Lighting suggestions

Aquarist

Junior Poster
Apr 3, 2015
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Hey everyone,


I am going to be piecing together all the equipment I need to set up my 180 gallon as the planted aquarium on my dreams. I am leaning towards LED lights so I can use the hood that I already have for this aquarium, but I have not settled on that yet. I have looked a several different types of LEDs, I know BML works well, I am currently running one BML light on my 75 gallon after one of my T5HO fixtures died.


These are the LED options I am looking at:


BML:


One 5000k XB series


One 10,000k XB series


One 6,500k XB series


One 6,300k Color control series


One of the reasons I am leading toward BML over other fixtures is I have had good results with the one I am using on my 75 gallon and the fact that I can hook them up to the Apex led controller and have them automatically dim and brighten to simulate the natural movement and spectrum of the sun's daily cycle. I probably only really need three lamps but I thinking four will give me a much better spread of light across the bottom of the aquarium, the fixture will be resting inside my hood about 2 inches from the surface of the water.


EVO Quad:


I have never used these, but have read things from a few people that have seemed to get good results from them, I was thinking of using A total of six 24 inch fixtures. The fixture found here:


http://www.aquatraders.com/LED-Aquar...t-p/56574p.htm


I am just wondering if these would be worth in investment, it would be much less to get these lights, totaling a little under $700 as to there I am looking at around $2,000 for the BML lighting. One of my main concerns is there are not many spectrum to choose from, it looks as it is 6,500k or nothing with this lamp, and they don't seem to be dim-able which is another downside for me.


Beamworks:


I have never used these lights either and haven't seen anyone else that has as well, but stumbled on them when I was looking at the EVO Quad lights. This is by far the cheapest option it seems, I would be able to get six fixtures for around $210, the fixture I am referring here is located here:


http://www.aquatraders.com/LED-Aquar...h-p/56324p.htm.


Once again it seems like you can only get these lights in on spectrum and they also appear to be non-dim-able.


The reason I am thinking about getting six 24" LEDs in the cheaper brands is because I will be able to control them better with on and off timers since they are either fully on or fully off. As to where I can control the Build My Led fixtures with the Apex controller. I want to be able to use whatever lighting I decide to go with inside the hood because it give the aquarium a really nice finished look, and since it big and in the living room it is more pleasing on the eye to keep it looking nice and finished. I do have plans of getting an Apex controller for the aquarium no matter what lights I decide to go with because with my new job I will be traveling a lot and like the control I can have with the Apex system.


Here is a picture of the aquarium I am going to be working on, it is a convert from a saltwater system so it currently has reef lighting, they are DIY lights and I tried to fix them they best I could when I got the aquarium but a lot of them have burned out and I am down to one bar of lights that are still functional.


2D1F0FC9-706B-48E6-91B3-5D9B1E9A5992_zpsw9anpbgu.jpg
 
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Aquarist

Junior Poster
Apr 3, 2015
23
0
1
Yeah I figured I didn't need four, but was thinking about getting them to have more control of the spectrum. During 90% of the day I would only be running three of the fixtures and only have all four on for "Noon". I planned on getting the dimmers with them just in case, and the dimmer cable that will work with the Apex system.


Which three fixtures are you using current? Are you getting good growth and deep coloration in you non-green plants, like your reds, pinks and yellows?


Also would love to get some feed back on the other lights I mentioned, I've talked with a guy about the Evo Quad and he says they work really well, not sure if anyone has used them there.
 

Kathy Yata

Junior Poster
Mar 15, 2015
34
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So sad that BML doesn't have 120 lenses available! If you could just raise your light 16" above the tank 2 lengths would be plenty of light with 90 lenses. I am pretty sure putting 2 BML strips in a hood wouldn't cut it.


What about a combination? Use 4 cheap ones front and back but have one BML centered for better color control and perhaps a more subtle sunrise/sunset?
 

Aquarist

Junior Poster
Apr 3, 2015
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That is a good idea, I think ultimately I will go with the BML, they offer more of what I am looking for, that and the fact it will work with the Apex controller is great. Think I might try one of the cheap Beamwork lights on my 20g long and see if it works out well or not.
 

jemco

New Member
Dec 8, 2014
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I'm glad you have no problems with BML. Back in December I went with 2 fixtures for my 120gallon, rear - 6300K XB 90 degree beam angle, front - 10,000k XB w/same beam angle. Since then I've had nothing but problems with quality of product. 1st, when I got 6300k fixture it wouldn't work so I had to wait 2weeks for another fixture PLUS cable from power supply to outlet was "frayed", then had problem with Solunar controller, so they emailed me a flash firmware update. when I downloaded it it crashed my computer so I had to send the controller back to them for the update. Then in January I had a problem with the front fixture and had to send that back for a new one. While waiting for that I emailed them and told them to change the beam angle from 90 to 75 degrees. They responded with an email acknowledging the change. Guess what after 2 weeks I received the fixture with 90 instead of 75 beam angle. After being so fed up I sent a very stern email to co-founder Nick Klause and within a week recieved the right beam angled fixture. Everything was going fine after that until a few days ago when I started having problems with the 6300k fixture not turning on unless I "jiggled" the wiring. Now they are sending me a new power supply and light. TBH their quality control sucks. Their customer service is great. I only wish their products were as good as their cust. serv. If I had to do all over again I would have went with the MaxSpecht Razor 300w 8000k led lighting fxture
 

Chris Noto

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jemco said:
I'm glad you have no problems with BML. Back in December I went with 2 fixtures for my 120gallon, rear - 6300K XB 90 degree beam angle, front - 10,000k XB w/same beam angle. Since then I've had nothing but problems with quality of product. (SNIP!)

