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To LED or not to LED that is the question


Urchinhead

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The tank is a 60" x 24" x 24" tank with 22" of water depth filled.

 

Here is my planned LED design:

 

ledsetup.jpg

 

The cost to build two of these (I need two for the size tank) including a new soldering gun, building a holder for it, heat sinks, etc comes to $1,380ish and will give me a projected PAR value of 500 at the half way point on the tank and 200+ PAR at the bottom

 

Alternately I can go with the 8 bulb 48" dimmable ATI:

 

ati_powermodule.jpg

 

The cost of this is $1,380ish including bulbs, gives me about the same PAR values and doesn't require any time on my part to put together.

 

The watts used by the LED is about 240. The watts for the ATI is 430. The cost difference per year between the LED and the ATI including replacing all blubs in the ATI and running each option 12 hours a day at full power is $300. So the LED unit will pay for itself in 4.5ish years.

 

The question is... Based on this data and removing the "cool" factor of rolling my own lighting and using LED's does it make sense to go with LED's over traditional T5?

 

Note: Yes I know both fixtures are not as long as the tank is. I am doing this on purpose because I plan to have 6ish inches on either side of the tank not well lit to cut down on algae etc and to put non photo synthetic corals in that area.

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Mustang Boy

I would go the LED route but replace one of the CW LED strings with NW LEDs to help with the aesthetics of some of the warmer colored corals

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Milad LEDGroupBuy.com

96 LEDs is very high output. You should be expecting to keep SPS.

 

LEDs are going to save you money, they are going to pay for themselves as you state (T5s wont), they also arent going to change spectrum so you arent rushing to change bulbs, they are going to make the corals pop better than the T5 and they will give you shimmer. You also can do sunrise and sunset with a controller which T5s dont allow for.

 

Just the money wise, its a no brainier going LEDs.

 

There is also a fun aspect of building the LED fixture, telling the ladies you built it and showing it off in-front of your buddies.

 

I would choose LEDs because im a bit bias.

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Thank you for the replies. I am using you guys as my Devil's Advocate so please keep it coming!

 

The savings on the LED's amount to $300 a year. That means that to recover the upfront cost would be a 4.5 year timeline. Standard MARCS depreciation on a piece of equipment is 5 years so its not really an overall cost savings by much. That $300 includes power savings and the cost of 8 bulbs being replaced yearly by the way.

 

The T5 ATI will do dimming as well and I have an APEX which gives me sunrise/sunset control with either unit.

 

96 LED's are designed to let me keep SPS at almost any level in the tank. That's the idea behind it.

 

The cool factor of building it is not germane to the conversation. No one will care. Especially my wife who will actually more likely complain about the fact that I am spending so much time in the garage instead of with the family

 

My counter is that in 5 years after I have fully depreciated the ATI then LED's will be allot more mature and thus allot more cost effective so please come back at me with arguments on the pro side for LEDs!

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My counter is that in 5 years after I have fully depreciated the ATI then LED's will be allot more mature and thus allot more cost effective so please come back at me with arguments on the pro side for LEDs!

 

If this were me I would go LEDs for one simple fact. Look of LEDs over T5. I love my LED fixture. I like the shimmer and look of corals under the LEDs.

 

Also, some of the colors of corals change in a way that makes them more appealing, the same can be stated at the end of the spectrum as well. LEDs changed the color of my Garf's Bonsai to brown with yellow polyps.

 

Its ultimately up to you. LEDs give you shimmer and IMO better color "pop".

 

HTH

 

-Tony

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Agreed, I was using T5HO, and just replaced it with a sweet LED fixture yesterday, and boy what a difference! I would NEVER go back.

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There is also a fun aspect of building the LED fixture, telling the ladies you built it and showing it off in-front of your buddies.

 

Lol, typically all I get is

 

Me: "And here's my tank"

Female: "OH NEEEMOOOOO!!!! omgomgomg"

Me: "Yes, Nemo."

Female: "DID YOU NAME HIM NEMOOOOO?!?!"

Me: "I don't name my fish"

Female: "CAN I NAME HIM NEEEEMOOOOOO?!?!?!"

Me: "Sure"

 

And that's about the extent of it.

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@Midna- Yep. That about sums it up. Forget the marvel of fluid dynamics that my mad ninja plumbing skills came up with or the cleanness and functionality of the design of the tank or the optimal lighting spectrum and growth of the corals it always ends up being about the Nemo. And that dialog usually followed by the inevitable question "Why don't you have Dora too?!?"... Sigh... Because the hippo Tang needs a tank that is at least <Her eyes glass over> ... Oh never mind!

