5ft x 5ft x 30" tank lighting, the gold standard

Nanook

Ancient Eskimo Legend
Staff member
RC Mod
I've been following LED threads for a long while now as I am always interested in saving money on electricity and bulb replacements. Over four years ago, I decided on the below configuration to light my 470 gallon cube tank:

2963DSCN2083-med.JPG


The fixture uses 4 250 watt metal halides and has 4 110 watt VHO super actinic for supplementation. The coloration of the corals and the look to my eye is phenomenal. I spend $260/year to replace bulbs and I can grow SPS on the sandbed.

I've had a lot of friends with smaller, more normal-sized tanks say go to LED, but for the money it would cost to effectively light this monster tank, I would be in the poor house. I have to say the more I read about LEDS, the small footprint each fixture covers, the lack of full spectrum and the extremely high price tag, the happier I am with my decision four years ago. The trend on LEDS appears to be increasingly higher wattage as well to provide the full spectrum.

If you have a better solution for my tank I am all ears though:)
 

Gadgets

In Memoriam
I LOVE MH! Not a fan of LEDs or T5s for SPS. With that configuration you will get amazing color and growth! Looking forward to seeing pics of the tank. Do you have a build thread?
 

sirreal63

Go Spurs Go!!!
Premium Member
Dave, I would wait. I am seriously considering the same thing and honestly there is just no good reason to switch. In order to adequately cover the tank the same as you currently have it will be close to 4 grand, and no guarantees that the tank will like what you put over it. You can buy a lot of electricity and bulbs for that money, and you already know what you currently have does the job beautifully. You got everything right when you set up those tanks, especially the lighting for the 470.

Let the dust settle a little on the LED side. It will only get better.
 

Allmost

New member
I agree with above. specially since you are not saving much on elelctricity ! a 24x24" coverage would be like 200 W ! where a 250 MH does a much better job !

so only thing u save on is the bulbs.

but wait, no LED will run for 10 years lol so you may loose at the end too, instead of saving !
 

kmu

New member
Ive got a 4´x4´2´cube being lit with a single hamilton cayman sun fixture and a 250 Radium bulb and the coverage is amazing


Please post some pics of your tank!!!!!!
 

Nanook

Ancient Eskimo Legend
Staff member
RC Mod
Jack, I did the math and it would take a long, long time for the LED fixtures to pay for themselves and chances are they wouldn't last that 10 years that everyone touts. I think LED has potential for sure, but the technology is in its infancy right now and the feeding frenzy to have the latest thing is keeping prices artificially elevated (supply and demand).

I get amazing growth and the tanks are beautiful to look at in person. The heat is mild with 250s and I use a split system AC unit to help control heat and humidity in the back room. The AC is necessary with the 1100 gallons of saltwater and 77 degree water temp.

I am open to suggestions for real, but I wanted to demonstrate that you can cover a tank of this huge size for only 1000 watts of halides and the equivalent LED fixtures to cover this tank would be close to that wattage as well (for effective coverage and penetration).
 

Kayo2289

FMAS Member
Man u must never leave that basement, I wouldn't.
How about using some led supplementation? Really helps colors pop, either a few rows of rapid leds or reefbright led strips horizontal to or parallel to the vho's.

I have purchased frags from people using only LEDs and the colors look good in their tank, but under my mh's no where near as deep and rich. They do color up after a few weeks under my mh's though.
 

Nanook

Ancient Eskimo Legend
Staff member
RC Mod
The VHO super actinic bulbs make corals pop pretty well. I think the LED's give pop, but the pop is artificial.
 

Nanook

Ancient Eskimo Legend
Staff member
RC Mod
The reflectors are Lumenarc III with tempered glass shields so I can keep them crystal clean.

Thanks for the nice comments too. I need to get some more full tank shots.
 

Maconbits

New member
I looked at your tank, they are amazing I love your equipment room, very jealous I am lol. Everything looks amazing bus. Keeps it up
 

t4zalews

65g Ritteri Tank
Awesome light setup. I'd say if you really like the way your tank looks, don't change anything. You're the one who puts in all the work, might as well get the most enjoyment out of it.
 

tkeracer619

Premium Member
Pretty much my same setup except I need to cover 8x3. I would however try to stuff some Blue+ t5 bulbs in there somewhere :thumbsup:.

PFO and Aquamedic m80 HQI ballasts replaced the coralvue electronics, the rats nest got bigger, and no I never got around to making a canopy :lmao:.

I am about to place a bulb order myself :beer:

lightrack.jpg
 
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