LNS/ULNS Lighting ....... Are we doing something wrong?

Discussion in 'Chemical Filtration / Low Nutrient Systems - LNS' started by Neil H, 4 Feb 2010.

  1. Neil H

    Neil H Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Guys, i have been reading about LNS and ULNS for ages now, and one thing i was thinking about this morning was the lighting that we use.... typically in South Africa, if you mention you are thinking about going for an SPS dominated reef the standard response to a lighting question is MH.... and at least 250w MH...... But does this hold true for a LNS or ULNS system.....

    I came across a statement on one of the forums which said that MH lighting in a LNS system did more harm than good, and that in many cases people found the MH lighting too harsh for the corals (burning them)..... Being in the design phase of my new system, this interested me...... so i went to the ZEOvit forum ..... and i had an indepth look at the last 8 dream tanks of the quarter...... these tanks are amazing and cross a wide spectrum of SPS, and vary both is total size and depth .......

    The amazing thing to me is that ONLY 1 tank used MH lights exclusively and only 1 additional tank had MH in addition to T5's....... 6 of the 10 used T5 lighting exclusively ...... below are some pics and stats (please refer to Zeovit.com for the original pics)

    A warning to people reading this, this discussion pertains to LNS/ULNS systems ONLY....


    [​IMG]
    the only tank as far as i could work out that only uses MH lighting .... 2x250, 4x400, 2x160, tank is 60cm deep, 800L and has 2.8 wats of MH lighting per DT L

    [​IMG]
    2x150w MH, 2 x 54w T5, 2 x 24wT5, 200L, 40cm deep, 2.28w per DT L

    [​IMG]
    1100w of T8 lighting, 1600L DT, 50cm deep, 0.68w per DT L

    [​IMG]
    710watts of T5 (39w & 80W), 1460L, 60cm deep, 0.48watts per DT L

    [​IMG]
    720w T5 lighting, 55cm deep, 730L DT, 1watt per DT L

    [​IMG]
    est 8 x 80w T5's, 630L, 60cm deep, 1 watt per DT L

    [​IMG]

    16xT5X80W, 70cm deep, 1295L DT, 1 watt per DTL

    [​IMG]

    10xT5x54W, 70cm deep, 2000L DT, 0.27W per DT L

    So people of the LNS way ..... what are your opinions on this?????????

    and lets not judge the pics as much as we look at the coral colours.......
     
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  3. Junz

    Junz

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    All i can say is WOW.
     
  4. jean19

    jean19

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    could you write the full word for : lns and ulns .
    thanks !!
     
  5. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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    T5's have advanced so much and I think they are hugely underrated as to what can be achieved with them, the only off-putting thought of running all those T5's is the replacement cost. Some of the high end T5's are near as makes no difference the same cost of a MH, multiply that by 6 or more and you are incurring a huge cost into the maintenance of your system.
     
  6. Neil H

    Neil H Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    I hear you on that cost issue viper, no 2 ways about it ..... SPS tanks cost $$

    LSN = Low Nutirent System and ULNS = Ultra Low Nutrient System (Both Horrid terms trying to describe a process and failing dismally)
     
  7. jean19

    jean19

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    merci !!
     
  8. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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    The other benefit of running T5's is the variety available to you, you can incorporate a really nice mix of different coloured T5's, which I think plays a large role in the colour of the SPS, whereas with MH you are severely restricted.

    If you mix up fiji purple, philips actinic, a couple of the ATI blues and/or blue plus, the giesemann 12k's, you can only benefit from the broad range and colour and use it to maximise the colouration of your corals. It's all well and good having pristine water quality for the optimum growth of your corals, but in order to showcase all that hard work and effectiveness of the LNS system you really need the correct lighting to maximise the showing of the colours from the corals. In my opinion, T5's are the best way to showcase an LNS tank.
     
  9. Neil H

    Neil H Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    absolutely Viper, cant agree more, it allows the specturm of light we provide to be much greater, i wonder how much of it has to do with the spread of the lighting vs the compact lighting of the MH range?
     
  10. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    i agree on the T5 being better, also better bang for buck provided u use the best reflectors to use the light.
     
  11. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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    That's another aspect I have always considered, T5's definitely provide more light coverage than MH. You don't seem to get as many dark area's, they seem to be able to penetrate into area's where MH's cant (shadows). Another thing I think is also important is to have a clean white substrate. Calfo states in his coral propagation book that an ideal situation for growing and colouring up corals is to try and create an environment whereby you can get light reflecting back up from the substrate.
     