 

@xtlosx- Ok. Why?

 

@ Tony- It does actually. And thats what I am afraid of. I have a known quantity when it comes to coral growth/coloration from my experience with T5 and MH but I have zero hands on with LED...

 

Overall I am thinking T5 for primary lighting with PAR38/PAR30 supplementation perhaps... Thoughts?

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lololol

 

 

^+1

 

exactly...just wait until you tell them that in a real reef when nemo's mom gets eaten nemo would have turned into a female and had sex with his dad....

 

i dont get laid much after this story...

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Hehh! Yep. Or the fact that the big one that just bit me because I was putting my hand in the tank was a girl...

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Mustang Boy
lololol

 

 

^+1

 

exactly...just wait until you tell them that in a real reef when nemo's mom gets eaten nemo would have turned into a female and had sex with his dad....

 

i dont get laid much after this story...

 

Actually what would have happened is His dad turned into his mom and he would have stayed a male and had sex with his dadmom

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In my experience, which is very limited, the PAR3x bulbs are more for singular, targeted lighting, not broad spread of LED light over large tanks. I could be wrong in this instance, but that is just what I have seen of PAR bulbs.

 

You could do LED-T5 Tubes if you wanted it solely to add shimmer.

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Good point Pyrocide. But then I would be using them as supplemental spot lighting and to add a bit of shimmer to the tank. But then I am also now very interested in the PAR values generated by the Mu series by Boost...

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lololol

 

 

^+1

 

exactly...just wait until you tell them that in a real reef when nemo's mom gets eaten nemo would have turned into a female and had sex with his dad....

 

i dont get laid much after this story...

 

Probably because you're wrong!

Marlin would have turned female, not nemo :)

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SaltyAndy- You did both at the same time or at different times? And if both at the same time how and over what size tank?

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@Midna- Yep. That about sums it up. Forget the marvel of fluid dynamics that my mad ninja plumbing skills came up with or the cleanness and functionality of the design of the tank or the optimal lighting spectrum and growth of the corals it always ends up being about the Nemo. And that dialog usually followed by the inevitable question "Why don't you have Dora too?!?"... Sigh... Because the hippo Tang needs a tank that is at least <Her eyes glass over> ... Oh never mind!

 

@xtlosx- Ok. Why?

 

@ Tony- It does actually. And thats what I am afraid of. I have a known quantity when it comes to coral growth/coloration from my experience with T5 and MH but I have zero hands on with LED...

 

Overall I am thinking T5 for primary lighting with PAR38/PAR30 supplementation perhaps... Thoughts?

 

 

The difference it made within the first couple of days has been tremendous. One good example is, I purchased a colony of galaxea frags, that were tiny when I got them, and slowly but surely emerged after weeks of being under a T5HO. They are light loving, so they are high up in the tank. The first 2 days of being under the new LED fixture, they have come out and grown close to .5" where as before they didn't get that big in weeks. The lighting is great! I have a torch, hammer, tongue coral, and candy cane coral in my sand bed 20" down, and everything is flourishing! Couldn't be happier.

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After emailing back and forth with John I must say I am now very heavily in the LED camp. So I think its going to be LED.

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Sorry for the delayed response. I have a 60 gallon cube. For lighting I have a 6x24" ati fixture and a 30 led diy light! I love it. I went with 20 blues and 10 whites on the led system. It is so bright you need sunglasses for my tank!

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saltwatercoral

I am waiting on my 12" Blue 1x72W AquaIllumination Modular LED Light System to come in by the end of the month!!! These have some many features that u can choose from. You can also configure the different Cree LEDs (whites, blues and royal blues) from low (1%) to full (100%). This led setup really gives you a true 20k look

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You can save so much more money with a diy

 

He'll what am I talking about I'm waiting on my t5/led hybrid from nano customs for my 25 rimless!!

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saltwatercoral

I know You can save allot of money with a DIY kit but if something goes wrong its you and yourself that put it together and now you have to find out yourself what is wrong with it. At least with a store purchased unit you can call or email the vendor and ask them the questions. It’s also easer to say this is the one I want and get it. Yes it is more $ but the convenience, looks and peace of mind knowing that there is support for these things is worth it to me!

 

Reef on LED lovers... Reef on

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Actually after penciling it out it comes out cheaper to do a Mu series or the like. Factoring in materials not related to the LED's themselves like a stepped up soldering kit and various sundries...

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