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FAQs about Light Emitting Diode (LED) Lights, Fiber Optics,  and Lighting for Marine Systems 1

FAQs on: LED Lighting 2, LED Lighting 3, LED Lighting 4,
FAQs on:
LED Lighting Science/Rationale, LED Lighting for Small Systems (< 40 gal.s), LED Lighting for Large/r Systems, LED Lighting Installations, LED Lighting Troubles/Repairs, LED Lighting Manufacturers,

Related FAQs: Metal Halides 1, Compact Fluorescents, Regular Fluorescents, Lighting Marine Invertebrates, LR Lighting, Tridacnid Lighting, Small System Lighting,

Related Articles: TMC's AquaRay MultiControl, AquaBeam 1000 HD Ultra, and AquaBeam 600 Ultra on test. Review By James Gasta, LED Lighting, the New Horizon in Aquarium Lighting? by James Gasta, Switching from Metal Halides to LEDs by Michael Maddox, Orphek's Pr-156 Power Reef LED Pendant, reviewed by James Gasta, Coral System Lighting,

Another LED ??/Reef Lighting 3/22/2011
Hello to all at WWM,
<Hello Crazy>
I have a Reef aquarium with a lot of SPS . The tank size is 5' long x 20" x 20" I run 8 t5's HO over It, For <four> 5' and For <four> 4' all ATI's . I do get a lot of growth out of them. But my power bill is still too high. So now I'm going with LED's.
<Mmm, theT5s are rather energy efficient but not nearly as good as LEDs in that department.>
The only thing is the whole watt's. Some you talk to say that one watt of led's are more powerful then one watt of t5's or M/H is this true?
<There is more to it than that. The brand of LEDs used, reflectors, etc. will all play a part in quality LED lighting.>
The LED I went with is a fixture it will have a 2 =blue to 1=white ratio 120w and the blue is a 420 to 480. I will have 3 of these over my Reef Aquarium. The place I spoke with says that I'm crazy to put that much over my tank and that two would be just fine even running SPS coral. These are a 1 watt LED that put out as much as a 3 watt LED. Now I not talking with a store I was on the line with the place that test and makes the LED's.
<Cree perhaps?>
The worry I had with just going with two is because of my tank being 5 foot long.
<I'm not aware of any LED fixtures that are capable of covering five feet with enough intensity/PAR with just using two fixtures. You could start with two fixtures and buy/borrow a LUX meter and take measurements from various locations in your tank. This would readily show any loss of intensity in given areas. You could also get away with using two by strategic placement of your light loving corals.
Naming the brand of fixture you bought would have helped me some.
James (Salty Dog)>
Yet another lighting question/Being Impatient 3/22/2011

Hello WWM,
<Hello Reef Crazy. I believe I covered most of this in your last email about one hour ago.>
I have a reef aquarium 5' x 20" x 20" with most of it SPS. Right now I went from M/H two 250w and now I have 8 T5's for 5' 80watt and for 4' 54watt all ATI's 6 of the 8 are Blue plus and two are Aquablue Special. And my power bill is still to high so now I'm going with LED's. I have spoke, Called, Emailed, let me say I got deep into it. After 4 or 5 months I made the order and this is what I went with. When I spoke with the place that test and makes LED's for a lot of brands out there. They told me I can buy from them and they have there <their> own fixtures. I went with 3, 120w LED fixture. The LED I went with is a LED that will run at 1 watt but is more then <than> 2watt LED
<More in what way? Based on what you are telling me, this doesn't make sense. LEDs need to be driven at their recommended current rating. Anything less or more will cause a shift in Kelvin temperature. They also need to driven with a constant current/constant voltage power supply to provide the best results.
I'm guessing what you are trying to say is that the one watt LEDs put out the same intensity as a two watt LED.>
But the one big question that no one still understand is how much will a LED cover. Some say that a one watt LED is more powerful then one watt of M/H or T5's. What do you think?
<As I mentioned in the last email, will all depend on the LEDs, reflector used, drivers, etc. There are some LED fixtures out there that cannot match the power output of T5s. I would have asked for PAR values at your tank depth before purchasing. If none
can be given, I'd stay away from that company until I could reference this either from a given company or obtain elsewhere.>
The other thing is when I spoke with the place and I told them what I run (SPS) and the size of my tank they said I was crazy to put 3 of them over my tank I would not need that much to get every thing out of them like growth and color I should only put 2 of them. My worry is that my tank is 5 foot long and I would not get the spreed <spread>
to cover a 5 foot tank they said to put the fixture up higher. What do you think?
<Covered this in the last email.>
Any help would be nice Thanks
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Yet another lighting question/Being Impatient 3/22/2011
Sorry I didn't put all the info in. And yes on ( I'm guessing what you are trying to say is that the one watt LEDs put out the same intensity as a two watt LED) .... Sorry about that.
<No problem, but to give useful information I must have useful data.>
I did make sure about the par <PAR> test.. This pic. shows pars on one of the test tanks. It's been up for about a year..
The tank has 2 fixtures on it.
<OK, I'm going to guess it's the company's test tank whomever that might be. Keep in mind that this
test tank does not appear to be 20" deep nor five feet long...... can make a big difference in PAR levels.
James (Salty Dog)>

Re Yet another lighting question/Being Impatient/LED Lighting 3/22/2011 - 3/23/2011
OK, Thanks for your input. I did get 3 of them any way. I can send some pics of them when I get them in.
We would love to see the pics. Which company produced/assembled them?>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Yet another lighting question/Being Impatient 3/22/2011- 3/24/2011
They are still in the test mode. They want to run them over a year. Then they will be on the market for everyone to buy. I will send you pics. as soon as I get them in..
<Sounds good. James (Salty Dog)>

LED Lighting 1/19/11
Are there any good LED lights for a fish only tank with live rock, how about the Marineland lights any good.
<Would likely be the least expensive. I have not heard any negative comments about their LED fixtures. I give them a go. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting, T 5 lamp sel., LEDs... 1/19/11
Hi Crew,
<Hello Sam.>
I have an Aquapod 24 gallon with a glass top and 96W of T5's. The bulbs are 2 daylight and 2 actinic and I have LPS only, Acanthastrea, candycanes, hammers, torches and a very large Trachyphyllia. The next time I change bulbs should I leave it as is or go for all daylight.
<Most will not like the look of all daylight, not blue enough.>
My corals seem ok but for the most part they do not grow new heads. I feed them at least once a week-finely chopped silversides. I don't notice the blue that much except when I have the daylights turned off which is the last 2 hours of my lighting time.
<Turn off just the actinics to get an idea of what all daylight would look like.>
And it does look very different at that time, but everything starts getting smaller. Can I get the blue effect with LED's.
<Sure, that is another way to go. All daylight with the T5s and blue LED's. You could just order two new daylights and then play with them along with what you already have to see what look you like. One actinic and 3 daylights will increase your lighting a good bit while still giving you the actinic effect. Do realize the placement of the actinic can make a big difference too. You will usually notice the actinic much more when placed towards the front of the tank where you view it than you would towards the back.>
<Welcome, Scott V.>

LED lighting question 12/30/10
Hello WWM Crew,
<Hey Michael. Unfortunately, James is marked "out"... who is more up on LED, this manufacturer>
I have a couple of questions about Ecoxotic LED stunner strips. I want to add 2 to my red sea max 130d tank (which has 2x55W high output compact t-5 lighting) to give more light output and to add a dawn/dusk time period. I was going to do 2 453nm blue strips but I was wondering should I add maybe 1
403nm ultra violet and 1 453nm blue? or maybe even 1 8000K/453nm in the mix? Is the ultra violet light even going to help coral growth?
<Not really. Is for "night time fluorescence viewing pleasure" more than anything>
And last but not least which combo would you choose? I do want to grow both LPS and SPS in this system.
<One each, if getting two... one of their 8000K/453nm white and 8000K/453nm/white-blue units. Bob Fenner>
Re: LED lighting question/coral question
Thanks for the quick response you guys are great as always
I went to my local fish store yesterday and got the urge to possibly purchase some Acro aquacultured SPS frags or some LPS hammer coral frags ( I prefer aquacultured since they don't go tearing up reefs).
<Instead humans tear up the planet for generating power and salt mix....>
But I decided to first do a little research. They have their corals under some insane metal halide lights (
I think at least 6 which I think are at least 250watts or more) and they seem quite healthy. My tank is the red sea max 130d which has 2 x55watt t-5 10000k/antic lighting along with 2 Ecoxotic led stunner strips ( 1 is 8000K
1 is 8000K/453). If my tank can handle these corals would placement be high?
<To start with... a good idea likely>
or start them low and move them up?
<Only able to tell w/ testing... a meter>
also I have a MP10 wave maker in the tank on reef crest mode, If I'm not mistaken the hammer coral would not like the heavy flow but the Acro would?
<Both will do fine w/ semi-vigorous water movement... 10X flow easily 20X not too much>
and last question is feeding... they feed bottled phytoplankton once a week
<... a waste of resources. Please search/read on WWM before writing us>
just a few drips in the tank which is a huge coral frag tank. I just don't think the bottle stuff both phyto or other stuff is worth it
<We are in agreement>
and I would think it would just pollute my tank.
<Not this either>
What would you suggest to feed corals? Cyclopeeze maybe? and how often?
<... read what is posted/archived>
thanks in advance for all the help, you all are great and do a wonderful service for the reef tank community,
<Welcome. BobF>

Quick Light Question/LED Lighting 9/2/10
<Hello Ore>
Hope all is well. I have heard and read a lot about LED's and Ecoxotic just came out with their Panorama 36 retro. They say it can replace MH bulbs.
Is this true? I currently have one 175 watt HQI but if the LED put out the same light without the heat, than its a no brainer. What do you think, do I stay with the HQI or can I change to the retro. I keep a variety of Aquacultured SPS. all doing great.
<Before I can answer you, I would like to know your tank depth.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Quick Light Question/LED Lighting 9/2/10 - 9/3/10

My tank is an acrylic 60x20x20
<No problem.>
Quick Light Question/LED Lighting 9/2/10
<Hello Ore>
Hope all is well. I have heard and read a lot about LED's and Ecoxotic just
came out with their Panorama 36 retro.
<Yes and it's release is coincidental with MACNA where Ecoxotic will be introducing this new LED fixture.>
They say it can replace MH bulbs.
Is this true?
<Yes, depending on tank depth.>
I currently have one 175 watt HQI but if the LED put out the same light without the heat, than its a no brainer. What do you think, do I stay with the HQI or can I change to the retro. I keep a variety of
Aquacultured SPS. all doing great.
<Is hard to imagine one 175 HQI illuminating a 60" long tank. The new Ecoxotic Panorama 36 is intense enough to grow both SPS and LPS corals in your tank provided they are positioned properly under the lone fixture.
You really require two of these fixtures for your tank if you wish to place corals in other areas beside mid-center of the tank. I've been told by Ecoxotic that their Panorama 36 fixture which measures 9"x9", will effectively replace four of their 12 watt modules. Our new and improved Digital CMA magazine will feature a LED lighting article in the upcoming issue.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Quick Light Question/LED Lighting 9/2/10 - 9/3/10

As always, I greatly appreciate your advice.
<You're welcome.>
I will send you pics of my tank.
<Sounds good. James (Salty Dog)>

FYI/LED Lighting... PR release 8/23/10
Bob, crew....FYI
San Marcos, CA -- July 22, 2010 -- Ecoxotic -- committed to Endangering the Status Quo, has unveiled their highly anticipated Cannon LED Pendant, a GameChanger lighting solution for large aquariums. Featuring a single 50 watt LED chip packaged in an IP65 rated housing creates a viable, energy efficient alternative to off the shelf metal halide fixtures commonly found in the aquarium industry.
'One of the first aquariums we tested these over was at least 15 feet deep, we were shocked by how deep the light penetrated with such a wide spread,' said Dennis Fredricks, Ecoxotic's CEO 'they blew away the 400 watt halides they were using. It was then we new the pendants are a real solution for hobbyists searching for intensity without the heat and high operating costs. The compact LED chip produces a high amount of focus-point lighting, penetrating the water very effectively and creating amazing shimmer and color.'
Ecoxotic worked closely with Edison-Opto, a leading manufacturer in multi-chip LED technology, to create a custom LED chip in color spectrums not commonly found in multi-chips. 'Packaging their robust Edistar LED modules with an efficient heat sink and LED driver created an ideal lighting solution for our industry. Being IP65 rated, the LED pendants can be used safely in wet environments and even outdoors -- making them perfect for public aquariums and larger aquatic display exhibits.'

