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Cyndrol

T5 or LED for my 60 gallon tank?

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Cyndrol

Hello everybody!

I am often reading forum posts on this website and decided to make an account myself, so maybe somebody can help me with my little problem.

I have an around 60g tank (47 inch long, 21 inch high, 17 inch wide). The tank is nearly 2 years old. Currently I have cheap LEDs that I bought from amazon. They are okay, Softies grow slowly, but nothing grows as I want it to and of course I would love to go for SPS so my tank really needs an upgrade.

I cant decide what lights to get for my tank. I hear a lot of good things about T5, as they are supposed to be the best "plug and play" methode for growing LPS and SPS. I would go for an ATI 6x54w fixture. It would fit nicely over my whole tank. The downside of this is my budget. I cant go over 1000 dollars and the running costs for T5 are insane (change bulbs every 6 months, expensive electricity bill) which really is a tough one for me.

The other option would be LEDs. However there are so many brands that I am completly lost on what to get. An Ecotech Radion is out of the question as it would cost way to much. Another option would be two AI Hydra 32HD. It would bring me up to around 800 Dollars. More expensive then an ATI fixture, but way less in the long term.

Now my question is would two AI Hydra 32HDs be enough for my tank? Will they be able to grow every coral ranging from Euphyllia to Acropora? (Yes I know there are more factors you have to look at when growing corals, but lets just focus on light).

Are there any other options? What would be the best one? Maybe for a personal note I am not a huge fan of shimmers. I like my tank to be lit and having a disco ball effect just irritates me.

 

I am happy to read your replies and I hope you can help me those 🙂

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5*Chris
45 minutes ago, Cyndrol said:

Hello everybody!

I am often reading forum posts on this website and decided to make an account myself, so maybe somebody can help me with my little problem.

I have an around 60g tank (47 inch long, 21 inch high, 17 inch wide). The tank is nearly 2 years old. Currently I have cheap LEDs that I bought from amazon. They are okay, Softies grow slowly, but nothing grows as I want it to and of course I would love to go for SPS so my tank really needs an upgrade.

I cant decide what lights to get for my tank. I hear a lot of good things about T5, as they are supposed to be the best "plug and play" methode for growing LPS and SPS. I would go for an ATI 6x54w fixture. It would fit nicely over my whole tank. The downside of this is my budget. I cant go over 1000 dollars and the running costs for T5 are insane (change bulbs every 6 months, expensive electricity bill) which really is a tough one for me.

The other option would be LEDs. However there are so many brands that I am completly lost on what to get. An Ecotech Radion is out of the question as it would cost way to much. Another option would be two AI Hydra 32HD. It would bring me up to around 800 Dollars. More expensive then an ATI fixture, but way less in the long term.

Now my question is would two AI Hydra 32HDs be enough for my tank? Will they be able to grow every coral ranging from Euphyllia to Acropora? (Yes I know there are more factors you have to look at when growing corals, but lets just focus on light).

Are there any other options? What would be the best one? Maybe for a personal note I am not a huge fan of shimmers. I like my tank to be lit and having a disco ball effect just irritates me.

 

I am happy to read your replies and I hope you can help me those 🙂

After changing over to hybrid T5s I personally don't see myself going back to just an led fixture. 

 

I had a Hydra...which was great, added a couple led bars and it was awesome. But there was something different after I switched to T5s (with led bars.) Everything just looked happy, without wondering how well I set up my Hydra. I always wondered what I could tweak to try to get better results and it often made things unhappy. I feel myself starting to ramble. 

 

I vote T5/led bar setup. OR.... Reefbreeders photon and 2 led bars, either way should meet your budget.

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Reefkid88

Aquacave.com has SunBlaze T5 fixtures which are a very well proven budget T5 fixture. I would suggest 2 ATI Blue Plus,1 ATI Actinic and an ATI Aquablue Special. 

 

 The for the led portion,ReefBreeders has "LumenBars" that can be mounted to the T5 housing. SBReefLights has led bars as well that can also be had for a decent price. 

 

I'm personally a HUGE fan of LED/T5 hybrids and have ran a few myself. T5's providing the spread,spectrum,brightness needed and leds to provide the punch,spectrum,color needed. Its overall your best choice for your tank. 

 

AquaCave (48" 4 bulb t5 and 4 bulbs,)-$287

ReefBreeders 48" LumenBar-$175

SBReefLights 48" SBar-$210

 

 All of this can be had for cheaper than an ATI fixture without bulbs lol and save a good piece of cash. 

