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Novel Responder
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Discussion Starter #1
I am seeing some fixtures that are "all-in-one" meaning they'll have 3 HQI, 8 T5, and then LED's. Most of them are set up with the MH for white, T5's for blues, and then LED's for moon lighting. The one I am looking at from Marineland runs about $1100-$1200, bulbs included. It has separate built in timers, built in ballasts, and only one power cord to worry about. My question is are the all in one units worth it?

I have heard that MH need individual reflectors to be functional? Is the double sided better than the single screw in type? Is the 150w ok or do I need the 250w? Are 1watt LED's ok if only to be used as moon lighting or do I need the 3watt?

Today, I have mostly softies and some LPS, no SPS today. I am running VHO's. I would like to do some SPS, but ephyllia are my favorite corals. I haven't shopped around a lot yet, so for now, am just curious if anyone has experience with the all in one units, or if I am better off getting one type of lighting and being done with that.
 

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My experience and opinion is this... dont buy an all in one. Build what you want out of quality components. For your tank a setup using 150w with quality reflectors (your only real choice for the 150w bulbs are the Lumen Max 3 fixtures. These fixtures output the same amount of light from a 150w vs a 250w less efficient reflector. The biggest limiting factor is the depth of the tank. If your tank exceeds 21" I suggest stepping up to 250w reflectors. Remember, the cost of the system is justified in the reflectors and ballasts. Buy quality the first time and you will save yourself a bunch in the end
 

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Schroeder
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+1 building yourself can save a bunch of money and make your system much more powerful. That being said, a lot of people have problems when building by themselves.

The individual reflectors are key otherwise you can lose like 30% of your light.

Moonlights dont need any power really because they are not there to provide growth.

Make sure it has a fan over the bulb ends. If it doesnt the bulbs will die off quickly...
 

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Novel Responder
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Discussion Starter #6
So in a DIY, how do you start? Do you build the fixture, or do they make modular fixtures where you can add different bulb types, etc? I know the biology side of things pretty well, but am probably the most mechanically challenged person on this site :cry:
 

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Novel Responder
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Discussion Starter #8
Wow...yeah...I don't have the time nor ability to do that much (I can't even rewire an outlet with step by step directions) I'm the guy who would burn the house down the first night if I tried to build my own fixture. For those of us who are too busy, too busy, too scared of burning down the house and killing the entire tank when it falls apart and into the tank, what is the next best option other than building the entire thing on your own?
If I started with a base fixture, I can go from there with the DIY stuff. I can plug things in no problem, but wiring...not so much. The thing that intrigued me about the all in one is that I can swap out the bulbs within the fixture so I can mix and match. Maybe I do MH for white on 2/3rd's of the tank and do 2 T5 white on the other side with the other 6 T5's blue...Trying to find the best way to mix/match lighting without going something completely custom, which I feel would be over my head.
 

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Here's the important part, buy components for a DIY that are designed to plug and play with one another. For instance, when you buy a reflector, check out their ballasts, They usually have a connector that just plugs in together.

IMO, most all in one's have too much stuff in them, and are poor at what they achieve, with the exceptions of T5 fixtures and some of the LED fixtures available. If you want MH, just go with a bulb that doesnt require you to add actinics to the system, like the phoenix 14K's or the something similar.

But IMO, you dont really need MH on your tank. You can do just fine with T5's...
 
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