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Poll: What color temperature bulb is best?

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Thread: What color temperature of bulb do you think works best?

  1. #1
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    What color temperature of bulb do you think works best?

    I need to get some new bulbs, and was wondering what you think works best either from experience or from research. I understand that they all give a slightly different look, but I am not talking about color preference, I am talking about coral health and growth. Obviously I want my corals to look good also! In case you wonder, I am talking about replacing 250 watt mogul socket metal halides, but any bulb reference will be fine.
    210 gallon full blown reef

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    I don't think they make a better bulb for growth than the 10k XM bulb. That has been the top bulb se bulb for years. Ask Boomer. He always praises that bulb. Not the prettiest as I would supplement it with some blues but it has an amazing par rating compared to other bulbs and is kinda crisp white in color.


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    It would be hard to beat the 10K XM bulb for sure. It does give a slightly yellow "look" to the tank but it is a decent compromise between aesthetics and coral growth. I stopped worrying so much about coral "Growth" in bulb selection when I realized that water chemistry plays as big (or bigger) role in coral growth when comparing your "Normal" range of bulbs in a like group (like 250MH to 250 MH not PC to 400w MH etc). I personally like the higher "K" bulbs for my tanks but that's just a personal pref.

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    My preference is the Reeflux 12k, I find a good balance of Blue and PAR to be one of the best. I know Phoenix 14K is another that has maybe more blue tint with good numbers, and yes the 10K will punch more than the others but I find the majority of people prefer a little more blue in their tanks. These days the preference usually wins over but the lamps themselves have inproved so much that you have a larger variety to choose from, also not everyone is growing the most light demanding corals or they locate them higher in the tank.

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    I just picked up some 14k pheonix bulbs and I LOVE THEM! I've used 10k, 15k, and 20k in other brands and I have to say I will stay with the 14k pheonix. The coral growth is good with me and the color is fabulous. IMO!

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    Not using or being a big fan* of MH's I still like the look and coral growth under a 14K Phoenix lamp. So much so that I basically have collected a mix of LED chips to emulate it's spectral output.

    Cheers, Todd



    * MH's are a great light source, my dislike is for the heat output and aesthetically do not care for 12-18" tall canopies required to conceal them.

  7. #7
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    Best as in growth or color?? Cuz, I will always say 20K is the best if you asked me on the street, but that is because of the color! I could care less about growth, my tank is too small anyhow teeeheeehee
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by estanoche View Post
    Best as in growth or color??
    I think the answer is purely growth with a less emphasis on color but color isn't out of the equation. See his quote from the original post below:
    Quote Originally Posted by Faciosity View Post
    .... I understand that they all give a slightly different look, but I am not talking about color preference, I am talking about coral health and growth. Obviously I want my corals to look good also! .....

    Quote Originally Posted by estanoche View Post
    Best as in growth or color?? Cuz, I will always say 20K is the best if you asked me on the street, but that is because of the color! I could care less about growth, my tank is too small anyhow teeeheeehee
    I'm like you in that I'm not trying to "Push" my coral to grow like crazy. When I first started all I could think of was "getting this tiny frag into a mother colony" but then I started realizing I did this hobby as much for the LOOK as anything else. Growth will come when everything else is "Stable" but for me I'm about the color. I too like the higher "K" look and have since tried to emulate the 15k - 20k look using T5's and now LED. For my own personal taste the higher K look is a very nice and pleasing coloration.

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    I think overall, the 14K Phoenix bulb will give you the best of both worlds if you had to choose one bulb. Has always been my favorite for looks and has decent par as well. You won't get the growth the 10K Xm will provide, but the tank will look better. Still, your corals will grow nicely under it while still being visually appealing. A lot of people if asked what is their favorite 250w mh bulb (not best for growth) Phoenix 14K gets usually the most votes.

    Take a look at this link. You can see different bulbs on the same tank to see which color you like best. It also shows you the par ratings for the bulbs used.

    http://cnidarianreef.com/G180/lamps.php
    Last edited by Krish; 12-07-2011 at 09:04 PM.
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  10. #10
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    I've used XM 10 and 15K, radium 20k helios 20k, reeflux 10, 12, and 20K coralvue 14k and the phoenix 14K.

    The phoenix was by far my favorite bulb for the best overall color balance and growth.

  11. #11
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    20k 400w HQI 6" from the water surface work for me
    14k is good but too short of live.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by krish View Post
    I think overall, the 14K Phoenix bulb will give you the best of both worlds if you had to choose one bulb. Has always been my favorite for looks and has decent par as well. You won't get the growth the 10K Xm will provide, but the tank will look better. Still, your corals will grow nicely under it while still being visually appealing. A lot of people if asked what is their favorite 250w mh bulb (not best for growth) Phoenix 14K gets usually the most votes.

    Take a look at this link. You can see different bulbs on the same tank to see which color you like best. It also shows you the par ratings for the bulbs used.

    CnidarianReef: Lamp Tests
    That was very helpful, thanks!
    210 gallon full blown reef

  13. #13
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    From the input I have recieved, I think I will be going with the phoenix 14K, however, I am going to experiment and I ordered a mediocre 20K bulb for a temporary solution and to test what it looks like and what it does for me (I understand that a high quality bulb will still havbe different looks and performance). I am considering switching my big ugly mogul sockets for some sleek DE reflectors. I don't want to spend big money on bulbs until I figure out where I am going with things in the near future. One of my ballasts recently blew, and I was lucky enough to have a great guy give me a DE pendant with ballast up front to get me through. Now I am really liking the size and cover I get from the smaller reflector. My tank is 6' long with 2 offset braces, so getting 2 more of the smaller sleek design would give me awesome coverage and would be small enough to mount inside my shallow hood (don't worry, I have 4 powerful fans for ventilation!).
    210 gallon full blown reef

  14. #14
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    I currently have XM 15k 250w bulbs and like them...prior to this bulb, i used 10K 250w. IMHO, best white bulb out there for the money.

    but it all depends on how much blue you want in the tank..
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  15. #15
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    Strickly Old school 20 K Radiums with OLD school PFO custom fixture (made in Vancouver Washington!) and PFO HQI 250 watt ballast's good for 24" and no suppementation needed been using this sine June 2004
    150 gallon reef all-glass, oceanic sump
    75 gallon SPS Clam all-glass, oceanic sump,CPR hang on Refugeum
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