Re: LED Article 8/20/10
Hi James,
I can't speak for articles that Bob buys in directly for WWM, but anything submitted to WWM Digital does need to be reasonably authoritative. If you haven't used an LED system that's not a killer, but you will need to convince readers that your still a trustworthy source.
<Understand, but the article wasn't intended for folks to look at me as the gospel of LED lighting, but to illustrate what is presently available to hobbyists with a short dip into energy savings, performance, and explanation. We have little to no information on WWM regarding this technology and I believed the article would fill this gap, at least for the time being.>
As a parallel, I'm sure Bob and I have both written about fish species we haven't kept, but we'll extrapolate from closely related species and include observations made by experienced aquarists we trust. But at the same time we don't write speculative pieces about species we know little about. I certainly don't write about keeping sharks in captivity, and I doubt Bob would write pieces on oddball catfish. WWM readers know and trust your name when it comes to marine fish keeping, and anything you write has to reinforce that impression.
<Agreed, and is why I plan on interspersing quotes/anecdotes in the article from respected/known people such as Steven Pro, Sanjay Joshi, etc.>
Like Bob, I think mentioning specific models is pointless.
<I felt readers would be interested as to what's out there presently, and their capabilities.>
One thing we can all agree on with nascent technology is that whatever is on sale this year won't be next year, and the models and price points will be changing rapidly as the technology becomes easier to produce and more manufacturers enter the market.
<Oh, I wholeheartedly agree, and even the folks at Ecoxotic state that the technology is changing/improving at a very rapid pace.>
I don't feel there's anything wrong with mentioning models and outlining current costs, but that shouldn't be other than a few lines, since that information will be obsolete within a year or two.
<Again, at the present time. My short comparison reflects energy savings based on a given kilowatt/hour rate, and realizing energy costs can/will go up.>
Instead, if I were writing this piece, I'd compare the available technologies, outline the costs and benefits,
<Seems to be I did this, at least on what is presently available. I also stated that quality LED lighting systems will generally use Cree and/or Edison Opto LEDs that are know for their high lumen/watt and excellent PAR ratings.>
explain how to reverse-engineer existing aquarium hoods,
<The article wasn't intended to be an instructional guide for hybridizing existing systems, although some LED lighting manufacturers do point this out in their ads.>
and state any potential problems that might occur by switching between lighting systems.
<With quality LED systems designed to support coral/clam growth, this shouldn't be a problem as their lumen/PAR specifications are very close, if not slightly higher than other types of lighting used for this purpose.>
Think about what people ask about LEDs when they come to WWM: How quickly do they pay for themselves? How many watts do I need for corals or freshwater plants? What's the equivalent watts per gallon number when choosing LED systems?
<Giving this information would be as dated as the 3 to 5 watts per gallon rule that we have used in the past. This will all depend on lumen output and PAR values, and is very similar to choosing HQI, MH, and T5 lamps. Every one watt LED does not produce the same lumen/watt, Kelvin temperature or PAR value, much the same as conventional lamps.>
How long do they last?
<That was stated in the article.> Can users replace or repair them in the same was fluorescent tubes and MH bulbs can be changed?
<This shouldn't be necessary. Quality systems use LEDs designed to last up to 50,000 hours (13+ years based on the average photoperiod), and after 13+ years, it is extremely likely that the hobbyist is going to want to upgrade to an even more cost efficient LED system. Personally, I cannot recall ever keeping a conventional lighting system for more than 5 years simply for the fact that even conventional systems are always improved upon.>
Do different colour LEDS provide any specific benefits?
<Would be no different than present systems, Kelvin temperature is Kelvin temperature.>
Essentially, I think a good rule of thumb for a WWM article is this: Am I writing something the Daily FAQ crew could send queriors to on a regular basis?
<I agree with you here, but this article is more of an informative introduction to LED technology that's presently available, and I also realize that this article will be quickly dated. It was intended to fill a gap at WWM.>
I hope this isn't too much to say, James. I'm really very enthusiastic about having an authoritative piece on LEDs in WWM Digital. But I also want that piece to reflect well on you as much as WWM.
<Understand, and do keep in mind that I did the best I could based on the present information that's available on this technology. I do thank you for your time and suggestions in this matter. Cheerio, James.>
Cheers, Neale
On 19 Aug 2010, at 22:34, Robert Fenner wrote:
> <Mmm, no more puns... I think what you have is fine thus far... just needs a bit more "meat" in the way of personal review/s, others input re this lighting modality. Makes, models not necessary or really desirable. Understanzee? BobF>
Re LED Light 8/19/10

Beware of LED lights manufactured in China. Can be low on lumens/PAR, and lamp life is much shorter. Wonder what made him think you were in the market for LEDs.
<Thank you James. BobF>

More re: Japanese Swallowtails Sick? Now James on LEDs 8/10/10
I've been gathering information lately on LED lighting, a trend I believe is going to increase. I believe WWM is a little weak in this area
<Downright under-illuminated!>
and I'm thinking of doing an article on such which would cover all the bases concerning this type of lighting. Myself, I feel it's the best thing to come along since brown shoes when you consider all the advantages of using such.
<Sounds good. B>

Re LED's & James. SimonT's further input 8/12/10
<<<I've been gathering information lately on LED lighting, a trend I believe is going to increase. I believe WWM is a little weak in this area
<Downright under-illuminated!>
and I'm thinking of doing an article on such which would cover all the bases concerning this type of lighting. Myself, I feel it's the best thing to come along since brown shoes when you consider all the advantages of using such.
<Sounds good. B> >>>
James, I have just completed a DIY project using these... 12 x 6w LED's with 2 x 54 W T5's as a pendant. I don't know if this is of interest to you..
I've attached a couple of photo's here.
<Sure, anything on LED's is of interest to me. I've got a ways to go gathering information for the article.>
First impressions are that I'm not getting a huge amount of light from the LED's but I am getting a shimmer effect over the whole tank, not just under where the LED's are situated (it's got a 7.3ft x 5.3ft surface area). I don't think they are particularly good with increasing depth.
<Yes, my thoughts as well, but used with depths of 22" or less, they are capable of providing the light intensity corals require.>
The bulbs are rated 6000 - 6500K, and in the long term I'll be using this over a refugium.
<What brand LED's did you use?>
If you like I could try to obtain a PAR meter & measure, and yes those are my feet!
<Probably wouldn't help me too much as the article is going to be geared around using LED's
as the sole lighting source for a reef tank. Thanks for your input. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: LED's & James 8/12/10
<The Cree XPE LED's are capable of providing greater than 90 lumens per watt and the company continues to improve on this rating, and they are available in Kelvin temperatures suitable to our needs. I would not underestimate their capability as I feel they will soon become the lighting of choice in our hobby. James (Salty Dog)>
<Yes, my thoughts as well, but used with depths of 22" or less, they are capable of providing the light intensity corals require.>
<<My thoughts at the moment are that they would be best for actinic supplementation, with whites provided by T5's for a high intensity but low power-draw lighting system>>
<What brand LED's did you use?>
<<I don't know the brand, but I got them here - a good price
http://www.1topstore.com/product_info.php?products_id=12015 >>
<Probably wouldn't help me too much as the article is going to be geared around using LED's as the sole lighting source for a reef tank.>
<<This is interesting, are you trying this yourself with your own system as a 'guinea pig'? The T5's are independently controlled from the LED's by the way, so I should be able to get some PAR readings for you if they would be of use. Cheers, Simon>>

LED vs. Metal Halide Lighting/Reef Lighting 6/13/10
I couldn't find anything specific in your articles comparing these two light sources, and I'm looking to go LED.
<Because this innovative lighting is rather new, we do not have much information on this.>
Right now I am running a Hamilton 2x175 MH 10,000k / 2x110 VHO actinic over my 125 gal. with success, but would like to cut my power usage. I read in one place that LED has about the same lumens to watt ratio (about 90-93) with greater useful light energy, but cannot find more sources to verify.
<There are many systems out there ranging from simple LED strip lights to full blown modular systems capable of duplicating the light intensity of 400 watt MH systems.>
Can you guys help me? If LEDs are a practical alternative, what wattage should I have to replace my Hamilton?
<I wouldn't say that are a practical alternative at this point, as an LED system that would duplicate your MH system is rather pricey, but over time, the savings realized both in lamp replacement and power usage may well
justify their cost. I strongly believe that in the near future, prices will drop considerably on these systems.>
Also, my tank is 24" deep, so are LEDs going to penetrate deep enough to grow my corals? I have a large mix of soft corals, clams, polyps etc and would not like to harm them by cheaping out on elec. usage.
<AquaIllumination produces a modular system that would duplicate what you presently have in intensity/useful light. One 12" module consists of 24 LED lights and will draw about 75 watts from your wall. When you compare this to a 250 watt double ended HQI lamp, the light intensity is amazingly close, but the bad news is the 250 watt DE lamp, once warmed up, draws about 280 watts from your wall. Have a look here at pricing and detailed information.
Also read Dr. Sanjay Joshi's test review of this system and several others.
As you will see, the AquaIllumination system has by far the highest light output in terms of intensity.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

FYI LED Lighting for a 24" Deep Tank 6/14/10
Hi Bob, Hope you weren't part of a "hung jury".
<Not yet, but got to go back tomorrow... Thanks James. B>
Just thought I'd pass this information on to you and the crew. See below.
James (Salty)
Re: LED Lighting for a 24" Deep Tank
Hi James,
Right now the only fixture that is capable of producing enough par that deep into the tank to support clams are the Aqua Illumination fixtures. However, that's a might pricey option to do so. Other than that, there really isn't anything that can reach that deep to support what he is wanting to do.
Jeremy Brower
Premium Aquatics, Inc.
6050 E. Hanna Ave. #4
Indianapolis, IN 46203
317-895-9395 fax

