Actinic vs 10,000 vs Full Spectrum

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Nav, Apr 25, 2014.

  1. Nav

    Nav Director of Marketing & Photography

    I have a single T8 fixture on my 29g hood and wondering what's the best option to support SPS?

  2. Hondo

    Hondo Guest

    I think you'll have to upgrade your lighting.

    A single 17watt T8 won't give you enough par, considering a 29g tank is 18 inches tall.

    It is my understanding that SPS coral are light demanding.

    Edit: I just noticed on your tank journal you also have a LED strip with actinic.

    I think if your getting enough actinic lighting then which bulb you use for your T8 is probably based on what is appealing to your eye.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2014
  3. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    T8? Not T5? Either way, not sure you'll get much growth out of a single fluorescent bulb with SPS.

    That said, actinic is more of color enhancing type of bulb, it brings out the fluorescent pigments in corals (hard or soft) if they exist, while it will add some energy for the coral to use typically not much. Full spectrum is a loose industry term that doesn't have no strict definition although it typically is a lower kelvin scale 6500K or so, where 10000K will be more of a bright white with a hint of blue to it. All this of course depends upon your water quality, too many organics in the water and even the whitest of bulbs will make the water look yellowish.

    Very often what's done with fluorescent bulbs is a mixture of 10000K and "blue" bulbs like ATi Blue-Plus bulb.

    But again a single T8 bulb is not really suited for any sort of growth of SPS, if you had other lights on it, I'd toss in an actinic bulb just to try and make some colors pop.
  4. tr1gger

    tr1gger Keyboard Cowboy

    If you are looking at diving into SPS, you are going to need a whole new fixture. Whether you decide T5, MH or LED is up to you. Do your research and figure out what you are looking to do, what corals you are wanting to grow and always think ahead for future tank upgrades.

    If you are going to seriously look into the sps game, you are going to have to also consider your trace elements and dosing. Let the fun begin!
  5. Nav

    Nav Director of Marketing & Photography

    Sorry guys I forgot to mention details if my current lighting.

    Single T8 fixture full spectrum 17w

    LED bar with 33 LEDs of 5050 brightness (range of color options)

    Now that I have a Birdsnest & a Monti, I want to make sure they can survive...

    From what you said, I guess having full blue LED + 10k T8 might help?

    Here's the best part. The friend who gave me the SPS also had an old light fixture. It's a dual T5 (super bright white + actinic) but 48inch one :( and I still got it (free) to try to keep the SPS alive.

    I simply put in on my hood and the tank was like the sun went inside ;) I'm going to do some tweaking to block the light of the 12" protruding outside my tank (it's going to be ugly, but I guess it will do the job till I get a new tank in few month)

    Here are few pics... Pls post your thoughts. Also I might need advise in switching to this light, cos I've come across posts where SPS get bleached when u move to brighter lighting?



  6. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Now that I have a Birdsnest & a Monti, I want to make sure they can survive...
    Should have done that the other way, make sure they can survive then get them ;) But a birdsnest is a fairly easy to keep coral, so it's a good one to start with to see if they can be kept alive. The montipora, depending upon the species can be a bit more forgiving then some acropora species, so if anything could be a good set of starter corals to see if your light is bright enough.

    From what you said, I guess having full blue LED + 10k T8 might help?
    Maybe... not sure if that T8 bulb is a high output bulb, but a general rule of thumb for tube lights, the larger they are the less bright they are (for any given length). IMO, if you have the LEDs that should be your growing lights there, I'd toss an actinic bulb on the T8s so you can get some fluorescence, and if you have it on a separate light timer many like to lead in the day with the actinic light and end the day with actinic light just so they get that time period in the morning/evening where the tank is dark but fluorescence can be seen.

    Also I might need advise in switching to this light, cos I've come across posts where SPS get bleached when u move to brighter lighting?
    My advice, don't put a 48" light on a 36" tank, it's not worth it. You'll be wasting 25% of the light that's not sitting over it, and it really would be an eye sore and a half. Take this from someone who has had my fair share of "hey it works it doesn't need to look good" setups, there are some things that shouldn't be done.