 

 You can go almost a year on a set of t5 bulbs. Don't let the foolishness steer you away. It also may only add a few dollars to your electric bill. With my 24" 4 bulb fixture,I only saw a $2 (IIRC) difference in my bill. Your bulb expense would only be $100 every almost year. 

 

 Another viable option:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/ViaVolt-4-ft-4-Bulb-T5-High-Output-Copper-Fluorescent-Grow-Light-Fixture-V44/203012866

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Matteo

Hybrid ftw always. 

 

I hated my reefbreeders bar but people like them... 

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Reefkid88
3 minutes ago, Matteo said:

Hybrid ftw always. 

 

I hated my reefbreeders bar but people like them... 

Its because you have a brain lol. I will some day have a 24" long tank and run $27 Home Depot t5's strips and DIY violet/royal bars 😔

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NoOneLikesADryTang

I have a tank with very similar measurements (IM SR80), and you’d realistically need three hydras to grow any coral (we had two hydra HD 26’s on it, and the coverage was mediocre). With a third, you’d have smooth even coverage. 
 

Also,  changing T5 bulbs every 6 months isn’t needed, unless you’re trying to get crazy par for an SPS dominant tank. We switched to the ATI 6x54w, with reef brite led bars, and I’d never go back. We change the bulbs once a year, on a rotation as to not shock the corals. 

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pokerdobe

Not to sound redundant, but T5 Led hybrid if possible. 

 

Barring that, T5. 

 

Then LED. 

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Tamberav
2 hours ago, Cyndrol said:

Hello everybody!

I am often reading forum posts on this website and decided to make an account myself, so maybe somebody can help me with my little problem.

I have an around 60g tank (47 inch long, 21 inch high, 17 inch wide). The tank is nearly 2 years old. Currently I have cheap LEDs that I bought from amazon. They are okay, Softies grow slowly, but nothing grows as I want it to and of course I would love to go for SPS so my tank really needs an upgrade.

I cant decide what lights to get for my tank. I hear a lot of good things about T5, as they are supposed to be the best "plug and play" methode for growing LPS and SPS. I would go for an ATI 6x54w fixture. It would fit nicely over my whole tank. The downside of this is my budget. I cant go over 1000 dollars and the running costs for T5 are insane (change bulbs every 6 months, expensive electricity bill) which really is a tough one for me.

The other option would be LEDs. However there are so many brands that I am completly lost on what to get. An Ecotech Radion is out of the question as it would cost way to much. Another option would be two AI Hydra 32HD. It would bring me up to around 800 Dollars. More expensive then an ATI fixture, but way less in the long term.

Now my question is would two AI Hydra 32HDs be enough for my tank? Will they be able to grow every coral ranging from Euphyllia to Acropora? (Yes I know there are more factors you have to look at when growing corals, but lets just focus on light).

Are there any other options? What would be the best one? Maybe for a personal note I am not a huge fan of shimmers. I like my tank to be lit and having a disco ball effect just irritates me.

 

I am happy to read your replies and I hope you can help me those 🙂

You generally need more LED fixtures than you think you will need if you want something like SPS dominant or (grow anything I feel like). Some say twice as many as what the manufacture recommends. This is due to shadowing once frags become colonies. Also many people do not keep LED for many many years, new versions come out and they upgrade so the bulb cost is kinda meh point.

 

I would say for AI Hydra's, you need 3 of them, not two. 

 

T5 is actually the cheapest 'off the block'. Six month bulb replacement is aggressive... some go 1 year, I have seen as long as 18 months. BRS has a video on this. 

 

Hybrid is generally the most favored as you get t5 spread + led control. Popular options are your choice of led fixtures + something like a aquatic life to add t5 or to buy a ATI fixture and add led to each end such as reef bright, lumen bars, or orphek bars. 

 

Yes it will be expensive if you want a 'can do anything I want' light. 

 

I started out in LED game but t5 hybrid is my favorite now > then full t5 > just led

 

The exception are small nano's where just LED can do a good job and where t5 fixtures would ofc be huge over them. 

 

 

I will be swapping out to ATI sunpowers + led bar's. T5's are proven and sunpowers tend to last forever and the ballasts and parts are easily repairable. Try fixing a typical LED fixture out of warranty... ha!!!! 

 

 

To save money, just grab a used fixture that has reflectors in good shape. 

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Matteo

Rocking a 4bulb ATI and 2x current USA pro led strips on my 40 cube. Working perfect in all the right ways. 

 

I think down the road I'd try reef breeders again or maybe go the diy route we'll see! 