Solid state lighting experiences? Question? -- 06/10/10
Dear Crew,
Just wondering if any of you have experience of growing SPS corals under solid state LED lighting?
<None personally, but have studied, seen enough to make a resp.>
I currently have two T5 tubes (25W, one marine white one marine blue/actinic) and an array of four reef white LED Aquarays (containing both white and blue diodes) over my 66 US gallon (248l) tank. Currently the tank contains soft corals such as a large Sarcophyton near the top and numerous Zoanthid colonies lower down in the tank, all of which are doing very well, however the time has come to give in to my desire to attempt SPS corals (again - first attempt not successful and deemed that I was too inexperienced so concentrated on soft corals etc first).
<A good process, order>
Am aware of the intense lighting many of these creature require so want to make absolutely sure they receive the correct illumination to thrive and look their best BEFORE getting them - my planned stock (i.e. wish list) are: Acropora species, plating Montipora, Seriatopora, Pocillopora and (if I'm very lucky) one of the smaller clam species. Am happy with the flow they need and the high level of purity water-wise, however am struggling with the lighting issue given that I'm using a newer light system.
Many thanks once again for taking the time to read my ramblings,
<Mmm, do you have a specific question? If not, please peruse here:
the last two trays... I would become familiar w/ the term PAR values, and seek to provide a minimum value of "100" PAR at whatever depths you intend to situate all this life... and go with one of the two easier Tridacnid species... Bob Fenner>
Dear Bob,
Many thanks for replying, my curiosity is to whether corals with high intensity light requirements such as the bushy Acroporas (specifically Acropora kirstyae) would not just survive but thrive under LED lighting?
<They can indeed... I have observed them in several hobbyist and commercial settings doing so>
I'm aware that my current lighting wouldn't be sufficient for such creatures, however am torn between increasing the number of LEDs over the tank (cheaper in the long run in terms of electricity usage, but not certain if the corals would be at their most colourful/good rates of growth) or opting for a (more traditional) set up using metal halide
lighting (expensive to run, but if correct lamps used for Kelvin/PAR ratings then excellent and proven results). Given that my tank is 101 cm long, 41cm wide and 61cm deep I'm currently favouring a rig using two 150W halides plus two T5 actinic lamps plus blue LEDs to give a moonlight effect to the tank.
<Mmm, the "moonlight" is for your appreciation... Sufficient wavelengths/band-width of such "blue" spectra are provided (though masked in appearance) by your "white" lighting for functions' sakes>
You really must be sick of all the lighting questions you receive (!),
<Heeee! Not yet... the field is, uh... (groan!) very illuminating... and much in flux (Sorry, can't help m'self this AM)>
all I can say is that the WWM site has been absolutely invaluable to me and I'm continuing to learn more and more everyday, and in so doing finding out that I actually know very little indeed!
Many thanks,
<It's an investment... and only time and your perception, judge can and will tell in time whether this or t'other (MH) was "the" route to go. I do think/believe that w/in a few years, LED lighting will greatly improve in ap.s in our interest and the cost per unit decline abruptly and greatly.
Cheers, BobF>
Re: solid state lighting experiences? LED choices 6/10/2010

Dear Bob,
<Big C>
Thanks for the info (have to admit to having a chuckle at the jokes too) - think I'll probably go with halides for now and wait for the LED technology to move on a little more before fully committing to it in the future
<I do believe I'd go this route at this time as well... considering your system shape, desires...>
- out of interest, what LED arrays were in use in the successful reef tanks you've witnessed previously?
<The "oldest" is an Ecoxotic system from 2007, but there are several... esp. seeing what's on offer a couple weeks back at Interzoo (a biannual tradeshow in Germany)>
Interested as mine are Aquarays from the UK company TMC,
<Ah yes... am familiar, friends with a few of the older timers there... Saw them also at IZOO>
however am aware that these are by no means the only LEDs out there (and, frankly, if I CAN find a good LED alternative to halides in the present I'd happily jump on board!).
<Time will tell my friend. BobF>
re: solid state lighting experiences? 6/10/2010

Thanks Bob, good to know about the future possibilities showcased in Germany
- hope you have a great day,
<Thank you dear; you as well. B>

Interested in a link back from wetwebmedia.com, LED manuf., UK 4/19/10
I'm Amy Fox, webmaster and marketing consultant, and I'd like to know if you're interested in a link exchange ( wetwebmedia.com ). I own a website with good traffic and content related to led lighting. If we trade links, we could both improve our rankings on Google, Yahoo, etc.
If you are interested, please use the following details for my link:
Link title: Led lighting linked to my URL:
After you post my link, please let me know immediately so I can do the same. Don't forget to send me your site details ( title and URL ). I could give you back a link from this website:
Thanks for your time!
Best regards;
Amy Fox
Hi Amy, do you/Spimin have fixtures specifically for ornamental aquatics?
Bob Fenner
Re: Interested in a link back from wetwebmedia.com 4/21/10

No, I am not. Well, let me know if you want to Exchange links that will be excellent for both. At this moment, we just Exchange index so let me know if you add my link here:
To add Your link here: http://www.daysinnmackinac.com/
My link:
Link title: Led lighting linked to my URL: http://www.coolstrip.co.uk/
Ah, I see... well, I placed your email msg. on our gen. LED FAQs page, and will put this there as well. Do send along a note if you begin producing lights for aquariums. BobF
Re: Interested in a link back from wetwebmedia.com -- 04/22/10

Hi Bob!
Thank you for the link, could you tell me the exact URl where is my link up?
Thank you. About the aquariums accessories, I will talk with the sales manager.
<Will be a very good market... for folks who get in on the "ground floor".
Cheers, BobF>
Re: Interested in a link back from wetwebmedia.com
Thank you but could you move my link here please
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlinks.htm and I need that my
Link title: Led lighting linked to my URL: http://www.coolstrip.co.uk/
Otherwise won´t Work for me.
Thank you very much.
<No. I/we only post such links to companies with aquarium-specific offerings. RMF>
Re: Interested in a link back from wetwebmedia.com
I see. Unfortunately, http://wetwebmedia.com/ledltgfaqs.htm has not cache and my link is not good as I requested.
Thank you anyway and my apologies for Your time.

Ecoxotic LED Lighting Fixture 4/13/10
Recently we had a query regarding the Ecoxotic LED Lighting Fixture. I got some information on these fixtures from Jeremy @ Premium Aquatics who has these in stock. Still a little pricey at 759.00 for the 23.5" fixture.
Thought you might want to post in the dailies. See below.
<Thank you James. Will do. B>
Hi James,
These have been tested as deep as 30". That testing has yielded great coloration all the way to about 22" with Acropora, although slower growth rates. 18" and more shallow would give equivalent coloration and growth to
a lower par 250w lamp.
The 23.5" Panorama runs at a very low 73w total power consumption..... pretty awesome! :)
Jeremy Brower
Premium Aquatics, Inc.

Addition Of LED Lighting and Adding 10,000k PC/Reef Lighting/Acanthastrea 4/6/10
Hi guys,
<Hello Jason>
I am thinking of doing a retrofit on my Oceanic Biocube (29 gallon). My questions are:
1. What do you think of Panorama LED Retrofit Module (believe the maker is Exotic)?
<I have no experience with the new LED systems although I am hearing good reports regarding their use.
Would be best to post this question on one of the BB's where you will get input from actual users.>
I am looking to add 2x453/nm on each side of the PC fixture.
2. Doing this, I would like to take out the actinic PC and replace it with another 10,000k PC. I read quite a bit about the hobby, but one thing that always confuses me is the lighting. I don't want to torch my coral. Is this too much having two 10,000k PC's??
<Absolutely not. Most Acanthastrea are tolerant of diverse conditions and can thrive in strong or subdued lighting.
Be forewarned that they are voracious predators with strong nocturnal feeding responses and must not be placed near other sessile animals.>
3. I would like to start adding Acan's to the tank. Right now I only have soft corals (Leather, zoo's). I keep reading that they require only moderate lighting. With the lighting I described above, would you feel (only asking your opinion of course) that I would be able to sustain them in a 20" deep tank (I want to have the Acan's on the sand bed).
<You should be fine here with this type of coral.>
I apologize ahead of time if I could find these answers somewhere on your site.
<Mmm, they are Mussids and can be found here.
You may want to read here as well.
I did look through your lighting section, but in addition I have also read some books that somewhat put more emphasis on actinic lights than on the 10,000k's. Some also shun LED lighting while others love it. So I just felt I would save time and ask you straight.
<Do read the links.>
Thank you for any help you can offer on this matter.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

LED lighting - 03/30/10
Hi all,
<Hello Gary.>
Thank you for your work and time. My wife calls your sight "fishy porn" as I spend much time on it!
<Been there too!>
Question: The more I read about LED's the more conflicted opinions I get.
I REALLY want to replace my 2 400w halides with comparable LED's. I'm sure the reasons are obvious...power bill, cost of lamps, heat, eliminate my chiller etc... Is there a system / fixture out there "you all" would recommend?
<The LED market is constantly changing with far better and inexpensive products coming out all the time. I doubt there are many out there with extensive experience with all the products out there. I can say I personally have some experience with the Aqua Illumination fixtures and ReefBrite LED strips. Both seem like sound products. I do also know that there are some fixtures with great potential hitting the market soon. Much more can be gathered by talking with those that have used some of the fixtures in the online forums.>
150 gal mixed reef - 4 yrs old
Many sps/lps
Carpet and Bubble anemone's
Lavender Tang
Bicolor Angel (trying to catch and give back to lfs)
2 False Perc
1 Clarkii
1 Fox Face
1 Mandarin
Your comments greatly appreciated
<Welcome, Scott V.>

DIY LED bulb selection for SPS 2/1/2010
I'm building a 18" cube reef system and want to grow SPS with a DIY LED lighting system. I know that the beam angle and luminous intensity (mcd) determine the lumenous flux (I.e., lumens). There are plenty of LED calculators out there to help me with that calculation. I see on several websites that photosynthesis occurs primarily in the 400-550nm and 620-700nm ranges, so I'm guessing LEDs somewhere in those ranges would be necessary. Can you give me your recommendations on the specific LED wavelengths and recommended minimum and maximum lumen range for each wavelength for best SPS growth?
<Unfortunately I cannot, however, a Google search using the string" <LEDs coral photosynthesis> yields a good deal of useful information. Please do report back on your findings, results. Bob Fenner>

LED Moon lighting 12/16/09
Hello WWM team,
<Hello Dave>
as I am very very new to salt water aquariums I am interested in your thoughts and comments on the idea of LED blue moon lightings.
<Purely aesthetical, of no use for plant/coral growth.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Dave Woo

Re: Stocking Levels and a few newbie questions. -- 11/03/09
Hey Josh, and thanks for the fast reply!
I've cut out some of the things in this reply to shorten it a smidge.
<Hello again Jeff.>
I was thinking a mix of lighting would provide the best results, but the PC's are planned to go over the 'fuge (on an opposite light cycle from the main tank) and over the main tank for both actinic to make the Zoas pop, and they seem a good compromise to me of light versus power consumption and heat generation.
<Excellent, over the refugium makes a bunch of sense, I thought you were discussing placing all three types of lighting over the display... wouldn't be a bad thing just unnecessary.>
The metal halides were planned as part of a dual light fixture that I would use the power compacts, but turn the metal halides on for fairly short periods during the day. (A few hours). I figure in a couple of years if all goes well, I may want to move into some more difficult to keep corals, and I would rather have the lights there and not need them then repurchase them a bit down the road.
<Excellent, very good move.>
The LED lighting still seems to be what I call an "early adopter" solution...I would do the whole thing with led's if I could find some solid reviews on a fixture, but the led market seems to be evolving pretty fast right now. The idea of punting the metal halide makes me smile; the tank is that much closer then.
<It does look like LEDs will be the way to go, but I don't think we are quite there yet, there are great advances being made though. So I think the Halides would be a better option at this point.>
Scratch one calcium reactor, and replace with dosing as needed. Check.
<I think you will be happy with that decision considering the corals you are planning to keep.>
Check. Freshwater planted tanks mean that I am used to green tanks, and I don't mind them. I know if I put things in slowly, it will balance out all the better, so they will go in slowly in small groups at a time.
Will do, and thanks again! I'll rip into my plan book now and start a firm stocking list.
<Excellent, you seem to be on the right track.>
<Good luck, Josh Solomon.>

