Considering new lighting........

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Kmooresf, Nov 26, 2017.

  1. Kmooresf

    Kmooresf Supporting Member

    Hey all,

    So I️ have come to the conclusion that I️ need some replacement / upgrades to my lighting situation. My Ecoxotic strip lighting that I️ use to supplement the Kessils, need to be replaced. The Reefbrite tech lights look like a good option. However, they are not dimmable / controllable like the ones I️ was using. I️ originally got them so I️ could have my normal sunrise / sunset (psychedelic) mode. So in order to still get that, I️ would need to invest in a Kessil controller. Not a big deal, accept that I️ still have at least two Kessil A350’s running on the tank, so I️ would have to invest in two more kessils as well. This brings the cost to a point that...............well, I️ could probably replace everything with a single lighting source.

    Ok, I’ll break down what I️ am thinking.

    Reefbrite Tech strips............
    24” x 3 @ $168 each = $504
    36” X 2 @ $210 each = $420
    (the xho are possible, but even more money)

    Kessil Spectral controller $99
    A360 x 2 @ $399 each = $798

    Total = $1821 + tax = roughly $2000.

    Plus, I️ have several kessils that have been running for almost 4 years that could likely need replacing in the next year or two.

    The lighting I️ have had, has worked very well for me, and I️ really have no bitch. The Canopy that I️ built for the tank holds everything fine, but it creates a hot area above the lights that require several additional fans, to cool. They are not crazy loud, but loud enough to bug me. Plus, that thing collects dust like you wouldn’t believe. So I️ wouldn’t be against getting rid of it.

    So here is the alternative, that is looking better and better.

    Orphek Atlantik V4. Large, multi LED panels that give good par, and very even coverage and are fully controllable.

    Orphek Atlantik V4 x 3 @ $1100 each = $3300
    Gateway controller @ $130 = total $3430 + tax

    They claim to cover an area of 48 x 38 @ 16” above the water with pretty good par all around. I️, of course, prefer to over do it, than try to push it, so two would cover my tank at these specs. My tank is 84” x 31” and 26” deep. I️ would use 3 of them, and probably mount them closer to 12-14” above the water. I️ would lose the canopy all together and just hang them from the ceiling.

    Current FTS.

    Opinions?? [​IMG]

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  2. scuzy

    scuzy Supporting Member

    Add some aquaticlife t5 hybrid it's a world of difference and cheaper. Also The reefbrite are dimmable I have a controller still from when I had the rrefbritess.

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  3. Kmooresf

    Kmooresf Supporting Member

    Ok, One serious complaint I️ have about reefbrite........the information they put out is extremely vague and annoying. Thank you for pointing out that they can be controlled. Even a google search of “are reefbrite xho’s controllable” gave me nothing useable.

    This does help, however it doesn’t look like the blue and white channels can be controlled separately? They have an inline / manual dimmer, and a unit that will work through some other kind of controller. So, more expense to get that feature to work, and more chords, etc, etc.

    As for T5’s.........I️ have used them in the past, and had great results. I️ am terrible about switching out bulbs and things, and after having LED’s for 5 years.........I️ don’t intend to go back.

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  4. Kmooresf

    Kmooresf Supporting Member

    Ok, further research............more problems.

    I️ was trying to see if my kessil spectral controller (I️ don’t have one yet) would control both the kessils and the reefbrites. The spectral controller meets the criteria for reefbrite, but it seems you can only daisy chain 3 kessils “reliably” together. I️ have 7 over my tank, which means I️ would need to get two controllers to work all 7 of them. I️ would have 1 extra port for the reefbrites, but you can only control two of those at a time, which means a third controller. :( This is not awesome.

    One answer would be to dive into a full Apex controller, however on a tank my size, the cost would be significant, and the learning curve / stress would be even worse. :( I️ have avoided them, because trying to even calculate what I️ would need and cost is painful and confusing. I️ would have to replace all my power strips and buy LOTS of Apex power strips. It would be very expensive.

