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Old 01/24/2011, 01:10 AM   #1
Acrotrdco
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LED with Optics PAR Measurement

Ever since I've borrowed the Apogee MQ-200 PAR meter from my friend and recorded PAR readings off my tank, I've been looking for a thread to post it under this forum, the only one I've found is the AI one by CalmSeasQuest but since it's a different brand I didn't want to hijack his thread so I've to start my own, I hope the information you find here is useful.

Here's CalmSeasQuest AI PAR Measurement thread:
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh....php?t=1841197

First of all, some measurements. My tank is 20" tall, the stand covered the bottom 1", so visible height is 19". The sand bed is about 1.5" thick, water is about 1.5" from the top of the tank, so there's about 17" of water. The fixtures were positioned about 4" above water with the rails.

I've only installed optics for the center 5 groups of bulbs on my Maxspect G2-160w's because I wanted to keep the sides dimmer for my ricordea's and acan's.



The following photos were taken with all lights turned on.

Water surface:


About 3" deep:


7" deep:


8" deep:



10" deep:




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Old 01/24/2011, 01:10 AM   #2
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13" deep:



15" deep:


16" deep:


Since it was really hard to take photos while measuring PAR with the meter and my hands were wet, that's all the photos I've taken. However I've measured all around my tank, and here's an overall PAR measurements.

Keep in mind that:

1. I've only installed optics on the center 5 groups of LEDs because I want to keep the sides dimmer for softies and LPS, right now they're on the bottom with about 100-200 PAR, perfect!

2. These are rounded up numbers, and have an error margin of +/- 100-200 PAR, due to water current, position of the bulb above it (with or without optics) and any obstruction from the rocks / corals nearby.

3. These numbers are for reference only, and aren't hardly accurate enough for anything else.




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Old 01/24/2011, 07:39 PM   #3
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This is very useful PAR info. Thank you for taking the time and taking these readings.

awesome tank and very healthy corals!


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Old 01/25/2011, 11:36 PM   #4
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No problem Simon


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Old 01/26/2011, 06:44 AM   #5
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Acro... awesome thread and great looking tank! I personally just hung an AI Sol over my tank so the other AI thread is where I have been hanging out. Your figures will be helpful to those looking into the Maxspect. I had been considering the 110g2 but got a deal I couldnt pass up lol. I hear you about using the par meter... I did some before and after t5 vs Sol readings and its a real PITA.... cant even imagine trying to shoot pictures in the process. Your sensor on the stick is a good idea I think next time I will do that since the sensor kept rolling over in my hand screwing up some of my readings. What were you running before the Maxspects? Also did you take before and after readings? I found mine to be interesting and a good guide to help me with my initial controller settings. Keep up the good work!

Mark


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Old 01/26/2011, 07:27 AM   #6
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IMO you could raise the LED's up a couple inches to reduce the risk of salt creep/inadvertent splashing, especially with those PAR numbers!


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Old 01/26/2011, 12:30 PM   #7
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I hear all that PAR is wasted. Why have it if its wasted? Is this too much light? Most T5's will put out like 500-800 PAR at the top of the water depending on what ballast and bulbs. If 500 does the trick why have like 2,000?


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Old 01/26/2011, 06:32 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by StonyReefer View Post
I hear all that PAR is wasted. Why have it if its wasted? Is this too much light? Most T5's will put out like 500-800 PAR at the top of the water depending on what ballast and bulbs. If 500 does the trick why have like 2,000?
Stony to me thats like saying I only drive 65 mph why have a car that goes 110? Nice thing that about most LEDS that most t5's dont have is you can vary the intensity throughout the day. There are times you want higher part but dont need to run it all day. So in my tank I peak at 11am - 1pm. But I dont need/want that for my total photo period. To me its more about flexibility not overkill.


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Old 01/26/2011, 08:28 PM   #9
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Acro... awesome thread and great looking tank! I personally just hung an AI Sol over my tank so the other AI thread is where I have been hanging out. Your figures will be helpful to those looking into the Maxspect. I had been considering the 110g2 but got a deal I couldnt pass up lol. I hear you about using the par meter... I did some before and after t5 vs Sol readings and its a real PITA.... cant even imagine trying to shoot pictures in the process. Your sensor on the stick is a good idea I think next time I will do that since the sensor kept rolling over in my hand screwing up some of my readings. What were you running before the Maxspects? Also did you take before and after readings? I found mine to be interesting and a good guide to help me with my initial controller settings. Keep up the good work!

Mark
Thanks Mark - well I've been using G1-110w, then a single G2-160w on my last tank, a 25g nano-reef that I built in 2009, then switched to dual G2-160w for my new 65g tank.

