Lighting: MH, T5, LED/T5 more forgiving?

Discussion in 'Equipment: Setup and Discussion' started by KJoFan, Jul 9, 2019 at 2:16 PM.

  1. KJoFan

    KJoFan I contributed!
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    This might have been discussed before but...

    In contemplating a switch from an all LED lit tank, to a hybrid LED/T5 or even back to my MH setup I'm wondering if fixtures that implement T5 or MH end up being more forgiving as far as coral health/growth go.

    It seems like LEDs allow for a narrower window of success. T5 and MH maybe allow for more flexibility in other parameters like alk/cal/mag levels as well as nutrient levels.

    Would anyone with experience be able to speak to the theory either in favor or denial?

    For example, as noted in my build thread I've got some issues with my current tank flourishing. My main tank is lit by LED only. My plumbed in frag tank has LED/T5 hybrid. SPS don't like my main tank so far, but I have a 1/2" nub of Oregon Tort in my frag tank for a little over a month now that has maintained a nice rich blue color and maintains PE. Two things I don't get out of my display. A month isn't that long in the grand scheme, but it has not altered or declined one bit in that month, which is not something I can say about the display.

    Parameters water wise would be the same, as it's all one system, the only other variable really is flow.

    I'd like to see some sps folks chime in on this, but anyone's experience is welcome as my coral are mostly soft and lps at this point.
     
  2. mbauma

    mbauma I contributed!
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    You should buy my Giesemann T5 fixture, it's a great deal :)
     
  3. nox.rupaw

    nox.rupaw I contributed!
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    T5 here.

    LEDs certainly grows acros. too many successful tanks to say otherwise. I too had started with LEDs when i setup my tank, but they didn't do much for me. Once i switched to T5, acros started taking off.

    Looking back i probably didn't give LEDs a proper chance. Used them 1 year on a tank that was new and still maturing. Pretty sure some of the issues i had were with a young tank vs the light. Plus me constantly tinkering with the LEDs could have been a cause too. With T5s there is just ON and OFF, no scope for me to mess with settings.

    My suggestion to people these days is to go T5 off the bat for the first couple years and then maybe switchout to LEDs. But I personally don't see myself following my own advice.... Would rather spend $ on livestock vs equipment

    Right now i've settled with 8 bulb ATI T5, with 3 AI prime pucks as a hybrid setup.
     
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  4. infinityends

    infinityends Senior Member
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    Half of this is kind of just regurgitating information from a BRS video testing lighting a few years ago. I'm going to ignore MH because while it cant be denied that they work well, I have never used it. To me the power usage and heat generated are deal killers. But from what I remember T5 does a better job of overall coverage and reflecting light off of the sand bed than LED. LED gives you the shimmer and control. But can have hot spots and the disco ball effect. I think some of the newer fixtures with lenses have taken care of some of these issues though.

    Personally I run LEDs, I like the control, the day/night ramp up/down and spectrum shift. But whenever I do a reboot I think I would probably go with some sort of T5&LED hybrid. Letting LED ramp up, kick T5s on for peak hours and then go dark after peak and let the LEDs ramp down. Probably go with dimmable T5 just for the extra level of control.
     
  5. mbauma

    mbauma I contributed!
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    I've actually had them all at one point or another. On my old 140 reef, I had a Giesemann Spectra(T5, halide) combo and had the Giesemann dimmable T5 on this tank before I went to my current setup which is 6 Radion xr15's with diffusers. It was growing acros like crazy until my dyno breakout killed them all.

    I prefer this setup to my T5 or T5/halide combo. The radions are really easy to use and you have all of the settings available so you don't have to be an expert on spectrum. I'm using the modified AB from WWC and it has worked great.
     
  6. OP
    KJoFan

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    It seems counterintuitive to ditch my leds for T5 or whatever I’d choose because leds seem to the industry standard now. Which is why I’m struggling with the idea.

    Just seems like for those of us on the lazy side that don’t want to test our lives away and keep everything nuts on, but rather in an acceptable range, lighting other than LED allows that bit of latitude.

    Maybe I’m just basing this off one coral in my own system that isn’t a long term test. However, so far for me and my system at least, the proof is in the pudding as they say.

    I just wondered if anyone else had had the same thought or experience. I know nationally there are plenty that aren’t sold on leds and have reverted back.


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  7. Nickz

    Nickz Just some guy
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    LEDs offer to many configurable options, most of which allow users to do incorrect stuff with them(very easy to do) the sweet spot is difficult to find. There is no playing with your halides or t5s, you simply adjust your tank and parameters to your lights. The hobby just needs someone to make an led fixture that works like the others, it is what it is and you work with it.
     
