MH / LED usage in 2016

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by rygh, Jan 12, 2016.


What is the PRIMARY source of light for your tank. So ignore secondary enhancements.

  1. Metal Halide

    3 vote(s)
  2. LED

    40 vote(s)
  3. T5

    3 vote(s)
  4. Other???

    0 vote(s)
  1. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    Not my tanks. Just examples I pulled from RC.

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  2. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Dang, I was thinking they were rather nice also.
    Also, looking more closely at the pictures, the LEDs are different in different pictures.
  3. Kmooresf

    Kmooresf Supporting Member

    This is such a tough subject....

    I've been doing tanks for around 20 years now. I also started with PC was ALL the rage!!!! ;) Had a pretty nice LPS and softie tank with it. This is in 1998 I believe. 75 gallon.


    Went to T5/MH for another tank, and it grew very well.............WHEN I was keeping up on my water changes and maintenance.

    Just like ALL my tanks, my problems always came/come from straight up neglect.......NOT lighting.

    My current tank is ALL LED, and LOT's of them. I get great growth and color of my Acro's, Millie's, Montie's, Chalice, LPS, Stags, etc, etc......... WHEN I am being religious on upkeep. I get crappy growth and color when I am not. I know my kessils will grow the crap out of Acro's. Question is always.....can I do my part to let them?? (before the tank crash pics. I am working on post crash shots / video. It's doing very well again.)







    Not in my tank anymore, killed by nudi's. :(

    It's so easy to look at photo's and judge a tank based on lights. Healthy tanks have a lot of care and maintenance that keep a very stable environment. I think many are too quick to blame lighting. Just my $.02.
    Geneva, Coral reefer and MolaMola like this.
  4. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Yup, put the elbow grease and time into a tank and you'll probably get a nice tank. That said, Kris emphasized he has a LOT of LEDs over his tank, it's all about what you do with your lighting, if you have metal halide bulbs with a white painted canopy you obviously are not going to get anywhere close to the same results as someone with metal halides inside a Lumenarc (or whatever equivalent reflectors there are today)
    Kmooresf likes this.
  5. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Kris dominates w leds. Hands down. But like he said, he's ocd about his tank, when he's not neglecting it. So hard for me to keep the balance of staying on top of it and slacking off when all seems well.
  6. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Agree, maintenance is probably more important than exact lighting choice.
    (Assuming that lighting is decent. Truly poor lighting is a big problem)

    But the thing is: I can change my lights.
    On the other hand, this old dog changing his habits is realistically not going to happen.
  7. ifarmer

    ifarmer Guest

    so what exactly is the purpose of the top?
    are you trying to understand which light technology has the most users in 2016?

    LED has been out and used by reef users for the last 5-6 years and the trench for the future is LED. Because of that, it really does not matter how good those T5 or MH were, you will always find LED has the most users nows aday. Even some die hard MH/T5 fans are trying to go with LED though.
    MH/T5 are/were good but they are old technology compare to LED.
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
  8. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Purpose = Simple Curiosity.
    While 5-6 years is long in some markets, that is not so long in the aquarium hobby where things move pretty slow.
    Plus a lot of people still say how wonderful MH/T5 are, and they may not have switched.
  9. ifarmer

    ifarmer Guest

    Very true. Mh/t5 are great and proven to be great. However the hobby has much in the last 10 years.
    Like i said the trench here and the future is led.
    The number of reefers that are still using MH or switched from LED back to using MH is very small. I dont think its a fair comparision for MH/T5 in this day and age. Tell us, do you know anyone is looking to buy MH now? But if you campare which light technology has the best growth and color then that is a different story..
    Just like, my 1992 Mazda Miata is great but it's getting old. My next one is 2016 model, and not the 1992 or 1993 model though.

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    Last edited: May 6, 2016
  10. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    I would buy a MH ballast now now as my 2x250W electronic ballast is nice and all but I each is not powered individually, however due to the "horticulture" side of things has kept they're still expensive, I would think the same technology 10+ years later should be cheaper.
    Coral reefer likes this.
  11. Roc

    Roc Guest

    I just sold my MH lights to a guy who was switching back after 3 years of LED, he said it was due to poor growth and needing to sell corals to afford to keep having a tank
  12. L/B Block

    L/B Block Supporting Member

    First of all, just want to say what an amazing thread this was to read! A lot of wisdom in here for us to read as we contemplate pulling off our canopy and putting up different lighting.

    So, @lbn, now that it is 8 months down the road, who are you feeling about your LEDs?

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  13. Gablami

    Gablami Supporting Member

    Thanks for reviving this awesome thread. Good read.
    L/B Block likes this.
  14. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    So far so good. You might have to throw in an extra fixture here or there in case of shading, but otherwise, it has no issues growing or coloring corals up. I've actually been contemplating on playing with a different set of lights down the line when Philips releases the CoralCare LEDs to the US (only currently available in the UK, unless you want to run a 220V version of it). While I've had limited amount of time with the AI Vegas and they've since released the Hydra 26(D) and Hydra 52(D), I'm interested in the Philips since preliminary results from those running the lights for 4+ months has been positive. I'm also curious since one of the statements from a UK aquarist stated that they're the closest MH replacement as far as color blending and coverage are concerned in a fanless fixture.
    L/B Block likes this.
  15. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    I like the idea of that Phillips light too, although I find it odd they'd go for the aquarium market with a fixture, but I do hope they stream line the fixture a bit, the thing looks like a huge hunk of iron hanging over your tank.
  16. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    I switched from LED to MH in an attempt to fix some dying coral syndrome, but it may be more complicated than just lights. If I figure it out, I'll switch back to the cheaper (power wise) LED. Since I have both fixtures already, I've already sunk those costs.

  17. Chromis

    Chromis Supporting Member

    I had a metal halide in the 90s with two actinic mix VHO bulbs. Lots of heat, rusty brick-heavy ballast, paranoia that the glass bulb would explode if splashed while hot. Burned myself cleaning the tank. I do miss the "sunrise" effect as the MH bulb heated up and the sunny glow, but I'm over it. One of the things that brought me back into the hobby was the lighting advancements (LED lights). I love the color and power adjustability, compactness, and relatively better safety they afford.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Coral reefer likes this.
  18. yellojello

    yellojello Supporting Member

    Started with MH and still on it. Just curious, does LED's cause skin tan/burn if working under them for long periods of time. I wear long sleeve gloves now or turn the lights off now.

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  19. roostertech

    roostertech reef noob

    AFIK the stuff that burn your skin is UV? which LED has none. Some unit will have "UV" bulb it in but their power level are next to nothing.
  20. yellojello

    yellojello Supporting Member

    That's what I figured. Did a quick google search and found this article about UV and leds:

    So now I'm wondering if MH is at a disadvantage because of more UV, and if that is affecting my sps coloration more so than Alk change. Now I'm wondering if I should have a UV filter cover... but found this answer for my Radiums: Do I need a cover shield between the lamp and the aquarium? Metal halide lamps produce a large amount of UV and also have a potential of exploding. The single ended metal halide lamps have an outer jacket which eliminates most of the UV. However, they have an inherent risk of exploding and UL requires metal halide lamps to be enclosed. On double ended lamps there is no UV shield. Double ended lamps must have a glass shield or major eye injuries including blindness may occur.

    Do corals need any UV at all? I already know there is a lot of proof already for LED success, just haven't decided to make the purchase yet as I have several new Radium bulbs that I stocked up on.

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