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Cflo

Sunpower with nanobox retrofit kit. I happen to have one for sale. 😃

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Cyndrol

Thanks for all the replies! Guess I will stay with T5. Probably going for 6x54w ATI Sunpower fixture and supplementing it with LED Stripes preferably Orphek or Reef Brite. Guess that would be the best option for myself.

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mcarroll
On 8/14/2020 at 6:11 PM, Cyndrol said:

have an around 60g tank (47 inch long, 21 inch high, 17 inch wide). The tank is nearly 2 years old. Currently I have cheap LEDs that I bought from amazon. They are okay, Softies grow slowly, but nothing grows as I want it to and of course I would love to go for SPS so my tank really needs an upgrade.

Corals don't need as much light as we tend to think (and they need none of the fancy features).  Which lights do you have and how are they mounted?  Pic?

 

 

If your corals aren't growing as you want then to, then either your expectations are off (recall: they grow how *they* want to, according to tank conditions *you* set up) or chances are there's something relatively simple to correct that has nothing to do with lighting.

 

On 8/14/2020 at 6:11 PM, Cyndrol said:

I hear a lot of good things about T5

In the 2000's they were peaking in popularity...they had finally gotten as good as halides like the 20,000K Radium.

 

The days of high-power lighting are over tho thanks to the 450nm blue LED.  (Same emitter that's underneath every white LED too.)  Yes T5 and halide still work – the biology hasn't changed after all – but they are uber-expensive to run by comparison, with almost a tiny relative benefit in terms of growing corals.  (Even if you *really* want to think they grow coral "better" you only have to look at so many LED coral tanks to know that it's a miniscule difference....almost in the eye of the beholder.)

 

For perspective, if you compare T5 vs a DIY LED system....you could build a brand new DIY rig, use it for a year, throw it into trash, replace it with a new build every year and still come out on top in terms of "money savings".

 

On 8/14/2020 at 6:11 PM, Cyndrol said:

I would go for an ATI 6x54w fixture.

Overkill for such a shallow tank, but you're right it would work.

 

On 8/14/2020 at 6:11 PM, Cyndrol said:

I cant go over 1000 dollars

It's absurd to think about $1000 as a limit for such a small tank.  Even a complete Kessil AP700 fits that budget and just about every other option comes in way under that.  

 

The AP would be a sweet light for your tank, BTW.  A dual A360 setup would be too.  Halide in the form of an LED light.....excellent.  (Controller optional and you can DIY the mounting system if you want to contain the budget a little.)

 

If you're fine without sunrise/sunset (evidenced by you being OK with T5) then I'd suggest looking as a set of inexpensive Ocean Revive panel LED's.  Two is all it would take.  Emitter placement is excellent.  Minimal emitters wasted on red and green.  Nice built in timer system with dual-channel dimming (giving you custom color control...not sunrise/sunset).  I upgraded to my A360X's from the Ocean Revive...but not because the OR's were bad.  It was just time for the upgrade is all.  🙂 (I still have the OR's....just waiting for the next tank.)

 

I also like the Maxspect Razor I had (and still have) before the Ocean Revives.  Around $600 for the current $200w model.

 

If you really think you like the look of T5 (dead, sterile, undynamic) then consider LED strips like the Current Orbit IC's or similar product from GHL and Orphek which mimic the T5 setup.  Very slick since they can be deployed right on the top of the tank and almost become invisible.

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Matteo
2 hours ago, mcarroll said:

Corals don't need as much light as we tend to think (and they need none of the fancy features).  Which lights do you have and how are they mounted?  Pic?

 

 

If your corals aren't growing as you want then to, then either your expectations are off (recall: they grow how *they* want to, according to tank conditions *you* set up) or chances are there's something relatively simple to correct that has nothing to do with lighting.

 

In the 2000's they were peaking in popularity...they had finally gotten as good as halides like the 20,000K Radium.

 

The days of high-power lighting are over tho thanks to the 450nm blue LED.  (Same emitter that's underneath every white LED too.)  Yes T5 and halide still work – the biology hasn't changed after all – but they are uber-expensive to run by comparison, with almost a tiny relative benefit in terms of growing corals.  (Even if you *really* want to think they grow coral "better" you only have to look at so many LED coral tanks to know that it's a miniscule difference....almost in the eye of the beholder.)

 

For perspective, if you compare T5 vs a DIY LED system....you could build a brand new DIY rig, use it for a year, throw it into trash, replace it with a new build every year and still come out on top in terms of "money savings".

 

Overkill for such a shallow tank, but you're right it would work.

 

It's absurd to think about $1000 as a limit for such a small tank.  Even a complete Kessil AP700 fits that budget and just about every other option comes in way under that.  

