Ok got my ballasts, hooked up my T5s fired them all up. PAR increase about 136% at the brightest spot. 250 PAR on the sand bed, 350s at lower rocks 400-450 at the higher rocks. Definitely much happier with those numbers, and the T5s are in 3 banks so they'll come on staggered so the max output won't be all day long, plus one of them is actinic bulbs and I don't really think they contribute much to the readings on the meter.
I will say though, I really forgot the color of the ATi Blue Plus bulb, I forgot to unplug it after the lights went out (haven't hooked up to timer/controller yet) and I noticed a definite green tint to the bulb.
You can see that tiny spike at green, plus the blue part actually spreads out much more than LEDs do, plus our eyes or most sensitive to that wavelength IIRC. Either way when the LEDs are on it's not as noticeable, but I think it's more of one of those things that you simply get used to one thing which is Royal Blue LEDs which have a relatively tight spectral window, FWHM is 440-465nm I believe, so something that is drastically less energy at only those wavelengths looks drastically different. Almost like blue LEDs vs royal blue LEDs
Here's a couple FTS that kind of illustrates what I mean
LEDs and T5s. You can see it best against the black background, now some of that may be because the T5s spread out more so you get more glass reflection, but there definitely is more energy towards those lighter blue part of the spectrum
So now I just need to go about tidying up all the cables, also with the ballasts I ordered a bunch of those velcro (off brand) cable ties. Also need to wire up each ballast separately and plug each into it's own power bar port. But I need to get going to the CFM right now, so that can wait until later
So the other day was talking about taking pictures in the tank, and how top down under the surface of the water so no reflection is the absolute best. So I found my old Olympus SP500, nothing too fancy, not a DSLR, but it does have an actual adjustable lens, and my little homemade acrylic cover to take under surface pictures. Unfortunately that massive lighting setup I have really limits how far into the tank I can get my arms, I can lift the whole fixture as necessary but that seems like a pain, so I took some pictures near the edges at the tank or at a bit of an angle.
Now one nice thing about the camera is that I can white balance the image before the picture is taken, and even with the white lights for whatever reason the camera really picks out the blue and oversaturates that a bunch so I can knock that down without doing any post-processing.
Here's the a tricolor (valida?) I mounted it kind of sideways and it's been growing that way This is during "day time" too and really looks nice without the need to blast it with tons of blue.
Here it is from the other direction, and that red one in the corner was an interesting pick up from the $10 bin at Neptune.
Tried to take some pictures when the lights were bluer but it's a real pain. I have to do some relatively long shutter speeds to pick out details, but that tends to introduce noise.
Here's tort of some sort, maybe Cali tort, and not sure what that green thing is? This one was 1/10th of a second shutter speed so yeah it's quite dark.
Here's that red one from earlier, and I noticed this the other night when just blues were on the tank and that's the yellowish/green tint around some of the corallites. Unfortunately you don't notice it when it's "day time". But it's definitely something I think I need to keep an eye on. Oh and this image 1/4 second shutter speed, I'm actually quite proud that I kept my camera steady for that long.
Just putting some frags in a placeholder so I can see what happened in a few months.
One given, one I bought, curious to see if they grow differently. I once saw a very knobby version of it, but most of the ones I've seen at frag swaps have been stick like in nature, like a jumbo digitata or something.
Something or other from Gus, moved a lot of corals over to this tank so I don't have to chase alkalinity plus I have natural CUC to deal with any algae growth on them, corals still going into the swap though
The pinnacle of what a frag should look like! Nice tall stick, it actually puddled out on the frag plug since I've placed it. Super bright green even in white light
And here's a piece that fell off because I apparently didn't glue it well... I guess I'm keeping this piece, probably the one above too, I'll put them close though so hopefully they just fuse together.
and another one... this was actually three chunks that fused/grew quite well
Got this one at the MARS swap it said "TFP Green table acro" it's hung in there, but kind of pale/bleached, although it's looking a bit better now compared to a few weeks ago.
Put a stick on a plug and it puddled like I hoped!
Neptune pick up, it was a tealish green, with really dark polyps reminding me of one of the stains of Aqua Delight (although no way the same coral). Unfortunately issues with this one getting constantly knocked over and what not, finally just glued the damn plug in.
Really would like to get some of the other kinds out there, forest fire, bubble gum, but I'm fairly sure these are all similar corals just through the power of narrow spectrum LEDs we are seeing all sorts of new color morphs.
Pink sand dollar
Doesn't fluoresce at all, but it survived the tub on the ground when no other corals did, so I had to keep it!