The PAR from AI Sol was pretty good because they were using a 45 degrees optics, the original Maxspect didn't come with any, so the PAR from it wasn't too impressive, until now. With optics, they're getting very similar results in terms of PAR, but I can also customize the color spectrum I want to use in my tank, which you can't do with AI.

Check out my tank thread if you want to know more about it.

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IMO you could raise the LED's up a couple inches to reduce the risk of salt creep/inadvertent splashing, especially with those PAR numbers!
I'm not too worried about salt creep, I've been hanging my old G2-110w and G2-160w on my nano-reef, 3" above water, for almost a year. They've got protective acrylic sheet that prevent splashing, and I also have a habbit of cleaning the fixture every few weeks.

By cleaning I mean I run a damp cloth through the acrylic sheet and made sure all salt creeps are swiped away.

So everything is in perfect working order, I actually re-used my G2-160w (which I've used for over 7 months) in this new project, only adding a second fixture.

As you can see from the photos, they're performing just about the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StonyReefer View Post
I hear all that PAR is wasted. Why have it if its wasted? Is this too much light? Most T5's will put out like 500-800 PAR at the top of the water depending on what ballast and bulbs. If 500 does the trick why have like 2,000?
Most of the SPS would do fine with 500-600 PAR, but some shallow water species, like staghorns and others, could really color up under 800-1000 PAR.

I've got a piece of acro colony from my LFS about 6 months ago, when I first saw it, it had these really nice yellow rings around each polyp, and they glow neon on arctinic.

However, after 2 weeks in my nano-tank, even I place it right under the 15w bulb, it slowly looses the yellow rings, I knew the PAR was around 500-600 where it was placed, but there just wasn't enough light for the rings to sustain. Only in the high spot there were a few of them left.

After I moved to my new tank, I placed it in the highest position I could get, and right under the 15w lens with optics. The PAR has been increased to about 900-1000 with the optics. And viola, the yellow rings reappears over a period of 3-4 weeks.

I'm not sure if this photo shows the yellow rings, but when it's on full arctinic it's very obvious that the yellow rings are all over.



So perhaps 500-600 PAR is what most SPS needs, it's not the case for some SPS species with higher demand.

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Originally Posted by one4gatr View Post
Stony to me thats like saying I only drive 65 mph why have a car that goes 110? Nice thing that about most LEDS that most t5's dont have is you can vary the intensity throughout the day. There are times you want higher part but dont need to run it all day. So in my tank I peak at 11am - 1pm. But I dont need/want that for my total photo period. To me its more about flexibility not overkill.
Absolutely! While 500-600 PAR will be sufficient for most SPS, some demanding SPS would love the extra light available, and improve coloration drastically.

I also agree with you that I don't turn on all my lights for the entire photo period. I only turn on the 15w for 5 hours a day, to simluate the peak hours from 10am-3pm.

I based this on the Indosian sunrise/sunset information I found online. Basically they've about 12-13 of daylight a day, ranged from very dim in the early morning and late evening, to the regular light during the day, and peaks at 10am-3pm.

My photo period is currently:
Arctinic (blue / purple only): 13 hours
Blue + white (blue:white ratio 3:2): 9 hours
All on (blue:white ratio 2:3): 5 hours



Last edited by Acrotrdco; 01/26/2011 at 08:42 PM.
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Old 01/26/2011, 10:14 PM   #10
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First of all, very nice tank!

I've seen your FTS quite a few times, just not PAR readings and all I can say is holy PAR, you have some high numbers there! I remember seeing in the AI thread, maxspect couldn't put out anything close to the AI's. Guess you just proved that wrong!

Nice work!


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Old 01/27/2011, 04:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
The PAR from AI Sol was pretty good because they were using a 45 degrees optics, the original Maxspect didn't come with any, so the PAR from it wasn't too impressive, until now. With optics, they're getting very similar results in terms of PAR, but I can also customize the color spectrum I want to use in my tank, which you can't do with AI.
Yeah the AI comes with 40* optics in the middle 4 pucks but I have changed them out to 70* since my tank is very shallow (24x24x10) and they give a nicer spread. Not quite sure what you mean you cant control the color spectrum of the AI though. I have the blue which has white, blue, and royal blue crees. I can independently control the intensity of each color as well as simulate overcast and thunderstorms. Anyway... dont want to derail your thread... again... nice work!

Mark


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Old 01/27/2011, 05:15 AM   #12
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I'd be interested in seeing the numbers if you have the sensor orientated straight up and not at an angle like the photos seem to show.


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Old 01/27/2011, 06:39 AM   #13
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I'd be interested in seeing the numbers if you have the sensor orientated straight up and not at an angle like the photos seem to show.
mcgyvr... not trying to speak for the OP but its REALLY hard to get those sensors pointing straight up... not to mention if you do get them pointing straight up not to have your arm or whatever somehow getting in the way... the FTS with the numbers is probably the result of a bunch of readings... undoubtedly some of those the sensor would have been oriented straight up.

