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Lighting Metal Halide, T5 fluorescents, LED's, moonlights. Light up their life.

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Old 29-01-2010   #1
Dane
 
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Default Cheap alternative to lighting
Hi everyone,

I was just wondering if anyone uses compact flourescent tube lighting as a cheap alternative? I know a few freshwater guys use a few CFL's in their hood and get good plant growth etc out of them. Obviously you can't just use any bulb - aim for about 6500k or 10000k if you can find them. I am using a normal little tiny flourescent 4000k and a single 6500k cfl - I think 18watt in my little pico tank and my xenia is flourishing. Do you think that a few of these in a tank would be enough to support low light softies like xenia and mushrooms? Bear in mind that my tank is only 22cm deep! :-)

Thank in advance for your advice,
Dane
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Old 29-01-2010   #2
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realy dont know. some pics
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Old 29-01-2010   #3
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We generally dont like the colour that they give off. Most marine guys prefer a tank that has a bluish colour and with the CFL you get a yellow. The CFL tubes are basically T5 tubes just smaller. It is a better option to go for normal T5's with ballasts cause you can get so much more options when it comes to tube selection.
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Old 29-01-2010   #4
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I'm sure for mushrooms it would work,these guys can almost survive in any tank enviorement...

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Old 29-01-2010   #5
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Originally Posted by mariusmeyer View Post
We generally dont like the colour that they give off. Most marine guys prefer a tank that has a bluish colour and with the CFL you get a yellow. The CFL tubes are basically T5 tubes just smaller. It is a better option to go for normal T5's with ballasts cause you can get so much more options when it comes to tube selection.
agree !

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Old 30-01-2010   #6
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Thanks for the input :-)

If they're much the same as the T5's then its hard to justify R75 for a ballast and another R50-R90 for a light, when the cfl's are about 10 bucks in shopping centre! The 6500k isn't actually very yellow - the name of the colour is actually "cool blue". But the plan is to put in another one of these on the other end of the tank, and switching my middle t5 for a marine blue night to balance out the colour a little. I was more wondering about if they're okay for the soft corals.

On another note, can I leave the actinic light on overnight - or will that be to the detriment of my clownfish and inverts? What can I use as a "moonlight"? I have a few superbright blue LEDs that I can plug into the hood?

Thanks as always guys!
Dane
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Old 30-01-2010   #7
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I think CFL's are quite popular overseas, have a read of some of the international forums like reefcentral or reefs.org.

LED's are best for moonlights.

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Old 30-01-2010   #8
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Thanks viper. I heard that bluelight overnight really boosts the coral growth, but is this a trade off against what the fish would be most comfortable under?
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Old 30-01-2010   #9
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LED's are fine as they don't emit as much light as a T5 and you will get a very faint light in the tank, very similar to moonlight.

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Old 30-01-2010   #10
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LED's are fine as they don't emit as much light as a T5 and you will get a very faint light in the tank, very similar to moonlight.
What LEDs are you talking about here? Because i've seen some CRAZY LED lit tanks with very impressive PAR readings.

I'm in the middle of a new build with some 3W Cree XR-E LEDs at the moment
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Old 30-01-2010   #11
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Just dont use the 5W Leds for your moonlights. Use the standard ones of around 1W
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Old 30-01-2010   #12
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What LEDs are you talking about here? Because i've seen some CRAZY LED lit tanks with very impressive PAR readings.
The R50 moonlight LED's, not the R5000 mainstream ones.

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Old 30-01-2010   #13
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The 6500k isn't actually very yellow - the name of the colour is actually "cool blue".
It's still much too yellow for my liking... but I'm sure that your corals won't mind. Of course, your algae REALLY won't mind, as they tend to do better than corals under the more yellow lower Kelvin lamps, so you will just have to make very sure that your nutrient level is VERY low. I have used normal "energy savers" in my sump, and on a small frag tank I had some years ago, without too many problems.

Hennie

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Old 30-01-2010   #14
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Thanks for the great information guys. Lighting is a significant cost for me, everything else I can get for pretty cheap so using cfl's is a big boon. Especially with the ideal annual replacement policy on t5s... And I can put the old cfl's into service around the house - provided they havent corroded. Still working on a cover so that the salt water is blocked from the fitting base. But I'm confident adding a single blue actinic will flush out the yellow a bit.

Re: cheap led's for moonlight. Where's a good place to get cheap led fitting's so I can plug them into mains?

thanks again for all the assistance,
d
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Old 31-01-2010   #15
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Thanks viper. I heard that bluelight overnight really boosts the coral growth, but is this a trade off against what the fish would be most comfortable under?
I would advise against having lights on 24/7 (even blue ones) - after all, we are trying to copy nature as best we can, and it actually does get dark at night (although some city slickers probably won't believe me ). There are many small critters (which you paid a lot of money for when you bought your live rock...) that only spawn or hatch after dark, and if you do not provide enough darkness they will eventually disappear from your tank's ecosystem.

It would be natural to have a "moonlight" shining for a few hours, perhaps for one or two weeks per month (but only for (say) 3-4 hours after dark...), but to do this properly you would need a computerized lighting controller - and I doubt if you will be willing to spend money on that if you are not willing to spend money on decent lighting...

Quote:
It's still much too yellow for my liking... but I'm sure that your corals won't mind.
Let me just correct a possible misunderstanding here - the corals won't mind the yellow colour of the 6500K energy savers, but they WILL mind if the light is not bright enough, so you will have to make sure that you use enough of these lamps... oh, and that your corals are placed pretty high up in your tank - these lights don't have enough "punch" to penetrate even moderately deep. Of course, keeping things like clams and anemones should also be totally out of the question, IMHO.

Hennie

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Old 31-01-2010   #16
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Thanks reefmaniac,

Re the moonlights. I do have a fairly nice digital controller, it can set up to 9 schedules, but only on daily basis. Do you think having the moonlights on for 2/3 hours before and after normal "sunrise" would be okay?

Re the corals - thats why I said only for low light softies! And that my tank is only 22cm deep, so even if they're on the bottom they're not deep at all..

thanks again all
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Old 31-01-2010   #17
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Do you think having the moonlights on for 2/3 hours before and after normal "sunrise" would be okay?

Yes, that should be fine, although I would make it (say) 1 hour before lights on, and 2-3 hours after lights off.

Hennie

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