Yes to some degree.  For example, if you go to the Kessil site and look at the A350, they show a chart of degree of coverage vs. lumens intensity but they do not show what the actual lumens intensity is.
In no way am I bashing Kessil, there are many customers who are happy with them but in my opinion, for tanks over 24", I would need to see a PAR/spectrograph chart to convince me.>
Thank you very much for any help :-)
P.S. I will not be putting any coral in before the water quality is excellent and has been that way for many many months. I have been running other nano systems on T5HO with SPS and LPS for over 5 years with great results but this is my first larger tank, thus the move to non-fluorescent lighting.
<I have copied this information from the Neptune Aquatic website.  Do the math and decide for yourself.
12" from light to sensor: 475 (sensor 6" below water line)
 18" from light to sensor: 250 (sensor 12" below water line)
 24" from light to sensor: 225 (sensor 18" below water line)
Notice that the light is never hung more than 6 inches above the water line for the test.  I do not know how valid this information is or who actually did the test on it so take it with a grain of salt.  I am also a sales rep for Orphek and we always provide this information to our customers when asked.  Regardless of the brand you may be interested in, ensure the company can provide the information you desire.  James (Salty Dog)>

LED lighting reef tank      5/28/13
<Hey Susan>
I am so glad you are available. I have inherited a 75 gallon salt water reef tank from 2 of my kids who set this up as teens working for a LFS.
These kids have moved on, and are in college rather far away. The tank has been set up for the past 12 years using the sand/live rock principle for filtration and a protein skimmer.  I have had compact fluorescent lighting on this tank-Coralife with 2 10 K and 2 actinic 65 watt light bulbs.  I have 2 tank bred Ocellaris Clowns that are living in a bed of branching Frogspawn. A Midas Blenny, a Banggai Cardinal, a Blue Spotted Goby,  2 serpent starfish, about 12 Nassarius Snails.
I have 3 different types of mushrooms for color and lower down in the tank.
On one corner end I have Pulsing Xenia, the middle of the tank I have the Frogspawn bed, and then I have some small stony polyp coral I was given by a neighbor who shut down her tank, I think these are in the Montipora encrusting coral class, a hammer coral with the opposite coloring than my frogspawn and 2 other corals I am not familiar with.
<Send their images on for ID if so desired>
I also had a open brain coral on the sand. I do have some polyp coral that grew 5 years into owning the tank from a live rock that do well at the bottom of the tank.
Everything in the tank was just wonderful and doing very well. At that time I also had a sweet Yellow Tang who passed away about 3 months ago after a water change. We had this fish for 6-7 years and I miss the fish. Who would have known I would be attached to a fish but I am.
<I understand>
In any case, since last fall I have been noticing my Brain coral receding, my Xenia declining in number and some of the Frogspawn losing color. I had been testing the water, checking the flow, and providing nutrients, feeding bits of food, but nothing seemed to work. I ordered new lights for the compact fluorescent and put those in which really seemed to help my Brain Coral ( I am very attached to this one as well as the Xenia and my fish).
Unfortunately, the lights were up but the fixture was not working correctly and my husband felt it has become a fire hazard.
<Mmm, DO wire this and all other 110-120 volt gear through a GFCI to avoid>
 I had the fixture for 12 years also.
I went to the fish store after reading much and talking with Fosters and Smith, Marineland over the phone trying to learn about T5's and LED lightening. Initially, I thought to purchase another compact fluorescent fixture but both online stores told me this would not be a good idea.
<Am wondering why. CF's are still available; would work>
 I felt my coral were used to this and would do better with what they had been used to. I thought the problem with the receding brain coral and color loss in a small amount of the frogspawn might be the Zooxanthellae and that the coral symbiosis was not as it should be.
<This might be due to a few other influences (other than light); nutrition, aspects of water quality chiefly>
I went to the life fish store I have been going to as it is associated with the reef society in my city. I was looking at T5's ready to make the purchase. In going to the store, I was trusting the staff as I was not able to grasp the best understanding of PAR or what my coral were actually receiving for their health from my old lamp we just used the wattage.
<Mmm, do they have a PAR, or PUR meter to lend? Wattage is a poor indicator of available useful light/photonic energy>
In any case, I don't think I made the best decision, in fact, it was probably the worst decision I have ever made. I actually purchased based on the recommendation of this store who also provided a warranty for a year 2 high power LED lights.
<Oh! These can (not necessarily implied) provide sufficient illumination... w/ adjustability, lower energy consumption....>
When I got home and unpacked these lights, my husband and I put them up on the newly adapted canopy of the tank. I set these at 50% white light and 50% blue light.
<Mmmm, I'd look over the mix here>
 Then I went to read the brochure. What I had was photo copy of 3 pages telling me how to program the lights. That was it.  I called the store to ask if I could get the name of the company who made these lights as often times one can find the manual online. I was told there is no name, no phone number and that these are Chinese LED lights.
<Not uncommon>
I kept these lights as I am working a 7 day stretch I did not have the time to return them which is probably a costly mistake. But, if these lights last 2-3 years, actually function well to provide the correct lighting for the coral and I can learn to adjust these I will have broke even.
I am looking for some guidance. I hope I have provided enough information.
1. Do you feel that the reason my coral were not doing as well is the lighting and Zooxanthellae? This is my thought.
<Could well be light related, but I would not discount other factors without their testing... IF you're happy with the results of "just" switching out the lighting... so be it. Otherwise, I'd look into ORP/RedOx, trial the use of other foods for a few weeks each, try changing up your supplement practice>
2. Will LPS coral such as my Frogspawn and Hammer do well under the LED lighting?
<Can, sure>
3. How do I adjust the corals from the lower lighting, then the short time under the newly changed 10K lights from the compact fluorescent lighting to these new LED lights.
<Mmm, well; better to have had measures for PAR... but now, just adjust for lower intensity... maybe 50% and grade up a few percent every few days>
4. How do you adjust or know how much blue light, how much white light to provide?
<Either by direct measure (PAR, PUR) or better, careful observation of your livestock>
5. How long do you leave the LED lights on for? Is it similar time say of 10 hours white light (10K) and 12 hours blue light (Actinic)?
<This is fine. Can be adjusted, even turned on/off more than once per day to accommodate your viewing/pleasure>
6. How is the placement of the existing coral life? If you feel I should change the depth of these corals please feel free to let me know.
<Is fine. I would not move>
I have been hesitant to purchase another yellow tang as I don't see they can be tank raised.
<Not yet. Acanthurids/Tangs have long developmental phases... not yet marketable at cultured small sizes, higher cost. This will change years hence>
 I am concerned the tank may grow algae without one. Any suggestions or do you know if they have started tank raised yellow tangs?
<Look into an algae eating blenny; read here:
Very industrious; and will add a good deal of activity, enjoyment for you>
I really would love any help you can provide. I very much appreciate your service for this group.
<A pleasure to serve>
I don't want to admit it but it is harder to understand the newer technologies as I am getting older and without the kids to help.
<Oh, this I really understand>
Thank you for your time,
<And you for your sharing. Bob Fenner> 
LED Lighting  (fixture sel.; JamesL chimes in)     5/29/13

