t5? or LED

shino380

New member
So im new back into the hobby after 5 yrs off.. I still have my 2 sets of 250MH but i want to start up my 30 gallon cube.. i hear LEDs are the thing so if anyone here can make some suggestions.. how expensive would it run me to do LED for a 30 cube? or should i do the T5s? i still have the MHs but i dont want to deal with the heat anymore so for now im opting to keep those until i get a big house for a huge tank.
 

snorvich

Team RC member
Team RC
For me, it would be LED all the way. Being a non-DIY, I chose Aquaillumination on one tank, Pacific Sun on another.
 

step_up

New member
Led

Led

check out unique led lighting. Awesome lights have had one over three years. The new prism is awesome and a ho version comes out june 1. They will do group buys too.
 

shino380

New member
wow the LED systems are wayyy too much... i mean how many years of use before its worth that kind of money..i think i will go with T5s, any suggestions for a 30 gal cube, want to house sps mainly
 

reefermad619

New member
For a tank that size, how about using a couple par 38 bulbs? They plug into a regular socket and should give descent light. I've seen people use just one bulbs to light 24 gal nanos.
 

madreef_7K

New member
leds for sure. I just changed over from t5 to LEDs and will never go back to anything else. Actually, my corals will not allow me :)
they are much happy under LEDs
 

James77

Team RC
wow the LED systems are wayyy too much... i mean how many years of use before its worth that kind of money..i think i will go with T5s, any suggestions for a 30 gal cube, want to house sps mainly

Depends on electrical costs and what systems you are comparing. There will be no bulb replacement on the LEDs, and with T5s at $20-$25 a bulb, that can add up since you replace them at least once a year. With some of the higher end LED fictures, you can adjust the color to almost infinite settings.
 

BigCity

New member
I did a DIY setup with parts bought from nanotuners.com for my 10G nanocube. Wasn't too terribly difficult and the lighting is twice what it was on the power compacts. I've had no problems and great growth ever since. I'm debating on doing the same thing for my new 120g when I get it setup and start stocking it, can't beat the performance, life and electricity savings. I have mine wired to a reefkeeper lite to auto dim for morning and night, etc.
 

madreef_7K

New member
wow the LED systems are wayyy too much... i mean how many years of use before its worth that kind of money..i think i will go with T5s, any suggestions for a 30 gal cube, want to house sps mainly

Just to give you some perspective in power consumption...

I started out with 2 250W MH + 2 T5HOs; total wattage: 608Watts
then moved to 6 T5HOs; Total wattage: 324 Watts (missed MH shimmer but was not a deal breaker)
Now running 56 3W LEDs; total wattage: 168 Watts (Got MH shimmer back and dimming feature by it self is worth all the money and effort) :bounce1:

And all these forms of lighting are excellent. My corals grew like crazy and tank was full of large colonies of SPS in 9 months starting from 1 to 2 inch frags! In addition to power consumption, replacing each bulbs every 9 to 12 months costs a lot (not to mention if the bulbs has a premature death and needs to be replaced:eek1:). replacing LEDs is $5.00 compare to MH bulbs $60-100 or T5HOs $19-24.!!!
 

BigCity

New member
Yeah, if you can hold off to save money to do the LEDs seem to be the best bet, I know it's hard to factor in the cost of bulbs over the life of the fixture, etc since to do the LED you would have to pay everything upfront.

One possibility would be to do it just as a straight on off function and it would be a bit cheaper. I think for my nano with 9-white, 9-blue, and 2 dimmable drivers with the custom heatsink from nanotuners was right around $300. I only run mine at around 70-75% power as well because they are so bright.

Of course this all assumes your willing to put the work in for a DIY solution, otherwise a commercial solution you'll never get a decent price any time soon. Plus the performance wouldn't be that of a DIY.
 

mauger1

New member
Leds are the new way to go! They let you pick the exact spectrum you want and are easy on the power bill. You can custom build one that is very affordable or look at some led custom builders!
 

shino380

New member
thanks for all the replies.. great info madreef,
for bigcity, is it hard to do a DIY and for the rest of you LED users how hard is it to replace a single LED?
 

BigCity

New member
If your OK with soldering and have done it before it's not too bad, a bit tedious maybe. Right after I finished mine I did see a contraption that you could kind of snap over the LED for the connections so you didn't have to solder, not sure how well they work but they seemed intriguing.

The heatsink from nanotuners was custom made to fit my tank and they drilled hole through out and I mounted my LEDs with screws, but you can also glue them and/or stick them to the heat sink with thermal pads. The only other part is making sure you have the correct number of LEDs per LED driver. I did my own custom build and just bought the pieces from nanotuners. They do have complete kits that they give you that you can put together yourself and they have decent step by step instructions.

Basically comes down to your comfort level of dealing with that sort of thing. I'm an electrical engineer so it comes easy to me, but I don't want it to seem like that's the only reason it was easy. If you have the time to research and understand it, then you'll be fine.
 

jgsteven

New member
LED or flourescent

LED or flourescent

I recently set back up both my 29gal nanos after a long distance move, and was seriously considering converting both to LED.

However, while there is a huge amount of choice available with LED, I wasn't able to find what I thought was an authoritative answer on what type of LED system was best for which corals.

Also, as most people using LED are on DIY systems (and only likely to post their sucesses rather than their failures), its hard to know if I will be able to replicate the sucessful systems exactly. I have just started to see lower cost LED systems for sale (MarineLand, others) so I am hoping to switch out to one of these in a few years.

FYI, as someone else mentioned, NanoTuners does have alot of great stuff including some kits that would make it fairly easy. In the end, however, I ended up just switching to the internal reflector flourescent lamps they sell and plan to use these for the next couple years until the LED situation settles down.
 

madreef_7K

New member
thanks for all the replies.. great info madreef,
for bigcity, is it hard to do a DIY and for the rest of you LED users how hard is it to replace a single LED?

I'll answer this one for bigcity as well:lolspin:

I have made two light fixtures myself, one for my 90g, here is the link:

http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2011866

I have some details in this thread for this build. I also made a smaller fixture for my nano. here is the link:

http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1991934

And IME, it is fairly easy to put one together if you are a bit handy with your hand :) DIY offer another advantage, you can change things if you dont like something in the fixture :)
 

Gtt1988

New member
T-5 I like the fact that I can simple buy one bulb and replace it if I want different color seems like more of a hassle with LEDs IMO.
 

NyReefNoob

skimmer freak
well i am a avid fan of t5's, i love being able to mix and match bulb selection and get the color temp i want, i have had excellent growth with t5's, i did just purchase a 3' AI unit though but waiting on my controller so can really say much on it other then they are bright as crap
 
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