 

The AP would be a sweet light for your tank, BTW.  A dual A360 setup would be too.  Halide in the form of an LED light.....excellent.  (Controller optional and you can DIY the mounting system if you want to contain the budget a little.)

 

If you're fine without sunrise/sunset (evidenced by you being OK with T5) then I'd suggest looking as a set of inexpensive Ocean Revive panel LED's.  Two is all it would take.  Emitter placement is excellent.  Minimal emitters wasted on red and green.  Nice built in timer system with dual-channel dimming (giving you custom color control...not sunrise/sunset).  I upgraded to my A360X's from the Ocean Revive...but not because the OR's were bad.  It was just time for the upgrade is all.  🙂 (I still have the OR's....just waiting for the next tank.)

 

I also like the Maxspect Razor I had (and still have) before the Ocean Revives.  Around $600 for the current $200w model.

 

If you really think you like the look of T5 (dead, sterile, undynamic) then consider LED strips like the Current Orbit IC's or similar product from GHL and Orphek which mimic the T5 setup.  Very slick since they can be deployed right on the top of the tank and almost become invisible.

Nope nope and nope. 

 

T5s are coming back as many are realizing you need a lot of LEDs for decent coral growth specifically SPS like OP wants to do. 

 

Calling T5s dead and undynamic is just a  personal opinion... I'd argue the top SPS builds have t5s. 

 

Playing with bulb combos and seeing the results and growth and literal par is pretty dynamic and not dead looking at all....

 

Current USA don't mimic T5s I have had both their strips and orbit pro. Definitely full led aesthetic. 

 

Also orphek doesn't look like a T5 either... They have mad shimmer and pop like an LED... Cause they are. 

 

Ocean revives are Chinese leds. $1000 for a solid light is not ridiculous at all for this size of tank and neither is the ati suggested above. 

 

Sorry but just so much wrong with your comment. 

 

Have you ever built a DIY Led? No way could you throw away and be cost effective ESPECIALLY at this size of tank. 

 

Sorry to rant but just no. 

 

 

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mcarroll

Not sure where you're coming from with all that...folks played with bulb combo's 10-15 years ago too, until playing with LED color combos took over their play.   Weird-colored (purple, orange, red, ...) reefs was such a strange trend.  😜  Seems like it's fading out a bit lately.

 

I was really just talking about math (T5 costs) and things I've personally done over the last 10 years (cost of LED builds).  Anyone can run the same numbers (I've run them numerous time online, can do it again if it will help), anyone can build the same projects. (I'm not building an LED for you tho! :lol:)  So none of that "should be" too controversial.

 

T5 just old...not bad.  

 

LED's are just better in so many major ways.  Up front cost, ongoing costs and 5-10+ year lifetime are just a few of them.  LED's aren't perfect, but the list of advantages is really long!

 

Results like the tanks in Nano-Reef's Featured Nano Reef Aquariums section are nothing to sneeze at, and they are almost 100% LED these days.  🤷‍♂️

(just the most recent entries from the linked page...not cherry picking)

 

That doesn't make the T5 tanks ugly.  Just hard to find on that list in 2020.

That also doesn't mean you have to take down a T5 fixture if you're using one and love it.  Thankfully!

 

But LED is what it is....can't really deny those results.  

 

Using a diffuser is an easy way to kill the "LED effect" if it's something you really do notice and it actually bothers you.  Lots of options to experiment with depending on the LED you're using.  An aesthetic issue, not performance...and a resolvable issue at that.

 

 

Spot vs Fill/Area Light

BTW, T5 light is undynamic according to the definition of dynamic lighting...it's part of the design of florescent lighting.  No opinion needed.

 

The aspects of florescent that make it undynamic are precisely its advantages as well.  Halide/point light sources are the opposite, extremely dynamic.  

 

That's just light-related and not even something particular to aquariums.  Stage lights...photography....same.  

 

Spot and fill lights are used like tools (with slightly less attachment) in other areas of life....as often as not you could expect to find both used at the same time to get a job done. 🙂

 

I'd recommend reading some of the articles I've bookmarked in the Light section on my blog.  Some really amazing stuff, such as these two:

Ignore the geeky titles if you need to.....GREAT articles.

 

I've also got a link to Ocean Optics by Curtis Mobley (freebie by the author) if you haven'y seen/read it for anything before.

 

“Full Spectrum” – The Internet Reefer’s Decoder Ring is an article that I wrote myself that you might like.

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Matteo
5 hours ago, mcarroll said:

Not sure where you're coming from with all that...folks played with bulb combo's 10-15 years ago too, until playing with LED color combos took over their play.   Weird-colored (purple, orange, red, ...) reefs was such a strange trend.  😜  Seems like it's fading out a bit lately.