Your Aquaray LED Aquarium Lights ... WOW !! 10/19/09
<Hello Rich>
First a little history. I purchased a Coralife Lunar Aqualight.
Drsfostersmith.com seems to be pushing compact fluorescent fixtures. Their only full LED fixture costs 900 USD---good lord (!) ---so compact fluorescent seemed like the best thing going. At a moderate price range (153 USD on sale).
But the Aqualight was a disappointment. The unit is heavy duty. Which is nice. But it's so wide. My hinged glass cover wouldn't stay open.
Without pulling it way up front. Each & every time I feed my fish.
But my two BIGGEST complaints were:
1) The fan they use is quiet enough. EXCEPT when inserted into the fixture housing. Where it rattles. Or for some other reason generates a fairly loud buzzing/ringing noise. It's quite aggravating. With our tank being in the TV room. I noticed the noise is loud enough to drown out the filter & air pump noise. And that's saying something. No thanks.
Why in the world wouldn't they engineer it better. Considering the product is used in people's homes. Not out in the yard. If they can make the cooling fan in a desktop computer practically silent. Why not a fan in an aquarium light?
2) My other complaint is light spillage. The Aqualight sits high above the glass canopy. Spilling light out in all directions. A LOT of light.
Enough to illuminate the room. Vs. directing most/all of the light down into the tank. Spotlighting/highlighting the tank. Like my cheap fluorescent strip light does remarkable well. Vs. the Aqualight is more like a bull in a china shop.
The Aqualight ought to drop down side cowls. Low enough to block the light from scattering wall to wall. In my particular case. While sitting on the sofa. The fluorescent bulb peeks out (between the bottom of the fixture & top of the tank). Enough to blind you watching TV.
I know they're elevating the fixture because of the heat. But it's badly designed. They should offer drop down side cowls. Or if that won't work.
Make the fixture higher. So the bulbs can be positioned farther up inside.
And change the shape of the reflector. To, in effect, create light-tunneling "cowls". Coming down all four sides. To direct most if not all the light straight downward.
Again, the cheap florescent light strip that came with my tank. Spills almost no light out the sides. Which makes a lit tank. In a darkened room. Stand out fabulously. It's impressive. If not stunning when you walk into the room. Needless to say, my Aqualight is on the way back to DrFoster&Smith.
Sniffed around the web, I noticed your Aquaray product. Maybe the technology isn't 100% perfected yet. But it seems to go a long way towards alleviating the problems ID'd above. Not to mention it's greener. Vs. running bulbs that produce so much heat. You also need to run cooling fans. And/or chillers you might not otherwise need. What's good for the planet---I like!
I can't wait to try it. Hopefully your lighting strips can lie on top of the canopy. Or very close. So they don't spill light out the sides.
And/or reflect light upwards off the glass canopy. To "waste" less light.
And to avoid highlighting the (inevitably) dirty/dusty tank canopy. Like the Coralife fixture (unfortunately) did so darn effectively. Without a doubt. The less light leakage the better.
If your fixture also needs to be raised up off the tank top (any significant distance). Hopefully you've positioned the LED's far enough up in the housing. So they direct light downwards only. Vs. all over the room. From what I read. It sounds like it does. Great!
Re your new Aquaray "Control". It sounds nice. Hopefully it'll gradually "blend" one light setting into the next. Dimming one source in. As the other is being dimmed out. Over time. Vs. making instantaneous changes.
Like we get with fluorescents run by timers. I.e. lunar to actinic to daylight. Wham - wham - wham.
I don't see much info available yet. But if your "control" is capable of gradually replicating sunrise to daylight to sunset to moonlight lighting scenarios. It'll be wonderful. Hopefully allowing us to adjust the duration of each phase. Perhaps the intensity too. Eventually even lamp color/temp.
I'd offer a series of pre-programmed (default) lighting scenarios. Perhaps downloadable. Or we'd purchase cards/modules. Why not?
I.e. in an online demo. The consumer would select from a variety of sample tanks. Fish-only freshwater, planted freshwater, marine, reef, etc.
Choosing the one that looks most like their own. Then they'd watch actual lighting demos on screen. Picking the one they like best. Which they'd select & download The next step would be keying in start/stop times (for each lighting phase), duration & intensity. Eventually allowing the consumer to alter color temp and "blending time" (e.g. going from daylight to evening). The last step would be saving to a removable card. To be plugged into the light fixture. Reinitializing by simply disconnecting/re-connecting the power cord.
The advantage being. Keeping fixture electronics as simple as possible.
To keep its cost (and repair cost) down. In case it's dropped. Or dropped into the water!! Why not have consumers make adjustments on their personal computer. "Saving" that to an inexpensive card (like used in digital cameras). Then, plugging it into the light fixture. Slipping a moisture proof cover over top.
You'd only need relatively simplistic "card reading" circuitry in the fixture. Including a clock of course. And rather than bothering with batteries(!!). I'd utilize circuitry capable of pulling the correct time off the power grid. Like my "Emerson Research SmartSet" clock radio (model CKS3516) does. I never have to reset the time after power outages. When the power comes back on. The clock automatically resets itself. To the exact right time. Why waste $$ on batteries (that go dead when you least expect it)!
I got this idea from a Sound Oasis sound machine I bought. It comes with little cards programmed with multiple sounds. E.g. birds chirping, waterfall, rain, etc. And you go on their website to listen to other sound samples. Picking the ones you like. It's a GREAT way to market a product.
You know what you're buying. Before it arrives on your doorstep.
But for now. Why not put together a series of videos like in here. I don't know if this product is great. But these informational/educational videos are great.
These simple vids allow the consumer to familiarize themselves & feel comfortable with the product. Before they order it through the mail. With no "touch & feel" opportunity. Whereby there is a greater chance they'll end up returning it.
If I hadn't heard about your LED fixtures. The Power Compact (in the above video) might have been my next choice. Except @ 9". It's even wider than that 7" Coralife unit. Meaning I probably would have had to remove it (from my 13" tank). Any time I wanted the hinged canopy to stay open.
Unless I'm missing something here---I don't get it. Why do manufacturers build lights so huge? When they know people need access via hinged glass canopies.
One last thought on your new "control". It would be great if it also had a "daylight on/off override" button. That would gradually (say over 2-3 minutes) transition towards/away from the daylight setting.
Example. Let's say I come home and want to show my tank off to a friend.
But it's late and the fixture is already well into its evening phase.
Hitting this button would cause the lights to reverse. Gradually throttling-up to the daylight setting. All in a couple minutes. Then, when we're done admiring my tank. I'd hit the same button again. Over a couple minutes, the lights would throttle back down to where they started from (before I came home).
That would be useful. And look awfully sophisticated/impressive. Probably an easy/inexpensive build. It's just a matter of programming.
More common scenarios would be when I get home late from work. After my tank has already darkened quite a bit. But I hadn't fed my fish yet.
So it would be great to provide an easy way to gradually (over a few minutes) bring up the light intensity. To "daylight". Without unplugging/plugging. Or messing up prior programming. So tomorrow, everything is back to normal.
Thanks. Just some friendly thoughts. Keep up the great work! I love the innovation. Rich
<Thank you for sharing your experience/information with us Rich, but the Aquaray lighting you refer to as "ours" is not ours. We do not design, build, or sell any
products on this site. Regards, James (Salty Dog)>

Your Aquaray LED Aquarium Lights ... WOW !! 10/19/09
James ... just copied you on a reply back to this company ... before I read what you wrote below. Sorry I had your email in the list. I know what your site does. It's GREAT! Didn't mean to imply you build/sell products.
<No problem Rich. Bob may post your latest info on the dailies.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
For your use/disposal.
Re: Your Aquaray LED aquarium lights ... WOW !!
It was so nice of you to take time to reply. In case it's helpful in any way. I inserted a few additional comments below, in BLUE. Have a great day! Can't wait to see your product in action. And your upcoming innovations!
Re: Your Aquaray LED aquarium lights ... WOW !!

Dear Mr. Hager,
Thank you very much for your email. Your comments have been noted and are much appreciated.
All of the AquaRay lighting units have been designed so that they can sit directly on a glass canopy. Due to the directional nature of LEDs, some people prefer to raise them up higher in order to get more light spread throughout the tank; however others like to use this directional property to highlight certain areas. It is really down to personal taste.
Certainly all of the light is directed into the tank with very little light spillage.
That's great! Reading web blogs, seems like people have resorted to various ways to hang/insert them into retrofitted fixtures. Why not offer (inexpensive) strip light housings. Customers could plug in/insert their chosen strip light(s) into. No need for fancy/expensive. Something like this would work fine: http://www.petco.com/product/107314/All-Glass-Aquarium-Incandescent-Strip-Light.aspx. Although a more modern/high tech shape would be even more appealing!
Such a housing would securely position the lamps on top of the tank. Plus, space them out. Not only side to side. But also front to back. In an attractive, professional looking manner. Further reducing (if not eliminating) light spillage/waste. Because the housing would sit so very close to the glass canopy. Vs. suspending it ~12" above the canopy. To achieve the necessary light spread.
I'd offer these housings in different widths. Perhaps a 2" version into which we could plug 1 light strip. A 5" version that could house 2 light strips. A 8" version that could house 3 light strips. And a 11" version that could house 4 light strips. They'd look GREAT. Plus alleviate the narrow beam (spotlighting) problem. With lamps more evenly distributed front to back.
If you go down this road. PLEASE hinge housings wider than say 5" . So we can lift the front portion. Folding it back over the rear portion. Allowing room to prop open glass canopies. So we can work in the tank. Feed our fish. Etc. Probably incorporating a refrigerator door style switch. To automatically cut out the front light strip(s). Whenever it's hinged up. Otherwise they'd beam right in your eyes.
I think this would be a GREAT way to provide thorough LED light coverage. Whilst allowing us to prop open glass canopies. Without having to remove the entire fixture. Leaving a dark tank. So we can't see what we're doing inside.
Eventually, maybe you could design a similarly hinged housing. Into which people would plug individual LED lamps. Mostly wide angle (for coverage). Perhaps a few narrow beam (with a little directional adjustment ability would be ideal). To spotlight key decorations in the tank. Perhaps along the lines of your new "tile" option: http://www.tmc-ltd.co.uk/aquarium/aquabeam-1000.asp Except, users could change out
individual lamps (wide angle vs. narrow beam w/ limited rotational
ability). To create the effect they want.
Another idea would be using 6 lamp strips. Vs. 5. So none is in the center. Blocked by structural braces that run front-to-back in many tanks. I imagine resulting in a (lighting) "dead spot" center tank. Which probably doesn't look so good. And wastes the center lamp.
Also, rather than aiming all lamps directly downward. Why not offset the beams a bit. Perhaps 10 degrees. So alternating lamps aim slightly frontwards then backwards. To broaden the effective beam spread. And to avoid a "line of spotlights" look. Without elevating strip lights 12" above the tank. Which doesn't look so good. Increases light leakage, etc.
FYI some of the thoughts I've read were in here:
The controller does not bring one light up as another comes down, because the two channels are not dimmed/brightened independently. This decision was taken as it was felt that during the daylight phase all of the lights should be on, and then at night it can be set that perhaps one channel stays on at a low output (e.g. 5%), while the other turns off. This gives a very nice natural moonlight effect. I see, that sounds fine. Except what about programming the effect of clouds randomly passing in front of the sun? Just kidding!! That's going too far huh. But it would be GREAT if night-day transition incorporated a warm reddish hue. To mimic sunrise/sunset. Consumers would LOVE the realism. Maybe possible/practical when color changeable LEDs are available/inexpensive enough. This transition does take place smoothly over a user set period of time anywhere between 1 minute and 4 hours. That's perfect!
There are also two override functions on this controller -- one that advances the program to the next phase (the four phases being, daylight, dim down, moonlight and brighten up), and one that switches all of the lights off (for maintenance purposes). Nice! ... but looking at the photo of the controller, I don't see an "override" button. So I'm assuming we'd have to enter "program mode" (of some sort). Why not provide a separate button labeled "override". To keep things simple. And to maximize user friendliness. Whereby successively pressing the button would cycle through: brighten-up, daylight, dim-down, moonlight, auto (cancels override), all off (for maintenance). Just stop at the setting you want.
Finally, just to check that the program is correct, the end user is able to enter a 'demo' mode, in which the entire program is run through in the space of 1 minute. In this case the four phases will be 15 seconds each. Perfect! Finally, to address your worries about having to reset the unit after a power outage, the time and program are stored by the unit even when the power is lost and so will still be correct when power is restored. Excellent!
At the moment we have just recently launched this simple controller, however we at Tropical Marine Centre are constantly working on the AquaRay range as well as our other ranges and there are always further developments in the pipeline. Can't wait!
Best regards,
Michael Barrett Beng (Hons.)
Lighting Consultant
Quality Control Technical Supervisor
Project Manager
Tropical Marine Centre
Solesbridge Lane
Herts WD3 5SX

