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Lighting questions...

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zeltar

Proud new papa....
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Could some please explain the differences in the following lighting possibilities:

MH: mogul vs. HQI(double ended) I one better than the other? If so why?

PC vs. T5 vs. VHO: Does one dow somethinh better that the others?


I need new lights for my new tank which will be 48"x24"x24". I want MH's and some type of atinic accent too. I need to keep the max. length to 48" including caps, so it will fit in my canopy. Do they make a 47" VHO bulb. I know that the PC bulbs are much shorter but then it take more to get to the same wattage.?

I will wait for the lighing gods to chime in.

Any recommendadtions would be great.
 

bc_slc

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The DE setups are much better than the mogul types. The DE bulbs produce more light, are more efficient with a smaller bulb. The DE setups that are on the market right now are arguably the best lighting option available. That being said, everything is more expensive.

The main diff between T5/VHO/PC is their effective light production within a confined space. The VHO's are the biggest bulb, PCs smaller and T5 is much smaller. Their heat production follows the same curve. Therefore, in a given amount of space you can fit more T5 bulbs than any of the others with minimal heat production. When T5's hit the market, they promissed to be the ultimate light source - great light, little heat, small, compact....however, I think now that they have been available for a while, their light production is not what people thought it was going to be.

That being said, the light produced, in my opinion is best with VHO's and worst with PCs. I havne't seen a T5 setup yet, they are the newest and most expensive currently. They do make a smaller VHO bulb - they are 46.5" and URI makes great actinics.

I think the best lighting combination for a reasonable amount right now for your tank would be a 250watt DE metal halide setup (you would need 2 bulbs/pendants) with 2-4 VHO 46.5" actinic supplements. To be brand specific:

2x 250w DE Reef Optix III pendants
2x 250w DE bulbs of some sort
1x Blue Wave VII ballast (one ballast can run both bulbs/pendants)

OR - 2x 250w DE PFO mini pendants
2x 250 w DE bulbs of some sort
1x PFO 250 watt dual ballast.

Ice Cap 430 ballast
2x URI actinics 46.5" (they have an internal reflector)

The pendants are by far the most important part of this setup. The 250 watt ROIII's and PFO minis produce almost as much light as a 400watt setup...with only 250 watts used. They are much much more efficient. There is much more light directed into the tank, and is therfore useful, and thus you get less light spilling out away from the tank (Wasted light and energy).
 

Scooterman

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BC could you explain the more efficient part a little better please, I'm referring to the pendants vs. the other type?
 

zeltar

Proud new papa....
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Messages
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Southern Ca.
NaH2O said:
Hey Zeltar. You have the same tank size as I do. I went with the 46.5" VHOs for my supplementation. Not sure if you've checked out these articles, but they might be helpful in understanding lighting.

Lighting the Reef Tank: A Primer for Beginners

Reef Aquarium Lighting for Healthy Invertebrates by Charles Delbeek

Spectral Analysis of 250 Watt Double Ended 10000K Metal Halide Lamps and Ballasts
Cool, thanks for the links. I am getting rid of my 150 (60x24x24) cause I dont have the room for it in my new place. So I am having John build me a 4' beast and that means I can use my enclosed 60" dual 175w with 2 48" NO atinics. :( .

So I have been looking around at lighting options and BOY have things gotten pricey with all of this technology..... They didn't make a 46.5" bulb "back in my days" when I first got started with this reef/salt addiction.

Thanks you BC for your great explanition of the different lighting options.

Keep up the good work.
 

zeltar

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BC_SLC I have a question for you. Is there a difference with the two models of the Reef Optix III 150w vs. 250w. They appear just to be pendants with reflectors and the buld connectors. The ballast need to be capable of running the dual 250w bulbs correct? The pendant shouldnt make a difference?

Jusr curiuos as I have seen some varying costs for the pendants depending on the wattage.

TIA.
 

bc_slc

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You're more than welcome eric. I started researching in January in anticipation of a new tank in June (actually it will probably be a 150gal 5x2x2 - wish you were closer....) and with A LOT of help from some of the lighting gurus on reef central and a lot of researching and reading I learned quite a bit.

I purchased my ROIII setup a little while ago and am just dying to get them set up. Can't wait to see how they look. The nice thing about them and the PFO minis is that they look nice enough to hang from the ceiling and then just "cap" the top of the tank with a nice 4-6" wood rim.

1) more efficient....
A 250watt setup is going to pull a specific amount of energy to light the bulbs. HQI (magnetic) will pull a bit more energy than electronic ballasts in principle, but for the most part, most 250 watt setups are going to use a similar amount of electricity to light the bulbs.