 

I was really just talking about math (T5 costs) and things I've personally done over the last 10 years (cost of LED builds).  Anyone can run the same numbers (I've run them numerous time online, can do it again if it will help), anyone can build the same projects. (I'm not building an LED for you tho! :lol:)  So none of that "should be" too controversial.

 

T5 just old...not bad.  

 

LED's are just better in so many major ways.  Up front cost, ongoing costs and 5-10+ year lifetime are just a few of them.  LED's aren't perfect, but the list of advantages is really long!

 

Results like the tanks in Nano-Reef's Featured Nano Reef Aquariums section are nothing to sneeze at, and they are almost 100% LED these days.  🤷‍♂️

(just the most recent entries from the linked page...not cherry picking)

 

That doesn't make the T5 tanks ugly.  Just hard to find on that list in 2020.

That also doesn't mean you have to take down a T5 fixture if you're using one and love it.  Thankfully!

 

But LED is what it is....can't really deny those results.  

 

Using a diffuser is an easy way to kill the "LED effect" if it's something you really do notice and it actually bothers you.  Lots of options to experiment with depending on the LED you're using.  An aesthetic issue, not performance...and a resolvable issue at that.

 

 

Spot vs Fill/Area Light

BTW, T5 light is undynamic according to the definition of dynamic lighting...it's part of the design of florescent lighting.  No opinion needed.

 

The aspects of florescent that make it undynamic are precisely its advantages as well.  Halide/point light sources are the opposite, extremely dynamic.  

 

That's just light-related and not even something particular to aquariums.  Stage lights...photography....same.  

 

Spot and fill lights are used like tools (with slightly less attachment) in other areas of life....as often as not you could expect to find both used at the same time to get a job done. 🙂

 

I'd recommend reading some of the articles I've bookmarked in the Light section on my blog.  Some really amazing stuff, such as these two:

Ignore the geeky titles if you need to.....GREAT articles.

 

I've also got a link to Ocean Optics by Curtis Mobley (freebie by the author) if you haven'y seen/read it for anything before.

 

“Full Spectrum” – The Internet Reefer’s Decoder Ring is an article that I wrote myself that you might like.

Your tank examples are tiny nanos which are 10g and 20g. Of course they use led as would I since a t5 fixture would literally be bigger than that foot print of those two tanks.... 

 

Again... OP wants SPS. All those who commented shared the love for T5 and its results. 

 

You're coming from the idea that t5s are just old but not broken. 

 

Sorry but too many threads of people switching back to T5s or better T5 hybrid for their tanks after using LEDs for years. 

 

This is a 60g sps dominated tank in the making. T5s I'd argue are a must for later on. 

 

Did you read any of the other people comments and how T5 is super cost affective and not expensive like you keep reiterating it is... 

 

Also, please build a DIY light for a 60g sps tank and let me know how much you can save....also DIY has 0 resale value. 

 

We're just going to have to agree/disagree on this one

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Cyndrol
15 hours ago, mcarroll said:

Corals don't need as much light as we tend to think (and they need none of the fancy features).  Which lights do you have and how are they mounted?  Pic?

 

 

If your corals aren't growing as you want then to, then either your expectations are off (recall: they grow how *they* want to, according to tank conditions *you* set up) or chances are there's something relatively simple to correct that has nothing to do with lighting.

 

In the 2000's they were peaking in popularity...they had finally gotten as good as halides like the 20,000K Radium.

 

The days of high-power lighting are over tho thanks to the 450nm blue LED.  (Same emitter that's underneath every white LED too.)  Yes T5 and halide still work – the biology hasn't changed after all – but they are uber-expensive to run by comparison, with almost a tiny relative benefit in terms of growing corals.  (Even if you *really* want to think they grow coral "better" you only have to look at so many LED coral tanks to know that it's a miniscule difference....almost in the eye of the beholder.)

 

For perspective, if you compare T5 vs a DIY LED system....you could build a brand new DIY rig, use it for a year, throw it into trash, replace it with a new build every year and still come out on top in terms of "money savings".

 

Overkill for such a shallow tank, but you're right it would work.

 

It's absurd to think about $1000 as a limit for such a small tank.  Even a complete Kessil AP700 fits that budget and just about every other option comes in way under that.  

 

The AP would be a sweet light for your tank, BTW.  A dual A360 setup would be too.  Halide in the form of an LED light.....excellent.  (Controller optional and you can DIY the mounting system if you want to contain the budget a little.)

