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Best Lighting For a Macro Tank


calvin

Lighting Preference  

149 members have voted

  1. 1. What's the best lighting for a macro tank?

    • PCs
      25
    • T5
      42
    • Metal Halide
      16
    • LED
      62
    • a mixture (give details below)
      5
  2. 2. What color spectrum?

    • 6,500k
      71
    • 10,000k
      46
    • 14,000k
      18
    • other (perhaps a mix of multiple spectrums. give details below)
      15


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I have cheato helameda or whatever its called and an unkown algae. I tried t5 6500k and actinic, 50/50 pc, and a 5000k pc floodlight from lowes. Honestly i had the best growth under the floodlight. It was lower kelvin and lower watage but they seemed to love it go figure. Kinda makes since if u look at all the planted freshwater tanks, most of them use 6500k or below. Plants seem to thrive under more red and pink.

 

The only reason i put the 50/50 pc back on it is because im growing xenia in my fuge now aswell

 

If you search for Melev's reef, he did a comparison between 2700K, 5000K, and 6500k for growing chaeto or general refugium bulb to use, for green plants anyway.

 

He used the floodlight bulbs and found that 5000k was best for chaeto vs the others spectrums.

Edited by bizzarro
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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm going to be running LEDs over a mostly macro 30G seahorse tank. Right now I have 12 Luxeons, 50/50 RB and CW. I wasn't happy with the color so I ordered an Aquastyle 14 dimmable kit with 5 CW, 5 RB and 4 UV. Now I just need to figure out a color combination with the hodge podge of LEDs. I am thinking running the entire aquastyle kit and 8 of the luxeons. Any thoughts????

 

My current macro stocking:

 

Red grape Algea

Scroll Algea

Grape Caulerpa

Red Branching Macro

Dragon's Breat

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Get some 660nm LEDs too. The whites you have chosen likely do not provide enough light in the red spectrum to produce Chlorophyll B.

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  • 3 months later...

Im going to use 4 CW, 2 RB, 1 red and 1 violet led on my 5 gallon. I'll see how it works out. Do green leds ever benefit the tank?

Edited by asid61
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  • 5 months later...
Im going to use 4 CW, 2 RB, 1 red and 1 violet led on my 5 gallon. I'll see how it works out. Do green leds ever benefit the tank?

 

These are dead on to the spectrum that macro's use for photosynthesis. Might be a better bet the CW which run anywhere from 5000-8000k I believe.

http://www.aquastyleonline.com/products/Br...hite-6500K.html

 

I never messed with it in aquatic plants fresh or salt, but I would be interested to see how much growth you would get with LED grow lights...

 

My grandfather raised very rare orchids. He had a greenhouse attached to his house, but with some of his more prized orchids he would use T-5 lighting which was a red spectrum plant light and a 6500k white. I purchased him some LED grow lights which where 2 12x12 sections with 3/1 ratio of red 650nm and blue 430nm. Those where for vegitive growth.

 

The growth was close to double of what his t-5's did.

 

He purchased a flowering led which was 5/5/2/2/1/ ratio of Red: 630, 660nm, Blue: 425nm, Infrared: 730nm, Ultraviolet: 380nm, White: 12000k...

 

I think green's really won't do much for macro growth and I really don't see them used in any type of plant grow lighting weather it's aquatic or terrestrial. I would look into 6500k for sure though. It has much better penetration of water (even tough you have a small tank many light spectrums don't get very far past the surface.

 

I think 4 6500k 2 red 2 rb would work better for the setup and that's what I would choose if it where my tank, but I'm sure there are many others with much more experience in macro algae then I have.

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  • 1 month later...

3000K - 6500K. I've done side by sides with Cree Par38 LED's and the 3000K, 5000K and 6500K are all really close. 10000K isn't even comparable, literally less than half the growth of either of the other bulbs. This was chaeto, dragon's breath, and red grape caulerpa. Not sure what you're growing but the red algaes started to bleach out after a while under the same intensity that the chaeto thrived in. Colored back up after I removed it from the direct light.

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  • 3 weeks later...

LED would be my last choice for macro. Most macro use more than one spectrum during growth. Diode emit one exact frequency per diode. To accomplish broad spectrum lighting with LED would require multiple individual spectrum LED. This would be an expensive feature. The DIY people tell me they can do it. I question the expertise of hobiest that know nothing about horticulture, yet they are willing to try it out. I have several advanced degrees in engineerig. I let the greenhouse supply industry guide me in this area. With respect to coral light requirements, I listen to Dana Riddle or Sanja.

