Reef tank lighting schedule – What is the ideal spectrum program for your LED lights? | Reef FAQs

Reef tank lighting schedule – What is the ideal spectrum program for your LED lights? | Reef FAQs


– It’s BRStv Reef FAQ Wednesday, and today we answer, “How
do I program, spectrum?” “Is it time to start flipping switches?” (upbeat synth music) Hey, I’m Ryan with BRStv Reef FAQs, a resource for quick,
straight to the point answers in realizing that dream reef tank. It’s time to answer how to
program your LED lights, meaning intensity, photo
periods, spectrum, and ramp time. This week, we’re taking
on just the spectrum portion of that question. But more importantly, how do
you know when you got it right? This will be a bit more in-depth than your average FAQ, but anyone looking to solve the challenges,
or more directly put, solve the lighting-related mortalities that they’ve been experiencing, or just enjoys the payoff
of system design perfection, this is it. For 90 percent or more
reefs are using LEDs. The days of plug-and-play simplicity with halides and T5s. And the no-brainer approach
to spectrum are long gone. The LEDs now give us
the keys to the spectrum and intensity kingdom. But sadly, with few exceptions, most of the manufacturers
out there didn’t bother to tell us how to drive when
they handed us those keys. Most provide almost no information on how to adjust the spectrum or intensity to support the metabolic
function of the animals that we care for. Because of that, many people just adjust to what looks good to the
eye and hope for the best. All these sliders are essentially the same as allowing the average driver to adjust the car’s computer for
custom air-gas mixtures without any real guidance
on what that’s gonna do. Or at least this is a
super advanced feature that should only be used by the pros. More or less, all this amounts to the slide and play approach. Some reefers will get lucky, some are just intuitive guessers. But many, obviously, fail. Fail, meaning mortalities, slow growth, and undesirable coloration. Our goal here is the
highest percentage path to success possible. So we’re gonna share our unique solution and define that in relation to spectrum. Luckily, you don’t need
to be a marine biologist or get this absolutely perfect to have a successful reef tank. The most important
factor here is stability. Corals are amazingly adaptive creatures, if you’d just give them a chance. That primarily means
resisting the temptation to flip the switches. If there’s one thing that you’d take away from this entire video. Let it be set spectrum to
the best of your ability and then leave it alone
for nine to 12 months, if not permanently. If you’re flipping
switches every week, month, or even every few months,
don’t be surprised if it shows in negative results. That’s another reason
why T5 and halide bulbs produce those plug-and-play results, not because every bulb
had the perfect spectrum, but the nature of the bulb is only changed about every 12 to 18 months. Stability is king. So what are the best spectrum
settings for our reefs, and how do we implement them? Meaning all those UV,
violet, deep blue, blue, light blue, green, red, and
now even infrared channels. What are you supposed to do with them all? Again, they’re not actually color channels that we can flip to whatever we like and expect the corals to thrive. The channels are
essentially beams of energy, and the corals have adapted over millennia to specific spectrum ranges. Meaning they can use
specific wavelength peaks much more efficiently than others. And some spectrums can actually cause major metabolic differences
like drastic color changes. This chart from Orphek is a good example of the spectrum peaks
many of the coral types utilize and the areas the
corals can potentially utilize them most efficiently. You can see the color of
the light on the bar below, and how that references
different nanometers or wavelengths of light. And above that, you can
see where the various types of chlorophyll and
carotenoids are the most deficient at absorbing
those energy wavelengths, which our eyes see as color. Well, all those LED channels
have very specific peaks that blended together, create
the desired spectrum mix. For instance, here’s our measurements of all the different spectrum
peaks of the AI Prime channels and then what the spectrum mix looks like when they’re all blended together to make it one cohesive spectrum mix. Like the AB custom mix that
we made for the AI Prime. How well each light is able to do this is up to some debate, but
you can certainly see those that are making a strong attempt, because they tell you what you’re doing and why they do it. For instance, here’s
another graph that measures the spectrum offering
that the Oprhek produces and how it overlays with the
light of energy requirements of many of the corals. Okay, how in the world
is a reefer supposed to do this at home? Because I can guarantee almost none of you own a multi-thousand dollar spectrometer to measure spectrum and blend all those spectrums perfectly. There has to be a better
way than slide and pray. Well by far the best way to do that is expect the manufacturer
of the light you bought to do that for you. I think most reefers just
want to set the light to coral health setting and plug it in. The light is in fact designed
to support coral health. So it’s not too much
to ask from the people that are selling it for that purpose. If the pro-level reefers
want to do the research, adjust the sliders from
there, that’s awesome, but it should probably
be hidden in some pro tab which might be properly
referenced as death or brown-town mode if the switches are treated like a toy
and flipped frequently. Some of the companies
who’ve done that the best over the years are Kessil with the peaks important to metabolic health locked down. But the less critical peaks
adjustable for visual appeal. Something they call Kessil Logic. EcoTech’s Coral Labs and
AB Plus spectrum mix, based on research and results
in high-demand environments, like coral grow-out facilities where maximizing growth and coloration is what makes them profitable. Red Sea’s new REEF-SPEC
has lock down options based on their research
is another example. In these cases, and in any other case, where the light manufacturer
