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View Full Version : Metal Halides vs. T5's vs. LED's vs. Ecofriendly Bulbs Which is better?


somewherebeyondthesea
02-21-2013, 08:00 PM
I am curious how many Canreefers out there use any of these types of lighting and maybe describe why you think this way? Have you tried them all?

Let the voting begin!:biggrin:

JmeJReefer
02-21-2013, 08:06 PM
LED fan. Price, annual costs, repair are what got me hooked. And intensity of the light. Not to mention, nearly zero heat output!!!!!

ckmullin
02-21-2013, 08:15 PM
LED fan as well.

kien
02-21-2013, 08:22 PM
oh boy, here we go!!

:pop2:

.. I use MH+T5 combo :-)

sphelps
02-21-2013, 08:31 PM
The only reason not to use LED is financial.

kien
02-21-2013, 08:40 PM
The only reason not to use LED is financial.

or you simply do not like how LEDs look :-)

Douglas
02-21-2013, 08:56 PM
Tried LED.....Switched back to MH/T5.

Aquattro
02-21-2013, 09:06 PM
or you simply do not like how LEDs look :-)

Or you like better coral colors..:)

Carrera75
02-21-2013, 09:10 PM
The only reason not to use LED is financial.

That can't be the only reason. I use a MH/T5 combo and I am super content with this fixture that I see no need to switch to LED. Oh, and I should mention that I have seen a few set ups that use LED lighting and I have not been impressed, so this is not just about money. I have the cash for it and I chose my current MH/T5 fixture over any LED fixture.

Aquattro
02-21-2013, 09:13 PM
That can't be the only reason. I use a MH/T5 combo and I am super content with this fixture that I see no need to switch to LED. Oh, and I should mention that I have seen a few set ups that use LED lighting and I have not been impressed, so this is not just about money. I have the cash for it and I chose my current MH/T5 fixture over any LED fixture.

Correct. I had MH, switched for humidity reasons, and the MH was a better light. It has a few negatives for sure, but for coral growth and color, as well as the overall look of the tank, I prefer MH.

kien
02-21-2013, 09:14 PM
Or you like better coral colors..:)

http://i1002.photobucket.com/albums/af144/muzanji/Internet%20MEME/ohnoyoudidnt.gif

somewherebeyondthesea
02-21-2013, 09:18 PM
I have MH's in one Tank and LED's in the other and it goes without saying you get what you pay for. Many of the cheap LED lighting out there is absolute garbage especially for coral color and growth.

It wasn't until I started experimenting with different colored LED bar lights, that the colors were arguably better than my MH setup. I had just a white with blue setup initially, but when I added a blue bar and a magenta bar, more of the coral colors started to "pop"!

Again, strictly an opinion :mrgreen:

Aquattro
02-21-2013, 09:22 PM
Again, strictly an opinion :mrgreen:

I suppose. But I've seen AI tanks, Radion tanks, Vertex tanks. None of them have what I would consider MH quality corals, and by corals I'm referring to SPS. Maybe it's different for other types, I know my LPS look the same or better. So I guess my opinion is solely based on SPS tanks.

somewherebeyondthesea
02-21-2013, 09:22 PM
oh boy, here we go!!

:pop2:

:-)



I know right? :mrgreen:
I've been wanting to start this poll for a while...:twised:

It's fun to watch the Canreef Trolls go toe-to-toe :razz:

Plus I think we all will learn something from this one:mrgreen:

pinkreef
02-21-2013, 10:09 PM
I use MH and HO power compact actinics
upside the colours are pretty and i have enough light for most creatures
downside is the heat produced
my hydro bill went up about 20.00 per month maybe when i switched
from t5s and power compacts.:wof:

Parker
02-21-2013, 10:10 PM
I used T5's on my 75 gallon and liked them better than the MH's I'm using now but not the frequent bulb change outs . Now that I'm rebuilding I'm looking at the possibility of changing out the MH's to LED for the power savings and to reduce the amount of heat released into the room.

sphelps
02-21-2013, 10:29 PM
That can't be the only reason. I use a MH/T5 combo and I am super content with this fixture that I see no need to switch to LED. Oh, and I should mention that I have seen a few set ups that use LED lighting and I have not been impressed, so this is not just about money. I have the cash for it and I chose my current MH/T5 fixture over any LED fixture.