You have really been around the block with BML! I did a bit of web searching, and didn't find anything else in the way of problem reporting on the web. One thing I did find was several notices of employment opportunities at BML, which doesn't surprise me, as they seem to be ahead on price, compared to their competition, are using Just In Time production to minimize their cost of inventory, and are getting great buzz around the aquarium community.


I'd guess that rapid expansion is their blessing and curse right now, making it hard to keep up with demand and simultaneously maintain build quality.
 

Pikez

Rotala Killer!
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May 12, 2013
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Aquarist said:
Yeah I figured I didn't need four, but was thinking about getting them to have more control of the spectrum. During 90% of the day I would only be running three of the fixtures and only have all four on for "Noon". I planned on getting the dimmers with them just in case, and the dimmer cable that will work with the Apex system.

Which three fixtures are you using current? Are you getting good growth and deep coloration in you non-green plants, like your reds, pinks and yellows?


Also would love to get some feed back on the other lights I mentioned, I've talked with a guy about the Evo Quad and he says they work really well, not sure if anyone has used them there.

I have 3 BML Dutch xB. Middle and back strips have 90 angles. Light over foreground is a slightly narrower angle beam for penetration. But turns out that I don't need any extra penetration. I definitely need dimmers. If I were to do it over, I'd still get 2 Dutch but may be one 10K strip to add some coolness.


Yes, getting good growth and they make my Rotala mac, Ammania, Persicaria nice and red. My brown Myrio tuberculatum turned red too. But that may not have much to do with the light.


I've used lots of other LEDs and keep going back to BML. Tried Finnex Ray2 but it was way too green. I have a garage full of 180s with big fish that get lit by rejected LEDs from other makers. Then again, BML is not what it used to be. Haven't had any of the issues Jemco has had. Their speed and customer service is slipping. Business must be growing faster than they're set up to handle. It took them 3 weeks to ship out my SoLunar dimmer! I had to make a WTF call. It got shipped the next day.
 

shoggoth43

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Well that might explain the fact that I keep having to follow up email to them with numerous phone calls to get a response. I suppose it's good to have too much business but knowing the trouble I've had getting some basic, and not so basic but hardly advanced, questions answered and hearing about the QC issues I may give up and look elsewhere or just hold off for a bit and wait for them to get their quality sorted out. I shouldn't have to chase people down to get them to take my money.... :/
 

jemco

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Dec 8, 2014
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The sad part is when you place an order with BML there is like a 2 page email they send you about how ur light is being built with robotics and then baked in 400 degree ovens to solder the led'S into the light properly and then technicians test the light multiple times with power supply and blah, blah, blah... and only when they light passes all these tests do they ship it. Then you receive the light and out of the box it doesn't work or u can see frayed wires on the power supply SO obviously the email they send you is BS.
 

Aquarist

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Apr 3, 2015
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I didn't know so many people have had problems with BML. I've bought one light from them and it was okay out of the box and it still running strong. But it was a horticulture light.
 

PhilipS

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May 10, 2014
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That's a lot of different lights to fuss with. Have you considered going with pendants? 3-4 Kessil A160 Tuna Suns will brighten that tank as much as you want. Each covers the spectrums you want.


Beamworks light run hot.


Back in the 80-90's I had a 180 with 8 VHO fluorescent tubes. Pendants don't transfer heat. At least not Kessils. If you have to pay more than $230 each let me know. I can get them for less, new.
 

Aquarist

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Apr 3, 2015
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So funny, I was just about to come and post about the Kessil light, I kinda like them and have seen good reviews, I think I might be able to light it with 3 of them. They have a good return policy so I think I can order one of the A160 Tuna suns and see how well it works and if I think I need more lighting I can get the A360 instead. I like how those lights can daisy chain and I like the fact they offer a controller for them also and it's only $100 but not sure if I will just get an Apex system first then get the lights. I am in no hurry to set it up, but I do want to buy quality parts so when I migrate my 75 gallon into the 180 it will be awesome!


I know I ultimately want to get an Apex because with my new job I will I start in May I will be doing a great deal of travel and I can control a lot of the aquarium with it. I know I would like to get their dosing system and a feeder that is compatible. I'm just not sure which Apex system I want to get yet.
 

PhilipS

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Go with the standard Apex. It will control all your aquariums with additional probes and power banks. Its a little more than buying the junior with pH probe and module. Skip the Kessil controller and use the Apex. Why fuss with many remotes. Use one computer to handle many functions and yes, you can connect it to your LAN or WAN or wifi.


​Call Kessil and see which lamp is better for your tank.
 

shoggoth43

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Well, I'm getting good coverage on my 60"x18" with 2 A160WE lights. The 160s are good for 18", but honestly I suspect I could put them higher for 24" coverage. I'm running them at 25% and fighting a complete green soup tank. So they're pretty powerful on a 24" depth tank. Maybe the reef guys need more power, but I don't think it's an issue here. The "official" Kessil recomendation was 3-4 on this tank based on an 18" spread and the ability to aim them. I know the 360s are supposedly good for 24" coverage so I suspect you'd need three. I can say that I don't really notice or play with the colors much on it. I just leave it on the warm side and only go towards the bluish side at daylight and night time just because it looks different as the intensity ramps up/down. This is using the Kessil controller. You'd probably get much more flexibility with an Apex though. The Kessil controller REALLY doesn't like to do the mid day siesta thing.