directly suggests this is the right mix for a reef tank, or even further refines
it to SPS or LPS mode. I’d trust their expertise and
use their spectrum settings. Optimized settings designed for the goal is part of what you get when
you pick the right light. If you don’t trust their expertise, I think it might be wise
to consider another option rather than try to fix their
lack of expertise yourself. It’s likely a manufacturer’s
lack of understanding or effort to the light’s intended use is going to show itself
in a variety of ways. Get the right tool for the right job, and you’ll be happy with
the results it produces. So there are many options out there that only provide slider bars and limited advice on how to use them. To be frank, the options
which don’t put a lot of money into R&D are often lower cost, which obviously is attractive for those that are willing to put
a bit more effort in to achieve the same results. There’s no universal right answer here, but there are a few paths. First, as part of BRStv
Investigates episodes on the individual lights,
we generally recommend a specific spectrum mix,
often based on using a spectrometer to measure
and adjust the light to emulate the most successful
spectrum mixes in the hobby. Certainly a good resource on the spectrum in LED light is capable of producing, and then how to mix them to
achieve the desired goal. Outside of that, if there are
limited resources available on the light that you selected, most people will have to
make their best guess. As a general statement
on well-designed lights with proper LED spectrum ratios, this may be helpful but it doesn’t apply to every last light. The most beneficial way flanks tend to be what the eye perceives
as the blue spectrums. For that reason, most reefers will turn those UV, violet, blue spectrums to max, and add white in until it looks appealing. Most reefers will then use
the red and green sparingly, because the reefing community’s
undecided on their value. There’s a lot of discussion on the value of red, in particular. Red and green also tend
to really highlight the disco ball effect. Because those individual
colors are easy to see, shooting all around the tank. Once you get this adjusted, you’ll likely have to take the second
step of adjusting them all down in ratio to each other to get the desired par or intensity. Some options, like the Radion and Kessil have intensity sliders
which adjust intensity or ratio of all the channels together. But a majority require
you to do it individually. We’ll get into intensity next week, but renting a par meter is the best bet. However, rather than
sliding all the blues up where they’re better past? If you don’t know what’s best, ask. Almost any question on
REEF2REEF or our Facebook group, #AKSBRStv community is
answered by multiple people within minutes, because
things like Facebook groups are attached to your phone. It’s easy and can often
get a dozen responses inside of 10 minutes. Most of the communities are also willing to show you their actual
results associated with the exact light you’re
using in their settings. So my personal opinion
to get the best results are from emulating those
who come before you. The next bit on this is something
called spectrum blending. That means our T5 and halide
bulbs offer a uniform spectrum but LEDs need a slew of different
LED peaks to emulate that. Visually, it may look blended
but if you look closely at the tank, you can
often see individual dots or lines of white, blue, green, or red shooting all around the tank. And that’s what the hobby
refers to as spectrum hotspots or poorly blended spectrum. Much of this is created by the ripples on the surface of the water, catching the individual LED spectrums, magnifying it, and shooting
it all around the tank. I think the jury is still
out on how much this matters. But I can say with near
100 percent confidence almost everyone would prefer a uniform, perfectly blended spectrum
if they had the choice. Outside of that, a well-blended spectrum not only is almost certainly
better metabolically for the coral, but it also
looks a ton better visually. Properly blending the spectrum eliminates the little green, red, and blue dots shooting all around the
tank in the most unpleasant of disco ball effects. There are three common
solutions to that currently. First, is Kessil’s approach of putting all the LEDs under a single
lens does a really good job of blending all the
individual spectrums together, something that we tested
in air and underwater in BRStv Investigates. Also, the diffused options which use a sheet diffuser material
to blend the spectrums. The most common in the US being EcoTech’s Radion optional diffuser. This does reduce the light output a bit, but comes with performance advantages. I don’t think most people
buy high-end lights like this for maximum par alone, but really maximum performance
on a variety of fronts. This is again, something
you can see definitively in the diffuser Investigates episode. Third, you can pair your
LEDs with T5’s even spectrum which will mute the spectrum hotspots, something that you can see both visually as well as likely metabolically. Another question here
is, “Should the spectrum “change throughout the day, such a bluer “in the morning or evening?” I can say, well I don’t think anyone knows the answer to this definitively. We do know that changing spectrum is not required for success. If you do want to change the
spectrum for visual appeal, I’d consider doing it similar to the way Kessil Logic does it
which is reduce the whites but leave all the blues the same. Then remember, stability is more important than anything that we’ve said today. Set it, let the corals adapt, and achieve the desired results. I will say the WWC does
change your spectrum throughout the day from whiter to bluer with very minimal ramp times. The mentality is somewhat
turbo-charged photosynthesis in the morning and then give them a break throughout the rest of the day. I think anyone considering
either new lighting or optimizing their current lighting, will benefit from watching
that lighting episode of the hybrid series. It’s almost certain that
you’ll take away something that benefits your tank. See you next Wednesday with the next batch of BRStv Reef FAQs.