So if someone gave you a few GHL mitras you wouldn't use them? Doesn't matter if you have the money or not, take that right out of the equation. If you had the option to run as many of whatever LED fixture you wanted, would you still stick with your halides? Doubtful....

sphelps
02-21-2013, 10:31 PM
or you simply do not like how LEDs look :-)

I don't buy it, you'd use them if you could justify the cost ;)

Aquattro
02-21-2013, 10:36 PM
So if someone gave you a few GHL mitras you wouldn't use them? Doesn't matter if you have the money or not, take that right out of the equation. If you had the option to run as many of whatever LED fixture you wanted, would you still stick with your halides? Doubtful....

If it had been more economical for me to install a HRV unit, I would have stayed with MH, even if someone gave me Mitras, which, by the way, I don't really like.

Madmak
02-21-2013, 10:40 PM
I used to like watching Black and White TVs when that's all I had...

:)

kien
02-21-2013, 10:51 PM
I don't buy it, you'd use them if you could justify the cost ;)

Honestly, I don't really need any justification for buying anything in this hobby. The hobby is one luxury purchase after another and to me you just can't justify luxury purchases.

As for the lights themselves, no, if someone gave me 3 mitras today I would likely sell them if my current MH+T5 wasn't broken. If my Halide fixture was broken I would consider using the Mitras but would first look for a replacement MH+T5 fixture.

It really boils down to personal preference does it not? It's like arguing which apple is better, a Macintosh apple or Gala apple. If someone prefers Macintosh apples you can't tell them that they are wrong, or that they would prefer Gala apples if they were cheaper ?

Carrera75
02-21-2013, 10:52 PM
So if someone gave you a few GHL mitras you wouldn't use them? Doesn't matter if you have the money or not, take that right out of the equation. If you had the option to run as many of whatever LED fixture you wanted, would you still stick with your halides? Doubtful....


I think my previous reply already answered this. LED lighting is not for me simply because I don't like them, and no, I would not change my current set up even if somebody gave me a GHL Mitras for free. Different strokes for different folks ........get it?

Aquattro
02-21-2013, 10:57 PM
Different strokes for different folks ........get it?
And the MH people have nicer SPS -lol

kien
02-21-2013, 11:00 PM
And the MH people have nicer SPS -lol

That's a different topic, and I dare you to open it! :lol:

http://i1002.photobucket.com/albums/af144/muzanji/Internet%20MEME/can-o-worms.gif

Aquattro
02-21-2013, 11:03 PM
That's a different topic, and I dare you to open it! :lol:



It's just fact. :) Again, SPS color is also a matter of opinion. BTW, gala is better.

mrhasan
02-21-2013, 11:05 PM
Lemme put some kerosene in the fire:

"LED is just a trend! Period!"

:behindsofa:

kien
02-21-2013, 11:10 PM
but let's face it, we are at a great time in this hobby where there are a butt load of options for just about every aspect of this hobby from filtration, salt, supplementation to lighting. They all work. There are fabulous tanks using all the various LED/T5/Halide units out there. There are tonnes of people who love their LED/T5/Halide fixtures. Everyone has different needs, tastes and preferences. In my opinion, the answer to the thread question, "which is better" is, the light fixture that you like. What you like is defined by a set of criteria which only you know. That is unless you're the type of person who prefers that other people tell you what you should and should not like :-)

globaldesigns
02-21-2013, 11:23 PM
I like my Hamilton Belize MH/T5HO... I don't find the heat generated by any MH a concern, nor the overall cost to operate, and it just works. Bulbs are not costly either overall.

However, I am seeing many LED's for sale, seen may units at LFS with defective fans, lights, etc... I don't have this problem with MH, so I just stick with it for now, future you never know.

