Going back to Metal Halides from LEDs

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Vincerama2, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    I give up. I moved from a 58 to a 180g, so things should be awesome, but many corals just shrivel up and die in my tank. Some zoos, some GSP and strangely, RBTA and GBTA are doing OK.

    Originally I thought maybe my giant fish are nibbling on the corals, but I think really ... it's the lights.

    I've done massive 40 gallon water changes mostly regularly. I had tested the water and mag was low, so I did many water changes to fix that.

    The only other thing I can think of is that I'm using Kessil 150 and 150W LED pendants, which are about I'd say 8 inches maybe over the water. Maybe more. Maybe they are too high or their light is too directional.

    In any case, I had amazing growth in my little 58 and nothing in Wifebane

    I'm going to swap out the lights back to my 175W MH lights. I'm sure my electric bill will creep up now.

    I might leave the LEDs in for "viewing" and fish, then after hours (ie after 9pm when my electricity is cheaper) I'll power up the MH lights and turn off the LEDs.

    I can't really think of anything else that would just kill off my corals.

    yesterday a frogspawn just ... disappeared into a skeleton. So I'm going to get drastic with the lights.

    On that note .... what's that store that sells cheap Halide bulbs?

  2. tankguy

    tankguy BOD

    I'm the exact opposite , ran MH for a long time and switched to LED's only cause they came with the tank. Getting great color and growth. I'm using radion's. when these lights go I'll definetly buy them again. And I'm sps dominant
    Kmooresf and Flagg37 like this.
  3. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Officer at large

    The light might be too intense. Have you used a par meter?
    Coral reefer likes this.
  4. sjbro

    sjbro Guest

    I'm also running LEDs on a 180G, 6ft long x 2ft wide tank. I use 3 Ocean Revive T247 lamps. Each is running at 35% blue and 20% white. I'm getting pretty good grow on SPS, their colors looks good too. I expect that more advanced LEDs would give you even better growth. As @Flagg37 said, check/adjust the LED intensity with a PAR meter.

    In my case, the main factor to SPS unhappiness was low Alk. You mentioned low Magnesium in your tank. How are your Ca and Alk levels? When I had problems with Alk in my tank and it dropped below 7 dKH, the SPS colors faded, their polyp extension was very little, some even RTN.
    Kmooresf, Coral reefer and Flagg37 like this.
  5. xcaret

    xcaret Guest

    I think if the frogspawn just died suddenly, something else is the culprit. If you still want to go MH and need ballasts, I think I have couple 175w either Icecap or ARO
  6. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Well, I have had many many problems.
    But one was the water being too clean, and my corals starving.
    You mention big water changes and a larger tank. If bio-load did not increase to match, you might have hungry corals.
    And there are rumors that the combo of low nutrients + intense LEDs cause problems.

    Could be a ton of things.

    My suggestion would be to get some old used ones, put it over one part of the tank, and see if that side improves.
    Coral reefer and Flagg37 like this.
  7. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Officer at large

    That would be a good test to see if it's lighting related or chemistry.
  8. iCon

    iCon Supporting Member

    This, assuming nothing is eating your corals and parameters are in check.

    The Kessil 150s are terribly weak. IMO, not strong enough for anything more than about 16x16x12 per unit. If 150s, they're also several years old, and plenty weakened.

    I have 1x 360we plus two AI units over an Elos 120. To get full coverage that I'd be comfortable with, it'd take at least 3x 360we units if going Kessil only. Considering yours is a 180, I'd be guessing 2-3 halides plus 3-4 Kessil 360s. The 150s are basically night lights! ;)
  9. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    I have my halides from my old tank.

    Too bright LEDs? I was thinking the opposite. As they are above the water quite high. I had frags on racks that were up high. Dead.

    I feed the tank fairly well with flake food and occasional frozen. I don't think it's too clean.

    Also to note:

    - I let algae grow on the back and sides of the tank, because why not?
    - There is NO corraline in the tank at all. My old tank had so much it started plating off the pumps and vertical surfaces
    - I have tons of those little worms that make sand tubes. Also have tons of little feather dusters.
    - Fish include Royal tang, two yellow tanks, a purple tang, to large purple damsels, candy hog, some clown fish, a six line wrasse. Nothing that is a coral eater.

    I have a toadstool that used to grow like mad in the old tank. It is still alive but not doing much now.

