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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Over a year ago I switched over to AI sol's with the intent to save money and was sold by the functionality of these units. Back story , I have a 60 gallon cube that had a 250w radium driven by a bluewave 3 ballast with 2x24w retro ice cap set up. Although I was extremely happy with the over all look of my tank, I bit on the hype of the LED craze. When I first hooked up the AI's , I did the slow acclimation starting at 10% and increasing every week 5 % up to 50% . I ran these at 50% for a while and noticed that my acans turned orange or red losing multicolored traits. Chalice coral were being bleached out. SPS were still growing with very little color. Then I did some reading on LED success stories and more and more i heard that you had to ramp these up to a higher setting. I then did this with the 5% every week up to 80%. Still all my coral were not happy. Under the blue led's everything pretty impressive but I believe that it masked the problem of the coral losing their color under normal 15k lighting. I ran these at 80% for a while and never really noticed how bad my corals looked until I fragged a Garf Bonsai and placed it under a halide lit aquarium . To my dismay , the bonsai looked extremely pale . Under my AI sols , the bonsai looked to be a deep purple . So I placed some favias , other SPS , acans and chalices in the Halide lit aquarium , and WOW I couldn't believe my eyes. Almost all of my corals looked like they were hit by some napalm . Growing more and more frustrated I started to look at other LeD lit aquariums and almost every case I could not see very good pictures under a 15k look. Most pictures were taken under actinic and everything looks different under actinic, but doesn't necessarily give the true look of the corals color. I used to take a lot of pictures under my old lighting and every pic I took under my LEDs , nothing came out right. Finally after a year of giving it my best shot I decided to go back to Halide and T5's.
 

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Always good to hear the experiences of others, thanks for the post. Hope your corals start to get there color back in time. I have been considering the switch to LED's myself in time of course. Currently, running MH and T5's over my 90 and love the light mix. Even more so, now that I picked up some new MH bulbs, Ushio 14k.
 

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Metal halide is just plain hard to beat. Saving money in this hobby is a losing battle. I stick with what works, and halides have for a very long time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Just wanted to give visual comparison to paint the picture

Before LEDS


During LEDS . The look of the tank just looked to fake , manufactured, or just plain not natural looking



Now today back to halides and T5's
Notice how unhealthy the corals look. It will be a road to recovery , I just hope that it will be a short road:flood::victory:



here is a good example of what happened to my garf bonsai.
Before under halide and t5



And now back under halide t5 Day 1 after being lit by LED

 

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Hey Pete,

Sorry to hear about the corals suffering. Your experience is why I still am not a fan of LEDs. They lack UV emitting. This is a major component for corals and their color. Coral color is basically sunscreen for corals. So no UV no need for UV induced color pigments.
 

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So, those of us growing Corals with LEDs and not using UV's must have special mutant corals, eh?

The AI SOL has mediocre color, which is because it's a cool-white based unit, but nobody listens. Seen some pretty good large SPS tanks lit with AI SOL units over at reef-central, but that must be an illusion.

Turning up your LED light while corals are stressing is kind of like sawing your leg off, but doing it slowly so you don't feel it. Did you do it on purpose just to watch your corals bleach?

Looking at the photos there's more going on than light bleaching given the rabid RTN, but if you want to blame the AI be my guest. We now have an other myth that LEDs kill coral on a Michigan forum. Good job guys. Over the years being on reefing forums I've counted about a hundred times somebody's *HALIDE* based tank just got up and crashed for no reason. Snail died under a rock, etc. Problem is.....no LEDs to blame.

One thing that is a myth is the UV BS. Lots of T5 lights out there not emitting UV-A and growing corals just fine. Also, while halides do emit UV-A, it's typically filtered by the jacket.

My softie tank looks just fine, and after two years doesn't have a problem under LEDs. I could of course go back to halides and play russian roulette with halide bulbs given that no two ever match.

 

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Most pictures were taken under actinic and everything looks different under actinic, but doesn't necessarily give the true look of the Corals color.
Last thing, but have you ever been in the ocean? I have, and no halide (nor LED rig) looks a thing like the corals I see in the keys. Halide bulbs, T5 tubes and LEDs alls make corals glow artificial.

Nobody uses 6500k high CRI tubes on their reef tank mimmicking sunlight because the colors are bland....kind of like...in real life.
 

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Take her down a notch there man. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. I've heard just as many horror stories on leds as good ones. Its obviously an emerging young technology. I just don't think its there yet.
 

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Lighting

I ran LEDs with very good success on an SPS dominated tank. I ran a fixture that I made but still good success. I did notice that my acans did tend to lose color and shift to red or orange dominated colors. That being said, I had great growth rate and I think good color under the LEDs.
Tank T5 lit

Tank LED lit

Picture of LED grown corals

Like anything certain corals grow great under certain lighting conditions. LEDs are still a young technology, I had a great experience with them. The tank I just set up I went back to T5s though.
 