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Old 01/27/2011, 08:06 AM   #14
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mcgyvr... not trying to speak for the OP but its REALLY hard to get those sensors pointing straight up... not to mention if you do get them pointing straight up not to have your arm or whatever somehow getting in the way... the FTS with the numbers is probably the result of a bunch of readings... undoubtedly some of those the sensor would have been oriented straight up.

Mark
Place sensor in hand. place hand into tank. Record reading. Done.
I'd rather see someones hand and hairy arm in a shot knowing that the variable of sensor angle has been taken out of the equation. I'd expect the numbers would improve a decent amount in the lower portion of the tank where the sensor was clearly not perpendicular to the source.


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Old 01/27/2011, 11:07 AM   #15
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Place sensor in hand. place hand into tank. Record reading. Done.
I'd rather see someones hand and hairy arm in a shot knowing that the variable of sensor angle has been taken out of the equation. I'd expect the numbers would improve a decent amount in the lower portion of the tank where the sensor was clearly not perpendicular to the source.
You obviously havent tried to do this. the cord on the sensor causes it to roll in your hand not to mention trying to be double jointed and shoot a picture at the same time. And when your arm gets in the way you are blocking some portion of the light as well. Probably the best way to get the readings that your looking for you would want to thread a screw into the hole in the back of the sensor and mount to a flat plate and place on the bottom. Anyway Acro has done a great job with this thread and most of his readings I would argue were taken with the sensor pointing directly up even though some of his pics show a slight angle. I dont imagine his data would vary significantly regardless. I think your splitting hairs here and your request comes off a little petty to me for someone who has clearly put in ALOT of effort and time to share his data with us like Acro has.

Mark


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Old 01/27/2011, 04:45 PM   #16
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Whatever... I guess I just like to ensure accurate results and can just say "hey take a picture while I stick my hand in here" I didn't think it was that much to ask for someone who has clearly taken some time to try to post information for others.


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Old 01/27/2011, 08:44 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Felixc395 View Post
First of all, very nice tank!

I've seen your FTS quite a few times, just not PAR readings and all I can say is holy PAR, you have some high numbers there! I remember seeing in the AI thread, maxspect couldn't put out anything close to the AI's. Guess you just proved that wrong!

Nice work!
Thanks Felix - most of the PAR from AI isn't only because of the bulb, but of their 45 degrees optics. That's why each AI Sol fixture could only cover about 12" of width, and you'll need a lot of modules to cover a wider tank.

When you focus all the light into a narrow spot, the PAR would be really, really high, it's common sense (remember in school when we're kids, learning how to make a fire out of a magnifier under the sun eh?)

The reason why Maxspect couldn't hold up against an AI before, is because it didn't have optics. Now the game is even

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Originally Posted by one4gatr View Post
Yeah the AI comes with 40* optics in the middle 4 pucks but I have changed them out to 70* since my tank is very shallow (24x24x10) and they give a nicer spread. Not quite sure what you mean you cant control the color spectrum of the AI though. I have the blue which has white, blue, and royal blue crees. I can independently control the intensity of each color as well as simulate overcast and thunderstorms. Anyway... dont want to derail your thread... again... nice work!

Mark
I mean, you cannot change a particular color bulb to "mix and match" to the exact color you want.

FYI this is the custom color I used for my fixture, I knew LED has a pitfall, that is they tend to have very narrow spectrums, so in order to re-create the entire blue spectrum from 400nm to 500nm, you'll need different type of blue bulbs to do just that.



Since AI came with the bulbs burnt on their PCB, you can't change any of their bulbs so you can't fine tune the color like I did with mine

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I'd be interested in seeing the numbers if you have the sensor orientated straight up and not at an angle like the photos seem to show.
McGuyver (that's a cool name, from that TV show eh?) and Mark, please, there's no need to argue

In fact, McGuyver, I've done that, when I position my sensor straight up, the PAR simply go up even higher, since it'll be receiving more light straight from the LED bulbs right above, correct?

It's just that when you're holding a stick on one hand, and the other trying to press the shutter on my DSLR, it just look that way.

I've been observing the average PAR in a certain area and depth when I put together the "overall" shot, as I've already explained there would be an error margin of about +/- 100-200 PAR, simply because due to the fact that the position and angle of the sensor relative to the LED bulbs above, water movement, etc.

In fact, you know what, I'll try to use another stick so I can position my sensor straight up and get some more PAR reading tonight, see if it'll make you all happier


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Old 01/28/2011, 04:37 AM   #18
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Acro... yeah I got what you were saying about the "spectrum" when I say your post in another thread discussing "red" colored LEDs. I know that c2 is working on different colored pucks but with the Maxspect you can just unscrew one and throw another one in.

