ok so i am in the works of upping my frag tank from the 5.5g (16x8x10 tall) to a 7.5g (24x12x6 tall) tank and i am having a debate with myself on which lighting system to choose for it. i currently have LEDS over the 5.5g tank.
The 5.5g tank with leds is nice for temperature control and keeping things steady but there are some frags i just can't keep under the LEDS, they either do not grow good or stay closed for some reason. on the other hand my main tank is t5's and it seems the ones that do not grow will grow in my main tank so i have to keep a frag rack in my main tank to cope with this issue.
so the debate is on the new tank do i go with LEDS, just more of them. Probably 12 or maybe 18 LEDS spread across the area equally for optimum lighting or do i go with a 2 bulb 24" t5 fixture and just do 2 blue + bulbs?
the t5's i know for sure will grow everything and with 2 blue + bulbs everything will look good but i have a yearly cost involved with the lights but i have a harder problem controlling heat with it, more so than LEDS at least.
Any input on what you think i should do would be great!
it depends on what corals your having trouble with growth on..i know you had problems with your acans in your 2.5 gal..but if i remember right it was because the top ones were getting to much light..I think with the right bulb combination you should be able to get growth out of any coral with the right heigth over the tank. i have also noticed alot of vendors have gone to led's at all the swaps.. T5's on the other hand you will have a temperture control issue unless you hanf your fixture up over the tank..Im getting ready to put a par 38 bulb over my pico soon, but my hex has T5's over it..so i guess i will see what i like best..I hope this helps you some..
Depends of a couple things, mainly- is this a growout frag tank or a frags for sale frag tank?
If its a growout frag tank, to grow corals big enough to add to your display, then the same type of lighting should be used on your frag tank and display tank, for acclimation purposes.
If the frag tank is for frags to sell, then I recommend the lighting that grows the corals you are keeping fastest. Shaded areas and different levels are very helpful in a small tank with high lighting, if you are having issues keeping certain corals happy due to lighting.
it will be a grow out and frag tank, i grow out frags in it for my main tank and i will also have grow out frags that i will be selling and trading.
currently i am leaning towards t5's because like you said chris it keeps things steady between my main and the frag tank, the light acclimation going from other tanks to the LED tank might be what is harsh on the coral and i think that is why some do better in the t5 main tank.
i guess another question is if i did go t5, would a 2 bulb fixture be enough for a 24 x 12 x 6-7" tank if i hang the light high enough over the tank (probably 10" away from the water level)
Go with T5's. Better coloring and proven. I switched back from my 120w 20k evolutions back to T5's. Growth was great then they bleached the corals and then the blue leds quite working. Always had good results with my T5's!
no current plans for sps, if i do and i have trouble, i can always put them on a frag rack in the main tank until they are sold but as of right now my sps i just want them to grow big and bulky so no future plans for them unless i accidently break them off lol.
i did do some modeling and i could do fine with 12 leds over the space with a certain heat sink i can get right at rapidled.com and get good coverage over the 24x12 area. i used 60 optics at 13" above the water level and attached is the picture of what i came up with. ** the gray box is the 24x 12 area**
on the t5 side, i currently only use a 4 bulb on my main tank, but the coral in that tank does not even start until 6" under the water level, which will be the full depth of the frag tank i want so i think if i put a 2 bulb high enough to get full coverage i could grow sps in the center then z's p's and acans wherever else on it.
i would like to not go 4 bulbs due to excessive heat that it will generate over a 7 gallon total volume tank.
IMO it really comes down to light spectrum and par.If your leds are not the correct mix then the coral will react to this.Some will open,some won't and others will just wither and die or bleach out.That's the hardest part of a DIY led fixture.T5's have the advantage of a company that has designed and tested this factor.Par and pur from quality LED's is hard to beat and cost less to run and bulb life is really not an issue and as you stated there's no heat issue either.On the other habd if your not useing a par meter to set LED's up chance are's you'll experience some problems.We run our 40 gal frag system on a led fixture and have sps,lps and softies with a par level of 325 on the shelf. I would recomend testing your led fixture to see if your not over powering the corals.LED's are the way to go in my book.
thanks for the input binford, i really do like the LEDS and i know in my mind that is the way i want to go but in the back of my head sits the few corals i cant get to grow so that is why i am thinking t5's
if i had a par meter i would for sure test it, do you have one i can borrow?
also, how many leds do you recommend judging that the tank will probably only be 7" deep and the coral about 4" under the water surface. tank size 24 x 12. i can graph it out but i really dont want to spend a ton i want to see if i can get by with 12-15 leds.
Last edited by jolson10450; 07-26-2011 at 08:45 PM.
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