An In depth approach to Lighting

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Falcon, 5 Aug 2009.

  1. Falcon

    Falcon

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    So you got everything in your tank sorted out right besides your lighting. The thing is everyone is using different kinds of light. BIG SPS freaks swear MH (Metal Halide is the only way to go), while others insist T5 is the way to go and yet you see some outdated Marine dude running his marine tank of normal T8 that he buys from the hardware down the road and his corals are also living and his tank looks nice too so who do you believe and what do you choose? Then wait you still on a budget????

    Now you must be thinking ok I’m just going to copy what everyone else is doing as it seems right…bad decision as everyone’s lighting requirements are different and energy is too valuable to be wasted.

    1.What do you want to keep?
    The average lumens per 4ft tank with a depth of not more than 600mm will be around 28000lm.This amount would sustain most corals even those with high lighting needs. If you are only going to get softies and LPS then maybe you could get away with a bit less.heres how to relate your tank:
    - 3ft tank needs at least 15000lm up to around 20000lm for sps.
    - 4ft tank needs at least 28000lm.
    - any bigger than this then rather stick to metal halides 250w-400w or quite a few 150w.

    1.METAL HALIDE-almost every brand puts out between 85/100lm per watt so not much diff in BRAND etc.colours easily available 20000k(blue) and 6500k(sunlight-yellowish white) from electrical wholesalers and other colours like 10000k(white) and 14000k(white with blue tint) from LFS.MH has the highest initial cost but globes have to be replaced only every 12-18months on average.


    2.T5-this can be a bit more tricky as some brands are weak. Stick to trusted brands like geisemann, ATI, AQUA MEDIC and Reeftek range between 60/100lm per watt output. Globes like the OSRAM 880 skywhite t5 offer exceptional white light lm per watt and value for money at the low cost of like around R70 a tube.
    Other colours can be purchased from LFS but at much higher costs. T5’s need to be replaced every 6months to a year max.

    3.T8-this is generally low lm per watt output.Use only for fish only or soft corals tanks.
    However certain globes like a PHILLIPS actinic and the range of tubes from Zoo med can hold their own against almost any T5! T8 translates into lower costs for those on a budget as globes are much much cheaper.Bear in mind though you’ll have to use more tubes than a similar t5 set-up!
    ALL serious SPS keepers will not use these ONLY even though sps can survive under them. Some do however use them for supplement lighting. Replace as per t5's

    The reason I posted about the Phillips 865 is because it does not fall into what I’ve just written about T8.they retain 90% of light output for three years so replace only every two years. Also they have 90lm per watt output and a ridiculously low price of like R20-00 a globe. Which means that a 36w Phillips could be used instead of white 54w t5's for those wanting to save a few bucks rather than using cheap t5 Sylvania globes.


    One more thing, just to point out the lighting on say a 4ft tank that needs 28000lm.

    THIS IS IMPORTANT FOR NEWBIES TO UNDERSTAND MY ENTIRE POST.

    1. 2 X 150W VENTURE 6500K METAL HALIDE(14000lm each) = 300W
    2. 6 X OSRAM 880 SKYWHITE 54W T5(4700lm each) = 324W
    3. 12.2 X OSRAM BIOLUX 36W T8 (2300lm each) = 438W
    4. 8,5 x Phillips T8 865 36w(3240lm each) = 306 W

    All four examples above achieve the required lumens needed of 28000lm but as can be seen above the metal halide uses the least power and globes, which is $$$ in the long run. While in the long run the normal t8 uses the most power and globes to achieve the lumens. T5 is not far at all from the metal halide in efficiency and the Phillips 865's are also right at the top with the t5's and metal halides.

    STANDARD T8 is clearly the looser here...too much power consumption and globes needed.
    ;)
     
    Last edited: 5 Aug 2009
    Jenaid, Midnight Reefer and Dane like this.
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  3. Broder

    Broder Mudshark

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    This is the most useful post I've read in a long time. Thanks Falcon. Can we read the wattage on the lamp as being the average consumption. I ask because I've heard that T5's use less power for the same wattage as metal halide would?
     
  4. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    Awesome Falcon! Many thanks for this information. I have made it a "Sticky".
     
  5. Jaak

    Jaak

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    AWESOME THREAD Falcon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  6. Falcon

    Falcon Thread Starter

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    Good question mudshark.

    in all these comparisons i assumed that the ballast is an electronic one if we were to use convensional ballasts then all would use aproximately between 10-20% more watts.so go for electronic if you can.

    T8 normally runs of a coil ballast with starters but electronic ballast can be purchased easily and cheaply.
    T5 comes in electronic ballasts.
    MH normally runs of coil type but electronic ballast can be purchased(cost can be quite high- R1500+.)

    SO YES A CONVENSIONAL(Electronic) T5 WILL USE LESS POWER THAN RATED COMPARE TO A CONVENTIONAL MH,BUT A ELECTRONIC MH USES THE SAME AS T5 AND AS RATED.

    AT MOST THIS WILL BE A 20% DIFFERENCE.

    a 150w conventional MH *could* use between 150w-180w.
     
  7. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Just a question,
    Are a T5 54w nd a T8 36w the same length?
     
  8. Falcon

    Falcon Thread Starter

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    just about...maybe one or two cm diff
     
  9. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Excellent thread. Thank you so much for sharing Falcon!
     