Hello Susie,
I'm going to chime in with my opinion on your LED purchase.  The first mistake you made is not researching enough on LED lighting before making your purchase.  You should never buy a LED lighting system without knowing its PAR capabilities and most importantly, viewing a spectrograph of the spectrum it produces.  Intensity means nothing if the unit can not provide the spectrum corals best respond to. There are a handful of LED lighting systems that are not capable of providing enough intensity for growing SPS/LPS corals.  It doesn't surprise me that no instructions came with your unit but what is more surprising is that there is no website or no one you can contact for programming information.  Without instructions, programming a LED fixture can be very intimidating at the least.  As to some of the Chinese fixtures; many are manufactured by the same company but rebranded and changed slightly so they look different but are basically the same fixture dressed in different clothes and are sold to other companies with their logo on it. I sell LED lighting systems for a very well known and reputable company and we pride ourselves on customer care and service.  So with this being said, I can certainly understand what you are going through now as far as programming and knowing your unit's capabilities.  If it were me, I would demand instructions on how to program the unit or return it. 
Better yet, return it and buy a quality LED fixture from a company that CAN provide PAR ratings and spectrographs of their LED systems, and most importantly, customer service.   James (Salty Dog)
<Thank you James. B>

lighting, pumping, and new tanks oh my! James/LED!     3/15/13
Hey all, Eli here! You guys are awesome and I really appreciate all your hard work and effort into such an awesome and helpful site!
So with that being said I could use some guidance. I recently received a tall 110 gallon acrylic tank with a stand, however that's it. I've been dealing with aquariums for a while however I've always used hang on filters and t5 lighting, (i know old school).
<Though can/do work well for many types of set-ups, goals, livestock mixes>
But this tank I'm starting fresh so i want to make sure everything goes smoothly and I'm going to go slow and steady.
<Ahh, patience is indeed a virtue (though there certainly are times when quick decision/actions are called for)>
Lighting- I've been looking into LED's I'm just concerned with how many I may need for my system and if the light will be powerful enough to hit the bottom.
<Oh! I should've read ahead. Am sending your msg. on to James/SD here... Our resident LED guru>
the tanks dimensions are: 30"tall 48"long and 18"wide. I've gone to a few of my LFS's but I'm still cautious before buying because at the end of the day a business is a business and my most trusted LFS just closed down. I've been hearing between 2 or 3 LED's but i feel that 3 is too many. My next question is about my return pump, now my stand is around the same dimensions as the tank except for the height. It stands at whopping 43" tall
<Yikes... I do strongly encourage you to mount a bracket to a wall... and this stand, to prevent tipping>
 so we are looking at around 73 inches of distance between the pump and the top of the tank, so i need a powerful enough pump to not only get up to the top of the tank but to give me the perfect amount of turnover to maintain corals and such!
<Not to worry. There are plenty of choices here that will work quietly.
Will you have a sump, refugium? Do see here:
the second tray down re pumps, plumbing for such>
Any help would be greatly appreciated. sorry for the length of the e-mail, if you need any more details ask away thanks in advance!
Re: lighting, pumping, and new tanks oh my! James! LED input please    3/15/13

Hi Bob,
I will take care of this for you, no problem.  Also, this email addy is an old one that I no longer use.  You can send to sales-3@orphek.com or XXX@gmail.  I sent notices to all quite some time ago.
<Ahh, will change on WWM. BTW, any/all log-ins can do this updating>
<Cheers, BobF>
LED Selection    3/15/13

<And be on the look-out for James' input. Bob Fenner>
I will be glad to assist you with information on LED lighting.  The most important item is to be sure that a LED fixture you are interested in will provide enough PAR in the PUR spectrum for growing SPS corals.  There are many different brands and models available but many will not provide the PAR needed at that depth.   If a company cannot provide PAR readings or information as to such, then I would avoid choosing that brand or model. 
If you are not interested in keeping corals or other photosynthetic life, then most any LED fixture should provide enough light providing enough units are used.  Also be aware of gimmickry like green or yellow LEDs for more color.  They may provide an extra punch of color but light in this spectrum is not required by corals and is a waste of LED energy better suited for LEDs in a useful spectrum.  Green and yellow LEDs will increase growth of nuisance algae.  Programmability and dimming are also options on LED fixtures and you may or may not require them.  James (Salty Dog)