LED lighting Experience 9/23/09
Hi Crew, once again I need to thank you for all your help over the past 3 years as I delved into this new hobby (passion). This is not a question, rather I thought I would pay back a bit and share my experience with LED lighting.
<Thank you for sharing>
I started my tank about 3 ago years now. It is a 36 gallon corner tank- mixed reef. I had started with a viper hang on MH light, but the heat and stability of the arm was a real problem. Around this time I was intrigued with the PFO LED system. I purchased a 24 inch 250 watt equivalent model and could manage to get the legs to fit the opening on my tank. I loved the light.....great color, cool, and everything seemed to thrive. After about 2 years, I noticed going over my logs that I had lost certain specimens in different areas of the tank. One spot in particular seemed to be a "no-corals land" where anything placed there would bleach in short order. Most of my corals seemed ok, but where not growing particularly quickly. In particular, my once huge colony of pumping Xenia that had started growing on the tank walls when it ran out of room on the rock, simply collapsed over a couple of weeks and disappeared about 2-3 months after starting the LED system.
Of late I noticed that my beautiful Monti Cap that I had previously had to prune back from growth every few weeks, was not really growing much and worst of all was bleaching. I turned down the lights on the LED system.....no help it seemed like it was a gone-er.
Well, a few days later I was scraping the glass and reached into the tank for a moment to move something and as (mis)fortune would have it, one my clowns bit me! They obviously had some eggs somewhere. Well they drew blood....I was startled....my elbow flew up....hit the PFO Solaris ....knocked it up and into the water on one end. It flooded, and shorted out, I am lucky not to have been electrocuted. Of course I was nuts with myself for having not taken it off the tank before reaching in like I normally do. And the light....after drying it, opening it up, etc....it would come on, but a few of the LED's were dead and the computer control was not working right. It would get stuck on set clock mode. It worked but had unreliable mornings where it wouldn't get out of lunar mode, or have episodes of flickering on and off, etc.
<Ahh, electronics!>
So time to explain to "she who must be obeyed" and off I go to get a new light. I am told that PFO is toast from a lawsuit for patent infringement.....
<Yes, the co. is gone>
so I am forced to go with MH again. I ended up with a Marineland MH/T5 system/lunar system. Quite nice I might add. I am running a 150 watt 20000K Aqualine AB, two stock Marineland Actinic blue T5 lamps, one Giesemann true actinic, and one 14K sunwave T5 lamp. Well to get on with it, after running the MH 150 for just one week...I noticed the Monti coloring back up! Two weeks and the purple was creeping into it like a leaf turning orange in the fall. The purple polyps where open, and now a 6 weeks later it is gorgeous purple again. Best of all, out of no-where I see a tiny little pumping xenia on a rock next to the Monti....and in the last 3 weeks, it has grown and is beginning to create a new colony. The rest of the tank is thriving.....all of a sudden I have growth again, my hot lava echino....is developing orange florescent areas. My BTA which only had about 50% bubbles is pushing 90% again, Cyphastrea is growing and going from brown to a greenish glow, and my two lowly Acroporas have open polyps again and maybe I am seeing growth? Simply amazing to see the change in just a month.
I don't want to knock the LED system, I really loved that light, but now thanks to misfortune my tank is really starting to glow again. And by the way, my parameters are rock solid and no different from the LED period: with 0 Nitrates, Nitrites and Ammonia, 0 Phosphates (Merck test), about 420 on Calcium, and 11 dKH. pH about 8.0-8.2, ORP 405. I run a refugium with Chaeto, AquaC remora HOT skimmer, Ozone, and dose two-little fishes A and B via a dosing pump which also takes care of top-off RO water. I use "reef crystals" salt, and I run the temp at 80 and am using a fan to keep it cool with the MH....so far it's working.
Here is a pic of the Monti about two weeks after the return of MH lighting, you can see the bleached areas but much of the color has already returned. Unfortunately I do not have a pic before the light change which really depicted heavy bleaching. Here is a second picture at 6 weeks post MH.
Thanks again for all your help in the past.
<And you. Bob Fenner>

LED Lighting AquaFX 9/15/09
Dear Crew,
I found this LED lighting system by AquaFX, have you run across this. What do you think?
<All I know about it is that it was introduced at Interzoo some time ago, and the LED useful life is somewhere near 50,000 hours. Mmm, that's 5,000 days at a 10 hour per day cycle, a little over 13 years....very interesting.>
In Bob's articles I read that the lights should provide full spectrum CRI of 90+. This one produces full spectrum 80. Here are some of features and characteristics
Built-in sequences
* Sunset colours - very slow transition through reds and oranges, a superb start and end to each day.
* Ocean colours - gentle phase through blue and green colours, emulating light through deeper and planted waters.
* Full-spectrum rainbow - a slow sequential flow through the entire range of colours - this hi lights colours of fish, corals and plants to show them in their true beauty.
* Full-spectrum pseudo-random - Hi lights your aquarium in a subtle and random range of colours.
* Full spectrum of 16 million colours whilst cycling.
* 8 pre-set colours: - simply change manually using the remote control.
Red, Green, Blue, Orange, Yellow, Purple.
* User-programmable-Colour. - using the remote control, increase or decrease the intensity of each colour, then save as your favourite.
* White - using patented technology with a mixture of red, green and blue LEDs plus high performance dedicated white LEDs for an intense light output.
User programmable features:
* 24 hour clock. - adjust and set using the buttons on the control unit.
* Up to 7 programmable events per day. - change the factory settings to suit your requirements.
* Favourite Colour storage - use your favourite colour in your daily programmable events.
* Internal memory power failure battery backup - in event of unplugging or power fail, the clock (not the display) continues to run for several days.
PAR (Photosynthetic available light) for plant growth is comparable with fluorescent lamps.
* PUR (Photosynthetic usable light) Plant growth is dependant on species of plant, depth and condition of water.
* By adding or removing Reds or Blues, the level of light can be adjusted to create optimum lighting conditions.
* Adjust the length of the daytime settings to optimize the light for your plant growth.
* LEDS do not create any harmful UV light.
* Heat output from the LED tubes is minimal.
* AquaFX can enhance even Metal Halide illuminated tanks and provide the sunset/sunrise features and of course night or moon mode.
* White light output has a CRI (Colour rendering index) of 80.
<I would suggest Googling and/or posting on various marine forums. May get feedback
from actual users. Do keep us informed of your findings. James (Salty Dog)>
Re LED Lighting AquaFX 9/15/09

I ggled around and no luck so far with any reviews. I am thinking to purchase it and give it a try. Is CRI 80 too low for the reef system?
<CRI is the ability of a light source to reproduce the colors of an object faithfully.
Years ago, before the wide range of Kelvin temperature lamps were available to aquarists, we strived to obtain lamps with a high CRI, as those lamps would most duplicate the suns light at high noon (5500K). Lamps available to aquarists now are manufactured with Kelvin temperatures that would not render a high CRI. Reefers generally use lamps with Kelvin temperatures ranging from 10-20K. These lamps are desirable for photosynthetic animals, but would not render a high CRI as they would not reveal the true colors of the fish/invertebrates. In that regard, a lighting system with a CRI of 80 is not necessarily undesirable. What is more important, are light intensity and Kelvin temperature. If it were me, I would
contact the manufacturer for this information. Ask for a qualitative comparison between this system and a HQI/MH, and/or a T5 system. James (Salty Dog)>
Re LED Lighting AquaFX 9/16/09

I sent an email to AquaFX. Waiting for response.
<Do keep me posted, am very interested in their response.
James (Salty Dog)>

Question about electricity and water, UW LEDs 5-10-09
I want to put a few LED lights inside my aquarium (underwater) and was wondering about the connections. If both of the leads (one positive, one negative) off of the LED are simply soldered to an insulated wire and the connections are bare is the electricity going to flow into the water and kill/harm my fish? If installing underwater lights do all connections need to be sealed watertight?
<Besides irritating those fish that have some degree of electric sensitivity (e.g., catfish) or using electricity directly to find their way around (e.g., Mormyrids) it was at one time suspected that stray electrical
voltage led to problems such as Hole-in-the-Head. Whilst I'm not sure that's accepted anymore, the wisdom of having a live wire, even at a low voltage, exposed to the water is questionable. You can buy ready made submersible lights, and if you were to DIY some yourself -- something I think WWM would have to recommend against, given the legal implications of you electrocuting yourself! -- it would surely make more sense to insulate everything using aquarium silicone or similar.>
My plan is to have concealed LED lights in some sort of plant or other decoration and have a bunch of fiber-optics sprouting out so it looks like "glowing underwater plants"
<Do look at the safe, commercial products such as "Hydor Aqua Color Aquarium".>
Thank You,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Sunbright LED hood New LED Lighting System. 4/30/2009
Hello Crew,
<Hi Alan>
Have any of you seen this yet? They are new to the market this week, and my buddy happened to pick one up at his LFS. He loves it! 35 watts, no heat, no ballast, no timer strips. Sunrise to sunset light cycles plus moons.
<Thanks for sharing>

