[Coral-List] Suitable lighting for coral maintenance in the aquarium

Capman, William capman at augsburg.edu
Wed May 31 17:35:26 EDT 2017

There have been some good LED suggestions here.

I will add that if you are on a tight budget (a common situation for
researchers!), another budget option might be something like this:


This general sort of fixture seems to be selling for just under 100 U.S.
dollars (well, in the U.S. anyway - I don't know how prices are elsewhere).

Note, that with this sort of fixture you can independently dim the blue and
the white lights for some degree of color temperature manipulation (nowhere
near as sophisticated as with the Radion fixtures, of course).

I know a number of people using these Chinese-made fixtures for growing
corals with good success.  And I have two that are similar to this that I
bought used from an acquaintance, and I have a variety of corals growing
well under them.  And I know several people who are using the all red LED
versions of these fixtures to light their algal turf scrubbers.  These
fixtures produce a lot of light.

I'm not necessarily endorsing a particular brand or seller here, nor am I
suggesting that these are better than the other LED options mentioned (I
don't think they are, and I don't know much about their long-term
reliability), but rather am just pointing out that there is this budget
option (that might be competitive with build-it-yourself prices?) that
could give you a lot of light for not a lot of money in comparison to many
other options.  These might not be the lights to choose for really long
term use (for systems that you expect to have running for many years), but
they might be an affordable way to give you ample light for your immediate
research needs.

On Wed, May 31, 2017 at 9:42 AM, Ulf Erlingsson <ceo at lindorm.com> wrote:

> The other week I was a searching for info on light level on natural corals
> and found an article saying that aquariums notoriously have too little
> light, so you may want to measure in the field and make sure you get the
> appropriate light level in lux or in energy per square meter.
> Ulf Erlingsson
> President and CEO
> Lindorm, Inc.
> 10699 NW 123 St Rd
> Medley, FL 33178
> http://lindorm.com
> ceo at lindorm.com
> +1-305 888 0762 office
> +1-305 888 0978 fax
> +1-305 308 6334 mobile
> On 2017-05-30, at 11:28 , Capman, William <capman at augsburg.edu> wrote:
> People are having good results with both LED and T5 lights (and sometimes
> with combinations of the two!).
> Personally, my favorite lighting for small polyped stony corals is metal
> halide - this is tried and true lighting for stony coral aquaria that can
> give really excellent growth.  I have used 6500K bulbs as well as 10,000k
> bulbs - the 6500K bulbs give excellent growth (some folks have told me they
> feel 6500K bulbs give the best growth), though corals do fine under the
> 10,000K bulbs and when appearance matters the latter look nicer.
> A rough rule of thumb from Delbeek and Sprung's wonderful book "The Reef
> Aquarium" is 3 - 5 watts of light per gallon (those recommendations were
> from the days of metal halide and fluorescent lighting - I don't know how
> to translate that into LED lighting).  Personally, when using metal halide
> lighting I have tended to use roughly 6 to 10 watts per gallon (e.g. a 250
> or 400 watt metal halide over a tank as small as 40 gallons), and have had
> excellent growth with the likes of Pocillopora and various Acropora species
> (I imagine this would be too much light for some deeper water corals
> though?).
> LED lights have the ability to be dimmed, and colors can be manipulated
> (assuming you have some basis for deciding what color balance is good!).
> Metal halides can create heat problems (not an issue though if you have
> good temperature control in the room with your tanks).
> There are many different lighting options here, and what you go with will
> likely in part depend on what you have available in your area.  Note that
> one needs to be careful about changes in light intensity, in particular
> making adjustments to higher light gradually.
> If there are any good quality coral reef aquarium shops in your area I
> would visit these and see what they are using and what they recommend.
> Even better:  See if there is a local coral reef aquarium hobbyist group in
> your area - in the U.S anyway, I have found some of the members of our
> local marine aquarium society to be *extremely* knowledgeable and
> experienced, and this would likely give you the opportunity to see a
> variety of fully functional coral reef systems in person.  This is
> important because the lighting is only part of what it takes to keep corals
> healthy and growing - the lighting is important, but there is so much more
> to system design than just the lighting.
> Also, there are some wonderful online forums, such as
> http://web1.reefcentral.com/forums/index.php?s=
> There is a wealth of information already in the discussion threads at such
> forums (if you have time to wade through the many *many* threads and posts
> and find the information relevant to you!), and there are many helpful,
> knowledgeable people who could answer questions. And you could probably
> find local coral reef aquarium hobbyists in your area through such forums..
> Even though you are apparently wanting to grow corals for research, *don't
> underestimate the value of making connections with the reef aquarium
> hobbyist community, since quite a few of these people are extremely
> knowledgeable, very sophisticated aquarists with great skill in growing and
> propagating corals.*  Some of the most amazing, sophisticated coral reef
> aquarium systems (with healthy, thriving, live corals) I have ever seen
> have been in people's homes, and quite a lot of what we know about how to
> grow corals in aquaria was initially figured out by advanced hobbyists.
> I hope this helps (and I apologize for not making the metric conversions!).
> Bill
> On Mon, May 29, 2017 at 7:18 PM, Zachary Ostroff <zachostroff at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> I suggest reaching out to the public aquarium industry. They can help you
> select appropriate equipment for the dimensions of the system you need to
> illuminate, and what you desire to grow in it.
> Zach Ostroff
> Marine Exploration Center, St. Petersburg FL
> www.mecstpete.org <http://www.mecstpete.org/>
> Facebook.com/MECStPete <http://facebook.com/MECStPete>
> Message: 2
> Date: Thu, 25 May 2017 15:58:11 +0000 (UTC)
> From: SIVIWE ELVIS <siviweelvis at yahoo.com>
> Subject: [Coral-List] Suitable lighting for coral maintenance in the
>      aquarium
> To: <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
> Message-ID: <1657713927.1964449.1495727891410 at mail.yahoo.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> Dear fellow Coral Reef researchers
> I am interested in conducting aquarium experiments with corals
> (Pocillopora and Anomastrea species) to be collected from the wild
> (inter-tidal and sub-tidal zone). This is to inquire about the best lights
> to use which would produce the natural day light spectrum to mimic the
> natural coral environment, achieving optimal growth for these coral animals
> while in maintained in glass tanks.
> I am not good with lights but I seemingly need to make a choice between
> either T5 (fluorescent tube) or T8 (LED strips tube) lights for coral
> maintenance. Any advice and suggestions or references in this regard will
> be highly appreciated.
> Thank you
> Best regards
> Siviwe Babane (MSc Marine Biology student)
> University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN)
> College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science
> School of Life Science
> Biological Science Department
> Westville, University road
> Durban
> 4000
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