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Innovative Marine Aquariums

[Cadlights 12g LED] New Guy, New Tank


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Hello, I want to introduce myself and join in the fun you guys are having.


This is my first post here and this is my first saltwater tank. This will be the first real fish tank I had since I was a kid. I have been reading, reading, and reading.


I haven’t seen too many reviews or write-ups about the Cadlights tanks. They really look nice and I think they look better without all the plastic that a lot of the other nano tanks have. So I decided to take a chance and order the Cadlights 12g with the LED lighting.


Since there is so little info about this tank online I hope this will be of interest to some of you. In return I hope I can count on some of you for advice. :D


I had a few issues when the product arrived. I called Cadlights and they immediately agreed to ship me out a couple pieces that were damaged. So far so good.





The glass is really nice. 5mm thick, glass bottom. Beautiful. The filter, sump area in the back looks to be very well constructed and sealed up nice. They use glass baffles between the compartments.




The actual size of the tank was not listed anywhere online, here they are: 14.25”wide x 14” deep x 13.2” tall. The base is 16”w x 14.5” deep. The light bracket sticks up 9 more inches. I added 9.25 gallons to the empty tank. I doubt I could get 10 gallons in here.post-71376-1326159457_thumb.jpg


The LED fixture looks pretty bright. I hope it will work with some corals. They claim the light output is equivalent to 72 watts of T5HO. From the website" *NEW Dual banded LED system, 2 manual switches, moonlights. Highly energy efficient at 12W, 6500LUX light output (apprixmately equals to 72W of T5HO)."




According to my Kill A Watt meter the LED fixture draws 22watts, not 12, with both banks on. There are two banks each with their own switch. When both switches go off two blue LEDs stay lit for a moonlight effect.


My plan is to try to setup a couple of 12v relays to turn the lights on and off. I’ll have to wire the relays to the switches. Then I can hook up the 12v transformer/relays to timers and then I’ll have sunset/sunrise and moonlight functionality.


I installed a Hydor 50w heater and it has been giving me fits. It doesn’t want to hold a temp. I have to tap on it to get it to trigger on or off. It seems the thermostat gets stuck. I have a Eheim Jager in my quarantine tank and that holds temp to within .2 degrees. I’ll be buying a second one and returning the Hydor.


I added live rock from LFS and I can best describe this as sterile, live rock. No critters or anything. I am assuming it has been cured and has bacteria from sitting in the tanks for weeks. I’m not sure if this is really the way I wanted to go but that is what I got. I was getting excited hoping to find hitchhikers. I’m sure that won’t happen. I used Argonite CaribSea Caribbean live sand which also will not have any surprises. On the upside at least I shouldn’t find any bad surprises.


Right now the tank is cloudy from adding the sand. Hopefully a cycle is starting but with fresh live rock, only out of the water for 30minutes, and nothing to produce ammonia I don’t foresee a cycle starting. I think I’ll start ghost feeding to see how it handles some load. Oh, I have nothing in the back chambers except a Fluval polishing pad to help clean up the cloudiness, a heater, and the return pump.







I am setting up the QT so I have a place to put the fish for a few weeks before I place them in the DT. My initial plan for QT is a bare tank with PVC elbows, powerhead and a Aquaclear 20 HOB filter. I am using the sponge and ceramic beads only in the QT and I will try to get it to cycle with that. Hopefully that will be enough for 2 small clown fish for 3 weeks. If the tank won't stabilize I'll just go with clean sponge and charcoal and water changes. I'm NEW at this so if the QT plan is not going to work let me know.


How do I know the fish are good to go into DT? If they don't look sick?





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I seen this tank and was very interested in getting one. I am still on the fence about going with one of these or continuing the shallow build I am working on. There are a lot of things I like about this set up. I can not wait to see how yours turns out.

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Nice tank. I wish I had started with a cadlights. I think you made the right decision there.


Your QT plans sound fine to me. Just keep and eye on the parameters and do water changes as necessary to keep them from reaching toxic levels. Three weeks should be fine if they're not showing any signs of disease.

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Your QT plans sound fine to me. Just keep and eye on the parameters and do water changes as necessary to keep them from reaching toxic levels. Three weeks should be fine if they're not showing any signs of disease.



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Those comments give me hope. Sounds like I'm heading in the right direction.


The tank is slowly clearing up. It looks like this after I get home from work.




But I blow some dust off the rocks and clean out the polishing pad and that stirs up another cloud.


I talked to Cadlights today and they are shipping my parts today. They have been pretty nice to deal with.

