Best lights out there? Help

Jake32010

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#1
Looking for some good lights to really grow coral. What is the best one and why? I am eventually going to get a large tank but now have a 5 gallon.
 

jcook54

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#2
There are a lot of good companies out there but, in my opinion, the best are Ecotech's Radion line. 1) They are infinitely adaptable. 2) They can be controled by a computer, an app on your phone (with Reeflink) or a Neptune Controller. 3) They are VERY popular and there is a ton of information about using them, different settings and troubleshooting. 4) The customer support is terrific which is good because the interface can be, well, overwhelming. 5) The quality of construction is the best in the business. 6) There are a lot of aftermarket parts you can get for them (See 1 & 3). 7) They come with a lot of pre-programmed lighting schedules. I'm sure others do this as well but there are quite a few options that come standard as well as the programs that other people run and are available for download.

The biggest downside is cost. They're terrific and terrifically expensive. It took me a long time to pull the trigger but now that I have them, I'm very pleased. I don't run a Neptune at this point but I do have a Reeflink ($100) and that makes life easier and connects the lights with my Vortech powerhead.
 

anit77

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#3
I've been reading some threads on R2R about DIY setups. There looks like there are some pretty good options put there now that might be fairly close to as good as Radions. I can see a build thread on them in my future.
 

AquariumSchmo

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#4
If money were no object, I would buy an Aquatic Life T5HO hybrid fixture and some LEDs. It includes mounts for Ecotech, AI, and Kessil.

And for your current 5 gallon, check out Hipargero's LED light. It uses CREE LEDs and is capable of putting out a lot of PAR. I have been using it on an 11 gallon and my corals are very happy. In fact, I had a couple of corals that weren't doing so good in my main tank. I moved them to this smaller tank and they perked right up.
 

lmm1967

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#5
I've been reading some threads on R2R about DIY setups. There looks like there are some pretty good options put there now that might be fairly close to as good as Radions. I can see a build thread on them in my future.
I have a DIY build over a 40 breeder holding tank. I've never really tried to grow any coral under it (my house is a no grow zone apparently) - but I have no doubt it could easily grow anything any other LED can. I also like that I can fairly easily and economically expand it if I chose to do so.
 

jcook54

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#6
If money were no object, I would buy an Aquatic Life T5HO hybrid fixture and some LEDs. It includes mounts for Ecotech, AI, and Kessil.
I would second this statement. I have the Radions and am saving up for the Aquaticlife fixture. I knew I would want one BUT I saw one in person at another member's house and now I'm actually saving up for it. The Radions themselves pretty much blew the reef hardware budget for a year but my next big purchase will either be a Neptune or one of those hybrid fixtures from Aquaticlife.
 

ichthyoid

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#7
Looking for some good lights to really grow coral. What is the best one and why? I am eventually going to get a large tank but now have a 5 gallon.
This question is difficult to answer simply, because the question is very broad in it's context.

For instance, here is some of what I know goes into the definition of 'best light to grow coral' -

-What type(s) of coral will be kept?
This matters greatly, as the requirements can vary by an order of magnitude (ie- 10x).
Gorgonians can have requirements which are very low, SPS very high, some varieties are non-photosynthetic altogether.

-How far from the coral will the light(s) be mounted?
Light irradiance varies as a function of the inverse square of the distance (see- inverse square law: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/vision/isql.html)
Simply put, if the irradiance at 1 unit of distance is x, at 2x=1/4x, and at 3x=1/9x, ...and so forth: 4x=1/16, 5x=1/25...
So to sum up, relatively small changes in distance can make a large difference in how much light strikes a coral.

Because of the above, it is beneficial for a light to be adjustable, so you can compensate for the effect of both distance/irradiance and type(s)/needs of corals being kept.

Look for lights which can deliver between 100-300 PAR at the distance where your corals will be placed in the aquarium from the light (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthetically_active_radiation)

Look for a light which will deliver a relatively uniform distribution over the entire area in the aquarium to be illuminated.

Look for a light which is capable of producing/tayloring the spectrum for the effect(s) and visual impact which you desire.
Some corals respond differently to certain spectra, such as in coloration/growth/tolerance/etc., regardless of PAR values.
Some spectra may be more pleasing to your eye, for example.

Those are some of the variables, and no need to reinvent the wheel here.
Look to other's experience for direction, unless you are a scientist at heart and enjoy investigating such things.

Here is a thread from nano-reef.com, which is a web site specifically dedicated to small tank environments for your search. Hope this helps

https://www.nano-reef.com/forums/topic/386776-5-gallon-reef-light-again/
 

ichthyoid

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#8
Simply put, if the irradiance at 1 unit of distance is x, at 2x=1/4x, and at 3x=1/9x, ...and so forth: 4x=1/16, 5x=1/25...

Should read as- 2units of distance=1/4x, 3units=1/9x...
 
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