These aren't all my corals, but just ones I had a decent enough line of sight to take photos of now. Big thanks to everyone who's helped me out with stocking the tank in some way, Mike & Dudley for some corals, John because every photo has those fricking snails crawling around
Time to get a bit more picky on which corals I put into the tank though, I feel like I might fall into the trap of overcrowding because frags are small.
That green slimer and the mystery piece from Neptune both look really nice. So far with digis I've come across a green, a red, a purple, and assorted spins on forest fire/wild fire/bubble gum. After putting the latter 3 in my tank next to each other and moving them around I was able to make them go from one to another by changing conditions. That said someone from my old club managed to grow them next to each other and get different results. That said, their different results were very subtle.
That red planet looks like it could really use some light, although admittedly mine is on the pretty pale side at the moment.
Yeah I had the main colors back in the day, remember that red, orange and pink were basically all the same just levels of being bleached out versus super colored. Had a piece of the Forest fire at one time, never saw the bubble gum until the CFM and I mentioned it looked like the forest fire to which they said "yeah but the tips tend to be a bit bluer" not sure how true that is or if it's the tips which typically grow out white with good growth simply are reflecting the blue from the LEDs. But regardless.
Yeah the Green Slimer is and oldy that got lots of love because it was relatively easy to grow and had some pretty bright green coloration, but I think these days if it doesn't have a rainbow of colors many reefers don't want it.
Doing a slow ramp up with the T5s now don't want to hit the corals with too much light too quickly, but right now the Red Planet is growing so I'll care about color later.
to the 40g softie/anemone tank added 3 green chromis. Really tempted to go cheap with that tank, even going so far as maybe adding damsels ... although the tank is relatively small so maybe not (my last damsel experiment was a 120G tank, it worked fine there, but this is much smaller so yeah). Currently they're swimming as a shoal, but there's not exactly predators to scare them, maybe anemones?
to the 200g tank I added 2 pajama cardinals and 2 bangaii cardinals. Wanted to get the timid fish out of the way, although they decided to hide in the back of the tank against the black wall instead of in between the rocks where I anticipated. Probably doesn't help that I don't have large acropora colonies (yet!) for them to feel safe and secure in.
As someone who has kept and really likes freshwater angels I think the similarity is minimal other than having vertical stripes.
I’m always mixed on Bangaiis, but the stripes and lack of color make them stand out nicely in a reef. PJs are pretty ugly IMO, but I have my tank on an unfinished stand made of dimensional lumber, so I’m not a great authority. If you like them I’m all for them being in your tank.
On the subject of cardinal fish, there was a free book on those recently: https://reefbuilders.com/2019/09/16/cardinalfish-book-identification/
Ok, so had "The Problem" just pop up. I was putting some corals onto frag plugs and I noticed them... The A word... . now I only saw them on one part of the rock that was not touching anything (except sand) and I immediately pulled that rock from the tank, thinking about chipping them off but they were in holes so I decided to just replace the rock (had some in the sump). Unfortunately that rock was load bearing, and I tried to use some PVC to temporarly hold it up... that didn't quite work as I wanted, and had a chain reaction of rocks big rocks tipping over. Tried to put it all back together as well as I could but everyone who's done this knows it never goes back the same way, and I even had some hints in the way of rocks that were touching were completely white compared to the surfaces that weren't touching other rocks. Oh well. Didn't think my first re aquascape was going to be this soon, but it is. Kind of like some of the things too, but we'll have to see if the corals are still in good spots.
Pics at a later time when I clean up the reef bunnies (see other post) that are floating around.
Something to consider - pins and sockets.
Use 1/2" PVC pipe for the socket, and 1/4" fiberglass rod for the pins.
You epoxy them to the rock as you assemble aquascape, so as you pile things, the pins go in the sockets.
They keep things from moving around, but rock still comes apart.
Plus, it will always re-assemble exactly the same.
Yeah 250 at the sand bed is with my lights "maxed" (not max power, just peak settings that I have it at) and all the T5s on.
Currently my lighting cycle is like this, On at 8am off at 8pm, 3 hour ramp up for the blues/violets and both are around 80% power, then 2 hours after on whites start ramping up and they take an hour to ramp up (this is not something I care about the controller, they all have to ramp up to max at the same time while I'd rather have blues maxed then white max out sometime later), whites are only about 40% of max power. Then at 10am 2 T5s come on for 4 hours, and then the next 2 hours another set comes on, and the last one 2 later, so there's only a 2 hour window where 4 T5s are on at the same time, and they aren't all on at the same time. The reasoning for doing this is to try and adjust my corals to the increase in light, where the highest point on the rocks was at 250 and the sand bed was like 80-100 with just LEDs.
