MHs for AGA 125g

reverendmaynard

New member
Hi Folks,

I'm new to MH lighting (currently using 4x80w T5, overdriven on 2x IC660s, w/ TEK reflectors) and would like some advice.

Both my tank and my reefkeeping skills have matured to the point where I am moving more towards SPS and away from softies and leathers. I'm looking for enough light to get good color and growth from some of the more light demanding corals at the top of the tank, but don't feel it's necessary to have enough light to grow acros on the sand bed or anything.

Since I'm lighting a standard AGA 125 that is only 18" front to back, giving each light a 24"x18"x22" area to light, I don't think the new square parabolic reflectors such as the lumenarc and lumenbright are a good fit for this application. As far as I was able to determine, the best oblong reflector currently available is the icecap. With that in mind, I found this 175w icecap retro kit at what looks like a very good price. Combined with this 20,000K XM bulb, I think I'd get a significant boost in lighting over my current setup without going overboard on the electrical usage and heat for approximately $650 shipped. Of course, for about $75 more I could step up to the 250w DE retro kits and bulbs. The initial cost doesn't bother me so much, but the 40+% increase in electrical costs and heat is concerning. I refuse to run a chiller, but do keep the tank in an air conditioned basement and can/will run fans as necessary.

What do you all think? Is the icecap reflector/ballast the way to go? Will I be disappointed with the 175s compared to my current T5s? Is the 20000K XM a good bulb on the icecap ballasts?

TIA :D
 

JRaquatics

New member
175 with parabolic or spider relfectors would be a poor choice in lighting IMO. I would suggest a better reflectors if you want to run 175s and recommend 250s.
 

reverendmaynard

New member
What better reflector is there for the 175 lighting that size area? I don't want to run more wattage to compensate for a poor reflector if there's a better reflector out there.
 

JRaquatics

New member
lumenMAX or Lumen Brights. Lumen Brights will direct more light down into the tank and you would have less of a heat issue by hanging them at there optimal hanging height. LumenMAXwill give optimal light at lower mounting height.
 

reverendmaynard

New member
As I explained, lumen brights aren't really the best option for this tank because the area to be lit is not square. Lumenmax also appear to give a square light pattern.

Do you have any links to a comparison of the icecap to the lumenmax? This article seems to suggest that, at least in the DE versions, the icecap is the better option for low mounting. Maybe I'm not reading it right?
 

Mr James

Premium Member
by JRaquatics
...Take a look at this write up about reflector difference and par values.
http://melevsreef.com/par_readings.html

WOW!! I have a new respect for reflectors after reading that!! I was going to suggest to Maynard that the parabolic reflectoras work just fine. on top of all that, I am going to get some new ballasts for my system!! Wifey is going to be mad I learned something new for the tank today.... yikes!
 

reverendmaynard

New member
I think I do understand the difference. I know I understand that the reflectors you keep recommending are designed to light a square area and the area they must light in my tank is not square.

I think the the icecap reflectors are not your standard, run-of-the-mill parabolic reflector, as that article I linked shows a higher PPFD in all categories compared with the PFO using identical bulbs/ballasts. It also shows as comparable or higher than the lumenmax in the 1x1 and 2x2 areas, although it doesn't state the initial ppfd for the icecap setup to compare to the lumenmax. Melev's article does not state what type of reflector he started with, nor does it show anywhere near as dramatic an increase as the 300% increase that he says Sanjay told him he would get.

I appreciate your input, but it seems like your advice is based on a general idea of "new age reflectors are better than spider reflectors" without regard to the specifics, such as the icecap reflectors may (or may not be, I'm not sure I'm drawing the correct conclusions from the article I linked) be quite a bit better than other brands and I'm not lighting a square area but rather a rectangular area that my be more suited to the spider-style reflector. Nothing against you, but this is RC, so I'm gonna take a little more convincing than that.

Does anyone know how to contact Sanjay directly? I'd take his advice without much convincing, I think.
 

Mr James

Premium Member
I would hope that no matter who's name is tied to your decision, that you would always research. I use spider reflectors because Jennifer Aniston said they work the best!!
 

reverendmaynard

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=12895851#post12895851 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Mr James
I would hope that no matter who's name is tied to your decision, that you would always research. I use spider reflectors because Jennifer Aniston said they work the best!!

What do you think I'm doing? I've already seen both of those articles JR posted and neither has the icecap in them at all. That's why I'm posting here, to see if anyone who has done more research and/or has direct knowledge can help me out. Maybe someone who has a greater understanding of the concepts can point out, in the article that I linked that contains both the icecap and lumenmax, how it shows the lumenmax to be significantly better over the area I'm interested in lighting.
 
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