 

If you're fine without sunrise/sunset (evidenced by you being OK with T5) then I'd suggest looking as a set of inexpensive Ocean Revive panel LED's.  Two is all it would take.  Emitter placement is excellent.  Minimal emitters wasted on red and green.  Nice built in timer system with dual-channel dimming (giving you custom color control...not sunrise/sunset).  I upgraded to my A360X's from the Ocean Revive...but not because the OR's were bad.  It was just time for the upgrade is all.  🙂 (I still have the OR's....just waiting for the next tank.)

 

I also like the Maxspect Razor I had (and still have) before the Ocean Revives.  Around $600 for the current $200w model.

 

If you really think you like the look of T5 (dead, sterile, undynamic) then consider LED strips like the Current Orbit IC's or similar product from GHL and Orphek which mimic the T5 setup.  Very slick since they can be deployed right on the top of the tank and almost become invisible.

Thank you for your reply mcarroll, but there are a few things that dont add up in your reply. First you call my tank "shallow and small". I wouldnt call a slightly above 60g tank that small. You give me examples of nano tanks with 10-20 gallons of water. Sure I wouldnt put a T5 fixture over a cube that small and a LED will do perfectly over a tank of that dimensions.

Second you mention lights like the A360 Kessil. I know an A360 is not emitting that much light. I would need to put atleast 3 of them over my tank to have a decent spread of light (remember I personally dont like the shimmer, I like an even spread of light over my tank). Even if I go with 2 Kessils it will bring me up to a minimum of 600 Dollars.

Looking for the future I will have to upgrade the lights as my corals grow and start creating shadows.

Third you talk about DIY rigs. I would like to see some examples about the cost efficiency of that..."you could build a brand new DIY rig, use it for a year, throw it into trash, replace it with a new build every year and still come out on top in terms of "money savings"". I know you are just joking, but most DIY rigs are not that great in my opinion. If you show me a few examples I would be open to change my mind tho.

Lastly I just think you have a personal bias against T5. You call them "dead, sterile, undynamic". There are people who have issues with halides, T5 or LEDs. I just want a neutral opinion. I once bought a Powerhead for my tank which I didnt like at all. Others liked it. I didnt. Doesnt make the whole pump useless tho lol.

Again thanks a lot for your reply, but it doesnt give an answer I can completly work with I hope you understand 🙂

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mcarroll
9 hours ago, Cyndrol said:

Thank you for your reply mcarroll, but there are a few things that dont add up in your reply. 

You're welcome!  Don't be so preoccupied with the math that you miss the message, but let's try to clear up what can be cleared up! 😃

 

9 hours ago, Cyndrol said:

First you call my tank "shallow and small". I wouldnt call a slightly above 60g tank that small.

Just to clarify,  I said...

On 8/15/2020 at 10:33 PM, mcarroll said:

a shallow tank

...and it was specifically regarding a 324-watt T5 fixture you had mentioned and which I quoted in context.  👍

 

9 hours ago, Cyndrol said:

You give me examples of nano tanks with 10-20 gallons of water. Sure I wouldnt put a T5 fixture over a cube that small and a LED will do perfectly over a tank of that dimensions.

To quote myself again...

18 hours ago, mcarroll said:

(just the most recent entries from the linked page...not cherry picking)

You're the one posting on nano-reef.com – expect nano reefs to be the norm around here. 😉 If you want to see bigger tanks like yours, cruise the list – there are some.  Or check out Tank of the Month winners on any of the other big reef sites...it's almost all bigger tanks and almost no nano's.   Lots of stunning LED reefs no matter where you turn.  (Just as there were lots of stunning halide and T5 reefs before.)

 

The only point of posting them was that LED's aren't holding anyone back from having an awesome reef tank.  

 

By inference, if you're feeling held back, it's not because of your LED's.

 

9 hours ago, Cyndrol said:

Second you mention lights like the A360 Kessil. I know an A360 is not emitting that much light. I would need to put atleast 3 of them over my tank to have a decent spread of light (remember I personally dont like the shimmer, I like an even spread of light over my tank). Even if I go with 2 Kessils it will bring me up to a minimum of 600 Dollars.

Looking for the future I will have to upgrade the lights as my corals grow and start creating shadows.

Yes.  Actually because you mentioned the Hydra.  Very similar.  Same wattage.  Same spotlight configuration.  But..  Different emitter layout.  Different lenses.  It was just an idea...two A360X's light up 48" of my 125 Gallon nicely, which is almost the same footprint as your 60 Gallon ((47*21*17)/231=73 gallons), and that's with a brace in the middle of those 48".  A line of A160's might actually be a better Kessil option...four or five.  I gave a bunch of other good options too though.  (There aren't too many bad ones out there IMO.)

