10,000 K or 12,000 K


New member
I'm replacing the bulbs in my 260 watt PC unit and also in my 108 watt T-5 unit. I'm not replacing them all at the same time but I am buying the bulbs monday. I currently have 10,000 K with actinics. I'm thinking of getting 12,000 K with actinics. What is best for the corals and also, what is the best for viewing and pictures. For some reason my camera picks up a yellow hue with the 10,000 k and the person at aqua cave said that the 12,000 K gives of a whiter light. I'm hoping to get as much info on this today so that I can place my order tomorrow. Thanks for your time people. I also appreciate all the help you guys have given me in the past. Because of you guys, my tank is better than I ever imagined. :rollface:

Reef Bass

colors and textures
In my opinion, higher color temp lighting is better for corals. What looks better to the human eye (whiter light) isn't what is the most PAR providing or the most zooxanthellae (the symbiotic algaes that live in the coral tissues providing the corals with energy) stimulating (blue light). I run 20,000K MHs and actinic T5s. As such I'd recommend the 12,000K over the 10,000K. Generally speaking, the higher the color temp the more blue looking the light, although there is some variability between brands.

Your camera most likely isn't designed for high color temperature lighting, so you will find your coral colors look different in your pics (way blue) than in your tank (lovely). The best way to deal with that is to shoot in RAW mode (if your camera can do that) and set the white balance in software. Then you get beautiful accurate color in your pictures with whatever color temp your lights happen to be.