Proteus
02-21-2013, 11:23 PM
I use a radion in my tank and I do like it. BUT I do consider going back to mh as I really don't like some of the color loss. The only thing that stopped me so far is spike in temp and evaporation. I used geissmenn 21k and loved them

somewherebeyondthesea
02-21-2013, 11:38 PM
Another thing to add to LED lore I've discovered is that many of them may need controllers to vary their output. :microwav:

I've overheard many reefers using 100% light intensity instead of dialing it down to say 30% off the hop...and I wonder if this is contributing to color loss?:rainbowa:

sphelps
02-22-2013, 12:02 AM
I think my previous reply already answered this. LED lighting is not for me simply because I don't like them, and no, I would not change my current set up even if somebody gave me a GHL Mitras for free. Different strokes for different folks ........get it?

Yeah I get it and and I use to be on your side of the fence, at one point almost switched back to MH/T5 after being thoroughly disappointed. However with the better full spectrum LED fixtures I think pretty much all issues relating to color are gone. Sure some colors are better under halides, however some are better under LEDs and once you get things tuned appropriately and the corals have adjusted to the lighting the color losses you experienced fade away. So with color and blending issues out of the picture all you have left are advantages.

Regardless what the shrinking minority might have to say, the majority will go with LEDs simply because they are better :mrgreen:

chewie
02-22-2013, 12:06 AM
Switched from Mh (2x 400w) to LED about two months ago. I find that my sps is actually doing better now, more growth and coloring is great.
I think that just using blue and white led like many of the "older" led fixtures used caused issues by not having proper full spectrum, but now many led fixtures are incorperating different temps of white 4000k up to 14 000k, and other colors, like violet, red, green ect, which seems to be helping with growth and coloration issues.
It is a newish technology so as things progress it can only get better and better, and cheaper.
Oh and the leds I got are cheap chinese made ones custom ordered to try get best spectrum possible. They make my tank look great, it was like going from a plain tube tv to an HD tv.

Lance
02-22-2013, 12:27 AM
MH + T5

11purewater
02-22-2013, 02:31 AM
Just wait until we start talking about plasma!:silly:

Spyd
02-22-2013, 03:58 PM
I use T5 lighting and get excellent coral growth with both SPS and LPS. I will be adding LEDs as supplemental lighting to my tank just to get the shimmer and the extra pop that comes with the RB LEDs. I won't be going full LED anytime soon though. MH and T5 have the full spectrum of lighting down pat where it is too iffy for me with the LEDs. Great lighting to include with the MH and/or T5 but not for full coverage IMO. LPS and softie tank only... Then yes, full LEDs all the way. SPS... No dice.

Rogue951
02-22-2013, 05:17 PM
MH+T5 for me.
Same reasons, color spectrum.

HOWEVER I am thinking of LEDs in the future for Heat, running cost and space reasons.
I've held off to let the spectrum issue catch up.

somewherebeyondthesea
02-22-2013, 05:20 PM
How cool would it be to have OLED? imagine the possibilities!:olympic: :rainbow1:

Baldy
02-22-2013, 05:31 PM
I don't really think I would say steves display tank at red coral in Edmonton looks too bad and he's using leds. The spectrum issue is catching up, but the manufacturers are letting us DIY people test everything out for them. The manufactured units are a ways behind the DIY crowd except maybe for the mitra.

And I think it speaks for itself that led outnumber mh by almost 3:1 in this vote so far :)

Aquattro
02-22-2013, 05:41 PM
And I think it speaks for itself that led outnumber mh by almost 3:1 in this vote so far :)

Although, while I have to vote LED as that is what I use, I do think MH is a better light source for my needs.
I don't think anyone, including me has said that LED tanks don't look good, they sure do. I don't think I've seen a bad LED tank. I'm just saying that while my tank is still nice, it was nicer with my MH. Maybe not noticeably, but I still see the difference.
For my current needs, the benefits of LED outweigh the slight difference MH made, and I'll stick with LED. In fact I just ordered one more for my frag tank.