 

You seem to have the wrong idea about spread and how lenses work.  To me it was helpful to think about lenses as simply changing the ideal mounting height for the given amount of light power rather than confusing the issue with "coverage" which is ambiguous and arbitrary...and not that useful of a comparison since everyone with every type of light wants (and usually gets) "great coverage".  

 

So for an example...

  • 90 watts with 90º lenses (eg Hydra) might be ideally installed at (17/2=)8.5" from the water.  
  • A different light with 90 watts but 140º lenses (eg Kessil) would be more ideal at 5" from the water.
  • "Coverage" is about the same either way.

That's just a starting point, not quite the whole story....but it's a good starting point.  

 

It's worth pointing out that wider lenses like the Kessils do more lighting via side-reflection than lights with narrow lenses.  That's why Kessil tanks look as similar to T5 tanks as they do (vs most other LED tanks).  T5 depends on the same reflection effects.

 

I think I missed the initial comment about you not liking shimmer (or maybe forgot when I saw that you were looking at spotlights)....you're looking at altogether the wrong LED's if you're starting off hating shimmer, IMO.  What LED are you using that gave you that impression?  All LED's are not equal.  🙂 

 

But I also think you have "disco effect" conflated with shimmer.  They aren't the same, and shimmer is completely natural.  (See that "Flicker..." article I linked earlier.)  

 

So-called disco effect is much hyped in a few online circles, but in a real reef tank, in person, it is mostly invisible.  Mostly you notice it on homogenous surfaces like the bare sand bed or bare rock in a brand new tank...and even then it's more noticeable in pictures (still life) than in person.  

 

In person it's generally the kind of thing your brain naturally tunes out...espeically when you're attention is on other "minor details" like the corals and fish.  😄

 

Shadows are natural too...so much hype around some of these concepts.

 

For example, corals like Acropora grow in shapes specifically to shade their own tissue from bright light.  Shadows under mature corals is not a "lighting defect" you need to design around.  Shadows are normal.

 

Folks have lots of other issues that end up getting attributed to things like "the salt" or "the lights".  Blaming "the shadows" falls into that category of things for me.  Look at flow and nutrient levels (they are interdependent) if you think your corals aren't surviving in the shadows.  

 

The truth is that most corals only need 5,000-10,000 lux (~100-200 PAR) to sustain themselves....this is known as their metabolic compensation point.  Possibly even <5,000 if the polyps in question are connected to a larger colony or have regular access to particulate food.  

 

Both from experience and from reading, I tend to want to say that shadows aren't a real problem....not one that needs to affect lighting choice (ie t5 vs halide). anyway.  In fact, shadows are genetically programmed into the growth patterns of at least some the corals we grow. Makes it a peculiar thing to "fight against".  😉

 

 

9 hours ago, Cyndrol said:

Third you talk about DIY rigs.

 

A good baseline for costs on the DIY side is this build thread.  Highly effective...no bells and whistles....easy to construct:

I've built three or four versions of this for my setups over the years...mine were larger 36" models, except the last one, which was smaller, more like the prototype in the thread....a single row.

 

For context, a row of those bulbs (gu10) would look/perform more similarly to a T5 bulb as compared with the look from a halide bulb or a Kessil LED.

 

If you shop around you can easily do better than these prices.....but $5 per bulb, $1 per socket ($6 total) will get you any bulb you want and works out like this for one 48" strip of bulbs (see thread for details):  

48/2-1=23 bulbs.  6*23= $148

 

I'd build a front and back row for your (47" x 17" footprint) system, so about ($148 * 2 rails =) $300 in base materials.  Plus wiring and chassis you select/build...which most folks either upcycle or DIY.  Ironically, hollowed out T5 fixtures were a popular upcycle choice for the fixture and power leads necessary.  (I always DIY'd everything vs upcycling.  Works either way.)

 

Whether it's "great" is relative to your expectations.  Performance wise it will be similar to an old-school halide or T5 system (no sunrise/sunset effects) but it'll be great for growing corals.

 

If you don't like it, since it's a DIY, you can change it until it works how you want it to.  Since initial investment is so low, I built two small prototypes (4-bulb, then 9-bulb) before I even decided whether to design one for my reef.  Maybe start there since you have a light already?

 

Compare that $300 to your proposed 6X T5 setup.  We'll assume bulbs cost $25, and based on usage, need to be replaced yearly.  (1.5 times or even twice yearly is not out of the question, depending on run-time you choose....so these numbers are CONSERVATIVE.)