LED lighting for 46 gallon bow front 1/29/13
<Hello Judy,>
I have a 46 gallon bowfront that is a fish only tank. I have a single fluorescent tube light that is 50/50 white/actinic light. It gives a really nice effect. I was wondering if I were the switch to LED, what LED light system would give the same effect ?? The LED I see at the big box stores are all 6500K white.  I just can't figure out all these LED options.
<If you do not plan on having live corals then one of the inexpensive Marineland LED fixtures would serve your application well and give you a nice shimmer effect along with better color.  Take a look here.
http://www.marineland.com/Products/aquarium-lighting/LED-Aquarium-Lighting/single-bright-blue-led-aquarium-lighting-system.aspx >
Thank you
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Lighting Change 12/11/12
James/Bob, Would the Kessil A150W 10k be a good investment then? And, since I have a standard 55 would two of these be a better investment for even distribution of light, or could one be tilted at an angle to cover a majority of the tank? Would tilting a light be negative for the corals, because in theory it could starve one side from light?
<Yes, it is much better with two fixtures.  I looked at the specs and they do not provide coverage details so I cannot help you there.  I would also go with the 15K model rather than the 10K.  For the price this unit appears to be a good buy, just be sure that two will effectively cover a 4 foot long tank.  I would also want to know what kind of PAR the fixture puts out if I were to buy it.  James (Salty Dog)>

Your valued opinions, please, LED fixture choices for a 24" deep sys., mixed Cnid.s       6/15/12
Hello...I have used your site for several years; it has helped me through multiple concerns with my tanks.  My showpiece is a 180 Gallon, 24" deep marine environment, currently FOWLR.  It has been up and running for 3 years, and I want to make the leap into soft corals, leathers, Zoanthids, mushrooms - no super difficult species yet - start slow is my motto.
<A good one>
 So here is my question - my lighting right now is T5's - only around 360 watts worth. I would like to upgrade to LED's, since it seems they are the coming trend.  I have read multiple reviews of AquaBeam, Orphek, Radion, and AL - many conflicting opinions, especially concerning the newer full spectrum systems.  There is quite a price discrepancy between the AquaBeam and Radion  - the two which I am leaning towards.  What do you think?   I value your opinions.  Thanks!   Barbara
<Am going to refer, defer you to James Gasta, as he not only is a bonafide electrician, but also a study of such technologies. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Your valued opinions, please      6/16/12

Hello Barbra,
Bob has asked me to comment on your query.  Yes, there is a big difference  in price among different LED systems and it generally boils down to power output.
A full spectrum system is not what I would be looking for.  The full light spectrum is all light visible to the human eye.  This falls into a nanometer range between 400 to 700 which
is called PAR (Photosynthetic Available Radiation).
Corals do not require the full spectrum but do best at nanometer ranges from 400-550, and 620-700.  This is the range of which corals respond best to and is called PUR (Photosynthetic Useable Radiation).  Since power output is at a premium with LED systems, reputable companies will not waste the energy providing light in spectrums that are not required for photosynthetic growth. Some companies may also provide a little high range UV and some red for added color pop but very few LEDs are used here.  When shopping for LED fixtures look at their spectrograph of their LED pendant.  The closer it falls within the PUR range, the better the unit will be for growing corals provided the PAR level is good (See attachment).  I would not buy a LED system without looking at a spectrograph or PAR testing results. In your 24" deep tank, I would look for a PAR level of at least 100 at 24".  This will provide enough of an upward gradient to grow most corals with less light loving corals being placed on the bottom and the most light demanding corals will be placed near the surface.  A PAR reading of 100 in the PUR spectrum may sound low, but it is  effective for growing most Mushrooms, Ricordea, and some polyps.  Regardless of which brand or style of pendant you choose to light your 180, more than one will be required and expect to pay somewhere in the $2,000-2,400 range for an entire system.  There are a handful of LED fixtures available at very reasonable prices but they aren't of much use in deeper aquariums like yours, at least not for LPS/SPS corals.  You stated the coming trend, well it's been around a while and not so much a trend anymore, but a very efficient technology to grow our corals and clams.  Good LED systems will typically last 50,000 hours or more. 
That's about 17 years on a daily 8 hour cycle.  Not only will it save you money on energy costs, but also on lamp replacement.  If you have any more concerns/questions, just shoot us an email.
James (Salty Dog)>
Re Your valued opinions, please/LED/Selection 6/20/12
Hello again, and thank you for your informative, yet additional question-creating reply!
<Hello Barbara>
So eliminating full spectrum brings  me back to Orphek 156 or AquaBeam tiles.
<This all depends on what the manufacturer calls full spectrum.  Only a spectrograph can display that.>
Yes, I am aware of the rather large cost I am looking at...no one has said this is an inexpensive hobby...actually, I don't think there is such a thing as an inexpensive hobby...
<Collecting bottle caps. :-)>
I have read your (Mr. Gasta's) reviews, as well an article by Sanjay Joshi, and perused to the best of my ability (and with the help of a science teacher for better interpretation) the spectrographs of these units.  So now two additional questions:  1)  what is the rationale for the relatively large price discrepancy between the TMC AquaBeam and Orphek units when their power output as evidenced by the spectrographs is reasonably similar.
<Actually, the Orphek PR156 is the better buy.  The Orphek fixture has 60, two watt LEDs which equal 120 watts of LED power.  You would have to buy three of the AquaBeam Tiles to equal that.  Then take into consideration that the Orphek comes with two programmable timers where the AquaBeam has none.  It must be purchased separately.  The Orphek PR156 runs around 700.00 while three AquaBeam tiles and a programmable timer would cost you 1350.00.  The Orphek pendant will also penetrate deeper than the AquaBeam Tiles.  The AquaBeam Tiles are a little more versatile as far as mounting options go and require no fans if mounted properly.  The Orphek has two cooling fans in the pendant.>
And 2) have you seen/reviewed the Geisemann Teszla LED unit...I am a fan of German-made quality....interested in your opinions of this relative newcomer...
<This is a relatively new fixture on the market and I do not believe anyone has reviewed this fixture yet.  It does come with 120 degree lenses which tells me it may not be ideal for deeper tanks.  I really couldn't comment on it at this time as I have yet to see a spectrograph or PAR charts on this unit.>
Of course what I would really like is for someone to say, "Gee, this configuration from (insert brand) would be just splendid for your 180,"   .... but I know that is not the nature of your advice...understandably!
<On the contrary, if I was asked for my opinion, I would freely give it. 
In fairness to manufacturers, I could not recommend one product without knowing what other product choices the buyer has decided on, and that I knew something about the other LED systems a buyer has in mind.  I'd be a little wary of the few "RGB" LED systems available.  It's difficult to produce 18K white with red, green, and blue without sacrificing some intensity loss.  Until I see PAR charts and a spectrograph on these systems I'll hold my ground.>
Thanks again for your help and information.
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re Your valued opinions, please/LED/Selection   6/20/12
Hello Barbara,
I made a mistake in my reply to you.  You would need four tiles to equal the output of the PR156.  I stated three.  Also add another 343.00 to the comparison price. Sorry.
James (Salty Dog)>
Re Your valued opinions, please/LED/Selection   6/21/12