But, if I had more money than I could count, and built my dream tank with appropriate ventilation and cooling, I would go with MH lighting.

sphelps
02-22-2013, 06:11 PM
It goes the other way as well, while many vote for T5s and Halide I would wager most of these users would prefer to run some kind of LED if it was financially feasible. On the other hand the amount of people running LEDs that would switch back are probably pretty scarce. Personally if you're a light snob like me the sols are not the right LEDs to use. I've never liked the color or effect from them and the full spectrum fixtures available today are significantly better for color. Anyone that's used them both will likely agree. So brad while you seem to suggest the sols are only slightly worse than your previous halides that would also suggest if you had full spectrum fixtures you might be back on par or better. But of course I know you don't like them :rolleyes:

Aquattro
02-22-2013, 06:16 PM
It goes the other way as well, while many vote for T5s and Halide I would wager most of these users would prefer to run some kind of LED if it was financially feasible. On the other hand the amount of people running LEDs that would switch back are probably pretty scarce. Personally if you're a light snob like me the sols are not the right LEDs to use. I've never liked the color or effect from them and the full spectrum fixtures available today are significantly better for color. Anyone that's used them both will likely agree.

I think the financial comments make you a snob, not your choice in lights :)

I think the SOLs are great. If were making a LED purchase all over again, I would choose them again. I think they compare well to the Radion at a lot less money, and I didn't personally like the light on the Mitras. Vertex is nice, but not worth the cost for my needs.
Don't get me wrong, LED are nice, and have tons of great features that MH don't, but for pure light quality and the effects of that light on SPS corals, that I have personally viewed, MH is a superior light source. Does that make it an all around better light? No, probably not.

sphelps
02-22-2013, 06:20 PM
I'm OK with being a snob, whether it's because I use the best lights or because I tell it how it is or perhaps just the fact I make comments like this. Don't care. When you're right, you're right.

Aquattro
02-22-2013, 06:23 PM
I'm OK with being a snob, whether it's because I use the best lights or because I tell it how it is or perhaps just the fact I make comments like this. Don't care. When you're right, you're right.

I've been hoping to find a right person...quick question, which better, salmon or halibut? :)

sphelps
02-22-2013, 06:36 PM
which ever is fresher, obviously.

Parker
02-22-2013, 06:38 PM
Which better, salmon or halibut? :)

The answer to that question is Bacon.

Aquattro
02-22-2013, 06:39 PM
The answer to that question is Bacon.

You've heard this question before, obviously!! Yes, when you're right, you're right!

Reefer Rob
02-22-2013, 06:51 PM
I like the way LEDs make the colors pop. When I first put them over the tank I thought they looked almost artificial, all those glowing polyps! It didn't take long to get used to it. I've had a few issues with the startup of this tank, so I'm not so sure about long term health. The past 3 or 4 months has been great.

Then there's controllability, less heat, no bulb replacement cost, lower electrical cost (maybe), the shear joy of lighting my tank with something I made myself :biggrin: Not seeing the downside yet... maybe later?

Baldy
02-22-2013, 07:03 PM
My opinion with the leds atm is if your going to do it, do it yourself. There's extruded heatsinks now that don't require drilling and tapping or gluing, its cheaper, and more satisfying. Its easy to change color ratios if you want and other equipment if needed. The white and blue only fixtures are outdated. there are so many more options out there. All the sellers are good at answering questions and the builds on forums are a great help.

PoonTang
02-23-2013, 06:01 AM
Plasma!

subman
02-23-2013, 06:38 AM
I'm swapping all my lights out for solar tubes! Natural sunlight baby!!
Or better yet selling everything and moving to the Caribbean build an underwater house and just enjoy.