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  5. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    I took a look at the Orphek Atlantik V4 as an option for my footprint 40x24 and after having view the BRS video, I'm pretty convinced that I would need 2 of them over that footprint for an SPS dominant tank. With that in mind, you'd need like 4 of them over your tank if that's the exclusive lighting of choice. I've seen them hovering in the $900 range for each fixture, so you're looking at something like $3,600 for them.
  6. scuzy

    scuzy Supporting Member

    Yeah the reefbrite summer is controllable by apex. But one dimmer is only good for two 60" units.

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  7. Kmooresf

    Kmooresf Supporting Member

    I️ have been trying to figure out how to best cover with them. I️ actually think I️ could get away with just 3 of them. The tank is 84” long x 31” wide. However, the overflow in the center makes the center only about 25” wide. If I️ use 3 end to end at 24” long to cover the full 84”...........that covers 72”. That means I️ can keep them within about 2 or 3 “ of each other to cover the entire length of the tank. The center one would cover the 25” between the overflow and the front glass, then I️ would have a significant loss in par in the back and front of the sides of the tank. However....I️ have a lot of chalice coral, LPS and softies that could fill those spaces nicely. Keep the SPS in the center, under the lights.

    To truly cover for full coverage would require 5 of them. I’m not ready to do that. LOL!

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  8. Kmooresf

    Kmooresf Supporting Member

    Awesome info......I️ appreciate that.

    I️ am trying to make things a little easier, as opposed to more complex. The Orpheks are looking better and better. Tough decision though, because Kessil has worked very well.

    I️ have also considered the AP700 over the entire tank, but shadows are way more of an issue again, so it would take at least 4, and probably 5 to cover with minimal shadowing. Again, the Orphek would solve this issue much better. I️ could also add a couple down the road if I️ felt like it wasn’t quite enough. As opposed to supplementing with other brands / styles.

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  9. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Well Kris I don't envy your decision now, hell I'm still setting up my tank, and it's only got a 48" x 36" footprint, and I'm going run metal halides with T5s for now as I have all the equipment to do that so it costs me electricity and new bulbs is all.

    If this was me, with a limited budget, I would say to replace the strips. I would go with T5 retros that you can integrate into your hood, yes there's a yearly bulb replacement "tax" but it would definitely give you the most bang for your buck, but if you like the idea of LEDs by all means go with them, IIRC you had the reefbrite strips mostly to "blue things up" and give you that sunrise/sunset bit. Get a Kessil controller for your existing A360s, don't even bother replacing the 350s, just have them "on" and control everything else with the controller. That will save you $800 just on the Kessils, and you can make some choices with your strip lighting with less of a budget constraint.

    Glad you mentioned the elephant in the room, and that is that LEDs do not last forever, and when it does come time to replace, that high initial cost of buying them bites you in the ass again, and all that energy savings money and bulb replacement money just goes away (and sometimes even more). However one thing to invest in, or borrow, is some way to test your lights output when they're new then you can actually tell if they need replacing. If you only had lights on at 60% power, but they've dimmed to 70%, then crank them up to 85% power and you're back where you were. I'm not a huge fan of Kessils but being able to replace them on an individual basis is definitely nice, you have 360s and 350s, wait until you absolutely need to replace the 350s and who knows maybe 365s will be out that are better! And you can essentially replace as you need over the tank. Things like the Ecotech fixture, seemed like they had a newer version every other year, they did allow an upgrade path for less for existing users, but that stopped IIRC with v4, and do you really want to upgrade if it still works? Such is the arena that is solid state lighting, there's always something better by the time you walk out of the store with your brand new light.
  10. Kmooresf

    Kmooresf Supporting Member

    LOL! All of what you said is so true. Especially the part about walking out with your new gear, and opening your email to find the newest product is out by the time you get home.

    The good thing is that Orphek is not all that new. I️ was considering them for this tank 5 years ago. They were a bit more expensive, and I️ remember being annoyed because you can’t change out the bulbs if they burn out. This is the 4th version of the Atlantik, and there are MANY tanks out there that had great success with the earlier versions.