"On the contrary, if I was asked for my opinion, I would freely give it."
So ok...I am asking for your opinion...what would you install over a 180 Gal, 24" deep tank?
<This would all depend on whether you plan on using a custom wood hood or planned on hanging them over the tank.  They can be hung inside the hood providing the hood is high enough  The PR156 models do come with hanging hardware if you would want to hang them.  I would need to know your mounting preference before I could suggest a unit(s) for you.>
I see now too that Orphek has expanded the line to include a 156PRW - with 120 Degree lenses -
<Yes.  Is meant to be used for shallower tanks but offers more light spread.>
It seems from your previous comment you would stick with the 90 degree lens because of the PUR levels -
<PUR has nothing to do with intensity, it relates to the light spectrum that is the most desirable for coral growth.  The PUR would be the same regardless of which lens you chose.  The wide angle lens was developed for tanks 28 inches deep or less and gives a wider spread which can mean less pendants needed for a given size tank.  A new version has recently been released and is called the PR156W+.  This new model offers quieter cooling fans, a new Mean Well driver, and newly designed LEDs.  You can get away with just two PR156 pendants if you remove the lenses.  If you don't feel
comfortable with that, Orphek has told me recently that when ordering direct from Orphek, ask for that option (no lenses) and they will remove the lenses for you for no charge and ship the lenses with the unit should you decide you want to use them at a later date.>
Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my questions.
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Re Your valued opinions, please/LED/Selection 6/22/12
<Hello Barbara>
Getting closer...sorry, I meant to state in the previous query that I would be hanging the units.
<That is my preference.  I have two pendants above my tank and it sure makes maintenance much easier.>
My tank is built into a wall, with full access to the back of the tank (it sticks out into my laundry room), and that is also of course where I have sump, Q-tank, etc.
The beams I would like to use to hang the lights are 19 inches from the top of the tank.  I have glass tops on to forestall jumpers, evaporation, etc., and am looking forward to being able to keep the tops cleaner without continually having to move the T5 lighting units that currently sit on top.
 Live and learn, I guess.   I probably would be comfortable removing the lenses as long as the included schematics are clear.
<Well if it were me, I'd just have Orphek remove the lenses and they will ship them to you with the pendants.  There is a new model available called the PR156XP which has some high range UV and a few red LEDs which enhances the color and fluorescence of the corals.  If you wanted the lenses you would need three of the unit regardless of which model you choose.  The link below will show pics of what two units look like without the lenses over a large frag tank.
I will also send another note in a separate email and ask that Bob not post that note on the dailies.>
Thanks again.
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting/LED Lighting/Selection 3/20/12
Hi Crew,
<Hello Dave>
 I am looking at lighting for my new 135 gallon FOWLR. It is 24" high, 60" long x 20" deep. I may upgrade to a tank that is 30" high.
I see a few Marineland LED options - standard (800 lumens), double (1800), or reef capable 3400).
<Lumens is not a realistic number as most inexpensive Lumens meters only read up to 560nm.  It will give you an idea of the relative brightness of the system but we are interested in the PAR reading in the desired wavelength necessary to grow corals.  The PAR reading of the Reef Capable LED light is 130 at 12" and 64 at 24".  You would have to place light loving SPS corals near the top and LPS corals in the mid area to provide enough light and that may not be enough.  As a comparison, the Marineland Reef Capable LED Lighting System 48-60" has the equivalent output of a 48" 2 lamp T5 HO fixture which would be better suited for keeping soft corals only in a tank the size of yours.  Also keep in mind their PAR figures are likely taken in open air and will be somewhat less if measured at these same distances in water.>
What would you suggest?
<All depends on what you want to grow and your budget.  This fixture wouldn't be of much use in a 30" deep tank and at that depth you would be needing a few 100 watt pendants with a 45 degree lens, or a couple of Orphek PR156 fixtures or similar fixtures that provide a high PAR reading. 
Be aware that the Orphek PR156W has wider dispersion lenses and more suited for shallow tanks. Do your research before buying any LED fixture to be sure it will meet your needs.  As a guideline, a PAR reading of 100 at a depth of 22" will provide enough upward vertical gradient to satisfy most light loving corals and corals will have to be placed appropriately according to their light demands.>
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re Lighting/LED Lighting/Selection 3/20/12

Salty Dog,
Thanks much for the feedback.
<You're welcome.>
The LED lighting I get would be for a FOWLR tank without coral. Do you think the Marineland standard or double LED would be suitable? Would that be roughly comparable to a 54W T5 and actinic?
<The double bright fixture would probably equal one T5 HO and is likely the one I'd go with.
Should you decide to add a few softies down the road, this light would not serve you well and you
would be starting all over.
James (Salty Dog)>

120 Gallon Deep Ocean Tank and 2 Kessil 15K LED Lights 2/1/12
Hi Guys,
<Hello Adam and Emily>
How much more lighting should we add to our tank and what kind?
We currently are running two 15K Kessil LED Lights on our 120 Gallon Tank.
<I have no idea what you intend to grow or the dimensions of your tank.

