Mulling over lighting. Advice sought.

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Bruce Spiegelman, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. I'm thinking of replacing my current lighting over my small frag tank. The tank is a 25 gallon Innovative Marine Lagoon (24X20X12.)

    I'm going with a 24" 4 bulb ATI. So there's two questions I need help with.

    1) Do I care if it's dimmable?

    2) I am considering attaching two Reefbright XHO strips as well. Too much? Overkill?
  2. yellojello

    yellojello Supporting Member

    I'm in the same boat. I have a 36" 4 bulb ATI, but need to replace my Icecap 660 Ballast, which I've heard overdrive and shorten the battery bulbs. This was a few years ago. Right now, it's a chaeto fuge with 2 clip on CFL's.

    I just built a light hanger so I can adjust my T5 height when I bring them back online, which can help with the PAR adjustment. I think the dimmable would be nice, but don't think it's necessary. I think I may buy 2 x 2bulb ballasts, and just alternate them to turn on and off for morning and night. It would just require using 2 outlets on my Apex, but I bought an extra energy 8 so I have enough.

    I think the Reefbrites would be overkill, especially two, and not sure if they help that much for growth, just for blue show effect. I have one 48" reefbrite on my display with my halides. They are really bright for sure, so when my coral's have their night time rave parties, it is quite a show. When halides are on, they are kind of drowned out.

    For bulbs, I'm going with 2 ATI blue plus and 2 coral plus.
  3. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    I wouldn't pay extra for dimmability, personally.
  4. I already have one XHO Reefbright on my current light on the tank -- so I'd just need one more. :)
  5. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    They (reefbrite) make white strips as well as 50/50, not just blue
  6. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Colorado member

    The corals do not care about dimmability whatsoever and since it's a frag tank I wouldn't pay extra for that feature.
  7. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Well I don't know if I would go so far as to say "do not care about dimmability" I mean I'm sure there's some internal structure of chemical transport methods that likes a slow ramp up of sugars being produced... but I will agree that it probably doesn't matter if you ramp up or down. That said, dimming might be useful if your light is too powerful and it's a fixed distance from the tank, you could always turn it down, but in general I would just get a light that's suited for the tank if that was the case and also would not pay more for it.

    That said, I think the T5 lights are more than adequate for the frag tank, just make sure you can adjust the height so you can dial in the light coverage the way you want. Reefbrite strips are more for accent lighting anyways, less about growing.
  8. yellojello

    yellojello Supporting Member

    I've never really read much about reefbrite 50/50 or daylight for growth, and typically only hear people using the blues for supplementation. It is a great product though.

    For my display tank, I have 2x250w Radium Halide, 1 blue reefbrite. I'm going to add a single 48" T5HO for a triple threat, I don't think it's overkill? It's also going to turn on before and after the halides to ramp up slowly. I wonder if it's overkill, but the reefbrite's don't really add any par I don't think, so pretty much halide/t5 typical combo.
  9. xcaret

    xcaret Supporting Member

    Tell you what, if you want to try T5's, I have a fixture I messed with a little while back, you can borrow it to see if you like the T5 thing.
    I should have some bulbs to play with. It has tank mounting bracket and a hanging bracket/kit that I found while sorting things.

  10. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    I fake dimmability by having each of my three lights turn on at seperate times. The center LED comes on, then later one side MH, then the other.
    Mostly because they are on different timers and I've found that turning the MH lights on at the same time results in my GFI tripping, which I guess is due to the sudden surge, not because it's an actual ground fault...though I guess the electronics measure a surge as a ground fault (makes sense I guess, or they measure a drop in resistance or whatever).

    So in that respect, why not turn your lights on and off in sequence to fake sunrise/sunset?
  11. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    So what happens when you get a short power outage during the day?
    Coral reefer likes this.
  12. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    When the power comes up, the lights all go on and the GFI trips. It's happened, I don't know what to do about it. Maybe surge supressing power strip or something?

  13. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Oh you absolutely could, however you'd need to have that many independent controls to do so. Now I'm sure the higher end fixtures with built in timers can do that, but what do you do with 1 power cord to a lighting setup and just a couple manual switches on top? Back in the glory days of my reefing life I did exactly as you did, had my actinic t5s pop on first, followed by the blue plus bulbs, then the halides were only on for maybe 5.5 hours a day max, then the repeat of that happened at night.
  14. So wait -- the reefbright XHO's don't add appreciably to growth?
  15. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    A few options:

    1) Put each light on a separate GFCI.
    I did that, but it means some wiring into your main breaker box.

    2) A cheap DIY inrush current limiter, using an NTC Thermistor.
    Do web search on those if you want.

    3) Buy a fancy fancy inrush limiter, like this:

    4) if you have an Apex or other controller, it should be possible to program it to stagger the lights on power-on.
    You would have to put each on a different relay output, then play with delays.
  16. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Compared to...
    I have never been a fan of Reefbrite strips for anything than accent lighting, I probably couldn't say much about the XHO series since I haven't seen them in person, but I am weary that they very often market them as something that "goes with XXXX type of lighting" it almost screams that they're saying these are not meant to be main lights.
  17. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    So a reefbright XHO 48" seems to have 36 LEDs, about 54 Watts.
    Crudely equivalent to somewhere between one and two 48" T5HO bulbs.
    It depends on the type of LED / T5 / reflector and so much more.
    You would have to do real PAR measurements.
  18. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    I don't agree w that statement at all.
  19. scuzy

    scuzy Supporting Member

    You can program the apex for a delay on for each socket Incase of power failure.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  20. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Just thinking more: That really should not happen.
    When power comes on, you get a big rush of current. But a GFCI measures and trips on an imbalance of current.
    The total current really should not matter.
    That leads me to believe you may have a bad/weak/cheap GFCI plug.
    Replacing the GFCI plug with a good quality 15A one might be a quick cheap solution.

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