Lighting query (again) - LED's and colour temps 4/19/09
G'day crew
<Hello Leon.>
Hope today finds you well. As always thanks for a fantastic service, and thanks in advance for whoever is on duty today for the advice...once again on my "favourite" topic: lighting.
<Today was fine, Scott V. with you tonight.>
First question is regarding colour temperatures (K), and is this: "If colour temperature is based on changes in colour when heating a black body radiator to a specific temperature, why do some bulbs (often from reputable manufacturers) which have the same colour temperature rating give off a visibly different light colour?"
<Simple, they are not accurately rated.>
A good example here is 10k tubes...just about every brand has their version. But if we take a couple of high-end 10k lamps - say an Arcadia original tropical lamp and an Aqua Medic Ocean White - we see a marked difference. The Arcadia has a slight pinkish/purple look to it, whereas the Ocean White is a very crisp, bright white. Then compare these with a more mid-range product such as Catalina PC's and you'll find that the Catalina 10k's appear slightly more yellowish.
To take this one step further I'll use another mid-range bulb, the Hagen Power Glo, as an example. It has a K rating of 18k, but has a visible pinkish colour to the light...not at all the very blue light that you would
expect from a bulb of this temperature.
Is this all to do with the human eye's sensitivity to various spectra, or is it creativity from the manufacturers' marketing departments, or is there some other standard or factor that I'm simply not aware of (which I think
is probably the case)?
<No universal standard and lack of actual spectral testing.>
Second questions is regarding LED lighting...
There are a few, apparently good, products slowly becoming available in Australia. I have been doing a bit of reading about LED systems in general but a lot of the info I've been able to find (including some interesting commentary on WWM) is anywhere from 4-10 years old. The general message seems to say "promising technology, but expensive and still having some trouble with light quality and spectral range"
<My sentiment, I do feel it will replace all in the years to come.>
Given how quickly technology improves I'm just wondering what the current status of LED technology is? For example, has the spectral quality been able to live up to fluor/MH standards?
<Sort of, it all depends on what bulbs the LEDs are compared to...for my money not there yet.>
Do you know of any recent comparative studies?
Also, can you point out some "reputable" products on the markets which I can do some further research on?
<PFO Solaris fixtures are the standard thus far.>
In Australia we tend to be flooded with products from the Chinese market, some of which are actually really good value-for-money, others which are just a complete waste of time. This link (
http://www.oceanus-light.com/lumenaqua36.html ) is one such product, though I'm not sure which category it fits into yet. The idea of a variable spectral range is very appealing, but I question the reliability of the
data as it all appears very market-orientated with a distinct lack of scientific info to back it up (e.g. spectral output graphs).
<Well, there are many DIYing these LED fixtures nowadays too.>
Thanks again
Leon (Brisbane)
<Welcome, Scott V.>

LED Lighting question 3-05-09 Team, Hope you are all well. <Am almost fully recovered from an obnoxiously long lasting respiratory infection...so a lot better than I was!> I am seriously looking at LED technology. Expensive. Wow. Benefits? Seem to be many. <Definitely - I'm a big fan, and am looking to start a DIY LED project for my nano reef soon> PAR, penetration, dispersement of lighting - these are the issues. Dependent upon the brand and technology, PAR and spectrum are solvable if not on par (no pun) or better than Ushio grade halides. <The great thing about LEDs (especially DIY ones) are the reflector options...excellent depth penetration is possible if the light is reflected correctly. PAR is a non-issue with the new Cree and Luxeon LEDs> Coverage is slightly odd and can be almost like spotlights - but that is solvable. <Definitely> But the main issue I have found is output relative to depth of penetration. I am in discussion with one maker right now who states that while the depth of penetration of a 'bank' is similar to a 150w halide, 2 banks will provide an effective output of a 250w halide. <Sort of - depends on how and where one measures and what measurements one uses> My question, based on my brand of logic - why would 2 banks of LED's with the same output power and configuration alter anything other than dispersement of the light; as it seems to me that both would reach the same plateau of actual depth penetration? They are not enhancing or augmenting each other at all; it would be a broader range of coverage versus any PAR or LUX or penetration enhancement. <Again, sort of. You want to do an apples to apples comparison between LED banks and a metal halide in terms of what, PAR at a given depth per given watt? Lighting is difficult to compare, and we as hobbyists approach lighting with a very "ballpark" attitude. Luckily for us, photosynthetic organisms are adaptable to light variations to some extent. To continue with the comparison though, the "throw" or "penetration" of the LEDs would be the same for one bank or two I believe, but the amount of lighting at a given depth would be greater, as would the coverage. PAR would also increase to some extent, because of the additional light. Lux is a relatively useless measurement in terms of photosynthesis, because it is a measurement of perceived brightness by the eye. LEDs work just fine for the home aquarist> Am I missing something? I admit to not being a spectral analytics scientist. :) Would like your opinion before I go deeper toward plunking down several thousand $$ to replace a $700 MH lighting system :) <I'm by no means an expert, but I do find light (and photosynthesis) to be interesting, and have read a bit on both subjects. For what it's worth, consider the cheaper DIY alternative to commercial LED lighting systems. Nano-reef.com has some excellent thread about LED lighting, and I'll link them here. I hope the links below will come in handy. - http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=186982 - http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=188686> Take care, <You too, and I hope I've helped. I'm going to do some research to get some definitive answers regarding light addition and water penetration> Bill <M. Maddox>

DIY LED Lighting 7/7/08 I was wondering about the feasibility of building your own LED light setup for a reef tank. <Very possible.> From what I can tell, brands like Solaris are using 3 watt led's in a reflector housing. This seems easily duplicated with led's from RadioShack and a quick Google search yielded cheap results for led reflectors as well. Am I missing something here, because at a glance this seems to be a relatively simple project? <These units do use high output LED's, you will want to check the output, not just the wattage. PFO claims 80 lumens/watt out of their newest versions! > To your knowledge, is there something specific about the led's they use, or the type of reflector, that inflates the material cost for constructing this type of light setup? <There are several in the online forums that think they have the exact type of LED's used in these pinned down. A quick internet search will tell you what the Solaris supposedly uses. Other than just the materials, you are paying for quite an elaborate control system (with some neat, but unnecessary features), quite a bit of R&D, a finished looking product, and I'm sure a bit of profit is worked in too.> From spending about 10 minutes on Google and eBay it seems I could purchase 100 5mm led's in the 13,000 mcd range and as many reflectors for under $100. A Solaris with this many led's is over $2000. <It is a tempting, likely worthwhile project. Without the controller you will not have the ability to change the spectrum as with the Solaris unit, but DIY will allow you to fine tune the color to what you like!> Thanks for your thoughts. <Welcome, sounds like fun, Scott V.>

LED lighting 6/29/08 Thank you in advance for the help ! <You're welcome, I hope!> My question pertains to coral viewing and growth under different Kelvin ratings. I will be buying Aquailluminations LED lighting system and have not been able to find an answer to my question on the web. These LED systems allow color temp control from 6500K to over 20,000K at the twist of a knob. <A nice feature.> I know that optimum growth is usually achieved in the 6500K range, but it is less than visually appealing compared to higher color temps. At 14-20,000K the corals look great but growth and light output (PAR) is much reduced. <Yes, it is very much reduced for the same wattage light.> If corals are grown in the 6500-10,000K range ( fast growth ) most of the time while I'm not there to see it anyway, will the colors displayed under the higher Kelvin ratings still show up when I go to view the tank and change the color temp higher for viewing reasons? In other words - do the corals need to grow under the high color temps to display this pigmentation/coloration or is it always there and just more visible when viewed under the higher Kelvins....? <The coloration in the corals themselves will change under different lighting long term. Sometimes drastically, but most of the time just a bit. At the same time a coral can look like a whole different animal in an instant with a change in lighting. If that new lighting were left on it for a few weeks and then the old lighting put back over it, the coral would very possibly not look as it originally did. I suppose running your bulbs at 6500K for part of the day and say 14000K part of the day would yield some coloration in between. I have seen systems with 6500K Iwasaki bulbs that only come on for 3-4 hours a day just for growth while a second set of MH that are much bluer come on the rest of the day. When you think of the logistics and price of doing this, the LED fixtures all of a sudden seem like a deal!> Thanks, Greg <Welcome, have fun, Scott V.>

ZeroEdge Aquarium, Humidity, and Solaris LED Lighting - 03/20/08 I have been a saltwater hobbyist for 20 years, <<Ah, a fellow long-timer…I set up my first saltwater tank in 1977…under-gravel filter and all! [grin]>> I decided last year to scale down, bought a Red Sea Max... it's been easy, corals are doing great, but it is boring. <<…? Ready to go back to something bigger, eh>> Decided to have a custom ZeroEdge aquarium made.... size is 36x27x13. <<About 55-gallons…neat!>> This is my first open top aquarium, will the humidity increase? <<Indeed… The open top allows for greater air movement/evaporation; but also allows for better gas exchange, along with less heat build-up>> My room is 430 sq-feet; 14 ft high vaulted ceiling... the aquarium is @ 2% surface area of the entire room. <<Mmm, a bit less actually…but of little consequence. The vaulted ceiling should help a bit with comfort, I would think>> Also I am looking for lighting. The Solaris Led light from PFO is what I am looking at...... 36 inch..... Can I get away with a 24 inch? <<Maybe…depends much on what you plan to keep and its placement in the system. A 24" unit may provide very dim lighting towards the ends of this tank>> Also will the light spread cover front to back? I know that LED lights are more of a spot. <<I must admit I'm not sure. The design of the Solaris is a bit different than the more conventional fixtures familiar to the hobby. With more "typical" lighting solutions the spread of light is governed by the type/size/quality of the reflector utilized and the distance it is suspended above the system. Raising the fixture will give more spread, but also reduces intensity where the photosynthetic organisms are located…which may or may not be a prime factor, depending on the needs of your livestock>> With the depth of the tank being only 13 inches, any other suggestions? <<Metal halide has been and still currently is my favorite lighting solution for most any marine system. I have high hopes/expectations for the LED lighting systems to come, but for me/in my opinion, they don't yet measure up to metal halide…although it has been nearly a year since I last saw one of these units "close up." From what I read the technology is improving, and costs will be (hopefully) coming down. But for now, I'll stick with MH. But this is not meant to discourage you from using one of these units. Before you buy I do suggest visiting the hobby forums and chat with those who are already using them for their experience/comments re…and even contacting the manufacturer for their input on what "size unit" would best suit your tank>> Thanks for all your help. Seve <<A pleasure to share. EricR>>

LED Lighting 2/23/08 To WWM, My name is Ed and I currently have a 60gal.reef tank. The tank has been running for over ten years with great success. As many in the hobby do, I started with very basic lighting and worked my way up to a metal halide system. <This is a common path.> It has two 175 watt metal halides and two 95 watt actinics. As you know, with the halides come a few challenges. They generate a tremendous amount of heat, require a lot of power to operate which translates into higher electric bills, and need to be replaced fairly often. <Yes.> I am now in the process of doing the research for upgrading the tank to a 110 gal. reef tank. One of the items I found is a light system called the Solaris I 4 by PFO lighting which uses LED's in place of metal halides. The company makes some lofty claims about their light system , some of which are minimal heat, more intense light, a significant decrease in power consumption, and a 50,000 hour bulb lifespan. With these claims comes a much higher price tag. I assume over the long term, the initial cost of the lights would be offset by not having to replace any bulbs. <This and less power consumption by the lights themselves and theoretically not running your chiller or other cooling equipment as much. The price also includes a fairly complex control unit as far as lighting goes.> Ultimately , my questions to you are, 1) Will switching over to LED lights have any adverse effects on the wide variety of corals and clams I currently have in the tank? (everything from frogspawn to Pavona to briareum) <No, the new I4 units are much more intense than their predecessors and completely adjustable. You can match the spectrum of your current bulbs.> 2) Have you had any feedback on the durability of the light system as a whole? <Yes, I have a LFS in my area that has ran these (the original Solaris units) without issue since they were released. PFO offers a two year warranty for the unit.> 3) Do you see any draw backs to the system? <Only the initial cost; depending on your power costs where you live you will have to decide if it is worth it for you.> In conclusion, I am at somewhat of a crossroads as to which direction to go. I am not opposed to spending more money up front if the cost benefit is realized throughout the life of the light. That being said, I don't want to do anything to negatively effect the corals and clams that I have worked so hard over the last ten years to maintain. It would be easy to ask PFO lighting what they think but I am looking for an unbiased opinion. Sincerely, Ed <These units are a fine choice for a reef tank. Keep in mind it is growing technology, better fixtures are undoubtedly on the horizon, with a likely price decrease. Also, you may come out ahead in the long run, but it will take many years to make up for the initial cost. I am of the belief that most reef tanks will eventually be lit by LED fixtures, in time they will be the new MH. I hope this helps you decide, Scott V.>