    This entire thing came up, because I️ am going to re-scape my entire tank. In doing so, I️ have to completely remove the canopy (that weighs a crap ton). I️ started thinking that I️ needed to update the lighting, while I️ have it down. Then researching and realizing that it’s a bigger chunk of change than I️ had thought. So...... new lights all together became a plausible option.

    So here we are. The more I️ think about losing all the extra fans, and the clutter of the canopy. The more I️ am starting to like it. Especially that it is all controlled with an app. I️ have so many freakin timers up there. Every time I️ turn them on or off, out of cycle, it screws them up, and I️ have to get up there with a flashlight and reset them all.

    I️ do like the canopy idea though. If I️ do change, I️ will likely build something a bit more streamline to hold the lights.

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  11. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Well ultimately it's your desires that will dictate the situation, although looking at your numbers above it does look like going completely new would nearly double the cost of replacement (especially if you end up going with 5 of the Orphek lights!). That said I think if you run the lights side to side (for the rectangular versions) you can get away with less lights doing the coverage, also raising the lights a bit higher to take advantage of their spread (although LEDs are starting to go back into the "wide" 120° as a standard so you can leave them relatively close to the surface and still get spread, I think the Orphek still uses 90°). So you could possibly get 3 lights of the more "rectangular" lights across your tank without much worry, Orphek, or Radion XR30 or GHL Mitras, or whatever you desire.

    That said I'm not terribly impressed by the Orphek unit though, it looks very similar to those "black box" fixtures. While yes it is absolutely a higher quality all around, the idea of doing a grid of LEDs seems very "last gen", and if you're used to your Kessils you might not like the idea of a potential rainbow disco ball effect in the tank, something like a Radion might feel better with it's denser cluster of lights (granted no where close to the Kessil is as far as Density). Of course if you want to do something similar that you have with Kessils, the Radion XR15 is literally half of an XR30 and half the price too, so you could arrange them as you see fit. At the end of the day you need to ask yourself do you re-aquascape with the intention of having "uniform" light everywhere, or will you plan for brighter spots where certain corals will be? (i.e. don't need to to have high par values on the sand if nothing there is growing!)

    Scuzy's idea of T5 hybrid fixture is also good too, you can have whatever LED setup you get be the main light that dims to give your sunrise/sunset then have the T5s on a single timer that turns on during the "peak light" time.

    But anyway you go, I'm sure it'll come out fine, you have shown a knack for growing coral even under the most adverse of circumstances.
  12. Kmooresf

    Kmooresf Supporting Member

    Lol! All true.

    The orphek has actually shown to be one of the most “blended lights out there. As in less, or no “disco” affect.

    I actually decided to pull the trigger, due to finding a pretty awesome deal. So, in the next month I hope to have a new look to the tank. That will include a massive re-scape as well.

    I’m actually looking forward to having full control of the lights. For such an expensive set up, it has been pretty frustrating still having to get on a ladder to turn on / off lights or timers. Not the end of the world.. I used to have to get up to change the channel on the tv too. However, it’s unnecessary in this day and age, so I look forward to sitting on my couch and playing with the lights. Probably a stupid thing to be excited about, but I am.

    I will still be sporting my AP700 on the frag tank, and the a150 in the sump.
  13. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    Definitely a good deal on the orpheks. I would be with you on the order, but I can't run two of them side by side on a 40" long tank. :(
  14. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Curious : Where did you get that?

    Not saying it is false or anything, just surprised.

    Those lights are a distributed array. That usually means worse disco.
    But perhaps with the sheer quantity of LEDs, it goes away. Hmm.
    Looking forward to your opinion on how that really looks.
  15. Kmooresf

    Kmooresf Supporting Member

    Just YouTube reviews, forum threads, user reviews. Nothing scientific. I’ll let ya know how it is, when it’s all up and running.

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