    I checked CA and ALK and it was fine. I started dripping kalk with my ATO as well. Mag was low before I started massive water changes to "fix" any chemistry issues.
    Temp fluctuates between 78-82 as usual.

    So the only thing I can think of is the lights.

    I mean I've grown coral in small 10G tanks with power compacts, and with a small MH as well. So the LEDs are the only thing I can think of really.

  10. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    Thanks for that input, it seems to mesh with my thinking.

  11. iCon

    iCon Supporting Member

    How many halides, and how many kessils are currently over the tank?
  12. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Officer at large

    Does 82 degrees seem high to anyone else? corals tolerate colder water much better than warmer.
    iCon likes this.
  13. iCon

    iCon Supporting Member

    Definitely. And account for the lack of accuracy with most aquarium type thermostats, and the temp fluctuations might be much more dramatic/higher temps than what meets the eye.

    Ranco dual stage ftw. 77.5 +/- .1 always. Burned through the Apex, RKL, RKE route long ago. Never going back!
  14. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    What was your problem w the reef keepers? I find them good for temp control personally.
  15. iCon

    iCon Supporting Member

    I had one control but die on me completely, and another where the programmed settings went completely haywire for no reason at all.
  16. sjbro

    sjbro Guest

    With the risk of derailing the thread, I will say that I also had issues with my reefkeeper in regards to heaters. I set my controller to power off the outlet if the temp reaches 80F and I set the heaters to maintain a temp of 77F. Well, the heaters kept burning out. I burned a couple Finnex heaters from BRS, they would still show the correct temp and allow me to set the desired one, but the heating element would be dead cold. I burned an Eheim, in a similar way and I also burned another brand heater that I don't recall its name. They would last at most a couple of weeks. I have tried 2 different power bars and each mechanical relay port on those power bars. No luck. After burning all these heaters, I gave up. Now I have the heater plugged straight into the GFI outlet, while the reefkeeper only has set an alarm for high & low temp.
    I also remember having to roll back one of the firmware updates sometimes in the past. The outlet would be set to turn on the circuit if the temp is below 80F, the temp sensor will show in 70s but the outlet would be still off. On this issue I have found various posts online reporting the same issue suggesting to roll back that firmware version.
  17. Yippee

    Yippee Supporting Member

    How many Kessil 150 and 150 watt pendants do you have running over the tank? Does the 150 watt pendant have a dimmer?
  18. Newjack

    Newjack Supporting Member

    Tagging along on this..., because I too have been experiencing the same issues since switching from MH/vho over a year ago.
    I know LED can grow corals, ( just look at Neptunes DT). It's IMO one of the best reef tanks I have ever seen. And that tank is grown and maintained under LED. (kessil ap700)
    I think part of the problem is when you grow corals under MH it's just so easy. Drop a new coral in your tank & watch it grow. ( of corse if your h2o chemistry is right)
    With a LED lit tank, buy a new coral. drop it in, over the next few weeks.. watch it slowly die or bleach. :eek:
    There is a different learning curve to optimizing LEDs for coral growth. Knowing what intensity to run them at. ( Par meter helps) but not always a guarantee fix all. when and how long to use an acclimation feature on your unit.
    All of which MH never had to deal with. MH all you do is set your timer on/off and let it grow baby grow.
    I am not giving up yet on my LED set up.
    But, I totally understand where you're coming from.
    The great thing about BAR is you can ask others what's working for them and what's not. Try and ask people that are using similar lights that you are. Don't ask me, I have yet to figure them out.
    good luck
    Yippee likes this.
  19. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    I have found the best success with the AP700s so far. I do not do any real light acclimation anymore. Some sensitive sps may get a week or so lower in the tank (Echinatas, Carduus e.g.) but most just get stuck on the rock when there was room. Now they go on the frag rack which is getting a lot of light.

    I originally only did that with coral grown under LEDs but have moved on to doing it with all coral coming from an established tank.

    If it is a mariculture or wild piece then it gets the full acclimation procedure.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  20. iCon

    iCon Supporting Member

    150s don't have a dimmer, and frankly, he could have 10 of these units over his tank and it still wouldn't be sufficient. Just because a tank is lit in every corner doesn't mean there's enough punch to get through the water depth. Anything below the first 12-14" of his tank is basically getting zero.

    Even the halides - 150 is nothing. For a tank of this size, you're looking at at least 250w pendants, with quality bulbs and reflectors.

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