  8. jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    Previous to using LED's, I was using T5 lighting. I loved the color and growth I was getting from the T% bulbs, but I didn't like changing out eight bulbs every nine months so I switched to LED's. I noticed that some of my corals didn't color up as nicely under the LED's so I ended up adding two T5 bulbs to supplement the LEDs; much better coloration and some shadowing was eliminated. If you stick with the LED fixtures, supplementing them with a couple T5 bulbs would likely give you results that you're looking for.

    If I was to set up a new system, I might do the opposite and use T5 bulbs as the main lighting and supplement with LED strip fixtures. I'm not a fan of light shimmer so the overall uniform blending of the T5 bulbs is more my personal preference. And it's also been tested that T5 bulbs do last longer than the recommended nine months that we were told years ago.
     
  9. OP
    KJoFan

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    I don't know if 6 bulbs (it is 6 right?) would cut it for a 60x24x24 tank with the hope of sps some day?

    I've actually done pretty good not tinkering with the lights. I set one profile when I started using the fixtures...a year? ago and more now and have really only tweaked it once. So I pat myself on the back for resisting that urge. :)

    I really think LED/T5 hybrid is the way to go. I know LEDs can grow all kinds of coral and grow it well. I just don't seem to be one of those people. So I think for me and my system I might need a change. I'm not sure there's an easy/clean way to incorporate some T5 bulbs as my setup is currently, but I'll have to contemplate it.

    Or I just consider a move to an ATI hybrid fixture.
     
  10. Reefking

    Reefking Senior Member
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    I currently run several tanks. I have both T5’s and halide fixtures.

    My first piece of Reefking advice is if you decide on the t5’s, then get the 6 bulb fixture. My current 8 bulb fixtures are overkill in my opinion.

    The halide fixture that I run has proven to be great. I have found some corals prefer halides and some T5’s. It’s nice to be able to move corals between these fixtures. Therefore, establish 2 tanks with t5’s And halides.

    This is the best solution per the Reefking.
     
  11. OP
    KJoFan

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    Forgive me for not already knowing the answer, but what size tank is your 8 bulb running over?
     
  12. mbauma

    mbauma I contributed!
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    6 bulb is fine, I was running it on my RS 650 peninsula and it worked great.
     
  13. RSnodgrass

    RSnodgrass TCMAS President
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    I've ran them all and would use all again except led. I've kept using led because I couldn't bring myself to buying new lights... they are slowly growing on me but I think supplementing is a good idea and adding two bulbs is cheap.

    I loved the look and color of halides... harness the power of the sun! (including heat if you currently have heat issues then no go. If you don't you are probably fine.)

    Straight t5... plug 'n play all day.
     
  14. OP
    KJoFan

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    I’m with you. I kind of find it difficult to change fixtures because, well, led fixtures aren’t cheap and they seem to be the way forward. But, I struggle with good results overall with them.

    If I could supplement easily with a couple T5 bulbs I might do that, but, I think my room is pretty limited in the canopy.

    I can hear those MH fixtures calling “what about us?” Heat wasn’t a major issue with the tank on the lower level and even so I could use a fan if I had to.

    Ugh, so many options and no clear winner.


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  15. OP
    KJoFan

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    Hmm. More research is needed on my part.


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  16. Fross

    Fross Senior Member
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    I got the Aquatic Life T5 Hybrid thing and two Radions. I haven't actually used it yet so results are unknown, but it went with it after the video recommendation on BRS. The fixture is a bit cheesy out of the box. just two T5 ballasts connected together with room in the middle for the LED's, but I churched it up a bit. I moved the ballasts so that both power cords are on the same side, replaced the ballasts with dimmable, and rewired the T5 plugs so that one channel does the two outside bulbs and the other channel does the inside.

    I wish I would have taken pictures during the process so I could do a proper write up, but without the wiring portion, replacing the ballasts is really easy and makes it a decent fixture.
     
  17. Nickz

    Nickz Just some guy
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    But is it the right profile? Is the chosen profile right for your coral selection? See that's the issue with leds, you have profiles out there that have worked well for some but then you don't have all the info on their tanks. don't get me wrong all 4 of our tanks are leds but for ease of use/set it up once, I preferred the t5's.
     
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  18. OP
    KJoFan

    KJoFan I contributed!
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    Yeah I hear what you’re saying. I’m using a profile that was made public by one of the reps for GHL that he supposedly uses. But, every tank is different and I’ve made it more blue (17k) than it was originally.

    It’s not like colors are bad on what’s under the leds so I don’t think it’s super far off. But, like you say sometimes simpler is better.


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  19. Nickz

    Nickz Just some guy
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    I did go so far as to add the aquatic life t5 fixture to my leds so I guess their not all just leds anymore.
     
  20. OP
    KJoFan

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    I would do that if my leds were compatible with those fixtures, but as far as I know GHL Mitras don't fit.
     

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