From what I know about this product is that one light for every 24 inches of tank length is needed for growing corals. This will also depend on how high the fixtures are above the surface of the water. I recall reading somewhere that 8 inches from the diffuser to water surface was recommended.
Might want to contact Kessil for their recommendation.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Adam and Emily

96x30x30 - LED Lighting 1/13/12
Hi James (aka Salty Dog),
<Hello Rick>
The 375 gallon tank and stand are built (wish I could say the same about the new house they're intended for - slow progress).
I was "so close" to purchasing 10 Aquabeam 1000 HD Ultra Reef White LED Tiles for the tank (Boxing Day - Hot Sale Pricing), but J&L actually asked me to ensure they are "what I wanted" with a 30" deep tank. So I've been researching other options - the Kessill A150W LED pendant and the Orphek (I've heard there are issue with this Brazilian company and may be "in trouble"), Ecoray 112, the EcoTech Radion and the list goes on.
My question would be (considering you did a review on them), what could I expect to "grow" with 10 of the Aquabeam 1000 HD Ultra Reef White LED Tiles in a 30" tank? If the answer is "almost nothing near the bottom of the tank", do you have any suggestions or recommendations.
<The PAR reading results were at 600mm in depth (23.4") and averaged around 120.
I would think with 6" added to the depth the PAR reading would be somewhere under 100.
Without actually knowing what the PAR level would be, I cannot state what would grow at that depth.
My recommendation for your tank would be the Orphek PR156. PAR results and suggested placement of these fixtures on a 96"x30" tank can be found here.
You may want to look at this recent PAR testing of several LED fixtures that was conducted by Sanjay
Joshi, Ph.D. Be sure to read the conclusion.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Aiptasia (hopefully not) and Other Items Needing Identification/Coral ID/Reef Lighting 8/24/11
Hey guys,
I am new to the SW Reef aquarium and am in the process of cycling my new tank. I decided to go the route of live rock, and of course similar to a ton of posts on your site I have questions in indentifying things. My main concern is obviously Aiptasia, and I want to make sure I get started on the right path. The 1st and 2nd pics are what I assume to be button polyps.
<Yes, a Zoanthus species. Learn more here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zoanthid.htm>
I have an abundance of these.
<And they can quickly take over a tank if not controlled.>
The 3rd pic is some sort of mushroom, they seem to be spreading. The 4th pic is another mushroom like growth, but solid purple. The 5th pic seems to be another mushroom growth, but brown. I apologize for all the pics, but thought it would be easier to get it out in one shot.
<These are all Corallimorphs, Mushroom Corals. More info can be found here.
Can you tell me what the things in the pictures are? I really appreciate your help and have used your site for virtually everything to this point.
So you know, I think because of the research I have done on WWM that I have cycled my tank in less than 2 weeks. Don't worry, I'm not rushing anything though.. I will give it another month or so. I have a 72 Gallon bow, sump, protein skimmer, 3 sub pumps, and 60 pounds of live rock so far along with 20 pounds of live sand. I am also using the new Marineland LED Reef lighting. What are your thoughts about these?
<They will support the above corals but I'm quite sure it wouldn't be enough light for SPS/LPS corals
I have heard mixed reviews but don't have anything to compare it to at this point since I have no coral, etc. to see if it provides enough lighting.
Thanks again, and I appreciate your help.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Matt Mead

Re Aiptasia (hopefully not) and Other Items Needing Identification/Coral ID/Reef Lighting 8/24/11- 8/25/11
Thanks for the quick response, it is appreciated!
<You're welcome.>
Regarding the LED lighting, if I added an additional light would that help so in the future I could house SPS/LPS corals? Or is the light in your opinion just not good enough? A little misleading I think since it states that it is "reef capable"....
<Yes, depending largely on what you want to keep. The Reef Capable fixture uses one watt LEDs where
the more intense units use three watt LEDs. The PAR level at 12 inches depth measures 130 (referenced material, not measurements I have taken), and falls off sharply to 61 at three inches off center axis.
Not nearly enough intensity for most SPS corals and many LPS corals at that depth. Most stony corals need about 250 PAR to thrive and a photosynthetic usable radiation range (PUR) of about 440-700nm.
Your fixture may be enough for hard corals that thrive in moderate light, but you would have to place them very near the surface of the water. So in essence, it is reef capable. Two of these fixtures would improve dispersion of your lighting but PAR values at depth won't improve much if any. The price of the unit should reflect it's capabilities.>
Thanks again, you guys are really a big help.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