(I'm sorry this is the worst thread ever did anyone other than Brad vote for something different than the what they are using)



OHHH and LED'S FTW!

gregzz4
02-23-2013, 06:47 AM
I've never run halides over an aquarium, and chose to go with T5s over my reef for control of intensity throughout the day ( 8 bulbs on 4 timed ballasts )
I've seen enough LED reefs up close to know I'm very happy with my T5s

Aquattro
02-23-2013, 08:01 AM
I'm sorry this is the worst thread ever

Agreed :) Everyone has a "best" that suits them. LED is currently the best for my needs. I just don't think it's the best light shining into my tank. I'm real happy with them and all they can do. But "best" is just too subjective.

Next thread on this will mysteriously vanish, k? :razz:

Skimmer King
02-23-2013, 02:59 PM
That's a different topic, and I dare you to open it! :lol:

http://i1002.photobucket.com/albums/af144/muzanji/Internet%20MEME/can-o-worms.gif

:pop2:

reefwars
02-23-2013, 03:05 PM
ha!

that is all......

Skimmer King
02-23-2013, 03:12 PM
I chose led due to i like to have a canopy with a open top and the mitras was able to light my 36x36x21 cube. I was curious and i had the money and got a drop awesome deal i couldnt say no too. And as of now its still not hooked up due to a wait til we move. And the other reason i needed 2 lights to light the cube MITRAS i only need one.

reefwars
02-23-2013, 03:16 PM
i chose other..

i prefer the ambient light in my living room to keep my tank lit , i sometimes supplement it with half a dozen radions( just for the shimmer)

Northvan
02-24-2013, 03:01 AM
We are thinking of switching from Hamilton tech MH/T5 2X250 with Geismann 14000k, to Kessil 350's, running on a drilled 90 gallon, but we don't yet have an opinion on which is better, since we havent tried it yet. We are running 2x150 M/H on our 72 gall bowfront, and it is underlit. Might switch both. I ran LED on a small quarantine tank & liked it alot. We would LOVE to see someone elses tank with Kessils or something similar before we put out the cash. And/or hear opinions from people who have tried or seen both.
On a side note, our first salt tank was T5's only, and I liked the colour they gave, but hubby wanted the ripple effect of M/H.

Aquattro
02-24-2013, 03:05 AM
The Kessil is a really nice light. I like how close the diodes are, really limits any color separation. Not sure how many you'd need on a 4' tank, guess it depends on what's in it.

Bryan_k47
07-03-2013, 03:51 AM
I have 2 Gen 1 Radions on my 90 and they perform great
I've never used MH so I can't say which is better
I have T5's over a recently set up frag tank and they are boring as **** lol

gobytron
07-04-2013, 11:21 PM
T5 for now.

LED in about 5 years when the technology is better developed for reefing (and my wallet).

Magickiwi
07-17-2013, 08:25 PM
I've never run halides over an aquarium, and chose to go with T5s over my reef for control of intensity throughout the day ( 8 bulbs on 4 timed ballasts )
I've seen enough LED reefs up close to know I'm very happy with my T5s

I run halides over my reef along with T5's and I agree: I've seen enough LED reefs to know I'm happy with my Halides.

JDigital
07-22-2013, 07:18 PM
I've got MH over one tank and LEDs over the other.

I've had ALWAYS used MH over my tanks up until I picked up the Mitra. I'm currently struggling to like my MH setup (no T5 supp.) purely due to the heat issues and the need for supplementation (it's just more cables, more cost, more bulb replacements, more more more).

On the other hand, I really like the Mitra. While the initial investment is higher typically, the controllable light spectrums, next to zero heat, compact size, etc have been worth it so far. I'm still trying to find the light spectrum that I want to run as the possibilities are endless. I can't however say much with regards to how coral looks under them in the long run. I have had so many issues with keeping SPS alive in my tank for unknown reasons. I can say that while the SPS I did have looked great in the short term under LEDs the pieces STN'd on me so can't say anything about long term.

I would really like to bring my Mitra to work and do a side by side comparison of my 15K MH next to a 15K Mitra and see which side of the tank looks/grows/colors better. (This is doable seeing as I have only a few measly looking zoa frags at home right now).