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OK, On day 10. The tank is pretty clear. I had to rinse them out every day but the polishing pads did the trick.




I wasn't seeing anything happening with the cycle so I was feeding the tank one dried krill every couple days and I finally have an ammonia level of .5ppm. Nitrites and Nitrates are still zero so I'm waiting for those to start climbing.

I see some red stuff growing on the rocks. I'm guessing it is red hair algae since it has quarter inch hairs growing out of it. I hope that is not going to be an issue.

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  • 2 weeks later...

OK, time for an update. I'm just over 3 weeks in and I'm still waiting for my cycle to complete. Finally showing high Nitrites. Nitrates continue to increase. Ammonia is now zero. I'm getting there.


I am concerned about the red hair algae. It is spreading very fast. I turned off the lights so now it only gets light for 10 minutes a day while I'm testing the chemistry. Turning off the lights definitely slowed down the growth. I have been reading the threads about Red Turf algae and I think that is most likely what I have. I see some people have actually given up and torn down their tanks due to it. At this point since the only thing I have living in my tank is red algae and bacteria I'm going to remove all the rock and wash it down with peroxide. I am hoping this will kill the algae. I don't see it growing anywhere other than the rock. I also hope I have enough bacteria in the sand to keep the cycle progressing without having to start from scratch.


Also, I am still waiting for my replacement parts to be shipped from Cad Lights. So far they have been letting me down.

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I took out all the rock and washed all the algae with peroxide. I rinsed that off with salt water and put everything back in the tank. I see all the red algae turned white so it must be dead. I hope I got it all.

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Update. I need some advice here. Do I add CUC now and wait a couple weeks for fish OR add fish now and wait a couple weeks for CUC?


My tank has finally built up enough bacteria to process all the ammonia into Nitrates.

I am reading ammonia:0 nitrites:0 nitrates:0.

On Jan 31 I had ammonia:0 nitrites:5 nitrates:20. The highest ever recorded ammonia was .5.


I am still ghost feeding every 3 or 4 days to keep up the bacteria levels.

The funny thing is I have never done a water change so I thought the Nitrates would keep going up. I got a nice handful of Cheato on Feb 1st and that apparently really works to suck up nitrates since I am now at zero.


Do I even need to do a water change at this point or can I add a fish now? I only have a dime size bit of red algea on the sand. On the rock is just the translucent wisps of dead algea since I killed it all off. So I think there is nothing for a CUC to eat. So I was going to add a clownfish or two and wait for some more algea to grow before adding a CUC. Since there is nothing in the DT tank I was going to put the fish directly in there.


My QT has high Nitrites(5) and high Nitrates(10), zero ammonia. I don't think there is enough surface area in the HOB filter to process all the Nitrites fast enough. That tank is going to get a 100% water change so I have a safe QT to move the clownfish into just in case. I ghost feed that tank too.


Also on a side note the LED bulb I put behind the refugium seems to be working with the Cheato. It seems healthy and must be doing something to suck up the Nitrates.



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  • 1 month later...

Time to relay my Cadlights experience. I was waiting to see if CadLights would resolve this but they SCREWED me over long enough.

I ordered the tank around December 26th and it showed up January 7th. Pretty good. However, this is what they sent me. I had received a tank with a broken acrylic back wall. It had about a 2” crack in it. It looked like something hit it pretty hard because the plastic had to be snapped back into place to make it flush.


There was nothing in the tank that could have broken this. It was like that when they packed it up. It is pretty funny how they ship the tank with a big sticker that says they have the “strictest quality assurance in the business”. If I believe that then I have to believe they sent it to me this way on purpose hoping I would fall for it.


The LED light fixture was obviously a used unit since it was scratched up and one of the mounting holes was bent and gouged up. Someone had covered the gouges with a sharpie marker so it wouldn’t be too obvious. The hanging post will not go into the slot unless I take the light apart and hammer it straight.

The glass lid arrived broken. For some reason they ship those outside of the tank between the tank’s protective styrofoam and the cardboard box.


Jan 7. I called Cadlights immediately and Eddie wanted me to email pictures and they would check out the damage. I did this and didn’t hear back.


Jan 9. Called and got Andrew. Explained everything from scratch. He wants to see the email so I send it again. He would check with Eddie and call me back. No call back.


Jan 11. Called again. I was told the cracked acrylic would be ok and would not cause any problems and I could glue it. I accepted this since it would be a royal pain to send everything back. I asked for a refund for part of the price and this was Oked. I was told the LED light and Glass would be shipped immediately.