12 Gallon nano and LEDs 2/6/08 First I want to be the ten zillionth person to thank everyone involved with this website. It has been a priceless resource. (If Mr. Fenner or Mr. Calfo respond to this question I'm grateful for all that you have done for our hobby and for your literature? several of your books permanently reside on my nightstand!) Now, on to the business? I have been in the hobby/cult for over three years. I initially set up a 12 gallon Nano Cube DX due to necessity (college dorm room) and finances (college). To say the least, I learned quickly that I was embarking on a challenging task of maintaining a nano reef. Well, after extensive research, heartaches, headaches, many expletives, and the installation of a 4 gallon refugium, I had a thriving system. Then after a year and a half, everything in my tank died? well everything but my pair of ocellaris clowns. All my inverts, corals, and macroalgae gone <Almost a universal experience, re-experience with these small systems... Yours "lasted" far longer than any measure of central tendency> and I couldn't figure out why. After two weeks, and what I thought was a power outage, I found the root of my demise? a broken glass heater that had been broken for at least a few weeks prior to its discovery (all of the metal (copper) internals were missing (dissolved?). <Yikes!> I tried to revive my tank but my efforts were fruitless. &#61516; I disassembled my system, gave away my clowns, and packed away my hopes of having a successful reef system along with my nano cube. Well, after a year and a half of having this huge void in my life (yeah? it was that bad), I have decided to setup my nano reef again. Well, I'm now in graduate school and really not in any better situation than I was three years ago financially? so I'm setting up my 12 gal Nano Cube again? I keep telling myself that I am going to do it ?right? this time. My ultimate goal of this system is to have a pair of clowns and some easy corals. The tank is currently sitting empty awaiting a fresh shipment of Marshall live rock. I have made many mod.s to the 12 gallon tank to better meet the needs of a reef... I have already made and installed DIY 9 gallon upstream style refugium. The only aspect that I haven't flirted with is the lighting (the current system includes two 24 watt 50/50 PCs)? I have a surplus of 24W PC lights that are around 10 to 14 months old and am in the market for new lights (which by the time I pay shipping usually runs close to $50 bucks a year). I don't want to opt of a HQI or MH fixture for monetary reasons plus I like having a full canopy over my tank. My local fish guru is currently designing LED light systems that he has measured to compare with metal halides but his systems utilize at least 25 or so LEDs per unit and costs well it makes me shiver just trying to type it! This got me thinking and researching like it was the day before a thesis paper was due. I have found that I can make a DIY 12 watt LED system that will fit in the existing canopy of my tank and save me money (assuming I can get 50,000 hours of useful life from the LEDs). This will be made up of twelve 1-watt LEDs at 50 to 60 lumens each. From my research, I think I should install ten 1 watt 10K white LEDs and two 460nm blue as well as an additional 1 watt 460nm moonlight that will be on continuously. So the final ratio of white to blue is almost 3:1. I know there are mixed feelings about LED lighting and that there are a lot of other external factors that will determine if this would be adequate. I plan on eventually having a few corals such as pulsing xenia, star polyps, maybe an anemone <Mmmm, if so... a cloned Entacmaea> for my ocellaris clown (if an anemone exists that would survive in a nano? any suggestions?), <See WWM> and maybe some Ricordea. After all of this ... would this scheme of LEDs (or any scheme involving 12 1-watt LEDs) be sufficient for the proposed corals in my 12 gallon nano? <Mmm, can be made to work> Also, would this LED design be adequate to produce and sustain coralline algae growth? <This rhodophyte groups species get by on far less light than photosynthetic Cnidarians> Again I can't thank you guys enough at WetWebMedia for your hard work, patience, and dedication to this exciting passion of ours. Sincerely, Matthew Weekley <Glad to share. Bob Fenner>

Is wattage per gallon the best method? 11/30/07 Happy Holidays to you at WWM! <And to you Dan> I've been thinking about all of the advice given to reefkeepers regarding lighting needs of stony corals. The answer always seems to involve watts per gallon or watts per square foot of tank surface, regardless of lighting source (i.e., MH, NO, HO, VHO, PC). Something tells me that while this may be adequate, wattage alone not necessarily the best solution for optimum coral growth and health.< the wattage rules are for base guidelines only.> Wouldn't it be better to recommend a solution that is stated in lumens per area or volume? <This is why PAR readings listed on the by the manufacturers of the bulbs are so important. PAR is the most important for the photosynthesis.> Would it also be a good idea to base the recommendation on the spectral needs of stony corals?< This is where the color spectrum of the bulb comes into play. The Kelvin rating indicates the color "temperature" of the bulb , but will also relay where in the color spectrum the bulb is. LED lighting by Solaris has the most stable, and correct spectrums for corals.> I'm sure there are other variables, such as tank depth, color temperature, bulb type, differences between manufacturers' bulbs, etc. may come into play, but it seems some sort of charts or calculators can be developed to recommend poor/good/better/best/overkill lighting solutions based on whatever tank parameters are used as the basis for the calculations.<Dr. Sanjay Joshi has made many of these very charts. The problem is one bulb from one manufacturer will have different PAR readings from different ballasts. So it is very hard to say what spectrum and PAR you will actually be at from just the "Bulbs" perspective. My personal experience over the last 25 years has me to believe that 6500K bulbs offer the best growth rate, then 10,000k bulbs which also look whiter, then the 12-14,000K bulbs which are much bluer to the eye, and then finally the 20,000k bulbs which are the bluest. The 20,000K bulbs also do not last as long as the lower kelvin bulbs and have lower PAR readings. Again, this is why the LED technology is so promising.> I'm not sure whether this may be too complicated to resolve. Ideas? <As technology continues to improve, there should be more progress in the LED market that will make the color spectrum and lamp choices much easier. Thanks-Rich.. aka.. Mr. Firemouth> Dan

Any experience with PowerBrite LED lights? 11/30/07 Hello, <Good morrow> Thank you for your site and all the great information. I second all the others who have thanked you, and all I can say is "Wow". Your collective intelligence and the vast amounts of e-mail you process are nothing short of "Borg-like". <Sort of like Billy Gates not-reliable software products: "Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated..."?> I'm sorry to add to the pile of e-mail, but I trust you, and I couldn't find any one with information or experience with the new high output LED's made for marine aquarium use. (Please feel free to skip the following and refer me to the right informational site if one is available.) <Okay> I have a 46 Bow (21" deep) with 96 watts of 10,000K/Actinic CF, and wanted to get a little more illumination for the Anthelia polyps and mushrooms sitting on top of the LR, about 10 inches under the lights. From all that I have read, this is not enough light. <Mmm, sufficient... but could be increased> However, I must say that the Anthelia is budding and sprouting but some of the mushrooms look like they are stretching towards the surface. One in particular has its' mouth pointing strait up and it looks like a fully open umbrella. (Could it be hungry? How often should they get fed? <Yes... and what you're doing, below... is fine> I feed 1-2 times a week) They are bright pink, bright red, and a slightly fluorescent purple/blue/green on brown. All are small, nickel sized or less. I was told by my LFS that mushrooms, especially the colored ones, needed more lighting than the brown or purple ones. How many watts per gallon should they have? <Mmm, not a fan of such broad "rules of thumb" as watts per gallon... Much depends on what is produced by these watts... in how configured fixturing... depth, position of light-using stock... much more> I have also read that sometimes you can get away with raising them closer to the lights. How close should they be considering my set up? <... time to refer you> I am contemplating getting a 10,000K PowerBrite LED 4 X1 watt light. I am attracted to the fact that they are not hot, small enough to fit on the canopy, and long lasting (How long will they be of service as in marine aquarium terms? The advertised light life is 50,000 hrs.). <This is about it... divide by the number of hours per day... the days in a month or a year...> The ad says it emits 50-60 lumens/watt. What does this really mean as compared to my 96 watt compact fluorescents? <... in terms of watts, yes... Do you recall, did you take physics courses re what a Watt is... as in Volts times Amps? The amount of power consumed, producing useful photonic energy is the functional consideration here... The other "costs" in terms of heat production, removal... as well as looks, life-time of fixture/s... are the other half of the equation> I have tried to find out more information on them, but don't see any one chatting about them (or haven't found the site yet). I was wondering if this would boost my lighting adequately enough for the mushrooms to feel happier, or would this be a waste of money? <Mmm, not a waste... but, am not so sure this is a good investment for you here either> Do you have any other suggestions? If one were to use only these lights for illumination, what would the actual watt per gallon equivalent be? <Get or borrow a PAR meter and see for yourself... Many fish stores and hobby groups, as well as advanced aquarists have these to lend...> I am holding off on purchasing them until your reply. <Again, these are good products/units... and reasonably priced... If your system were brand new and you asked which technology to go with, I'd likely suggest the LEDs here...> Also, I do have a new 12 gal. with a 14,000K 70 watt metal halide currently cycling. It will be about 12 inches deep after adding sand. The light sits about 2.5"-3" above the canopy. Would this be too bright for the Anthelia and mushrooms? <Perhaps at first... I would screen the light, remove part of the screening weekly. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm and the linked files above> Thank you for all you do, Lyn <I do wish there was a simple way to offer you the choices you list here... I will try to re-state... IMO the changing of the CFs you presently have for the LEDs is not warranted. That is, I don't think you will either see, nor your livestock experience "enough" difference in illumination to warrant the change-out expense, effort... I do want to further introduce the thought that changing out for MH would result in said changes (in appearance, functionality), but with some issue as to waste heat production, driven photosynthesis/metabolism effects. Bob Fenner> Re: Any experience with PowerBrite LED lights? 12/1/2007 Aloha Mr. Fenner, <And to you> Thank you for your reply. <Welcome> Alas... Physics class was not my favorite in HS. I did take a lot of zoology and chemistry classes in college though, but that will not help me with my lighting concerns. I will further scour the web for the information you are referring to on "useful photonic energy". Any favorite sites? <Yes... look for the names Sanjay Joshi and Dana Riddle> Is there a chart/book (Anthony Calfo's?) that lists the various corals and their range of preferred light intensity? <Mmm, only in general terms. A chance here to make some broad statements re: All coral species, specimens show a varying tolerance, adaptability to light intensity... Some of the same species collected in different regimens of light et al. are quite different in this respect... The "other" conditions, histories of said colonies are a great determinant of whether these specimens will adapt to a given set of aquarium circumstances... Do know that the vast majority of pet-fish writers are NOT biologists by any means (have little academic experience), NOR scientific divers... i.e. they have NOT, some NEVER been diving on reefs... and much, way TOO much of what is written in articles, even books, but particularly BB's is patently gibberish. Look for data from the wild and captive settings where folks have actually qualified and quantified their experiences.> Perhaps more specific than the "low, med., high" references I see on some sites? <Bingo...> Is a Lux meter similar to a PAR meter for measuring light intensity? <The PAR meter compared to a Lux is akin to a colorimeter vs. a spectrophotometer... The Lux measures most all photonic energy w/in a broad spectrum, the PAR the intensities/wavelengths of presumed use to photosynthetic life... the energy of light-capturing molecules this life "employs"> I see both for sale. Which do you prefer? <... the PAR only for the purpose/s I believe you have in mind.> I think that after your comments, I will forgo the LED lights, get a meter of some sort instead, and then I'll plan on what to do next. <Ahhh! Excellent. W/o wanting to directly tell you what I would do, this is what I would do> BTW, the 4 watt LED light strip I was interested in was for supplementation, not to replace the existing 96 watt CF lights. The ad said to use one strip of lights every 2 feet of aquarium length. I was concerned that 4 one watt LED bulbs would not make much of a difference in the overall lighting of my aquarium to positively impact my Corallimorphs, and would be a waste of funds. <I agree> However, I know advancements have been made in LED lighting, but not to what degree. Is it true then, that LED lights do not degrade in intensity over time, as do fluorescents and metal halides? <Much less so, correct> Are LEDs brighter or have more useful light per watt than CFs or other types of popular lighting (HO,T5,MH)? <They can... but not all presently do that are used in our interest. Again, this data is available if you delve...> As far as usable light for photosynthesis of marine life goes, is there information anywhere that says, "X watts of LEDs = X watts of MH or X watts of CFs, etc? <Not as far as I'm aware... IF we were to try to formulate an equation for such... one could imagine some first, second, maybe third order factors, some non-linear... for depth, placement... dissolved color, particulates, reflectivity in fixtures, the state of health of the incidental livestock... much, much more... But as rules of thumb go... PAR per surface area at depth would be a great improvement> Thank you for your comments and opinions. They have helped me make some decisions, and I begin to formulate a plan as I venture further into keeping Anthelia, Corallimorphs, and perhaps some future soft corals. I would have never thought that it would be possible to keep such delicate marine creatures in a home aquarium 30 yrs. ago when I first dipped into saltwater tanks; with disastrous results (I had been afraid for years to venture back, until my son had a school research project on clownfish). <I was in the trade, have been since the early sixties... It did used to be a "crap shoot" in keeping marines... a bit less nowadays, but still way too much voodoo...> Undergravel filters were fairly new technology back then! I was informed of them by one of the staff at the Waikiki Aquarium where I volunteered for a couple summers. <Oh! Have spent many good times over at Kapiolani Park... and see the "old" director Bruce Carlson every year in Atlanta nowadays, giving pitches for the reef club there.> Even they were experimenting with small, closed system marine tanks. I remember seeing a 20 gal long with only an undergravel filter, no light, large piece of rock with orange cup coral (Tubastrea), and fish (one was a yellow tang!). It was a very sterile looking tank by today's standards. What a long way this hobby has come! Thank you to you and the others for sharing your knowledge, experience, and discoveries. <Is a pleasure to share> My children and I glean endless hours of pleasure watching the L. amboinensis backstroke at the surface trolling for food, the ocellaris clowns doing perfectly vertical headstands (we think looking for the Nassarius snails under the sand or for copepods), and the yellow clown goby plastered to the front of the glass waiting to be fed. Mahalo, Lyn P.S. My husband and I had a great laugh at your come back to the "collective intelligence" comment; especially since he USED TO work at MS for BG. THAT was like living in the hive collective. <Ahh, shades of the Hymenoptera!> No, the WWM collective, I find vastly knowledgeable and altruistic. I must say though, that this hobby (and the WWM site) is pretty absorbing, addictive, even obsessive. It sucks you in and won't let go! In a good way, of course :) It is comforting to know that there are others out there who share similar questions and mishaps, and that there are people interested and caring enough to help. <Again, an honor and deep satisfaction to aid your efforts. A hu'i hou! Bob Fenner, in Holualoa, just mauka of Kailua, Big Is.> Night Light/Moonlight - 07/08/07 Hi WWM Crew, <Hi Alan, Mich here.> I was thinking of putting a set of LED lighting to act as night/moon light. Advisable? <Shouldn't hurt.> Will it cause stress to my fishes? <Unlikely.> The reason behind is that whenever I'm back late and the tank lights are off (tank just beside main door), my fishes will just dashes around and caused body injury. <Hopefully this is not the case, but is a good enough reason to add the LED in my thinking.> Thanks in advance. <Welcome!> Regards. <Cheers, Mich> Alan