I have also considered recently about going full T5's on the MH tank. A few of my favorite tanks out there are T5 only tanks and they all grow/look great!

kien
07-22-2013, 08:06 PM
I've got MH over one tank and LEDs over the other.

I've had ALWAYS used MH over my tanks up until I picked up the Mitra. I'm currently struggling to like my MH setup (no T5 supp.) purely due to the heat issues and the need for supplementation (it's just more cables, more cost, more bulb replacements, more more more).

On the other hand, I really like the Mitra. While the initial investment is higher typically, the controllable light spectrums, next to zero heat, compact size, etc have been worth it so far. I'm still trying to find the light spectrum that I want to run as the possibilities are endless. I can't however say much with regards to how coral looks under them in the long run. I have had so many issues with keeping SPS alive in my tank for unknown reasons. I can say that while the SPS I did have looked great in the short term under LEDs the pieces STN'd on me so can't say anything about long term.

I would really like to bring my Mitra to work and do a side by side comparison of my 15K MH next to a 15K Mitra and see which side of the tank looks/grows/colors better. (This is doable seeing as I have only a few measly looking zoa frags at home right now).


I have also considered recently about going full T5's on the MH tank. A few of my favorite tanks out there are T5 only tanks and they all grow/look great!

Personally, I would (and I do) recommend that any new setups just go straight to LEDs. Unless you're a die hard MH or T5 fan, LEDs should do you fine. I've seen lots of nice SPS and mixed reefs under various LEDs. I don't remember exactly, but with your office tank, didn't your boss already have MH fixtures for you to use?

JDigital
07-22-2013, 08:18 PM
Personally, I would (and I do) recommend that any new setups just go straight to LEDs. Unless you're a die hard MH or T5 fan, LEDs should do you fine. I've seen lots of nice SPS and mixed reefs under various LEDs. I don't remember exactly, but with your office tank, didn't your boss already have MH fixtures for you to use?


Yea, Fresh Water LEDs..

These ones to be exact. :lol: No where near capable of lighting a reef tank 30" deep. I'm actually using one of them as a Sump light. (not refuge, just sump illumination)

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+3733+10704+23688&pcatid=23688&r=518

smokinreefer
07-25-2013, 11:11 PM
people visually see colors different than one another, so every bodies opinions will be just that. an opinion of what they think looks best.

to say if finances weren't an issue, that everyone would want to run LEDs is simply funny to me. (to a point)

if finances weren't an issue, I would definitely use halides. having the money to not have to bat an eye on costs of bulb replacement, dealing with the extra heat, HRV/AC, extra electricity. i'm all for it!

having said that, if money were no issue, i'd probably run a ton of LEDs as supplements for my halides, maybe. :lol:

I use LEDs at my place right now, simply because my old house heats up so easily when the sun is out, I'm simply doing my best to keep the house more comfortable for my family. and not necessarily what I think looks nicest over my tank. albeit i'm not using high end fixtures.

when I recover from surgery, i'll be upgrading my 24G to a 65G and i'm leaning towards T5s. I haven't used them myself yet, but from what I've seen i'm ipressed. (except no shimmer!) so I might add a LED bar just to supplement. if I have the $$$ :sad:

I still run halides at my Dads place, but I don't pay those bills!:lol:

ponokareefer
07-26-2013, 03:17 AM
I switched from a MH/PC combo to DIY LED's from modularled, and love it. The initial cost was a little high, but I'm going into my 2nd year and I love the fact that I haven't had to spend money to switch my lights out for a long time. Next year, I break even on the initial cost on the savings from not having to replace bulbs and energy savings.
Heat used to be an issue in the summer for me as well, but for the 2nd straight summer, it isn't. On top of that, my corals have been growing crazy, and my RBTA's bubbled up ever since I switched to LED's. As for color, I have dimmer's, so I can adjust however I want them to be, and could set up the system however I wanted it to be.

Aquattro
07-26-2013, 03:36 AM
if finances weren't an issue, I would definitely use halides.

Absolutely!