8:00 - Blue/Violet LEDs start ramping up
10:00 - Blue Plus T5s turn on, Whites start ramping up
11:00 - All LEDs ramped up, Blues/Violets roughly 80%, Whites 40% (there's also 3:1 ratio of blues/violets to white)
12:00 - Coral Plus T5s Turn on
14:00 - Blue Plus T5s turn off, "Actinic" T5s turn on (they're actually way more white than any violet or Blue LED)
16:00 - Coral Plus T5s turn off
17:00 - LEDs start to ramp down
18:00 - Actinic T5s turn off, white LEDs completely off
20:00 - Blue/Violet LEDs off
Beyond this there may be moonlight as the controller as a moonlight "simulator" where a full moon is about 4% of My blue LEDs, which is way brighter than any full moon (relatively speaking), but lights are absolutely off at 23:30 as said simulator only has the moonlight setting on during the "dark" period and it's not related to whether or not the Moon is actually in the sky.
As to the the 40G tank, well that tank currently has 3 RBTAs, 1 of the original 2 I put in there already split, mushrooms on the sand bed, and 2 zoa frags on the rocks, so it's not too fancy right now which is why the lack of pictures. Hoping to get my hand on some Zoa frags and maybe some other softies to color up the rocks anymore. Plus the lack of herbivores means the rocks are more algae covered (snails are great, but they're nothing compared to tangs)
Ok added a sense of "permanency" to some of my frags and glued them to rocks, a few with large heavy bases still kinda just tosses on top of rocks.
So got back from camping, don't ask: back hurts like a MFer, and noticed the autofeeder on my 200 was flashing 17:00 as in I was setting the time and didn't complete the process, translation: I don't think they got fed for about 3 days... everything is fine though. Alkalinity is doing well on that tank though, it's the one tank I'm not manually dosing so figures my laziness wouldn't cause it's downfall. Still trying to keep ahead on the little frag QT tank. Kind of want to plumb it into the 200 but then that defeats the purpose of a "QT" tank, sometime in the future maybe I'll just have a frag growout tank instead, especially as I am very rapidly running out of space for corals... plenty of space but I'm looking at the bigger "grown out" picture. Got some real nice frags, just waiting to see how they color up in my tank before posting pics.
And since Maureen asked so nicely, here's the 40
Lots of brown as you can see, may have a bit to do with overfeeding, 2 clowns for the longest time. We'll see. Also having issues with keeping the alkalinity up on this tank too which is surprising considering no stony corals nor coraline growth (that I can see).
The right side, there's 2 zoanthid frags (need moar!) 2 RBTAs that I need to get rid of as I don't just want a big swirling mess of anemones in the tank, well unless they were all different colors And I swear I cleaned the glass, you can see the magnet in the back! guess I just did a piss poor job at doing it
And here's the left side with the one anemone I want to keep, it seems to have anchored under the rock which is great, however I know that as soon as I put anything on that big surface there it'll climb back up. Recently added 3 chromis too, they got over their shyness real quick as soon as I started putting food in the tank
Also playing with the idea in the future to tie this tank into the 200 as well just for ease of .. well everything, won't need a sump, skimmer, heater, etc, plus I can use the space under for ATO storage. However I need to move it closer, and do have a spot, that actually works well, but half that room is still under construction (that I haven't been able to work on for the better part of ... well since I finished the last half of the room, I blame my wife)
Ok, white lights are so bleh... when the blues are in effect that's when I actually like this tank
Here's the main RBTA of the tank
Gus' rescued Toadstool.
One of the "needs to be removed" RBTAs
One I got from the MARS swap labeled "Scrambled Eggs", hasn't grown much at all though.
Something given to me that said to be Utter Chaos, although looking at pictures online doesn't look anything like it, reminds me of old school Fire & Ice zoas, not that I'm complaining they look good and it's not like I paid for them.
Here's a bounce, and then some of my ROYGBIV Rhodactis (because I'm going to give them insane names too!)
OG mini carpet anemone
Maxi-mini carpet, this was also a Gus rescue, sorry this one I'm keeping... because I couldn't get it out if I wanted. I always forget about this because it decided to attach right behind some rocks and I have to get at a weird angle just to see it. But damn it looks hot.
So yeah, I think the plan for this tank is just more zoas, maybe some ricordia or yumas. Got tons of those ROYGBIVs so need to think those out via the frag swap, although I'm sure if I set up a stall at the CFM and use a Kessil 360X with nothing but blue to illuminate I could sell them for a bank