 

La bonne temps roulee,

Patrick

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Well Im starting a macro tank aswell in the next few months, slow start, awsome finish!

 

I do have a Full SpectrumPar38 I plan to use over this 14" cube tank, however I may opt to DIY a light fixture (LEDs)

 

Im going to try out this custom Spectrum (based on research)

 

4x 455nm Royal Blue

2x 4500k Neutral White

1x 470nm Cool Blue

2x 410nm Pure Violet

1x 495nm Turquoise (green)

2x 660nm Deep Red

 

Hopeing to capture the macros many colors and of cource provided a great growth spectrum!

 

Any thought? Discuss!

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LED would be my last choice for macro. Most macro use more than one spectrum during growth. Diode emit one exact frequency per diode. To accomplish broad spectrum lighting with LED would require multiple individual spectrum LED. This would be an expensive feature. The DIY people tell me they can do it. I question the expertise of hobiest that know nothing about horticulture, yet they are willing to try it out. I have several advanced degrees in engineerig. I let the greenhouse supply industry guide me in this area. With respect to coral light requirements, I listen to Dana Riddle or Sanja.

 

La bonne temps roulee,

Patrick

 

What do you think it's the best solution?

What are your friends using to grow algae?

 

Meantime, lets see what Takashi Amano recommends for freshwater plants:

"The heart of the all ADA Lighting System is the unique, true 8000 Kelvin lamp which was determined the most ideal and closest simulation to the aquatic plants' natural environment."

 

Anyway, until recently, he used only MH & twin fluorescent. His latest lighting lamps are LED based. Lets see the specs of one of the LED lights:

Input voltage: AC100 – 240V 50/60Hz

Power consumption: 17W

Current consumption: 0.4A

Color temperature: 7,000K – 8,000K

LED: 0.4W/each x 30

 

The germans from Triton, their method relies on algae as the key to the system, recommend lighting with T5:

page 15: "The algae filter is illuminated opposite to the day/night cycle of the main tank and thus keeps the pH value stable and supplies the coral algae (zooxanthellae) with CO2 during the day. TRITON also recommends lighting with T5. "

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Because I do this for a business profit, I may have different criteria than a hobbiest. I have been a hobiest for 40 years and have seen things come and go.

 

With respect to what do I use.

During winter operations in my greenhouse system, I use 1000W MH at 6500 Kevin. My objection to a point source light emission was the loss of coverage achieved. I solved the problem with a moving track which spans the length of my 20' growout tank. During warm weather, I install a 60% shade cloth and use natural sunlight.

In my personal 135G lagoon, I use a four foot eight bulb T5 fixture from the greenhouse supply industry. I have settled on using there horticulture bulbs at 5400 kevin and 10K kevin. While many reef people will call this color rendition yellow and unnatural, it is very benifcial to corals and macros. The reds and yellows on fish are vibrant. I have snorkled in the Caribbean. The blue color of 20K is very unnatural until you go below several hundred feet. The reds go first. Macro lives in the zone with the red.

 

To further make the point on full spectrum lighting, I will relate my first use of a PAR meter. I had shallow growout tanks that were 4' by 8' by 6" high. When using an Ice Cap 660 electronic ballast, I used NO florescent tubes at 6500 kevin and overdrove 40W tubes to produce 81W. Side by side with the 40W 6500 kevin tube was a VHO super actinic at 110W. PAR readings were taken 10.." below tubes (4" air gape 6" water). The 40W daylight lamp showed twice the PAR value as the 110W super actinic. That was ten years ago. This past week, I compared PAR valuse of 1000W MH bulbs. The 3000 kevin bulb produces 250% more PAR than the 6500 kevin bulb. Both bulbs were new with the same ballast and fixture. I discontinued the use of the 3000 kevin bulb as I found more micro algae growth with this lower spectrum.

 

For my application with 4' long tanks, T5 fixtures work best. The 4' eight bulb fixture with tubes cost me $228 shipped to my home. New tubes cost less than $5. While I see the economy of LED, it does not work for me at this time.

 

La bonne temps roulee,

Patrick

  • Like 1
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Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Like the Zgermans you like T5 too. I'm curious what kind of T5 they use. Do you combine 5400 kevin and 10K kevin? Cuz if you do you might be in line what Takashi is saying about 8000k.

