FAQs about Light Emitting Diode (LED) Lights for Large/r Marine Systems
Science/Rationale, LED Lighting for Small Systems (< 40
gal.s), LED Lighting
Installations, LED Lighting
Troubles/Repairs, LED Lighting
Related FAQs: Metal
Halides 1, Compact Fluorescents,
Regular Fluorescents, Lighting Marine Invertebrates,
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,
Excitement and Travels; LED f' 1/26/19
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.
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?
<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
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:
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
<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
<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
<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
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
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.
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
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:
<Ah, yes. Know of these folks. Gave a talk at their facility in N. San Diego
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
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.
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
<<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
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
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
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
<<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)>>
<<Happy to share, EricR>>
55 gal LED lighting
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
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
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
Please read here and related articles found in the header.
James (Salty Dog)
LED lighting and Kessil A350
I have read your other discussions about LED lighting in larger
aquariums and still have a specific question about my aquarium's
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
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
<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
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
I have 3 different types of mushrooms for color and lower down in the
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.
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
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
<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.
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
I am looking for some guidance. I hope I have provided enough
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
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
4. How do you adjust or know how much blue light, how much white light
<Either by direct measure (PAR, PUR) or better, careful observation of
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
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
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)
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
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
<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
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
email@example.com or XXX@gmail. I sent notices to all quite some
<Ahh, will change on WWM. BTW, any/all log-ins can do this updating>
<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
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
<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.
<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
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
Your valued opinions, please
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
So eliminating full spectrum brings me back to Orphek 156 or
<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
<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
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
"On the contrary, if I was asked for my opinion, I would freely give
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)
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
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
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.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Lighting/LED Lighting/Selection 3/20/12
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
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Lighting/LED Lighting/Selection 3/20/12
Thanks much for the feedback.
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
<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
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),
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
<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
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
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
<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)>
Re Aiptasia (hopefully not) and Other Items Needing
Identification/Coral ID/Reef Lighting 8/24/11-
Thanks for the quick response, it is appreciated!
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
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
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
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
1 Coral Beauty and 1 Flame Angel, and a Powder Blue and Tennant
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
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
the local salt water aquarium store maintain my tank and does the water
changes and chemical tests every other week.
Any advice would be appreciated!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re LED or Metal Halide with T5's/LED Reef Lighting
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.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Another LED ??/Reef Lighting 3/22/2011
Hello to all at WWM,
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
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.
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
James (Salty Dog)>
Yet another lighting question/Being Impatient
<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
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
can be given, I'd stay away from that company until I could
reference this either from a given company or obtain
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
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
<No problem, but to give useful information I must have useful
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
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
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Yet another lighting question/Being Impatient
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
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
Re: LED Lighting for a 24" Deep Tank
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.
Premium Aquatics, Inc.
6050 E. Hanna Ave. #4
Indianapolis, IN 46203
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
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.
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
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 -
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
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.>