Re: Night Light/Moonlight - 07/09/07 Hi WWM Crew / Mich, <Hello again Alan.> Thanks for the reply. <Welcome!> Another question is do fishes actually sleep at all or they just simply rest? <They do sleep, but not how you or I might. I think we would consider it more of a resting state.> Thanks again <Again you are welcome!> Regards. Alan <Cheers, Mich> LED Lighting Source 6/30/07 WWM Crew, I've just ordered a 300G (96x24x30) tank that will initially house fish and live rock only. It's been 5 years since I set up my last tank, and many opinions and technologies have changed in that time. With respect to lighting, is it premature to say enough is known about the benefits of LED lighting, and if not, are there reasonably priced products out there? <The former, yes... the latter, not IMO. This is "a wave of the future"> I found this product http://www.ledlight.com/detail.aspx?ID=148 which the owner said would be his most applicable product for an aquarium. There are several size and color options, though not sure if they meet the needs of an aquarium. I'd appreciate your opinion/recommendation. If LED isn't appropriate yet, my plan is T5 HO lighting. Thank you, Brian <Mmm, need more info... the CRI, incandescent "color" of the photonic energy mostly... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm The trays at the bottom... and ask this purveyor re the questions above. Bob Fenner>

An Opinion On LED Lighting - 06/26/07 Hello, <<Hi there!>> Just wondering if you guys/girls have any opinions on the new LED lighting fixtures? <<Ah yes, I had a chance to see some of these at the IMAC in Chicago a few weeks back>> I saw a 72" fixture made by PFO that was nice but very expensive. <<Indeed>> About 40% less energy than halides though. <<Agreed>> Also has almost limitless control of color etc. <<The technology is intriguing I admit, but it's still metal halides for me. Reportedly the PAR output of the LED systems is comparable to metal halides (but at what wattage/Kelvin temperature/depth?), but the appearance of the light/aesthetics of the tank are not as good as halides to "my" eye…at least not yet. For the moment, I am content to hang on to my money and wait/watch for what happens next. That's "my" take on it>> Thanks so much, Joey <<Happy to share. EricR>> Re: Reef Lighting ... LEDs! 9/15/06 Thank you for your response. <You're welcome.> Well a good friend of mine led me to the new Solaris LED system. And I went all out and spent $3,500 on this system, after doing research, or as much research as I could since this Solaris is fairly new. Thank you so much for your respected insight. What is your view on this new system? Thanks again. <Jeff, I am not familiar with this product at all. Dana Riddle has tested and evaluated this system. Here is a link to that review. http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2006/8/review2 James (Salty Dog)> Jeff

Lighting Experiment 6/9/06 Hi Folks... <Hi Mark> I'd like to start by thanking you for setting up and maintaining this invaluable resource on the web. It has helped my girlfriend and I get off to a good start in the world of fish/reef keeping. Now on to a few questions I was hoping you could help me with. I have a spare 20G marine tank that I wish to use to do some controlled lighting experiments. I plan to light this tank with a matrix of 100 high output (24,000 MCD) white LEDs, placed just above the waterline to light the tank. I intend to place one coral on the bottom of the tank and track its progress over the period of one year. I was hoping that you could recommend to me a couple of readily available, "medium" light requirement corals, that I could use for my test. Preferably I would like to use one that would provide me with a definitive visual indicator that it is receiving adequate lighting (colour temp/intensity/duration). <Mark, not so sure this experiment is worth doing. I'm thinking the high output LCD's, the type they use in "shake and shine" flashlights are only one watt, so 100 of these is only 100 watts of lighting, and at about 10 bucks per LCD with Fresnel lens...Mmmmm, I don't know. But if you want to try this, I'd recommend yellow polyps. Do keep us posted with your experiment if you decide on doing this.> Thank you for your time. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog) Mark Re: Lighting Experiment (Follow up) 6/9/06 Hi James... <Mark> Thanks for the prompt reply. <You're welcome.> Just to follow up, I bought the LEDs in bulk (with no housings or additional hardware) for under $100. I will be mounting them in a sealed custom acrylic housing which I will float on the top of the tank. I'm hoping that the lower wattage output from the LEDs can compensated for by the fact that these lights will be in the water and that they emit a focused beam (compared to CF lights). <Mmmm, interesting.> In regards to the Yellow Polyps you suggested can you tell me what sort of things to look for to indicate whether it is receiving enough light or not, and how long it would take for these symptoms to show?. <Yellow Polyps, thriving well, will always be open during the photoperiod. Under good conditions, multiply quite rapidly. I would look for at least five new polyps per month. If the lighting is insufficient, they are unlikely to open or reproduce.> Thanks for your help. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Mark

Light Conversation... 8/5/05 Hi Crew, <Hi there! Scott F. here today.> On my 37 gallon Oceanic corner tank a lighting question. I run a 24 inch Coralife 65 watt 50/50 and a 20 inch Coralife 28 watt 50/50. Both on timers, the 28 watt from 7:30 am to 9:30 pm, and the 65 watt from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm. About 30 lbs of mixed liverock, healthy lots of color" coralline" and I keep 4 colors of mushrooms all growing multiplying on there rocks, Recently I built a diy moonlight from 4 Led with a 2600 MCD rating and 468 nm rating. My question is this, can I leave LEDs on 24/7 ? And would any zoos make it with this lighting arrangement. Thank you all very much.. Roger <Well, Roger- I see no reason why you couldn't leave the moonlights on continuously, but I'd personally turn 'em off when not needed. Your lighting could work for many zooanthids, provided their other requirements (i.e.; water quality, flow, temperature, etc.) are met. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Viewing A Reef By The Light of The Moon(light)! Hi guys, I just recently put a black light tube over my 40 gal breeder tank at night for about 15 minutes and was amazed at what I saw! My Rose Anemone had neon orange tentacles and neon green mouth/base area. The Green Star polyps were glowing like nothing I've seen before! Almost as if they were lit from within. Actinic tubes make the Green Stars glow somewhat, but this was amazing! <Yep- those "moonlights" are really cool...They add a whole new dimension of enjoyment for fish keepers> I have some Zoanthids that were closed ( I did this at night) and they opened up to the black light, and they too looked amazing. The coralline algae looks burgundy with some bright neon orange areas, and strangest of all, my purple Condylactis, (I know not right for this tank, but I love totally purple Condys, no problems so far) and it was green! <Trippy!> Totally fluorescent green! I did notice that the water looked cloudy with this light, so I'm assuming it was highlighting bacteria in the water column that otherwise can't be seen. <Hnmm...possible. Or it could be minute planktonic animals or algae in the water column> How exactly does a black light do this? Do actinic tubes go into the same UV range as a black light? <Wow- great question...I'm gonna throw this one out to other Crew members who may be better versed on the characteristics of light and bioluminescence...> Is this dangerous to any inhabitants? Are black lights similar in spectrum to a UV sterilizer? <Gosh- again, that's a good question. I know that some of the bulbs sold as "black lights" are, indeed Philips actinic bulbs. Not always, but I have seen this before.> Thanks for any info, this was just really interesting, made all my aquarium inhabitants look like one of those black light posters at night! Thanks again, Dennis <It's really a cool thing to check out your tank under black light or the new LED "moonlights" now on the market. Enjoy this natural alternative to the Lava light! Regards, Scott F.> Using fibre optics to light a reef tank Hi <Hello there> Firstly, thanks for the great website. I'm quite interested in using fibre optics to light my tank and I was wondering if you think is would be something worth trying? Regards, Tony Davey <Ah, yes. Some folks are working out the bugs (intensity, quality of light, cost issues) as we key and read... for pet-fish applications. Definitely worth trying. Bob Fenner>

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