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Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Like the Zgermans you like T5 too. I'm curious what kind of T5 they use. Do you combine 5400 kevin and 10K kevin? Cuz if you do you might be in line what Takashi is saying about 8000k.

 

http://www.htgsupply.com/Product-SlimStar-4-Foot-8-Lamp-High-Output-T5-Fluorescent.asp

This is what I have on my 135G lagoon.

 

http://www.htgsupply.com/Product-Agromax-Pro-Series-280-LED-Grow-Light.asp

LED growlights at the same vendor.

 

If you look thru T5 bulbs at this site, you will see what I use in a 1:1 ratio: 5400/10K kevin.

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http://www.htgsupply.com/Product-SlimStar-4-Foot-8-Lamp-High-Output-T5-Fluorescent.asp

This is what I have on my 135G lagoon.

 

http://www.htgsupply.com/Product-Agromax-Pro-Series-280-LED-Grow-Light.asp

LED growlights at the same vendor.

 

If you look thru T5 bulbs at this site, you will see what I use in a 1:1 ratio: 5400/10K kevin.

 

I wonder what's the real K of this 1:1 combo.

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I am not sure how the real K is determined. I use my own eyesight as a gage. Kevin is a very unscientific determination and it is very subjective.

I use a standard PAR meter to determine my requirements to grow things.

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Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Like the Zgermans you like T5 too. I'm curious what kind of T5 they use. Do you combine 5400 kevin and 10K kevin? Cuz if you do you might be in line what Takashi is saying about 8000k.

I do not know how Kevin is calculated. In looking at the combination of the two horticulture lights, I would give it a 5500 kevin. I am waiting on a 10K Plus bulb which has uv wavelength. I am unsure if I could see a difference. For stuff like this, I rely on PAR meter. Even with the meter, you do not know which wave length is measured. You only know the total between 400nm-700nm. Again, the reason that I do not subscribe with LED ligthting is the very specific wavelength emitted by diodes. With respects to plants, they need different colored lights at different times of growth. I strongly feel there is insufficient research to specific wave lenghts required by different corals. When you use LED lighting, the photosynthic corals will tell you if it is not working by failing to thrive because it can not adjust. When I use broad spectrum lighting, I do not need to worry about require spectrum, I provide it all. If the look of natural reef lighting at 5000 Kevin does not suit you, then add some actinics.

  • Like 1
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_temperature

This is a good link to understand where light theory comes from. There is some calculus that calculates kelvin. Good luck with the calculus and differential equations, it has been more than 40 years for me.

 

KELVIN... not kevin... lol it is the measurable wavelength of the light... Not subjective...

 

Thank you. Engineers are terrible spellers.

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SeahawkReefer

Right the light wavelength/ color can be compared to a known sample (ex. the sun), but it is a known objective measurement... Thanks for the link, I learned a little about fluorescent lighting and correlated color temp...

 

Seems like a lot of people are switching to LEDs only to have corals die, when they were doing just fine under their old lights... probably like you said, they aren't using the full spectrum anymore

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  • 1 month later...

Seems like a lot of people are switching to LEDs only to have corals die, when they were doing just fine under their old lights... probably like you said, they aren't using the full spectrum anymore

The Marineland Double Bright is not switching to leds. That's switching to white moonlights. :D

A good full spectrum build is good for macros. My macros do fine under a 1:1 of RB:NW.

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I have used those two LED colors on several different tanks. While the color looks good to my eye, I can not say that the macro growth was satisfactory to my standards. On all of my grow out tanks that double as a display tank, I use T5 horticulture fixtures with 1:1 ratio of actinic bulbs with 5400 kelvin bulbs.

Patrick

  • Like 1
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The original post was best. I can not document which ratio of LED specific spectrum diodes are the best mixture. The horticulture industry is mandated to using the best and the most economical. When you sell for profit, it is substantially different than a DIY project. The horticulture industry distributors offer LED fixtures. They are five times the cost of T5 fixtures. No one has documented that LED are five times better at macro growth. During the winter time in my grow out facility, I use 1000W MH for growth and heat inside the greenhouse. In all of my reef tanks, I use T5 except for my 11 year old 75G Jaubert Plenumn on top with a 30G mud/macro filter. On it I use 250W MH with 260W of PC actinics.

 

I have used LED multi spectrum lights. At $250 for a 70W fixture that was satisfactory, I find them pricey. For my money, broad spectrum bulbs work best for me.

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