  10. riyadhessa

    riyadhessa

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    Falcon...Excellent information...
     
  11. Broder

    Broder Mudshark

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    This thread has just helped me decide not to swap out my MH's for t5's. If the power consumption difference is that minimal, it's not worth it. There are often conflicting figures on how long a light can be run, before it needs to be replaced. Are there any visible signs that we can look for that would indicate that the lamp is losing power?
     
  12. Falcon

    Falcon Thread Starter

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    Glad to be of service mudshark.unfortunately the only way to know if your bulb is aging to a point to be replaced would be by using a par meter...even an external one should work.alternatively simply use the manufacturers lifeline expectancy chart for your globe usually found on their websites.

    The reason i wrote this whole sticky was to help others as i really suffered to find a systematic approach to lighting my three different tanks.ie a 40lt nano reef,a 200lt anemone reef and my 680lt reef.and i did not want to simply copy other reefers lighting,hence i put in some extensive research into it,this was the result.
     
  13. Falcon

    Falcon Thread Starter

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    one more thing everyone should take note of ,the more blue the globe the less light it outputs!

    For eg. a 8800k t5 = 4700lm
    10000k t5= 3800lm
    14000k t5= 3000lm
    20000k t5= 1600lm
    pure actinic = 900lm

    blue and actinic light shows out the corals colours nicely but remember what ever colour globes you use you still need to achieve a certain amount of lm per tank to keep your corals thriving so do research on your specific globes lm output first.not all globes are equal.
     
  14. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Actually the correct method to define if the globe is correct or still effective is to use a waterproof PAR meter. But they are hughly expensive and we do not have them. And that will quickly show how deep your light really penetrates into the water. And that is why 600mm is the recommended depth.

    So we have to use the second best option, and that is the lumen (lm) output. Combined with the wattage. We want the best lm at the least W.

    So the brightest cheapest light.

    But brightness, not as in what we HUMANS see, but what the Corals needs. As Falcon pointed out, 20000K is bright for our eyes, but 10000K gives more lumen.

    And Lumen is the brightness of the moon.
     
  15. riyadhessa

    riyadhessa

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    Falcon..Thank you so much...I am starting to understand...awesome thread...:thumbup:
     
  16. werner5

    werner5

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    falcom great read thanx for the info :yeahdude:
     
  17. lanzo

    lanzo Sponsor

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    great thread:thumbup:...now to refresh this thread every 6 months bud;)
     
  18. Prodigy

    Prodigy

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    Falcon awesome thread makes you think now
    Thanx for sharing with us!!!
     
  19. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman MASA Contributor

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    Nice simple breakdown of the differences - thanks Falcon!!!!:thumbup:

    But just to give my 2c on the subject of cost quickly... You said that MH has the highest initial cost; I do want to differ a bit there (speaking DIY lighting though...)

    Metal Halide:

    A 150W MH unit and gear cost around R450, and then you have a range of prices on globes, from R350 (cheap chinese brands) - R1300 (Geisemann) etc. So say we go for the best (Geisemann IMO) then a 150W unit would cost you +/-R1650. Under this type of lighting, you can keep ANYTHING; softies, sps, lps the works. This is especially nice if you have a cube and have no space for many T5's, and you use a 14000K MH.

    Total cost: R1650

    T5:

    A dual 39W T5 ballast will set you back +/- R230, then you need 4 end caps at R45 ea (R180 total) and then you need the wiring, plugs and switches (say R200). Then you need the T5 bulbs, and agian, if we go for "the better" tubes like Geisemann, you are looking at +/- R300 per tube. Reflectors would cost you around R50 each, thus R100 total.

    Total cost then is +/-R1300

    You can see there is a R300 difference yes, BUT, you can not keep SPS, nor some LPS even under just two T5's... Thus, to have "the same" amount of light on T5 vs MH, you'd have to double that which then totals to R2600 for four T5's!!!!

    Yes, (if I may say this) Dorry Pets has a 8x 39W T5 unit for about R2200 including the tubes, which then really is VERY attractive, but not if you plan on going DIY.

    Hope this also brings some perspective to newbies, that MH aren't all that bad to start with - it really is a good investment.

    Also remember that 4x 39W T5's equals to 156W. And watts are watts, so you really aren't using less energy by going with 4 T5's vs one MH. ;)

    It really boils down to choice, tank size, space available and what you want to keep, also considerings do you want growth or looks etc etc etc etc
     
  20. Warr7207

    Warr7207

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    One factor you not considering in your calculations is heat. MH setup generally require a chiller.

    I don't agree with this statement. if you have 150 watts of T5's you be able to keep the same creatures as 150 watt MH.

    No point in comparing 80w of T5's vs. 150w MH
     
  21. Dolphin

    Dolphin

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    very interesting read with some great info, thanks!

    My "dilema" is - how do CFL's compare to T5 and MH. Say you have 10 CFL's of 15W each which total 150W with a Kelvin of 6400K (perfect for growing corals) that costs about R300 for all 10 CFLs, Fitting and Wiring.

    The questions become:
    1. How high above the water surface must the CFL be mounted?
    2. Will it have the same effect of equivalent T5/MH bulbs with the same total watts?
    3. How often must the CFL be changed?
     
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