Thinking of downgrading from 400W bulbs

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by seminolecpa, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. seminolecpa

    seminolecpa Past President

    I will be coming up on the time to change out my bulbs in another month or so and I am considering changing to 250W ballasts and bulbs. Hoping some people will either talk me in or out of it.

    My tank is roughly about 28" deep.

    Here are my thoughts:

    Am I getting too much usable light?
    Am I getting any decent actinic dupplementation?
    Holy crap my power bill is high?
    Wow my fish room gets really hot even during the winter
    I know some of my growth and color has been fantastic but will it change that drastically?

    Very torn.
  2. mpoletti

    mpoletti Guest

    I run 250's; Is that convincing enough :)

    I also went through the debate when I was setting up the tank. My friend Tim (tfp) runs 250's on a 30" deep tank. I personally think 400's are nice, but they are not neccasary. I will most likely never run 400's again.
  3. tuberider

    tuberider Guest

    Depends photoinhabition can happen in 5 hours, some of the corals may be getting their energy hours before the lights shut off.

    Your dupplementation looks fine to me, Blue+ bulbs do have a decent amount of PAR.

    You'd save a few bucks, sure. Are you running HQI? If you switched to 250w e-ballasts you'd surely see a difference.

    Wait till summer :D

    Your growth will slow a little, color will suffer, how much depends on nutrients, if there's excess you'll get a little browning from the zooxan shift.

    Please mend yourself :D
  4. i don't think your lights change will help you save energy much since you running the halides for 5-6 hour a day.your most energy consumption come from your equipments that run 24hours .looking into that,for example your close loop,return pump ,skimmer pump.etc etc.if you happy with the lights now,don't change it,look elsewhere .gl

  5. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    I noticed a marked increase on my bill going from 1x 150 HQI to 2x 150 HQI.

    I'd do 250s myself :)
  6. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    10:1 your energy bill was extremely high this last month, as was just about most others, due to the low temperatures, basically those 500w (or more) of heaters that we have tended to be on 24 hours a day as opposed to maybe half of that, or at the very least those of us who have part of the tank (or the whole damn tank) in rooms that are not heated by the central heating. I know mine were on for 24hrs a day because the tank temperature did in fact drop to 72-74 over a 3 day period. (and I the heater was still working :D).

    My view is that your reflectors (I think you have a lumenarc or lumenbrights) actually allow you to get away with using brighter bulbs, because the area to which those reflectors spread over is quite large, if you had something like a standard DE reflector (i.e. not a lumenarc modified for DE bulbs), then the area that most of the light gets spread over is much smaller, so if you did 400w in a DE you'd get quite a bit more of a hot spot just over a smaller area.

    Oh hell I dunno, I think 250W are perfectly fine, but you gotta pay your bills not me, so do what feels right :D
  7. Gomer

    Gomer Honorary Member

    A system's analysis can be really interesting as Lap said. Here are estimates for my system

    Icecap 250watt for 6hrs a day (273 watt draw indicated on ballast)
    273 * 6 = 1638 Wh

    100watt heater on 3/4 of the day (that's an estimation ofwhat the logs are showing for yesterday)
    100 * 18 = 1800 Wh

    Maxi 1200 on 24hrs a day (HOB skimmer)
    20 * 24 = 480 Wh

    1 Vortech on 24hr a day (estimate at 50% continuous load)
    15 * 24watts = 260 Wh

    An alternative to going to 250 watts would be to shorten the photo period.
    If you were running at 6hrs, then go 4hrs with staggered turn on and extend the t5 viewing cycle
  8. seminolecpa

    seminolecpa Past President

    Running 400W icecaps right now. Would likely switch to a 250W HQI ballast (or something elses so I could continue to run Radiums at a good par).

    AFA the supplements (no typo this time), you do notice a slight but of it when the halides are on but not really any of significance, most gets blasted out with the halides.

    Very familiar with how bad it gets during the summer, windows are open all of the time.

    FWIW Tony I already run the 400W Icecaps for only 5 1/2 hrs a day each.

    The power issue comes more in to play as I am likely in the highest bracket for power so small amounts of power savings mean even more $ off my bill.
  9. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    400W heats up more than 250W. It's been a cold winter; you need the extra heat.
  10. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    An easier estimate, is to say if you go from 6hours of 400w x 2 to 6 hours of 250w x 2 that's a difference of 300 x 6hours/day x 30 days/month = 54 kWh / month difference. Assume you're in the higher 30 cents a kWh tier regardless of how much you cut back that only translates to a little over $16 less for your bill.

    My bet is still your heaters because your sump is down in the basement and it was cold as all hell all month long.
  11. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Oh wait you want to go to HQI ballasts? Well crap those pull what something like 350W, vs the 420 or so, so you're only saving 70watts per bulb, so you'll only save about $7.50 a month or so (assuming you're paying at the 30cent tier)
  12. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    If your talking to me this was last summer so the heaters rarely came on.
  13. tuberider

    tuberider Guest

    Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, we have a winner!

    E vs. HQI makes a huge difference.
  14. Gomer

    Gomer Honorary Member

    There is another thing people can think about in "dialing in" energy budgets. Evaporation
    1 gallon of water absorbs 8,265 BTUs in evaporation =2422 Whr of "heating" required to counter it.
  15. seminolecpa

    seminolecpa Past President


    I agree the heaters might very well be a big culprit.

    Here is some of my equipment see if you can decide on the biggest culprits (have my suspicions).

    3 Vortechs
    1 Reeflo Dart (closed loop)
    1 Mag 18 (return)
    1 Mag 7 (frag tank and fuge return as well as chiller feed)
    1 250W heater
    1 200W heater
    2 400W MH's 5 1/2 hrs each
    2 96W t-5's (say 6 hours)
    4 24W t-5's (frag tank) about 8 hours
    1 low wattage fuge light
    2 MJ 900's modded (frag tank)
    1 MJ 1200 fuge
    1 MJ 1200 BRS supply
    1 MJ 600 Fuge flow
    1/3 HP chiller

    everything else is minimal

    My guess is the halides, heaters and the dart are the primary power draws with the chiller substituting for the heaters in the summer.
  16. seminolecpa

    seminolecpa Past President

    BTW I don't have a problem paying it, it hurts a bit, but just don't want to needlessly flus $ and power down the drain if unnecessary. Have also thugh about capping off the CL outflows in the tank and shutting of the OM 4way and CL pump and going with a 4th vortech.
  17. Gomer

    Gomer Honorary Member

    (# of devices) *(# of hours on per day) * (power draw in watts) = energy used per day.

    Come on Bryan, would love to set up that simple spread sheet! Then you can play with the variables to see how much you can save

    Also, how much water do you evaporate a week?
  18. Gomer

    Gomer Honorary Member

    eek. You can run 12 vortechs at full power and match the energy draw of your hammerhead + OM :p
  19. seminolecpa

    seminolecpa Past President

    Maybe 15G of water or so avg.?

    Yeah I have a kill-a watt meter and could likely do the math but I hate doing math outside of work. I do it all friggin day long. Figured I would go for the low hanging fruit in the lights and CL as I am not sure they are necesssary.

    Sure I could probably get a more efficient return etc. but the cost outweighs the benefit in these cases as I would have to lay out the money for the pumps and replumb etc.

    The inside the house stuff especially the lights adds to the overall costs of controlling the house temperature as well.
  20. seminolecpa

    seminolecpa Past President

    Not a hammerhead..... is a Dart think it runs at like 1.3 amps?

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