What is too much PAR?

masterswimmer

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I've been running 6 x 54w T5's for two years now. At the beginning I only stocked my 75 with LPS, softies and zoos. I was fearful of any SPS or clams.

As my tank matured I began to get a little more brazen and tried an Acro Tort. It not only lived, but grew very fast. The only issue was color. It has a great blueish/purpleish/greenish color. I've seen others with frags of my colony where the color gets a deeper hue.

I then decided to try a Derasa. I figured a lower light clam up high would be a good start for me. The Derasa has been doing great. The only problem with it is that he rooted his foot and won't leave that spot. This is only a problem because as everyone knows, clams are best viewed from above. Unfortunately people don't get to appreciate this poor guys beauty.

I have since moved into a LOT of SPS and crocea's as well. Everything lives and grows. The issue I'm looking to address here is that my growing SPS do not color up the way others have in their tanks.

I had a repeat visitor here the other day. A young friend of mine, Aidan was here. Oh, he brought his father with him. Some of you might know him as house, lol. Once again, while looking at my tank, he mentioned how bright the PAR was. I kind of figured this was a good thing. Then I got to thinking that maybe my SPS do not color the way I want them to because the PAR is just too high.

After my friend and his father left, I decided to try a little experiment. I have had my T5's about 2" from the tank and about 3" - 3.5" from the water for 2 years. I raised the T5 hood to about 6" off the tank, 7" - 7.5" off the water.

Well lo and behold, after only a few days of this 'experiment', my SPS seem to be regaining their color. It has been much too short a time to say for sure that this is a successful test, but I am very encouraged by the results so far.

So bottom line and back to the subject, is there such a thing as too much PAR? And, can flourescent lighting (T5's specifically) really generate that much PAR that color loss would result?

master (obviously not of lighting)
 

IconicAquariums

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Probably more to do with photoperiod then actual PAR. If you're running them for 12 hours, you're going to do more harm than good. Also, there are many other factors with SPS color other than lighting.

joe
 

jackson6745

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joetbs said:
Probably more to do with photoperiod then actual PAR. If you're running them for 12 hours, you're going to do more harm than good. Also, there are many other factors with SPS color other than lighting.

joe

Agreed. In my tank I use my torts as a phosphate guage. If they get the greenish tint to them I know my po4 is climbing a bit. Russ in a low nutrient tank, with an extended photoperiod (even with just T5's), you could fade the coral colors.
 

jhale

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wow, Jim is teaching Aiden really well, a three year old knows about PAR!

I have heard this from spykes who runs T-5's also that his growth is awesome, but his color is not that great.
 

jackson6745

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jhale said:
wow, Jim is teaching Aiden really well, a three year old knows about PAR!

I have heard this from spykes who runs T-5's also that his growth is awesome, but his color is not that great.

J, Spykes color is kicking a$$. His tank really improved.
 

Rborgia

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I use a Tek T5 4-bulb on my 58. I only have 6 frag in there now.. so its a baby reef, a mere 3 months old. I have picked up some frags from Rich (Jackson6745), a green birdsnest, orange cap, a purple Stylo, and a couple others. The purple Stylo was only put in about two weeks ago. Initally after putting the coral in, they all turned brown. After about a month the color started to come back, but not like I had seen in Rich's tank.

Well, I started moving them all around for a week at a time... eventually I found areas of the tank that each of them seemed to enjoy more. The colors started getting deeper and the polyps extended further.

At about the 2 and a half month mark, I decided to raise the fixture even further. Well... Everything seems to be much happier with the T5s at 6" above water level.

Rich
 

masterswimmer

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jackson6745 said:
Agreed. In my tank I use my torts as a phosphate guage. If they get the greenish tint to them I know my po4 is climbing a bit. Russ in a low nutrient tank, with an extended photoperiod (even with just T5's), you could fade the coral colors.

The nutrients are definitely low. PO4, NH2, NH3 & Si all read undetectable. I do keep my T5 daylights on for 12 hrs and the actinics for 14 hrs. And as you've already heard, the lights were basically right on top of the water.

Now that I've raised the lights, do you recommend shortening the photoperiod as well? If so, how long would you suggest? Should I shorten the photo period an hour for each of the days/actinics for a week at a time and see how it progresses? Once I hit the point that they look great, go an hour shorter, see what happens and if it's not good, reverse it by that hour?

Guess I'm answering my own question. Trial and error? Whatcha think guys.

Russ
 

masterswimmer

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jhale said:
wow, Jim is teaching Aiden really well, a three year old knows about PAR!

I have heard this from spykes who runs T-5's also that his growth is awesome, but his color is not that great.

Yeah Jon, Jim is hooking him young. Hopefully for Aiden's sake he has a wealthy father :D .

Spykes, I'd love to hear from you and see some pix.

Thanks,
Russ
 

jackson6745

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Russ you could shorten to 10+12 hrs with no change an save a bit of electricity from the start. Take it from there. Be sure to leave at least a month between photoperiod changes to be sure of the results.
 

spykes

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russ im starting to shorten my light periods, everything is growing pretty fast even under the blue+ only. Some corals like my PITA effo bleached a bit under 6 inch, im only using 4 bulb btw im not cool as you guys with the 6 bulbs hehhe, water quality allows me to penetrate thru the water better, check out my blog for pics http://spykesreef.blogspot.com/ i gotta update this thing, my tank has changed a bit. that's the colors you get with t-5s
 

masterswimmer

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Dave, nice pix. That superman really colored up for you. Great job.

I'm going to try shortening the photo starting tomorrow (my daylights go off at 8pm, so I'm already there).

I'll take some now and then pix for comparison.

Thanks guys,
Russ
 

jackson6745

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masterswimmer said:
Rich, you think dropping from 12/14 to 10/12 right away isn't too much? Advice taken on the month between.

Russ

IME you won't have any problem because your photoperiod is very long to begin with. If you were running a short PP then this is a big jump.
 

masterswimmer

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spykes said:
russ what are you using as a calcium and alk source?

Dave,
I know I'm about to get flamed here, but it's been working.....so here goes,
I don't dose anything. I use Oceanic salt and I do water changes twice a week. Normally Sat. & Wed. Replaces all my trace elements and my Ca is over 450. Alk has never been a problem.

I honestly think my prob is the photoperiod and the elevation I had the T5's.

Russ
 
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