That being said, a 400 watt setup is going to pull more electricity and 175/150 watt setups will use less electricity.

Now, if you compare a DE setup like the ROIIIs/PFO minis to the standard "mogul" type or SE (Single ended) setups then watt for watt they are going to use about the same amount of electricity. However (and this is the big difference), because the reflectors are so good on the ROIIIs and PFO minis the 250 watt DE setup focuses light into the tank just shy of a 400watt SE/mogul type setup. Therefore for the month-to-month electricity cost of a 250 watt setup, you get light in the tank very close to a 400 watt setup.

2) pendants 150w or 250w?
Good question. I also saw when I was looking that at some places the "250w pendants" were slightly more than the "150w pendants" and to be honest, I don't know the answer. what I will tell you is that on the box they come in, it says "Capable of running 70w, 150w or 250w Double ended halide bulbs"

That sounds like they are the same reflector to me.

My understanding is that the ballast determines which bulbs to run, but that the reflector will run 70/15/250watt DE bulbs.

I just compared 10 online stores before purchasing mine, and at the time Premium Aquatics had the best price at $91 each. They are now $99 each at PA, which is similar to a few online retailers. Wherever you go, would be worth a phone call to try and get a deal. Esp if you are going to order 2 reflectors and a dual ballast. That amount of money at an online retailer deserves a deal in my opinion.
 

mojoreef

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Just to add a couple things to the equation. On the double ended bulbs (which HQI's d not need to be) they basicall push a little more wattage (ie a 400 standard pushes 400 watts and an HQI 400 watt pushes 430 watts. So as per electrical cost its relative comparing each wattage to each wattage. warks the same way for 250's.

Ok so here is the X factor stuff. In order to run 250 watt DE bulbs (hqi or not) you need to run them in a pendant. the reason is that the DE bulb has no UV protantant sleeve like mogul base bulbs do. So the pendant has a E glass shield that goes over the face, For me this was a real pain in the butt, any salt spray and it clouds the glass, so you have to clean them, with the heat o that glass most of those stains wont come out. Also because of the size of the mini pendant and reflector inside of them you do not get the width of coverage as you do on a normal mogul base type of bulb with a standard reflector.
Another thing to concider is that with the use of HQI bulbs you are over driving what the bulb was designed to push, so shortened life span comes into play on most bulbs. Ie would be a 20 K mogul base bulb on a hqi ballast, you will shorten the life of the bulb conciderabley, also change the Kelvin rating as you are increasing the temp of the bulb.
It is correct that some 250watt bulbs tested better then 400 watters in regards to par, but thier are a few things missing, one is the e glass shield on the de bulb was not in place for the test, also on the 400 watters reflectors were not used which can enhance the par by up to 75%.
Not alot of biggies but things to concider.


take care.


Mike
 

zeltar

Proud new papa....
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Messages
151
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Southern Ca.
phew, and I though the plumbing was tough... :)
I think I need a beer and so do the two of you, I'm buying.

Thanks for all of the info. I think I need to let those last two posts sink in for a while before I can compute!!

Thanks guys.
 

Scooterman

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Thanks, I now have more considerations asides the fact that Heat trapped in the glass pendant will be something to deal with but also the glass itself. good thought...
One a side note, Efficiency, and watts of power that people seem to be confused about, and the laws don't change, no matter how many studies you do, Ohm's Law is the law. Your total power consumed by any electrical device including a ballast is driven by the device itself, and codes state they have to be published. So what does that mean you ask? I don't care what Lamp you use, that ballast has an amperage rating, it is the MAX current(may show wattage) demand it will ever take up in a worse case (Start-up typically & excluding total shorts) so Efficiency & Power consumption is not to be confused, that little stamp is the tell tell sign of how much denaros it will cost you to operate. If you really want to get smart, install a costly in-line ammeter, and measure it to get a true measure as compared to the equipment rating. This label will either show a wattage, amperage or some means defined by Uncle OHM. :)

Keep on truckin!
 

zeltar

Proud new papa....
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Messages
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Southern Ca.
Oh yeah, that helps Scooterman..... :) I need some MORE acronyms in my brain..... What ever he said..

Thanks, I think.
 

bc_slc

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it is true that the 400 watt HQI setup pushes 400 watt bulbs at 430, but with 250 watt setups they are much closer to 250 watts (254-259 watts). Sunlight supply is in the works of generating a 400watt HQI ballast that actually runs at 400 watts, rather than 430. That definitely overdrives bulbs and shortens their life.

