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    Glassbox Lighting: LEDs, LEDs and some JP Metal Halide for Good Measure

    Yesterday, those of you that are following us on Facebook, got a top down glimpse of the glassbox. (If you’re on FB, you can find us here). Included in the image were plenty of LED reflections coming from the light rack up above which spurred questions on what lighting is currently being used. Some you […]

    modern aquarium

    Yesterday, those of you that are following us on Facebook, got a top down glimpse of the glassbox. (If you’re on FB, you can find us here). Included in the image were plenty of LED reflections coming from the light rack up above which spurred questions on what lighting is currently being used.

    Some you may remember that originally the tank was illumianted by a pair of 150w Superkaru, Japanese metal halide spotlights. These are terrific lights, with high PAR and amazing spectral qualities. However, they last about 6 months. At $200 a lamp, that gets old very quickly.

    Back in April of 2009 I wrote a piece stating LEDs are a practical reality if used properly. Specifically refering to the use of optics to illuminate specific areas of the aquarium. LEDs offer tremendous control. For someone who prefers coral, or area, specific lighting today’s LEDs put all else to shame.

    Fast forward 18 months  and the glassbox is nearly entirely illuminated by LEDs. The lone exception is a 250w MT-250 metal halide spotlight.

    Current lighting:

    • 1 x AI Sol Blue (90% B, 90%RB, 55%W)
    • MT-250 Metal Halide (MzOne lamp, equivalent to Phx 14K)
    • 1x 12k Nano Customs Par38 LED Spotlight
    • 1x 20K Nano Custom Par38 LED Spotlight
    • 3x Blue Cree XR-E 3w LED spotlights

    led spotlights glassbox

    The main light is the AI Sol. This has an 8 hour photo period and offer the widest spread. The light is 20″ off the water’s surface, suspended via 2 cables that screw directly into the Sol’s heatsink. This light offers ample par and the dimming controls are fantastic.

    The MT250 halide is on for 3.5 hours a day. The light is angled slightly to catch the front side of the corals. This helps improve coral coloration when viewing them through the glass. If it were not for the sharp looks and associated Japanese reef tank allure, I would replace this and be 100% LEDs. That said, I love this fixture. The barn doors and boxy shape allow me to hide smaller spotlights behind it.

    The remaining LED spotlights are on for 5 hours day and staggered in their schedules. They provide a little pop of light to corals that may demand more PAR to look their best. Specifically the 12K PAR38 is aimed at a Sunset Montipora and Strawberry Shortcake Acropora to pull out their warmer colors.

    4 Comments

    1. Anonymous
      December 21, 2010 at 4:42 PM | Permalink

      Tank is looking good. I like the way you have setup the lighting, and the way you mount them over the tank.

    2. December 21, 2010 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

      I wish I could get my hands on those barn door’d halides, they’re a thing of industrial beauty. Here’s an idea, led rigs with barn doors for 2011, that’d be nice.

    3. December 25, 2010 at 8:58 PM | Permalink

      Looking good Eric!!!

    4. Crab Rangoon
      January 10, 2011 at 6:57 PM | Permalink

      Eric,

      How high off the water is your AI fixture, and the PAR38 lamps? My tank is very similar dimensions, and I’m soon to replace half of my PAR38’s with an AI unit. Just hoping for a comparison – thanks!

    One Trackback

    1. December 21, 2010 at 12:23 PM

      […] Glassbox Lighting: LEDs, LEDs and some JP Metal Halide for Good Measure […]

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