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Juno

Best Cheap Light for a 34 gal SPS

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Juno

I've gotten so many suggestions and some are suuuuuper cheap. So cheap that it makes me question their reliability. Has anyone tried growing sps with an Asta 20 or other cheap model. If they are so great, then why does everyone opt for the AI Prime? I guess what I need to know is...what would I be sacrificing to save $150?

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Juno

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Ratvan
4 hours ago, Juno said:

I've gotten so many suggestions and some are suuuuuper cheap. So cheap that it makes me question their reliability. Has anyone tried growing sps with an Asta 20 or other cheap model. If they are so great, then why does everyone opt for the AI Prime? I guess what I need to know is...what would I be sacrificing to save $150?

I have the Asta 20. I dont grow SPS but can tell you the AI Prime has better spread, penetration and is suitable for larger tanks. I wouldnt be able to use the Asta 20 on anything larger than a 5. Maybe 5.5g if a cube but then would have shading. If I had a prime I'd be looking at 30-40g before adding a second. Depending on scape of course

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Tamberav
6 hours ago, Juno said:

I've gotten so many suggestions and some are suuuuuper cheap. So cheap that it makes me question their reliability. Has anyone tried growing sps with an Asta 20 or other cheap model. If they are so great, then why does everyone opt for the AI Prime? I guess what I need to know is...what would I be sacrificing to save $150?

Asta isn't going to be good for a 34g for SPS. My guess is you would be sacrificing growth. Corals can survive in less than ideal light but probably won't grow well. SPS may brown from too low of light.

 

A mars aqua, viparspectra, or other china box will get the job done. I saw an amazing SPS tank in person with a mars aqua over it, even had nice wild acros or just get a prime so you can control it from your phone and it will hold its value better. It is also easier to attach to the tank.

 

I run nano-box which is even more expensive, I just like Dave and I feel like his set-up can pull off colors others can't and mint really makes LPS look amazing. Plus all the parts are readily available, so if anything breaks or if you want to upgrade to a new puck, it's not hard to do so. If my Kessil broke, how would I even go about exchanging the parts in it? I don't think I could. They don't even sell fans so I would have to DIY janky that part too. I have seen people where the LED's on kessil start to only partially work, then what? Pay to fix it or in the trash it goes.

 

Then you have those who pay even more for hybrid led/t5 lights, they do this to get the wild colors LED's can sometimes pull but T5's to prevent shading LED's also tend to cause.

 

Just have to decide what is important to you at what price point after hitting the minimum requirements for keeping coral alive and growing. 

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Juno

The tank dimensions are 20 x 20 x 20, at 34 gallons. What wattage do you think I'll need? I just want pretty, and versatile, not crazy amazing or award winning😁.

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blasterman

A single Mars Aqua or generic black box can do a 20x20 cube with no problem. Well,,,one small problem. They tend to use rather narrow optics and you will need to raise the light a foot or more to get coverage. If you have the room, that's the solution on a budget. Friend of mine has a 450gal with table acropora the size of toddlers and clams the size of footballs and runs it with nothing but cheap black boxes.

 

The advantage the more expensive name brand lights have is more expensive optics that have wider spreads. So....you can run the light a lot lower, but you pay for it.

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mcarroll

I would start by deciding what your budget really is. Work backwards from that number.

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Tamberav
27 minutes ago, blasterman said:

A single Mars Aqua or generic black box can do a 20x20 cube with no problem. Well,,,one small problem. They tend to use rather narrow optics and you will need to raise the light a foot or more to get coverage. If you have the room, that's the solution on a budget. Friend of mine has a 450gal with table acropora the size of toddlers and clams the size of footballs and runs it with nothing but cheap black boxes.

 

The advantage the more expensive name brand lights have is more expensive optics that have wider spreads. So....you can run the light a lot lower, but you pay for it.

It is easy to take the optics off or swap them. 

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Tamberav
21 hours ago, Juno said:

The tank dimensions are 20 x 20 x 20, at 34 gallons. What wattage do you think I'll need? I just want pretty, and versatile, not crazy amazing or award winning😁.

Black box will cost you around 100-110 new for a decent brand, Viperspectra is $100 on amazon, $60-$75ish if you can find it local used or $165-175ish for a used prime. Spectrum matters just as much if not more than wattage. I would just go with one of those two if on a budget. 

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