    If you're really think of increasing the lighting my advice would be to ditch the T8 bulb, and replace it with more LEDs. And yeah you can bleach SPS with too much light, however it's doubtful you'll get too much light over that tank unless you toss on a 400W MH bulb right over the surface. What you can get is light shock by having corals adjusted to a particular light and then vastly increasing the amount of light. So very often you simply want to go in baby steps. If you have dimmable LEDs that can easily be done by slowly ramping up the intensity over a few weeks, for non-dimmable lights you can use a series of screens to dim things up.
  7. bluprntguy

    bluprntguy Webmaster

    What kind of LED bar and how much total wattage?

    "5050 of brightness" looks like the light manufacturer made it up. LED's come in different wattages, so 33 LED's could range anywhere from "totally adequate for lighting a 29 gallon SPS tank" to "not much brighter than a moonlight".
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2014
  8. Nav

    Nav Director of Marketing & Photography

  9. Nav

    Nav Director of Marketing & Photography

    Also forgot to mention that I looked into this LED roll and was planning to make my own bars... Like 6-8 strips (200+ LEDs). Do any of you think its a workable option?

    I'm a newbie and have all plans on going big in a few months (like a 55g + Kessels + sump), so trying to stick to the most economic options for now so I can learn & get better by then...
  10. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    My advice is to get a 150w with either T5 or LED supplemental for your 30 gallon.
    Or go with a complete T5 setup. I can't recommend wattage and amount of bulbs though.

    I've seen a lot of really healthy and thriving tanks with either setups. Get something that's height adjustable and make sure you don't get any fixture that's longer than your tank.
  11. tr1gger

    tr1gger Keyboard Cowboy

    I don't think any of those are good options for growing and maintaining coral growth.
  12. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    To clarify, I meant 150w Metal Halide
  13. tr1gger

    tr1gger Keyboard Cowboy

    neuro likes this.
  14. Devon

    Devon Guest

    Nav, I have a dual 36 inch 150w M/H that you are more than welcome to for $50. It's not the prettiest thing, it has no legs or bulbs but I do have a hanging kit for it. The compact florescence have been removed to make room for a Led's that were in there at one time. Bottom line it works and is cheap. Let me know image.jpg
    neuro likes this.
  15. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    I second Alfred's (neuro) opinion and I'm going to suggest that you get yourself a MH fixture preferably MH/T5 combo for now, MH is fail proof even a cheap bulb will sustain corals (maybe not thriving but won't die) and in the meanwhile you can continue to learn about different types of lighting and what your options are moving forward.

    I did this, I bought a MH 150 + 2x 24w T5 and my tank did great for the first year under that light, when I was nice and ready, after reading & posting a ton I decided to go LED, now I have 56 LEDs on top of my tank (174w total I think) and I can bleach every single coral in my tank if I tried so basically I have more light than I know what to do with which is what you want, always better to have more & have to dim down or set lights high above the tank instead of trying to get more light out of a fixture than you can physically achieve (the culprit you're in now)

    Best part about this plan is, MH lights are dirt cheap if you know where to look. I see you already have an offer from Devon (nice guy by the way :) )
    neuro likes this.
  16. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    I Have some 36" t5s
  17. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Once you do get your light and likely to not be dimmable you should mount it very high and away from the tank, depending on what kind of light you get this can be anywhere from 6-20 inches, then you lower it an inch or so every day or every other day until you're pleased and of course while observing how the corals react to the light.

    I bleached a few corals when I switched lights, not a big deal they always bounce back as long as this is not prolonged.

    By the way check out my signature haha it's often true in this hobby ;)

  18. Nav

    Nav Director of Marketing & Photography

    Fidel, love your sign :)

    Devon, my tank is 29g and the 36" is still going to protrude. I'm going to look out for a few other MH options and will get back to you if I don't find anything.

    Btw, as mentioned above, I'll be planning a bigger tank soon (2-3 months) and thinking if investing in a Kessil A360WE now a good idea?

    Or do you suggest to wait out and get a brand new one when I get everything else? (I'm worried if Kessil will come up with something better by then...)
  19. Devon

    Devon Guest

    No worries Nav, just thought you were in a pinch. What are you going to do about the coral in your tank that you don't have enough light for?
    I have Kessil's A360we's now and really like them and also would recommend them. Just like every thing else out there, company's are always going to come out with better products(laptops, phones, cars) does not mean the old model is no good. Pick something that will work for you and the corals you want to grow.
  20. bluprntguy

    bluprntguy Webmaster

    Buy a Kessil if that's what you like. If they come out with something new, you can always sell your old one.
    Nav likes this.

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