 

$25 * 6 tubes = $150 per replacement cycle.  After one year, your T5 system (ATI) that started at $720 is now up to $870.  In five years that'll be up to (720+(5*150)=)$1,470.  Just for comparison, that's (1470/300=) 4.9 DIY LED systems.  (Ten LED systems if you're replacing bulbs twice a year!)

 

9 hours ago, Cyndrol said:

Lastly I just think you have a personal bias against T5. You call them "dead, sterile, undynamic". There are people who have issues with halides, T5 or LEDs. I just want a neutral opinion. I once bought a Powerhead for my tank which I didnt like at all. Others liked it. I didnt. Doesnt make the whole pump useless tho lol.

Again thanks a lot for your reply, but it doesnt give an answer I can completly work with I hope you understand 🙂

It may seem like that, but keep reading...it's mostly just math that has the bias.  It might turn out that others have a small pro-T5 bias too...which is fine.  

 

But recall that you asked in the beginning for me/us to help you decide T5 vs LED....seems like you may be looking to hear only from T5 fans, rather than "cold emotionless facts".

 

T5 vs LED is still what your thread title says.  Now you have my insight on that, for what it may be worth.  (Even more) Questions welcomed.  😉

 

I'd highly recommend checking out the articles I've linked along the way through this thread.

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Matteo

Tldr

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NoOneLikesADryTang
8 minutes ago, Matteo said:

Tldr

It’s the same nonsense he always spews, where no one could be correct but him, yet refuses to show his tank. 

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Tamberav

People generally prefer a manufactured finished fixture that looks more polished. I just don't think DIY LED it is a popular trend anymore although it used to be. 

 

 

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Reefkid88
5 hours ago, NoOneLikesADryTang said:

It’s the same nonsense he always spews, where no one could be correct but him, yet refuses to show his tank. 

I found his thread,ask @Matteo.

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5*Chris

Tbh I tried hard to stay away from T5s, simply off the fact of bulb replacements and controllability of leds. But with every review on every led fixture I watched, there was one thing every single review had in common. They were all compared to T5 bulbs in each spectrum. 

 

I'm still new, but I've still gone through led fixtures, bars, diy, and T5s. I'm pro-T5, but I'm also pro-leds. I think of the T5s as the constant in my lighting. No matter what I fiddle with on my leds, the T5s are offering what the corals need. 

 

Another thing that swayed me towards T5s was the fact that most T5 threads that come up in various searches are on bulb choices. Not threads upon threads of settings because I bleached my corals...err, I mean people bleached their corals...not me🤦🏽‍♂️, ok ok...it was me, I bleached my corals😫. Don't judge me😂

 

But in reality, there a reason why more people said T5s, they just work. Not saying you can't have a stunning led tank, under all leds, my tank was nice. Adding leds bars to try and get T5 like coverage made it better. Adding T5s, for me and my tank, made everything happy. How can I not be biased🤷🏽‍♂️?

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mcarroll
10 hours ago, Tamberav said:

People generally prefer a manufactured finished fixture that looks more polished. I just don't think DIY LED it is a popular trend anymore although it used to be. 

Things have come a long way on the commercial end of things.  All of my DIY's are in the closet with my old halide rig.  🤷‍♂️

 

Of course, that doesn't mean DIY is any less-good at growing corals than it was....could be the right option for the right person in the right situation.

 

There must be 100 good lighting ideas in this thread so far.  Hopefully the OP isn't distracted by haters.  LOL

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Reefkid88
On 8/15/2020 at 10:33 PM, mcarroll said:

For perspective, if you compare T5 vs a DIY LED system....you could build a brand new DIY rig, use it for a year, throw it into trash, replace it with a new build every year and still come out on top in terms of "money savings".

 

 For that size tank,I feel like that is the dumbest statement. Have you made a legitimate diy light ?! Even for my pico tanks,it cost over $200 for everything brand new. A quality heatsink for a tank that big is almost the same price for a complete diy light for a pico. To build a full spectrum useable light to grow anything you are looking at about $250-$300 if build right for a pico/nano light. 

 

 Heatsink,power supply,controller,leds,drivers you are looking at the same price as a brand new ATI fixture,without bulbs... 

 

 Just for my pico light and everything brand new:

 

 Storm Controller w/ case-$75

 Coralux 3up ldd board-$11

 3 Meanwell LDD Drivers-$20

 MakersLed Slim Sink with hanging kit-$25

 Meanwell LRS-75-24 PSU-$15

 LEDS-$40

 Around $30 in shipping fees. 

 

 

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