Therefore, with a 250 watt setup I really doubt you shorten the life of the bulbs "considereably". One thing that needs to be said is that as a general rule, HQI ballasts do use more energy and push the bulbs more than an electronic ballast. In the life of a bulb you do shorten it some, but we are not talking months. In that sense, with an HQI setup you are compromising a small amount of bulb life for better PAR and more light.

Mojo's point about the need for the glass panel on the DE pendants is well taken. The ROIIIs and PFO minis come with this piece of glass. Also, the point about the light being more focused and not getting the "spread" of a mogul setup is true, though the diff is minimal if you compare to a good SE reflector. On a 4' tank with 2 lights - you won't notice a diff. I really only think this is an issue if you are trying to get away with more than the typical 1 light per 2 feet.

Scooterman, On your point, I used the word "efficient" because if you are using the same amps or current and directing more light into the tank, that is more effecient use of that amount of energy.

Mat
 

zeltar

Proud new papa....
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Messages
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Southern Ca.
NaH2O said:
Hey Zeltar. You have the same tank size as I do. I went with the 46.5" VHOs for my supplementation. Not sure if you've checked out these articles, but they might be helpful in understanding lighting.

Lighting the Reef Tank: A Primer for Beginners

Reef Aquarium Lighting for Healthy Invertebrates by Charles Delbeek

Spectral Analysis of 250 Watt Double Ended 10000K Metal Halide Lamps and Ballasts
What is you lighting setup going to be for the new tank? I know you want to make it a SPS dominated tank but after reading that article from Delbeek it sound like you need to find a "happy medium" for ALL type of critters you want to keep. So now I am really confused :confused:

Maybe if I get my ohm to watt ratio per gallon lower I can raise my ORP to help reduce my birdlefink! :rolleyes:

Yeah, thats it......
 

Scooterman

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bc_slc said:
Scooterman, On your point, I used the word "efficient" because if you are using the same amps or current and directing more light into the tank, that is more effecient use of that amount of energy.

Mat
True, point well said!:D
 

NaH2O

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Maybe if I get my ohm to watt ratio per gallon lower I can raise my ORP to help reduce my birdlefink!
LOL!

I went with 2 250 Watt 10K Ushio metal halides, and 2 VHO 03s. I contemplated the DE bulbs, and decided to DIY the lighting instead. I wan't comfortable doing a DIY with a DE set-up due to the UV factor. Then, there was the whole cost issue of buying a completed DE set-up. I feel for my system that the lighting set-up I chose will do well.

Not sure if you have read this thread, but there is some great information in it. Let's talk about ~Lighting~
 

bc_slc

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The DE setups are more expensive. You can save some money by DIY the ballasts, but the pendants are going to be more expensive ($99 each). The ballasts run about $220 for a dual ballast, but you can DIY for about half that.
 

zeltar

Proud new papa....
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Messages
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Southern Ca.
bc_slc said:
The DE setups are more expensive. You can save some money by DIY the ballasts, but the pendants are going to be more expensive ($99 each). The ballasts run about $220 for a dual ballast, but you can DIY for about half that.
Excuse my ingnorance but how does one DIY a ballast?

And after reading that "Lets talk about.." I need a whole mess of lights. 2 -250w 65k DE's, 2 46.5" VHO 10k, & 2 46.5" VHO Atinic 03's. All on separate timers so they can be staggered. Does anyone know if the ICECAP 660 can have separate timers for 2 of the bulbs?
 

DonW

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zeltar said:
Excuse my ingnorance but how does one DIY a ballast?

And after reading that "Lets talk about.." I need a whole mess of lights. 2 -250w 65k DE's, 2 46.5" VHO 10k, & 2 46.5" VHO Atinic 03's. All on separate timers so they can be staggered. Does anyone know if the ICECAP 660 can have separate timers for 2 of the bulbs?
A DIY ballast is one you wire up your self. Personally I think this is more expensive. You can get the PFO retrofit VHO 2 bulb for about $130. They have two plugs and two switches.
I think the set-up that Nikki has planned is all you need. Either way the PFO dual MH balast Has two plugs and switches.

I recently found ballast-less t-5's They are tiny and very bright. They come in 10k and actinic. $30ea two 10k and two actinics look great.

Don
 

jlehigh

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Donw If you are referring to the Helios T-5's I would discourage their use.

The actinics only last 4-6 months and the lighting is not intense enough to keep anything much beyond low light softies. I have 5 t-5's running on my little 46gal and they are not meeting the needs of my highly placed RBTA nor Monti Cap. (I have a MH retro on the way to save the day).
 
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