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Pod Your Reef

Lighting Upgrade Options for 4g Pico?


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Hello all!

I've been running a 4gal pico for a year now and while things are stable, the coral growth is VERY SLOW. I suspect it's my lighting since everything else seems fine (params, health, feeding, etc.) I am currently running a Kessil A80 5in above the waterline at full power with a Reef-Pi controlling the ramp up/down during the day. (But it is shining through a layer of cover glass...). What would you suggest for a lighting upgrade?


It seems like most setups resort to the following lights:


The AI Prime seems overkill, I've not heard anything about Pixel, and the Nicrew and Noopsyche look like cheap foreign-made electronics.


Open to suggestions anyone has. Price range is not really a concern, but keep in mind my whole setup is less than $300 all in, so it doesn't make sense to spend $1K on a light....


For context:

  • my tank is a Lifegard 4.1 AIO.
  • Current corals include Zoas, Toadstoods, Xenia, A small frogspawn, a small giant clam (maxima?), and GSP.
  • Goal is to be able to host low-key stony corals, ex: Bird's nest or a friendly Acropora. 


Thank you,



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Gordon it sounds like you have a great Pico !


I've owned and used every Kessil made and they're great lights. The A80 is only a 15 watt light and it's useful for softies and some LPS, as you've seen, but it's not an SPS light.


The Dalua Illumagic Pixel would be a great option for you. It's 25 watts, so almost twice the output, and a physically larger layout of LEDs on the puck so less shadowing than a Kessil. It's available in 3 different spectrums, the balanced would be the one I'd recommend. 


Dalua is based in Australia and they've been popular in Europe for years. It's pretty recent that they're available in the U.S..


Is the glass plate glass ? 1/4" thick ? It shouldn't do much more than diffuse the light. I doubt you're loosing much light to it.


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