LED or Metal Halide with T5's/LED Reef Lighting 5/4/2011
<Hello Nancy>
I currently have a 150 gallon, 48"x24"x30" reef and community fish tank. It has been set up for a little over a year.
I have tons of live rock, fish are 1 Yellow Tang, 1 Mandarin Gobie <Goby>, 2 Clowns, 4 anemones (they keep splitting), 1 Velvet Wrasse
1 Coral Beauty and 1 Flame Angel, and a Powder Blue and Tennant Tang.
1 Cleaner Wrasse, 1 Blood Shrimp, and believe it or not,
1 Marine Betta.
<Marine Bettas prefer dimly lit systems and will soon grow large enough to eat small fishes.>
Now I get to the LPS corals. 1 large green brain, 1 white cup coral (I think) 1 trumpet coral, 1 torch coral, 1 elegance coral, a coco worm, a finger leather coral, and a favia.
<Please capitalize names of corals and fishes in future queries.>
My lighting has been an 8, T5 lighting system with moon lights.
Everyone has done well until recently.(corals and anemone's looking bad) Possibly bulbs dimming. I have been looking into a different lighting system because I would like to add SPS corals.
<Tank is really too deep for T5 lighting. Will require strategic placement of light loving animals.>
I'm sure 2, 250 watt metal halides would do the trick, but do <due> to high energy use and heat output, I was thinking of trying an LED system.
<Will be very expensive for your depth of tank, likely in the $2000.00-$2500.00 USD range.>
I do have a good skimmer, UV sterilizer and a chiller. My tank was custom built and has a removable hood.
What is your opinion on LED systems?
<In time, LED lighting will be the norm for reef systems. At present, they are still a little unaffordable
for most folks with deep reef systems such as yours.>
I have seen some that have timers for the different types of lighting throughout the day as well as moons.
<Yes, the Orphek system has one of the best timers I've seen and had the pleasure to work with. See my review on the Orphek system in our on-line digital magazine.
Some have external drivers so system does not have fans and some have internal drivers with fans.
<The drivers are generally built into the LED module itself. The power supply provides the power to the drivers.
I liked the Orphek system because it provided cooling fans for both the drivers and the power supply. Heat is an enemy for electronics and cooler operating temperatures provide longer life of the unit.>
The ones I am particularly looking at are from Acan Lighting. Do you have or know of anyone who has experience with these? My main concern is the depth of my tank. 30".
<I have no personal experience with the Acan systems but I'm sure you could find plenty of info by Googling.
Have you been to their site? http://www.acanlighting.com/
For your depth of tank, an Acan system is likely to run in the same price range as mentioned above. Do be aware that many LED units such as the Orphek provide reflector options of different degrees. The choice will depend on the depth of tank. Too narrow of a reflector may not spread the light out enough to cover a particular tank size. Do your homework with the vendor before purchasing.
I was very close to updating my MH lighting with Orphek LED lighting but felt in due time the cost will come down dramatically so I decided to wait it out. The Orphek system actually went north in this regard. At the time of my review, the Orphek PR 156 was priced at around 650.00 and shortly after, increased to 850.00 per unit. Whoever bought these units at 650.00 got a bargain. And yes, there is definitely a savings with LED systems both in energy and lamp replacement cost, but it will take some time to recover your initial expense.>
I don't know the levels of magnesium, calcium, etc.,
<Should monitor these levels often/weekly.>
but I keep track of pH, and ammonia, nitrites, nitrates. I have a gentleman from
the local salt water aquarium store maintain my tank and does the water changes and chemical tests every other week.
<I see.>
Any advice would be appreciated!
Thank you,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re LED or Metal Halide with T5's/LED Reef Lighting 5/4/2011
Thank you James for all the information.
<You're welcome, Nancy.>
Yes, I know the Marine Betta has to go, I just have not been able to catch him yet.
I am going to move forward to learn more about the Orphek systems.
I'll let you know what I do and how it works.
<Yes, and do keep us informed.>
Thanks again,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Another LED ??/Reef Lighting 3/22/2011
Hello to all at WWM,
<Hello Crazy>
I have a Reef aquarium with a lot of SPS . The tank size is 5' long x 20" x 20" I run 8 t5's HO over It, For <four> 5' and For <four> 4' all ATI's . I do get a lot of growth out of them. But my power bill is still too high. So now I'm going with LED's.
<Mmm, theT5s are rather energy efficient but not nearly as good as LEDs in that department.>
The only thing is the whole watt's. Some you talk to say that one watt of led's are more powerful then one watt of t5's or M/H is this true?
<There is more to it than that. The brand of LEDs used, reflectors, etc. will all play a part in quality LED lighting.>
The LED I went with is a fixture it will have a 2 =blue to 1=white ratio 120w and the blue is a 420 to 480. I will have 3 of these over my Reef Aquarium. The place I spoke with says that I'm crazy to put that much over my tank and that two would be just fine even running SPS coral. These are a 1 watt LED that put out as much as a 3 watt LED. Now I not talking with a store I was on the line with the place that test and makes the LED's.
<Cree perhaps?>
The worry I had with just going with two is because of my tank being 5 foot long.
<I'm not aware of any LED fixtures that are capable of covering five feet with enough intensity/PAR with just using two fixtures. You could start with two fixtures and buy/borrow a LUX meter and take measurements from various locations in your tank. This would readily show any loss of intensity in given areas. You could also get away with using two by strategic placement of your light loving corals.
Naming the brand of fixture you bought would have helped me some.
James (Salty Dog)>
Yet another lighting question/Being Impatient 3/22/2011