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Thanks for sharing that Pete, really show's how much better people might think there corals are doing versus how good they really are doing.
 

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So, those of us growing Corals with LEDs and not using UV's must have special mutant corals, eh?

The AI SOL has mediocre color, which is because it's a cool-white based unit, but nobody listens. Seen some pretty good large SPS tanks lit with AI SOL units over at reef-central, but that must be an illusion.

Turning up your LED light while corals are stressing is kind of like sawing your leg off, but doing it slowly so you don't feel it. Did you do it on purpose just to watch your corals bleach?

Looking at the photos there's more going on than light bleaching given the rabid RTN, but if you want to blame the AI be my guest. We now have an other myth that LEDs kill coral on a Michigan forum. Good job guys. Over the years being on reefing forums I've counted about a hundred times somebody's *HALIDE* based tank just got up and crashed for no reason. Snail died under a rock, etc. Problem is.....no LEDs to blame.

One thing that is a myth is the UV BS. Lots of T5 lights out there not emitting UV-A and growing corals just fine. Also, while halides do emit UV-A, it's typically filtered by the jacket.

My softie tank looks just fine, and after two years doesn't have a problem under LEDs. I could of course go back to halides and play russian roulette with halide bulbs given that no two ever match.

You have some good looking corals. What's great about this hobby is everyone can have their own opinions. I have seen more tanks with LEDs look crappy than tanks with T5 or halides.
Also I never said anything about UV and growing corals. I said UV and UV induced color pigments. Not all coral colors are UV induced. Hence why some may be affected and others not so much under LEDs.
If we are trying to mimic the sun and the light spectrum given off isn't even falling into the UV range at all then we really aren't mimicking the sun.
 

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Okay I have debated this question for years now since LED came out and I decided to climb a mountain in Tibet to find the answer to the question, "Which is better, MH or LED?" Well I packed up the bags and flew to Tibet and searched for weeks until I finally found an old Tibetan man that told me which mountain that I had to climb to find the answers to such pressing questions. The next day I started the climb with my sherpa, Alfonso. Each of us had a 29 gallon tank and I carried the MH fixture and he carried the LED, the mule carried the MH ballast. We began our ascent in a fog, not only a fog on the mountain but in our heads about which fixture would work out the best. To make a short story we climbed for over two weeks in a constant fog and mist, falling rocks, glaciers, rivers that were empty one day and overflowing the next, just like someone's ATS that I have heard horror stories about. Finally we reached the temple and both fell to our knees in exhaustion, but then sprung back to our feet and began to set up our tanks trying to make the best impression to the man on the mountain. While we were setting up we realized that while we had brought lights and tanks we had forgotten the most important part of the equation: corals! After our horrible fate was discovered, me and Alfonso found some pretty colored rocks and sticks to try and simulate corals. Our set ups complete, the monk came out of the temple and stepped to the edge of the balcony. He looked upon both of our hastily constructed "tanks" with disdain, we both felt the shame of what we have created and hung our heads in silence. After a few seconds we raised our heads and the holy man waved us towards him. He began to walk inside the temple and we followed him. The inside of the temple was like a maze, turning this way and that way. Finally we arrived at a huge door with a strange glow coming from underneath it. Me and Alfonso looked at each other and decided to go inside, flinging the door open we both stood there in amazement. A 500 gallon reef tank was laid out before us. Everything was in there Acros, stylos, acans, polyps, mushrooms, everything. The system was pristine, not a mark on anything, and the glass was so clear that it seemed as though the water was just being held there by nothing. After a few minutes we both finally raised out heads and noticed that the tank was lit by overdriven VHO's and power compacts. It was then that we both learned our lesson about lighting reef tanks. We left the temple feeling like a couple of fools, foolish for realizing that we had known the answer all along and realized that we had spent the last three weeks climbing some stupid mountain and left our wife/husband/significant other/paid tank watcher in charge of our system at home. In a panic we just left, leaving our displays behind in order to get back to our home tanks that we loved and adored and put so much work into. Alfonso and I still wonder to this day if they took our lighting systems and used them on their huge tank, or if the ended up in the garbage. As I reflect on my adventure and write this I peer into my tank, lit by inefficient, hot, inconsistent MH bulbs and I am totally happy with what I see. I couldn't imagine my tank with any other lighting system, especially those fake looking, high tech, digital, unproven LED's. That doesn't mean that when I move in a year and set up tank big tank number 2 I won't do LED's and I will have a debate. My Lesson is this: You do what you do and I'll do what I do. I would love to hear about your system, especially your lighting, but don't bullshit me about how great it is. Every system has holes and issues, no matter how well constructed and planned. This is the part of the hobby that makes me hate being a member of sites like this. How are any of us learning anything if we are sitting here calling each other fools and idiots for how our systems are setup? I currently have a MH lighting system on my tank, I would love to hear about your LED system and what you are doing but I want to know the bad as well as the good, that's how all of us get better. Please pass this story on so that we can all move forward instead of standing in the same place calling each other idiots.
 
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