MH versus LED

Marc Daniels

Premium Member
Ok, just as I started my hiatus from the addiction was when LED lights were being introduced to the market. Now that some of you have been running them versus your old halides I would appreciate your input.

I have 250w halides and 55w power compacts. I am looking to setup a 65g tank (36 3/8" wide, 18" tall and 25" deep). So it is just a little shy of being a cube and is more like a fat rectangle. My plan is to go bare bottom, high flow, SPS since it isn't a tank type I have ever done.

So if I went with current lighting that I own, I would do dual 250w halides flanked by 55w actinic. I have everything to do this, including relatively new bulbs. Is it worth it to spend the money to upgrade to LED from the start?

Marc
(I apologize in advance for some of you finding me in your homes late at night with shears...most of you know who you are :))
 

trhaynes

New member
The real question is, is it worth it to you to spend the money on led? There are guys getting good results with some of the cheaper led units, but if you want high end LEDs it's gonna set you back quite a bit. Leds do work though and you do not have the heat issues that the mh will give you. I have an AI hydra and like it, but I would not mind going back to mh. It's tried, it's true and you are just about guarenteed great results.
 
I've had LED and I how have MH.
Honestly, stuff looks better under LED but MH give such fantastic and undeniable growth.
Don't get me wrong, the corals still look good under MH, but not as colorful as LED.
I prefer the growth aspect so..
it really is whether you think that extra pop is worth it.
 

Marc Daniels

Premium Member
Okay, can someone give me an idea what a 9w LED system would be comparable to in terms of halides or power compacts? Going to put my electronics background to use and look at cost of building my own LED setup.
 

psykobowler

New member
Hydra 26 - 250watt radium
Hydra 52 - 400watt radium

There are so many leds options now that diy wouldn't be the best solution. For your tank, 2 hydra 26 will satisfy the needs of the acros. If you add t5s on the length of the tank you will eliminate shading. The hydra26 can be purchased around less than $400 each.
 

bfliflet

New member
DIY is feasible and can lead to many other fun projects (Arduino, etc). However, once you factor in your time involved, DIY is way more money. It used to be that commercial units seriously lagged the LED quality/efficiency compared to DIY LEDs. Now that newer generations of LEDs are really incremental, buying a commercial solution is the main way to go. There are several in the club, myself included, who've done substantial DIY LED projects and can help if needed.
 

Marc Daniels

Premium Member
I hear what you are saying. If I did DIY it would be as much for the enjoyment of the build project as for the result. I don't like the look of suspended/hung lights and would prefer something built into a canopy. I have a few weeks before I need to make any decision since I am starting a raw tank and need to get beyond the inevitable diatom bloom, etc.
 

mpoletti

You'll never walk alone
Premium Member
I hear what you are saying. If I did DIY it would be as much for the enjoyment of the build project as for the result. I don't like the look of suspended/hung lights and would prefer something built into a canopy. I have a few weeks before I need to make any decision since I am starting a raw tank and need to get beyond the inevitable diatom bloom, etc.

I know what you mean. :hammer:

69623BAD-002A-46F9-95D2-E682F0EC417A_zpsxi3udvoz.jpg
 

Marc Daniels

Premium Member
Which lights are those? During my hiatus I took up relief carving and thought I would do a simple underwater scene across the front of the canopy.
 

psykobowler

New member
Mark uses radion pros. I use Aquaillumination hydra 52s. I also use 4 t5 retro fits. So I use 8 x 54wAtt actinics. Basically we all use leds but have some sort of fluorescent tubes to eliminate any shading from the leds. Shading is the main issue with leds. They are spotty unless you cover the whole area of the tank floor.
 

psykobowler

New member
Yeah, I hate shading. I added t5s and the whole tank glowed. Ended up tuning down the LEDs some more and removing the montiporas because they started bleaching as soon as I added the t5s.
 

Marc Daniels

Premium Member
If you planned the lighting and rock scape to take advantage of the lighting highs and shadows you could give the overall display greater field of depth...much like a set and lighting designer putting together a stage show. It would give the illusion that the tank is wider than it actually is.
 

psykobowler

New member
Sorry, I am not an artsy guy. I always move rocks so I never fall in love with any rockscapes. It's an acropora tank. It will be full of sticks in 12 months the actual rockscapes will not matter. I actually don't want to see the rocks. I want it all hidden by the corals but I still want all the fish to swim above it. That is why no rock is higher that the bottom half of the tank. The lighting was not available when I started the tank so I could not have planned it. I had so many types of reflectors and fixtures until I was able to afford the LEDs that I want. I have good growth either way but LEDs did have some learning curve. Just patiently waiting for it to fill up completely.

Glenn
 
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