Hello WWM,
<Hello Reef Crazy. I believe I covered most of this in your last email about one hour ago.>
I have a reef aquarium 5' x 20" x 20" with most of it SPS. Right now I went from M/H two 250w and now I have 8 T5's for 5' 80watt and for 4' 54watt all ATI's 6 of the 8 are Blue plus and two are Aquablue Special. And my power bill is still to high so now I'm going with LED's. I have spoke, Called, Emailed, let me say I got deep into it. After 4 or 5 months I made the order and this is what I went with. When I spoke with the place that test and makes LED's for a lot of brands out there. They told me I can buy from them and they have there <their> own fixtures. I went with 3, 120w LED fixture. The LED I went with is a LED that will run at 1 watt but is more then <than> 2watt LED
<More in what way? Based on what you are telling me, this doesn't make sense. LEDs need to be driven at their recommended current rating. Anything less or more will cause a shift in Kelvin temperature. They also need to driven with a constant current/constant voltage power supply to provide the best results.
I'm guessing what you are trying to say is that the one watt LEDs put out the same intensity as a two watt LED.>
But the one big question that no one still understand is how much will a LED cover. Some say that a one watt LED is more powerful then one watt of M/H or T5's. What do you think?
<As I mentioned in the last email, will all depend on the LEDs, reflector used, drivers, etc. There are some LED fixtures out there that cannot match the power output of T5s. I would have asked for PAR values at your tank depth before purchasing. If none
can be given, I'd stay away from that company until I could reference this either from a given company or obtain elsewhere.>
The other thing is when I spoke with the place and I told them what I run (SPS) and the size of my tank they said I was crazy to put 3 of them over my tank I would not need that much to get every thing out of them like growth and color I should only put 2 of them. My worry is that my tank is 5 foot long and I would not get the spreed <spread>
to cover a 5 foot tank they said to put the fixture up higher. What do you think?
<Covered this in the last email.>
Any help would be nice Thanks
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Yet another lighting question/Being Impatient 3/22/2011
Sorry I didn't put all the info in. And yes on ( I'm guessing what you are trying to say is that the one watt LEDs put out the same intensity as a two watt LED) .... Sorry about that.
<No problem, but to give useful information I must have useful data.>
I did make sure about the par <PAR> test.. This pic. shows pars on one of the test tanks. It's been up for about a year..
The tank has 2 fixtures on it.
<OK, I'm going to guess it's the company's test tank whomever that might be. Keep in mind that this
test tank does not appear to be 20" deep nor five feet long...... can make a big difference in PAR levels.
James (Salty Dog)>

Re Yet another lighting question/Being Impatient/LED Lighting 3/22/2011 - 3/23/2011
OK, Thanks for your input. I did get 3 of them any way. I can send some pics of them when I get them in.
We would love to see the pics. Which company produced/assembled them?>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Yet another lighting question/Being Impatient 3/22/2011- 3/24/2011
They are still in the test mode. They want to run them over a year. Then they will be on the market for everyone to buy. I will send you pics. as soon as I get them in..
<Sounds good. James (Salty Dog)>

FYI LED Lighting for a 24" Deep Tank 6/14/10
Hi Bob, Hope you weren't part of a "hung jury".
<Not yet, but got to go back tomorrow... Thanks James. B>
Just thought I'd pass this information on to you and the crew. See below.
James (Salty)
Re: LED Lighting for a 24" Deep Tank
Hi James,
Right now the only fixture that is capable of producing enough par that deep into the tank to support clams are the Aqua Illumination fixtures. However, that's a might pricey option to do so. Other than that, there really isn't anything that can reach that deep to support what he is wanting to do.
Jeremy Brower
Premium Aquatics, Inc.
6050 E. Hanna Ave. #4
Indianapolis, IN 46203
317-895-9395 fax

LED lighting Experience 9/23/09
Hi Crew, once again I need to thank you for all your help over the past 3 years as I delved into this new hobby (passion). This is not a question, rather I thought I would pay back a bit and share my experience with LED lighting.
<Thank you for sharing>
I started my tank about 3 ago years now. It is a 36 gallon corner tank- mixed reef. I had started with a viper hang on MH light, but the heat and stability of the arm was a real problem. Around this time I was intrigued with the PFO LED system. I purchased a 24 inch 250 watt equivalent model and could manage to get the legs to fit the opening on my tank. I loved the light.....great color, cool, and everything seemed to thrive. After about 2 years, I noticed going over my logs that I had lost certain specimens in different areas of the tank. One spot in particular seemed to be a "no-corals land" where anything placed there would bleach in short order. Most of my corals seemed ok, but where not growing particularly quickly. In particular, my once huge colony of pumping Xenia that had started growing on the tank walls when it ran out of room on the rock, simply collapsed over a couple of weeks and disappeared about 2-3 months after starting the LED system.
Of late I noticed that my beautiful Monti Cap that I had previously had to prune back from growth every few weeks, was not really growing much and worst of all was bleaching. I turned down the lights on the LED system.....no help it seemed like it was a gone-er.
Well, a few days later I was scraping the glass and reached into the tank for a moment to move something and as (mis)fortune would have it, one my clowns bit me! They obviously had some eggs somewhere. Well they drew blood....I was startled....my elbow flew up....hit the PFO Solaris ....knocked it up and into the water on one end. It flooded, and shorted out, I am lucky not to have been electrocuted. Of course I was nuts with myself for having not taken it off the tank before reaching in like I normally do. And the light....after drying it, opening it up, etc....it would come on, but a few of the LED's were dead and the computer control was not working right. It would get stuck on set clock mode. It worked but had unreliable mornings where it wouldn't get out of lunar mode, or have episodes of flickering on and off, etc.
<Ahh, electronics!>
So time to explain to "she who must be obeyed" and off I go to get a new light. I am told that PFO is toast from a lawsuit for patent infringement.....
<Yes, the co. is gone>
so I am forced to go with MH again. I ended up with a Marineland MH/T5 system/lunar system. Quite nice I might add. I am running a 150 watt 20000K Aqualine AB, two stock Marineland Actinic blue T5 lamps, one Giesemann true actinic, and one 14K sunwave T5 lamp. Well to get on with it, after running the MH 150 for just one week...I noticed the Monti coloring back up! Two weeks and the purple was creeping into it like a leaf turning orange in the fall. The purple polyps where open, and now a 6 weeks later it is gorgeous purple again. Best of all, out of no-where I see a tiny little pumping xenia on a rock next to the Monti....and in the last 3 weeks, it has grown and is beginning to create a new colony. The rest of the tank is thriving.....all of a sudden I have growth again, my hot lava echino....is developing orange florescent areas. My BTA which only had about 50% bubbles is pushing 90% again, Cyphastrea is growing and going from brown to a greenish glow, and my two lowly Acroporas have open polyps again and maybe I am seeing growth? Simply amazing to see the change in just a month.
I don't want to knock the LED system, I really loved that light, but now thanks to misfortune my tank is really starting to glow again. And by the way, my parameters are rock solid and no different from the LED period: with 0 Nitrates, Nitrites and Ammonia, 0 Phosphates (Merck test), about 420 on Calcium, and 11 dKH. pH about 8.0-8.2, ORP 405. I run a refugium with Chaeto, AquaC remora HOT skimmer, Ozone, and dose two-little fishes A and B via a dosing pump which also takes care of top-off RO water. I use "reef crystals" salt, and I run the temp at 80 and am using a fan to keep it cool with the MH....so far it's working.
Here is a pic of the Monti about two weeks after the return of MH lighting, you can see the bleached areas but much of the color has already returned. Unfortunately I do not have a pic before the light change which really depicted heavy bleaching. Here is a second picture at 6 weeks post MH.
Thanks again for all your help in the past.
<And you. Bob Fenner>

ZeroEdge Aquarium, Humidity, and Solaris LED Lighting - 03/20/08
 I have been a saltwater hobbyist for 20 years, <<Ah, a fellow long-timer…I set up my first saltwater tank in 1977…under-gravel filter and all! [grin]>> I decided last year to scale down, bought a Red Sea Max... it's been easy, corals are doing great, but it is boring. <<…? Ready to go back to something bigger, eh>> Decided to have a custom ZeroEdge aquarium made.... size is 36x27x13. <<About 55-gallons…neat!>> This is my first open top aquarium, will the humidity increase? <<Indeed… The open top allows for greater air movement/evaporation; but also allows for better gas exchange, along with less heat build-up>> My room is 430 sq-feet; 14 ft high vaulted ceiling... the aquarium is @ 2% surface area of the entire room. <<Mmm, a bit less actually…but of little consequence. The vaulted ceiling should help a bit with comfort, I would think>> Also I am looking for lighting. The Solaris Led light from PFO is what I am looking at...... 36 inch..... Can I get away with a 24 inch? <<Maybe…depends much on what you plan to keep and its placement in the system. A 24" unit may provide very dim lighting towards the ends of this tank>> Also will the light spread cover front to back? I know that LED lights are more of a spot. <<I must admit I'm not sure. The design of the Solaris is a bit different than the more conventional fixtures familiar to the hobby. With more "typical" lighting solutions the spread of light is governed by the type/size/quality of the reflector utilized and the distance it is suspended above the system. Raising the fixture will give more spread, but also reduces intensity where the photosynthetic organisms are located…which may or may not be a prime factor, depending on the needs of your livestock>> With the depth of the tank being only 13 inches, any other suggestions? <<Metal halide has been and still currently is my favorite lighting solution for most any marine system. I have high hopes/expectations for the LED lighting systems to come, but for me/in my opinion, they don't yet measure up to metal halide…although it has been nearly a year since I last saw one of these units "close up." From what I read the technology is improving, and costs will be (hopefully) coming down. But for now, I'll stick with MH. But this is not meant to discourage you from using one of these units. Before you buy I do suggest visiting the hobby forums and chat with those who are already using them for their experience/comments re…and even contacting the manufacturer for their input on what "size unit" would best suit your tank>> Thanks for all your help. Seve <<A pleasure to share. EricR>>

LED Lighting 2/23/08
To WWM, My name is Ed and I currently have a 60gal.reef tank. The tank has been running for over ten years with great success. As many in the hobby do, I started with very basic lighting and worked my way up to a metal halide system. <This is a common path.> It has two 175 watt metal halides and two 95 watt actinics. As you know, with the halides come a few challenges. They generate a tremendous amount of heat, require a lot of power to operate which translates into higher electric bills, and need to be replaced fairly often. <Yes.> I am now in the process of doing the research for upgrading the tank to a 110 gal. reef tank. One of the items I found is a light system called the Solaris I 4 by PFO lighting which uses LED's in place of metal halides. The company makes some lofty claims about their light system , some of which are minimal heat, more intense light, a significant decrease in power consumption, and a 50,000 hour bulb lifespan. With these claims comes a much higher price tag. I assume over the long term, the initial cost of the lights would be offset by not having to replace any bulbs. <This and less power consumption by the lights themselves and theoretically not running your chiller or other cooling equipment as much. The price also includes a fairly complex control unit as far as lighting goes.> Ultimately , my questions to you are, 1) Will switching over to LED lights have any adverse effects on the wide variety of corals and clams I currently have in the tank? (everything from frogspawn to Pavona to briareum) <No, the new I4 units are much more intense than their predecessors and completely adjustable. You can match the spectrum of your current bulbs.> 2) Have you had any feedback on the durability of the light system as a whole? <Yes, I have a LFS in my area that has ran these (the original Solaris units) without issue since they were released. PFO offers a two year warranty for the unit.> 3) Do you see any draw backs to the system? <Only the initial cost; depending on your power costs where you live you will have to decide if it is worth it for you.> In conclusion, I am at somewhat of a crossroads as to which direction to go. I am not opposed to spending more money up front if the cost benefit is realized throughout the life of the light. That being said, I don't want to do anything to negatively effect the corals and clams that I have worked so hard over the last ten years to maintain. It would be easy to ask PFO lighting what they think but I am looking for an unbiased opinion. Sincerely, Ed <These units are a fine choice for a reef tank. Keep in mind it is growing technology, better fixtures are undoubtedly on the horizon, with a likely price decrease. Also, you may come out ahead in the long run, but it will take many years to make up for the initial cost. I am of the belief that most reef tanks will eventually be lit by LED fixtures, in time they will be the new MH. I hope this helps you decide, Scott V.>

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