  12. Ridwaan

    Ridwaan

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    Isnt it because ULNS have clearer water and thus allowing light to penetrate better?
     
  13. lanzo

    lanzo Sponsor

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    Ditto viper, i have gone threw that book too, and it has been mentioned a few times. A couple of years back i would't have thought that light reflecting back from substrate could have an effect on corals.

    IF you have a look at the tanks running the MH in the pictures above...the tanks look much more lit up than those running t5's

    And the one has t8's!!!! damn...i didnt even think one could keep sps's alive under t8's what...thats old school....:p....just shows you anything is possible
     
  14. Neil H

    Neil H Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    IMO, the difference in water clarity from a LNS to a normal system is not that great, especially over the depths we are talking about with most SPS being int he upper reached of the water column.... i am sure it has an effect but i would think that it is relatively small

    I agree that the MH pics look brighter ..... i just dont know if this is a simple effect of better photography skills, to me the corals look equally awesome in all 8 tanks ...

    Pity about the substrate, i have seriously been considering goind for black substrate in my next tank ..........
     
  15. Pads

    Pads

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    Some amazing stuff Neil. And it blows me to think about the quality of those tanks on such low wattage per litre. But its gonna be another $$ vs. output debate. But I have to agree with Viper on the range of different coloured bulbs. I find thought that a low wattage MH at 14000k is cost effective but gives a bright white light. Not neccessarily the best for growth but those supplimented with many t5's would give good growth and light without burning the corals. I find you can't beat MH for brightening up a tank. Take your as a good example.
     
  16. Adee

    Adee

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    I've spotted that too on thoseZeovit tanks.....and Junz constantly reminded me, as he decided against my advice and went the T5 route for his current setup :p.

    The thing with LNS systems is that the room for error margin is narrow. Corals will respond instanteously to water change params, temp, dosing, etc....so lighting would also play a key role as an added danger. T5's would obviously allow for less of a risk, but could just as well also cause harm...MH would make that harm more apparent sooner though.

    My next system I'm gonna run 400w MH with overhead clear acrylic/glass for natural supplementation. Will b one big experiment, if I see corals not doing well would have to shade/downgrade lighting.
     
  17. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Neil. Nothing wrong in using black substrate in a tank. If you look at my new system, I have black Carribsea Aragalive. My system is SPS dominated, ULNS, 600 deep and running on 10*54W T5's. There are no shaded areas and the corals are still growing. IMO my corals are growing faster under this new enviroment as compared to the white substrate in the old tank with 3*250W MH's. :)
     
  18. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    Perhaps I'm just biased, but only the tanks in photos 1, 7 and 8 looks "mature" - all the others are what Calfo calls "frag menageries". Yes, the colours are spectacular, but come on - those corals would soon touch each other, and then the less potent species would be killed by the more aggressive ones...

    Frankly, i just don't like those types of tanks - that first and last ones are more to my liking... just as well that taste differs :whistling:

    Sorry, I went off-topic here Neil - I will now go and hide somewhere :biggrin:

    Hennie
     
  19. Neil H

    Neil H Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Hennie, i agree completely with you but only on tank 3 and possibly tank 2 .... the rest look more natural, with tank 1 looking like the oldest IMO....

    I also hate the frag system look....
     
  20. Titanse

    Titanse

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    Wow... now those are NICE !!!

    Going to be using 6 T5's on mine... 45 deep, will let you know what my corals do... mainly softs but will be having a few hards...

    Got to see your new Setup Neil. Hows it going?
     
  21. Neil H

    Neil H Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    they are arent they ....

    just remember those tanks follow very strict dosing regimes specifically taylored to SPS corals and more specifically to the particular corals they are keeping ..... i am not in any way saying that MH does not have its place in the average tank I am however questioning its requirement in the so called LNS systems ....

    LNS is a system not really suited to a soft coral dominated system...

    Setup is still in the planning stages at the moment, construction should begin in a week or two, waiting for some final opinions on engineering concerns i have before moving ahead .... My dream tank will begin sooooon ...... i will start a thread when i have the final things sorted out in my mind.... hopefully the guru's i keep calling with strange requests dont get toooo irritated with me :thumbup:
     
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