15 thoughts on “Reef tank lighting schedule – What is the ideal spectrum program for your LED lights? | Reef FAQs

  1. I use my LPS to get my lighting in the ball park. Actinics @ 100%, 10k just untill my LPS stop reaching for light and start soaking it up. No other spectrums. My coral aren't very demanding though and the only SPS I have is a birdsnest.

  2. If im going with a 2/4 bulb T5 and LED mix, what is optimal colors for each? Should T5 be blue/mixed/white etc, and should LED compliment the T5 or be on the opposite spectrum?

  3. I wish BRS could make a video about the maxspect RSX settings to mimic a proven spectrum blend.. I struggle with finding the right settings as it has 4 different channels

  4. Now I have had an idea, we know it's bad to switch programmes, in short spaces of time, but with various schedules available like the AI signature series, if the one you are currently using isn't working switching is inevitable..so.. what companies could/should do is create a "morph" feature where you can morph from one schedule to another over an extended period of time, kind of like aclimatisation mode but fancier… now I'm not sure if or how this would be possible but would be a great way to change schedules while minimizing stress as much as possible due to making the change slowly

  5. my tank has too much light and its just white and red and green and little blue but mostly white and i dont like it like that and i cant change it:C

  6. Que preset o configuración aconsejas para una hydra 52 hd para lps y sps??tengo un acuario cubo .

  7. Hi, I want to build a DIY 3w LED light for a marine aquarium which has 160cm x 60 cm x 60cm . How many of the 3w Leds will be enough to light up the tank to the SDS demands? And more important wich % of Royal Blue, Blue, UV, White 10k to use? Thanks for the help!

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