The AI with 70* optics flattens out the intensity alot and I would agree that the optics are primarily what gives it the higher par ratings. I measured before with the 40* and after with the 70* and there is quite a dip. The other is the CREE leds. I didnt see it on this post but did you upgrade to the CREE or are you running the Semi's?

I also see that Maxspect offers 60* and 90* optics now... what optics are you running?

Mark


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Old 01/28/2011, 05:20 AM   #19
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Thanks Acro.. I just requested that you hold it straight up to get the most accurate information in this post.


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Old 01/28/2011, 08:39 AM   #20
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Thanks.

Acrotrdco,

Just a quick thank-you for sharing all the great info, and then a question:

Where did you buy your lights?


Also just a couple quick notes which have been discussed elsewhere as well, but I'll add them here since I think they are relevant.

Apogee meters use a weighted averaging algorithm and the spectral output of a lamp greatly affects their accuracy so although the meter is an excellent tool for measuring relative irradiance in one's own tank, users must use caution when trying to compare lamps of differing make and spectral output as the error depending on the light source can be great especially if the spectrums being tested are heavy in blue or red as these have the lowest weighting in the meters algorithm. This information comes from Jacob Bingham an engineer at Apogee. Also the first reading shown of 2880 something, I believe is an upper limit of the meter itself and most likely not a true reading.


Like I said though great thread and thanks for sharing!


Joe

P.S. Come see my setup at thecoralgardner.com


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Old 01/28/2011, 11:05 AM   #21
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Acro... yeah I got what you were saying about the "spectrum" when I say your post in another thread discussing "red" colored LEDs. I know that c2 is working on different colored pucks but with the Maxspect you can just unscrew one and throw another one in.

The AI with 70* optics flattens out the intensity alot and I would agree that the optics are primarily what gives it the higher par ratings. I measured before with the 40* and after with the 70* and there is quite a dip. The other is the CREE leds. I didnt see it on this post but did you upgrade to the CREE or are you running the Semi's?

I also see that Maxspect offers 60* and 90* optics now... what optics are you running?

Mark
Mark, wow that's a lot of questions haha

1. Well I'm running 60 and 90 degrees right now - if you read my tank thread, you'll know. I'm keeping acan's and rics on the side so I didn't want it to be too bright, so I only installed optics on the middle 5 group of bulbs for both fixtures.

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh....php?t=1929512

It really isn't 60 and 90 per se, see the optics kit comes with "reflective cups" very much like a miniature MH reflector, and that cup already redirect the 120 degrees light from the LED bulb to 90 degrees. I then use a flat acrylic cover just to protect the bulb from splashes.

For the middle 5 groups, I installed the lens, so it'll further narrow down the beam from 90 to 60 degrees.

2. I'm using both Semi and Cree - I'm using Cree blue and royal blues since they're 480nm and 460nm respectively, and the Semi royal blues are 445nm, along with the semi violet 405nm bulbs, that gives me a much more complete blue spectrum from 400-500nm.

I'm also using Semi white 3w bulbs because the Cree XP-G white is waaay too yellow.

Quote:
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Thanks Acro.. I just requested that you hold it straight up to get the most accurate information in this post.
No problem I've already taken that into consideration when I was measuring the PAR.

I'll try to take some more photos tomorrow because I was too busy and forgot about it tonight.

Quote:
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Acrotrdco,

Just a quick thank-you for sharing all the great info, and then a question:

Where did you buy your lights?


Also just a couple quick notes which have been discussed elsewhere as well, but I'll add them here since I think they are relevant.

Apogee meters use a weighted averaging algorithm and the spectral output of a lamp greatly affects their accuracy so although the meter is an excellent tool for measuring relative irradiance in one's own tank, users must use caution when trying to compare lamps of differing make and spectral output as the error depending on the light source can be great especially if the spectrums being tested are heavy in blue or red as these have the lowest weighting in the meters algorithm. This information comes from Jacob Bingham an engineer at Apogee. Also the first reading shown of 2880 something, I believe is an upper limit of the meter itself and most likely not a true reading.


Like I said though great thread and thanks for sharing!


Joe

P.S. Come see my setup at thecoralgardner.com
Joe - that's an awesome tank!

Regarding the 2800-ish PAR reading, you might be right, but I do measured around the same area and it gave me 2500-2800 PAR.

But that data is just for reference only, because no one would really care what the PAR is like right under the bulb and out of water, right?

You can ask Brian of Finsreef about the lights.


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Old 01/28/2011, 12:16 PM   #22
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Thanks for the complement and the info! I think Brian and I will be talking soon


Joe


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Old 01/28/2011, 12:48 PM   #23
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Great thread! So much information for a LED novice to read and be able to make an informed purchase. