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FAQs about Light Emitting Diode (LED) Lights, Fiber Optics,  and Lighting for Marine Systems 3

FAQs on: LED Lighting 1, LED Lighting 2, LED Lighting 4, FAQs on: LED Lighting Science/Rationale LED Lighting for Small Systems (< 40 gal.s), LED Lighting for Large/r Systems, 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,

Led lighting    7/23/18
Hello WWM Crew,
I've been away from the hobby for awhile and getting back into it. Of course I turned to WWM for great reading and info as always, thanks to the men and women of the crew. I've tried to search for a specific fixture but couldn't find any FAQ on the fixture.
<Mmm; there is, are... try "LED Fixture" in the WWM search tool; found on every page>
Possibly it's a new item and wondering if you have any info. It's the Current USA Orbit Marine IC Pro led 72". It comes with 2x72" fixtures for a total of 288 led's, 144 watts.
<Ah yes; a very nice unit; and made in the town I live in>
The graph on the Current website shows the par values at 24" to be 100-70.
Would this be good enough for corals requiring high intensity lighting or just for medium to low.
<PAR readings of 100 or more are my basic limit for SPS... LPS, soft corals et al. do fine at the range you list. You could, might just place Acroporids, Pocilloporids, Poritids... higher up in the water column... on rock>
I have a chance to get a good deal on this fixture but would like to know if you have any knowledge of this item. Reviews seem to be favorable.
Thanks in advance for your expertise.
<Thank you for the prompting. I would buy, use this fixture. Bob Fenner>

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 lights; effect/s on stony corals      1/1/15
This may be a strange question. I have 140 reef set up lots of Lps and some sps. I was running vertex illuminlux led lights and recently switch to 2 Kessil 360w lights. The color to my eye is a little different but I have probably 5x more shimmery then before. My corals seem much happier now. My question is: Have the corals improved due to more shimmer or is it only dependent the spectrum of light???
<It will/would take a few weeks for the corals to change... so my guess the difference is primarily the lighting. Bob Fenner>

Re: LED lighting      5/18/14
Hi Bob,
I'll take care of this tomorrow morning. Thanks.
<Real good. B>
Re: LED lighting      5/19/14

<Hello Bruce,
There are many LED fixtures on the market now but just a few that would really do the job in a 30" deep tank. As you mentioned, the pros of LED are low operating cost both in energy and metal halide lamp replacement costs. In your location I'm guessing a chiller is also used.  The first thing you must look for when shopping is a good spectrum that corals respond to like the one in the photo below. The second is the PAR generated from the light in this spectrum. A PAR reading of 175-200 in the spectrum below is enough to grow most any SPS coral.
There are companies that use green and yellow lamps in their fixtures.
The use of these LEDs increases the PAR reading in the visible wavelength but represents only a small portion of the light corals require. Never buy an LED fixture unless the company can provide a
spectrograph (above) and furnish you with PAR readings at different depths.
I will also respond to your last email which Mr. Fenner has sent me regarding Chinese LED lamps. You are correct in your statement. In most cases the lights are the same but just rebranded with a different
companies name on them. Always keep in mind that you get what you pay for. There are no bargains. In these type fixtures you will generally find cheap LED drivers with a very poor lifespan. Another item to check is ease of serviceability, can the unit be service by the owner, is it modular in design to facilitate this. James (Salty Dog)>
Warm regards,
LED lighting      5/19/14

Hi Bruce here, I have found your web site very helpful over the years.
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. current lighting is 3-250 watt double ended HQI 10,000 K, 8-39 watts actinic T5 and 12 blue and 12 white moonlights. I have always had great growth and color with Acro under 10,000 K MH with actinic supplement. but I am looking to reduce heat so I can reduce electric bill from lights and chiller here in SoCal. I know LED can grow SPS but leds are changing so fast. I was wondering if you have any recommendations based on the height and depth of tank of 30” 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. if I were to go with many more led Fixtures the initial cost would cover a lot of bulb replacements and electrical cost. at that point the savings would be the cost of running the chiller.
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.
Thanks Bruce
Re: LED lighting      5/19/14

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. I know this is common for items made in China. I read good and bad reviews on them. Are they adequate they are called 120 watt or 165 watt depending on who’s website you are on. I can buy 6 of them for $630. 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 do like the Apollo Reef SolarBlast UV-6000 that can be hooked to controller
Thanks Bruce
Re: LED lighting      5/19/14
Hello James,
I assume you are recommending the Atlantik, what is the price and how many will be needed. AI told me it would be 3 of their Hydra 52. What are the dimensions of the fixture? Yes I have always used a chiller and obviously the less heat transfer the less the chiller will have to run. Because I live in Riverside, Ca and they have their own power plants we have pretty good rates. I keep our house about 72 all year so during the summer we hit the top tier which is about 18 cents a kilowatt.
I will probably start with the fixture I have and then is the heat transfer is too much then change.
Thanks Bruce
Re: LED lighting    5/19/14

Hello Bruce,
Although I do sell Orphek products, the purpose of WWM is not to sell you something but to answer your questions. So, to answer your questions, only two Atlantiks are required for your tank. Two units shipped to you is 1750.00 (WWM discount). The specifications can be found near the bottom of this page. http://orphek.com/orphek-atlantik-v2-wifi/
Re: Fwd: LED lighting
<Hello Bruce,
There are many LED fixtures on the market now but just a few that would really do the job in a 30" deep tank. As you mentioned, the pros of LED are low operating cost both in energy and metal halide lamp replacement costs. In your location I'm guessing a chiller is also used.
The first thing you must look for when shopping is a good spectrum that corals respond to like the one in the photo below. The second is the PAR generated from the light in this spectrum. A PAR reading of 175-200 in the spectrum below is enough to grow most any SPS coral.
There are companies that use green and yellow lamps in their fixtures.
The use of these LEDs increases the PAR reading in the visible wavelength but represents only a small portion of the light corals require. Never buy an LED fixture unless the company can provide a spectrograph (above) and furnish you with PAR readings at different depths.
I will also respond to your last email which Mr. Fenner has sent me regarding Chinese LED lamps. You are correct in your statement. In most cases the lights are the same but just rebranded with a different
companies name on them. Always keep in mind that you get what you pay for. There are no bargains. In these type fixtures you will generally find cheap LED drivers with a very poor lifespan. Another item to check is ease of serviceability, can the unit be service by the owner, is it modular in design to facilitate this. James (Salty Dog)>
Warm regards,
Re: Pls see your WWM infolder\
Hi Bob, I took care of this yesterday. Thanks
<Ah, thank you James. B>

LED lights for car on fish tank     8/24/13
<Hi Judy>
I bought two white LED 12 inch strips from an auto shop containing 30 LED lights.
There was no info about wattage or light color on the package. The lights are extremely bright, as in blinding. I taped them to the fluorescent light strip and turned them on. The tank is only half as bright as it is with the usual 10,000K fluorescent light. I did get the blue light strip from the auto shop and that works great as it needs to be dimmer. The tank is a fish-only 75 gallon. I saw someone do what I did on YouTube with a 55 gallon with white sand at the bottom and it worked fine for them.
<Should be fine for fish only systems...>
 I tried the lights at different angles and it is the same. Would you have any ideas on this? Thank you
<Ideas? As in...? If there's enough light for your enjoyment, appreciation... Bob Fenner>

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>

LED lighting and Acropora/Reef Lighting 2/25/13
Hello gang.
<Hello Larry>
I bought a Kessil 90 watt fixture the other day to use over metal halides.
The tank is a 29 gallon and I have a few Acropora in there.  I don't know why the polyps are half way out.  Perhaps it's too much or too little light?
<Is likely the change of spectrum and/or an increase in intensity.  Corals should always be acclimated to different lighting technologies.  Please read here.
I've never had LEDs before.  The tank is relatively new, all of the water parameters are fine except for the nitrate is at 5.0 and the KH is around 5.0.
<I would try to get the nitrate down to about 1-2ppm.>
I've noticed the KH on another tank of mine was high in the beginning but came down through time.  I think the reason is that I bought Florida base rock, which is not the live rock that is typically sold for reef aquariums.
This base rock is dry, chalky and white.  Would a KH of 5.0 be harmful to Acropora?
<dKH is a measure of buffers present in seawater and buffers are mostly made up of carbonates which the corals need to build their skeleton.  Without the presence of carbonates, corals cannot grow or build their skeletons.
I would keep your dKH higher than this.  A minimum of 7dKH and a maximum of 12 should work very well.  It's best to monitor the dKH on a weekly basis, especially if there are many SPS/LPS corals present in the system.>
I also have some Zoanthids, Halimeda plant and a gorgonian.
Thank You
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
L. Splitter
Re LED lighting and Acropora/Reef Lighting 2/25/13

Thanks James. 
<You're welcome.>
I had meant to say that the alkalinity was around 5.0 not the KH.  Would this still be too high for a wild Acropora specimen?
<What kit are you using to measure alkalinity?  Are you measuring meq/l? 
If you are, and I believe you are, you then multiply the meq/l reading by 2.8 to give you dKH.  In your case it is 14dKH, a bit on the high side but not harmful to Acropora or other stony corals.  Do not dose any buffers in the system until the level drops to around 8 or 9 dKH.>
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

T5 lighting/Reef Lighting 2/12/13
Hi crew!
<Hello Jennifer.>
I recently upgraded to an 80 gallon frag tank (48x24x18). Currently I am running AquaticLife 4 bulb T5 fixture.
<Not enough lighting for a two foot wide tank.>
 I have mostly softies in the tank but I have a couple of Montis that have lost color but are growing.
I am looking at upgrading the lighting.  My question is should I add another 4 bulb T5 fixture (there is room) or go metal halide with 4 T5s? My goal is to get color back into the Montis and I don't know if the additional T5s will be as effective in achieving that goal.
<No guarantee the additional lighting will get the color back in the Montis but you will need more coverage.  The color is created by the Zooxanthellae algae that reside in the corals and a difference in intensity and/or spectrum can have an profound effect on color.>
 Also I have been reading about the difference in T5 bulb brands and am understanding that ATI is top of the line.  I am using UVL and am wondering if just switching to ATI bulbs will help to increase the color.
<It's best to look a spectrum charts of the lamps and look for a spectrum that closely matches the PUR spectrum corals require which is 400-550nm and 620-700nm.  The UVL's produce sharp spectrum peaks in many of their models but none have what I would call a good spectrograph.  Their Actinic White and Aquasun are the better choices of all their models as far as covering the PUR spectrum but not great.  Follow this link  which will show the spectrographs for UVL lamps. http://www.uvlco.com/AquariumT5.html
Now look at the  attachment which shows a spectrograph of a well known LED fixture.  Can you see the difference in the PUR spectrum coverage, the smoothness of spectrum transition?  It is much better for coral growth. 
Before I would invest in metal halide lamps I would strongly consider LEDs and eliminate the heat, power consumption, and lamp replacement costs.>
Currently I am running 2 Aquasuns, 1 indigo sun, one actinic blue. Thank you for your help! I have been researching this for over a week and can't a lot of information.
<As far as ATI lamps, there doesn't seem to be a big difference in overall spectral quality over UVL lamps but if I were to use ATI lamps I would choose their 12K Aqua Blue as they do peak in the right places.  James (Salty Dog)>

Re Reef Alkalinity, pH, 2-Part Calcium, and Extra- Strength Tylenol and now LED Lighting 1/21/13
How-do, James?
<Hello Mike>
Just wanted to give you an update and the satisfaction of knowing your suggestions worked like a charm.
<That is great!>
Following your advice, since last we spoke, I've used unbuffered ro/di for both top-offs and water changes.
 All 3 of my systems have been treated to two ~20% water changes in the past week, and since my rookie season back in middle-school, I've never performed a water change without vacuuming out the substrate, so no worries there.
dKH is down to around 8-9 and the pH in the 3 systems have only dropped slightly:  now hovering between 7.90 and 8.08. With the dKH presently low enough so I'd expect it to not inhibit raising Ca, Mg, and K.
<Should not affect K, potassium and sodium are chemically similar.>
I've been dosing the maximum recommended daily infusions of Brightwell's potions and I'm happy to report that the independent systems are now registering uniform numbers of 420, 1220, and 420 ppm, respectively.
<Another great.>
If the pattern continues, tonight's testing (24 hours after the last dose) should show nearly 500 ppm each for Ca and K, and Mg somewhere around 1300.  Hopefully, it will now be a simple matter of dosing/adjusting calc-reactor to keep these levels appropriate and steady.
<See, not as difficult as you thought.>
Thank you.
You haven't steered me wrong yet, so I wanted to ask for your blessing to begin adding (Seachem Reef) buffer back into the systems now.
<You have my blessing but do monitor and do not test for dKH the same day you buffer.>
I would like to stop seeing my pH dip below 8.0.  But so I don't fall back into the you-can't-overdose-it-so-just-chuck-some-in mentality that caused me so much grief in the first place, I was thinking that I should make it a new rule to add a teaspoon or two to the 32-gallon garbage can which stores my ro/di for both refilling top-off reservoirs and mixing new seawater.  Good
amount to start with?
<Sounds like a plan.  But as I mentioned earlier, good dKH levels do not necessarily bring the pH up.  The capability is just present.  Any acids or CO2 generated by the system can lower the pH
regardless of what level of alkalinity is present.  Good water surface movement should rid the system of any CO2.>

And since I'm graced with an audience with James "Helios Brings Me Coffee" Gasta, may I pick your brain about another topic that gives many of us fits?  It's safe to say that LED reef lighting has officially graduated from the risky realm of early adopters to solidly mainstream.
Unfortunately, the relative novelty and explosive evolution of the technology means that there seem to be few hard-and-fast rules such as the old watts-per-gallon gospels which made selection and installation of halides and T5s (the laserdiscs of the hobby, in my opinion... brilliant for about 20 minutes before they were supplanted by slicker technology) fairly simple.
<The technology is here to stay and is a good one.  I also work for Orphek LED lighting so I am pretty knowledgeable about LED lighting.>
Again, I've combed through WWM and can't seem to find the end-all diagram that explains the approximate PAR requirements for different families of photosynthetic cnidarians.  I've done a fair share of reading about PUR (lots of it written by some dude named Salty something),
but since many manufacturers either don't make these specs known, or perhaps alter design too fast to keep up with documentation, is there an accurate way to use conventional PAR readings to make an educated guess as to PUR at the spot in question?
<Good LED lighting manufacturers will tune the spectrum to the PUR range, the range corals best respond to.  This range is 400-550nm and 620-700nm.  Halides produce some of the PUR range but they also produce light in spectrums not needed by the corals so a good LED system that has a PAR of 200 in the PUR spectrum is very close to a halide lamp with a PAR of 400.  Some companies use a certain brand of white diodes that measure high in terms of PAR, but these particular diodes also emit some green and green light does produce a high amount of PAR so PAR readings can be misleading.  Corals do not use light in the green spectrum.
 A good LED manufacturer will have spectrographs available so the buyer can readily see what the PAR distribution is in the spectrum the LED fixture emits.>
I have an Acan 800 series (sorry, Mr. Orphek... Acans were talked up to many of us here in the NYC area.  If I had it to do all over again, and more importantly... had the money back... but if you can't be with the one you (now) love... you understand I'm sure...)
<Certainly, the LED business is highly competitive.>
 suspended over my water surface from 8" to 2' as I've tried to find the ideal height.  I can't find a spectrum chart for my fixture, but the manufacturer claims the blue LEDs are 460 nm, and the whites are 12000k.
<Doesn't mean too much without viewing a spectrograph.  I would never buy a LED fixture if I could not see a spectrograph of the light it emits.>
I understand that the blue is primarily for my enjoyment,
<Nope, blue falls into the 400-480nm range and is useful for coral growth.>
 not so much for photosynthetic purposes and so they're nearly always cranked to the limit for maximum coral-color-pop, but I've dialed the whites from 80% all the way down to 16% (with at least 48 hours between adjustments) and can't seem to find a sweet spot.  Most of my corals: sps, lps, and softies are all colorful and growing like weeds.
<Then you must have found the sweet spot.  Best to check your lighting with a PAR meter if you want to be sure they are receiving enough light in the location they are in.>
But too often for my satisfaction, I'll invest in an exquisite and expensive
frag which will then either brown or bleach within days of arrival.
Sometimes two corals with identical requirements will brown and bleach within a few inches of each other in the display.
<Depending on the lighting used where they came from, they are reacting to the new lighting and/or increased intensity.
New corals should be light acclimated to LED lighting.  Always remember, the lighting corals utilize does not appear as intense to us as it does to the corals.  Our eyes are much more sensitive to the light spectrum not required by corals to photosynthesize.  I'll attach an article for you to read.>
According to a PAR meter, and with an oversimplified description of strata, with about a 20-80 split (with blue dominating white LEDs) I read ~60 on the substrate, ~90 at mid-level, and ~150 in the nosebleeds.  My coral placement is informed by expected species-specific light requirements, and I often relocate animals if they seem unhappy.  8 out of 10 wind up settling in and taking off.  With respect to my lighting equipment, do my PAR readings indicate an obvious error/course for correction?  Is there such an animal as a PUR-meter?
<A PAR of 60 on the substrate would be sufficient for Ricordea and other soft corals but not enough
light for SPS/LPS.  The PAR meter should not be set on "sunlight", use the other setting as the corrective
calculations are programmed in the software for artificial light.> 
I've taken to using freshly clipped
sps frags as pass/fail PUR detectors.  Is there a better way?
<With a PAR meter that you know is calibrated correctly.  Remember that PAR meters measure all light
from 400-700nm and an LED's light may measure what you believe is low but the PAR meter is actually measuring only the light being emitted by the fixture.  So if the LED light is emitting light covering most of the PUR range, than a PAR reading of 100+ should be sufficient for most corals although 125+ would be much better for SPS corals.>
You're 2 helpful emails away from me naming all my future children James.
<Even if they are girls?  Well I guess you could name them Jamie. :-)>
6 more, and you get a rent-free room in my house.
I would prefer monthly shipments of Jack Daniels. :-)  In the future, and when changing the subject, please send in a separate email.  Makes it much easier for Bob to archive in the FAQs.
Have fun.  James (Salty Dog)>

Dimmable remote control LED grow light    10/8/12
Hello Payne,
Is this LED for freshwater planted tank use or for growing corals?  Do you have any PAR measurements on
this pendant and/or a spectrograph of the spectrum it produces?
Thank you,
James Gasta 


Re: Dimmable remote control LED grow light     10/10/12
Dear Sir,
How are you !
Thanks for you reply.
1. 5000-6000K for fresh water tank Plant Tank.
12000-20000K for saltwater Tank Coral Reef, Fish.
450-470nm       for saltwater Tank Coral Reef, Fish.
You can choose the red or green LEDs for your light  to made your saltwater
Tank Coral Reef more beautiful.
2.we can supply the LED Aquarium light according you requirement.
3.Now i am ready to made parameter and parameter and send to you next
4.The Dimmable Phantom LED aquarium light have lens to gathered light
source , as follow:
Best regards
Thank you for the information Payne.  Please keep in mind that we do not sell products.  We are an informational site only.

Re: Custom Aquariums, LED art. f'      8/9/12
I emailed you a couple weeks ago about a blog I manage, Okeanos Group, that recently posted an article on turtles, too! Our blog is full of info on caring for many types of fish, both saltwater and freshwater. We also deal in custom aquariums. I believe that the information we cover in our blog would also be a great fit for your readers, especially this article about
LED lighting
<http://www.okeanosgroup.com/blog/tank-maintenance/let-there-be-light-5-reasons-why-leds-are-a-ok/ >for
I wondered if you had a chance to share us with your readers and if I could get a link to it if you have.
Kind Regards,
I posted a fresh and marine link to your website as prev. stated... on our links pages. B

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)>

LED Lighting/Reef Lighting 5/10/12
wwm: Hello Braiden
I am just starting my first saltwater aquarium and would like some recommendations on LED lighting for my setup. I have a 90 gallon reef ready with a store bought (Classic Mission in cherry finish) stand and matching hood. It is in the living room where there is window light coming from the left, right, and front, although there is never a direct beam of light on the aquarium (only ambient light). I am still working on building the sump out of a used 30L aquarium, and it will have a filter pad with bio balls,
wwm: With live rock the bio balls aren't necessary nor recommended.
the partitions to reduce micro bubbles, and about 1/4 of it will be a refugium. I am using a Pond Master mag 9.5 pump for the return and am planning to purchase the AquaC Remora Pro protein skimmer with magnetic drive 3 pump. I am still working on the sump and don't have the skimmer or lighting yet, so I don't have anything in the tank yet, but I would like a good all around LED lighting system that is very low work.
wwm: Most if not all are.
I travel for work and my wife doesn't want to do more than feeding. I would like something with timers or timer capable so I can have night lighting. I don't know exactly what reef items I will be getting yet and I'm assuming my lighting choice should be based somewhat on my purchases, but I would like something that will work for most items I would place in my tank. I was also told by a co-worker that if I can stand it, get everything running and only place the live rock and sand in the aquarium with no fish or reef items for a few months and add calcium often to build up a heavy base of good algae and copepods. He said to keep the glass covered on the outside to block all lighting other than the aquarium lighting.
wwm: The last statement makes no sense. Why block external ambient light and then run the lights. If using live uncured rock, I would not run the lights until the rock is cured and ammonia levels drop to 0. At that time you can introduce a couple of fish.
If I can get the stock of good algae and copepods up, I shouldn't have a big issue with bad algae and the copepods should be plentiful enough to feed my aquarium for a few days if I am on a short vacation. What do you think about this?
wwm: I would supplement with an automatic feeder.
If this process is recommended, are there any changes you would make?
wwm: Other than what I stated above....no. As far as LEDs with the features you want, check out Aquabeam. They have LED tiles that will mount in your hood and they also have optional timers which can control both the blue and white LEDs for the night time effect. You can learn more at www.tropicalmarinecentre.com. Ecoxotic has LED modules that will also mount to the canopy. www.ecoxotic.com. There are other LED fixtures available but most require suspending over the tank and you will not be able to use the matching canopy.
Thanks for your feedback.
wwm: 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)>

LED for coral growth? 2/25/12
Dear WWM,
<Hello Scott>
I have a question that I can't seem to make sense of.  When I look up PAR per watt, or Lumens per watt, T5's, MH, and LED's all come out in a very similar range.  Older LED's were much lower, but the new ones are catching up.  The question I have is: when people switch from T5 or MH to LED, they use 3 or 4 times less watts of LED's than they used with T5 or MH.  It doesn't make sense to me if the Lumens per watt are the same, then they should use the same wattage of LED's.  I've come up with various answers, but none seem right to me.  Do any of you know the answer to this riddle?
<Because of the LEDs low wattage,  manufacturers do not waste energy producing spectrums that are of no use to corals.  Instead, the spectrum is focused on the nanometer range most beneficial to corals which is called PUR (Photosynthetically useable radiation).  PUR differs from PAR because the basic definition of PAR is any light in a specific frequency range which is 400nm-700nm.  PUR is the usable portion of PAR and falls between two ranges, 400nm-550nm, and 620nm-700nm. 
Different photosynthetic species will have a different PUR range to which they respond and this has much to do with the depth they are found at in nature.   Attached is a spectrograph of what a well designed LED fixture should look like.  It's a very good idea to view spectrographs of LED fixtures before buying to insure the least amount of wasted energy.  If a manufacturer cannot provide one then beware.
Thank you for your time,
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Scott Tomko

Re: LED for coral growth?    2/25/12
Sorry, I forgot to attach the graph, I got sidetracked by our pup coming in the house with muddy feet.  What a mess.
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

Lighting and IDs 1/27/12
Hi Crew,
<Hello Rick>
I am after your opinion about my Lighting - currently I have 3 x 120W banks of LEDs as in the picture attached (LED Current).
The tank seems happy enough although it has only been set up for a few months. All the stock in it are out of several nanos I've had scattered around the house for about 5 years.
I've very good coralline growth in the new tank and bulk live Pods and Mysis shrimp due to the 300Lt fishless sump.
The tank contains a full reef with Live Rock, Fish, SPS and LPS corals.
The water level from where the lights are mounted to the top of the aragonite bed is approx 600mm.
I am a bit concerned I've mucked up the ratios of the LED banks and was after your opinion on light spectrum.
The new banks I'm thinking of building will look like the picture "LED New"
Can I ask your opinion on the light spectrum and ratios I'm considering?
<Sure. The 20K LEDs are not much use for growing corals, at least the corals we commonly keep in our aquaria. I would not waste the energy on these LEDs but direct it toward the usable spectrum need by corals (420-700nm). I would not use any LEDs below 400nm as you are then getting into the UV range which could/can cause molecular damage to some animals in
your system.>
In addition to the lighting configuration I'm considering , I am also planning on building 2 x Black Light bars at 18 Watt each to help fluoresce the tank.
<Would not use this as well as they are well into the UV range and will be hard on the eyes with extended viewing of your aquarium. Depending on the intensity, the black light may even damage your eyes if looking directly at them.
At what Wave length will I be exposing the live stock / bacteria to dangerous levels of U/V radiation?
<Anything below 400nm. UV is in the range of 10-400nm. Below 10nm is the X-Ray spectrum.
Do you think 360nm would be ok, would the 400nm be just as effective, or could I go lower?
<I personally would not use anything below 420nm.>
Two more questions regarding an ID. See picture "ID".
This animal has gotten into my sump obviously through live rock, it doesn't do any damage (except eating the occasional baby Bristle Worm}. The animal lays flat on the aragonite and very quickly closes up as food touches or floats over it. It is an Omnivore as I've seen it eat anything from bits of algae to shrimp. It's had a few goes at larger Bristle worms but lets them go after closing around a portion of them, however, it has no problem chomping up the babies.
<Appears to be a Rock/Flower Anemone, an Actinia of some type. Bob may input here with a more accurate ID.>
The next one is a coral that I haven't found conclusively what it is, It may be some type of brain but the closest pictures I can find suggest a moon coral. I'm unsure where to place it, whether on the aragonite bed or on the live rock. The coral fluoresces beautifully at night under the moon lights and exceptionally with a jigged up 360nm LED.
<Appears to be a Faviid species, possibly a Moon Coral. May want to peruse here.
As always your advise is appreciated.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Rick (who just got his open water license and is about to dive the GBR J )
<Lucky you!>

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