Lighting Upgrade Opinion

smiller5438

Non-member
After too much research and overthinking my current lighting, do I need to upgrade?I’m left back at the beginning... I’ve asked Dong and Frank- well known members, and now I’d like to spread my question to all of you.

Currently I have very few softies and lps and RBTA in 125 Gallon. Lighting is Marine Current Orbit Pro 2x72” LED...and Dong gave me a dual 48” T5 with ATI bulbs.

Very very slow growth, but with that said everything looks healthy.

Upgrade Options (most to least expensive)
1. 2x 36” Reef Breeders with link $1100
2. 3x AI Hydra 26hd+ $900
3. 6x 54w ATI T5 $750ish
4. 3x Mars Aqua/ Vipar Spectra $300

You can see why Chinese Black Box is so appealing... Can anyone chime in and give me honest opinion based on there experience with any of these lighting options? or do I stick to the Coral Type I have

Thanks !!!!! I am only 1 year in to Reefing so this is all new territory and I don’t have the $ to waste, but I know I need to take next step in my game.
 

BiGGiePauls33

IG/GreatBeardedReef
Staff member
BRS Member
Officer
In my experience over the last 15 years, is buy what you can afford but with a great build quality. This comes into play with a lot of things not just lighting. I prefer pricier products as there is a ton of research being done with those products and proven track records. Also, usually great warranties too. I'd rather pay a bit more upfront than having to purchase something multiple times.
 

jdeb101

Non-member
I'd side with whatever Dong suggests, he knows lighting probably better than anyone (among all other reefing things). :)

I would suggest not letting the fixture pricing be the determining factor if you're in this for the long haul. If you're going to let price dictate what you go with (to a certain degree of affordability obviously) then you're in the wrong hobby. lol Also consider electricity costs, price of changing bulbs for T5, reliability and track record, warranty, etc. I've had Reefbreeders LED fixture before and they seem to work well, but no experience with those cheapo Chinese boxes. Do your research for sure before wasting $300 that could have been used towards one of the pricier choices.
 

serwobow

Well-Known Member
BRS Member
I use a ReefBreeders 48" light (bought from Dong about 2 years ago!) over my 50g. It was an upgrade over a black box LED that I had for several years before that. Before that I had a metal halide/T5 combo. All the lights I ever had grew coral, and I couldn't tell you which one grew coral the best, since my approach to reefing has changed so much over the years. The ReefBreeders are by far my favorite lights I have had though. They are nearly always silent, are highly programmable, and they look nice, and produce so much light I only run them at 50% and still get about 500 PAR at the surface.
 

serwobow

Well-Known Member
BRS Member
Also, with cost in mind, you should borrow a PAR meter, and that will pretty rapidly tell you if you are getting enough light to your corals, and whether a new light is needed at all.
 

jasonrusso

Non-member
I have the 72" Current IC (pro is 2 of my light) on my fowler. I love the way the light looks on the fish. My day setting is pretty much 100% on all colors (90% on white). I checked it with my seneye and I was surprised at how low it was. It was like 150 par just under the surface despite how bright it looks. You have double the lights so I would assume 2x the power.

My reef tank with the Steve's Led is like 350 par at the same depth but doesn't look as bright. It also grows coral well.

It all depends on what you want to grow. You can grow softies all day. If you want acros, you better keep them up high, but it will grow them.

Last thing, fast growth isn't all it's cracked up to be. All that does is make you run out of space. Then you see that coral you just have to have, but you don't have room for it, lol.
 

1spotpooalot

Well-Known Member
BRS Member
I have had both AIs and Reef breeders, Actually running 2 x 32 photon 2s over my 265 right now and it does well for my SPS tank, including 2 Tridacnas on the sand. I think overall the Reef Breeders are a good deal but pricing has crept up a bit since I bought them. Logan from Reef breeders is awesome though; local small business type of customer service. Now, The AIs have more bells and whistles and better bells and whistle such as the lightning storm. I used it when I had the AI but dont care for it with the reef breeder. Not a big deal, its a bit overkill anyway. The AI step transition is smooth whereas the reef breeder is a sudden (yet subtle) change. The programing for reef breeders is a bit tedious so if you like to change things a lot then you may consider this but once its set...its not an issue where the AI is easier in the AP.
Personally, Im not a big fan of "Needing" an ap to run my light as with AI. RB comes with its own controller. Just my 0.02$
 

smiller5438

Non-member
After too much research and overthinking my current lighting, do I need to upgrade?I’m left back at the beginning... I’ve asked Dong and Frank- well known members, and now I’d like to spread my question to all of you.

Currently I have very few softies and lps and RBTA in 125 Gallon. Lighting is Marine Current Orbit Pro 2x72” LED...and Dong gave me a dual 48” T5 with ATI bulbs.

Very very slow growth, but with that said everything looks healthy.

Upgrade Options (most to least expensive)
1. 2x 36” Reef Breeders with link $1100
2. 3x AI Hydra 26hd+ $900
3. 6x 54w ATI T5 $750ish
4. 3x Mars Aqua/ Vipar Spectra $300

You can see why Chinese Black Box is so appealing... Can anyone chime in and give me honest opinion based on there experience with any of these lighting options? or do I stick to the Coral Type I have

Thanks !!!!! I am only 1 year in to Reefing so this is all new territory and I don’t have the $ to waste, but I know I need to take next step in my game.
Thank you everyone who has replied! I am so grateful for this Community. It’s nice to be in a hobby where people truly care about what they do and are willing to support new reefers! Thank you so much!
 

Puff Daddy

Well-Known Member
BRS Member
I have had great success with AI Hydras as far as coral growth grows. I also think they are pretty good value in the LED space. Visually I prefer kessil but have not got the same growth that I did with my 2 Hydra 52's over my 29 gallon Petco tank. (this was way before they came out with the HD version)
WP_20160823_10_37_04_Pro.jpg
 

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