Jan 17. Did not hear anything so called again. Andrew tells me it should have shipped. Asked about my refund and was told that should have been processed. He sounded confused and would call me back. Did not.


Jan 24. Called back 6 times throughout the day. Noone answers phone.


Jan 25. Called back 4 times throughout the day. Noone answers phone. Call from different phone and call is picked up immediatly. Hmmm, callerid? I was told it should have shipped. Andrew will call me back with tracking number. Did not. Did not get my refund either.


Jan 26. Called back from other phone and talked to Andrew. Was definitetly shipped out but can’t find tracking number. Would call me back. Did not. I did get the refund around this time.


Feb 14. Called Andrew. LED light is out of stock, has been for some time. Should be in by Feb 26.


Mar 5. Called and got Deshawn. Explained everything again. He can’t believe that Andrew screwed up so bad and that he never called me back. Cadlights will no longer operate this way. He tells me the LED fixture will not be back in stock because the new fixtures will be in on Mar 12. “Everyone waiting for a LED fixture will get one of the new ones shipped out as soon as they are in stock” he tells me.


Mar 20. Called Deshawn. Was told I could trade my old LED light for one of the new 30watt cluster units but I have to PAY the difference in price. I was led to believe the if I wanted to get two 6watt units it would be an even exchange. I told him I would want the 30 watt fixture and to give me a price for the upgrade. He would send a picture of the new unit and a price via email. Never happened.


Mar 22. Called Deshawn. Had to explain everything from scratch again and he then told me that Eddie would be available in a little while to instruct him on the upgrade price. He would then call me back. Never happened.


Mar 23. Cadlights can shove the new light somewhere. They will not get one friggin penny from me ever again.

They sound GREAT on the phone but when they hang up they have already forgotten who you are.

So bottom line, they sent me a broken tank, broken top, used LED light. Agreed to send me new stuff on Jan 11th and here I am still waiting on March 23.


Mar 29. Still have not received any information from Cadlights.


April 11. Still no word.


Other than that. The tank is looking good. I have two clownfish, a few corals, a Goby and Pistol shrimp (bulldozer) and a porcelain crab. I'll be picking up a couple more corals tomorrow. Nitrates are always zero thanks to my nicely growing chaeto.


Scott Olendorf

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  • 3 weeks later...

I purchased the 14 LED DIY kit from LEDTRIC during the short time it was available. I got mine with 8 royal blue, 5 cool white, 1 true violet. I had an issue when setting everything up and Mike immediately sent me some items I needed and a few more LEDs. Great service.


I replaced the 100ohm pots with 20ohm pots due to the 100 ohm being too coarse of an adjustmet. The 20's work great but you can't dim all the way off. Not a problem for me.


So this is what I wound up using. 2 Maxwellen drivers each on their own power cord. String 1: 5CW, 2RB, 1Deep Red. String 2: 7RB, 2TV.


I put a Lexan splash shield on and bent the edge to help block the light spilling out at your eyes. I painted the lip black.



Here it is showing both strings on full.



Here is just the RB / TV string.



It is really hard to tell true colors from the pics. Before I had mostly white light and now with the blue and violet the corals really fluoresce . I hope everything grows better now.


Oh yeah, I put the drivers in a project box. There are a few holes in the side of the box to let heat out but it barely gets warm. Also I didn't use the fan on the heatsink since that gets barely warm as well.



Scott Olendorf

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I didn't use the optics. I though the light was too close to the tank to really benefit from them. I did save room for them under the splash shield so I can add them later if I change my mind.


I wasn't too sure about buying the true violet LEDs. They are pretty new and seemed like a fad. But I hooked up one TV to a transformer to see if it would make a good moonlight and let me tell you just one of these really makes the florescent colors glow just like a black-light. Incredible. I guess it really is a black-light. After seeing this I would recommend adding some TV to any LED lighting setup. I decided not to use the one TV led as a moonlight. Even one was brighter than I wanted. Maybe I can find a way to dim it.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Nano sapiens

Looks like you had some real problems with CadLights, which is a real shame.


How is the tank progressing with the new lighting?

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Looks like you had some real problems with CadLights, which is a real shame.


How is the tank progressing with the new lighting?


Yes, too bad about Cadlights. I wouldn't mind having a 30 - 50 gallon Cadlights tank someday but I just won't buy anything else from them.


The tank is doing great. I really like the lights. I use one True Violet LED at about half intensity for a moonlight and that gives me a really cool fluorescence from half the corals. The plate Montipora is showing good growth and the hammers are splitting.


I also have a Pom Pom crab now and that has molted once already. So far, so good.

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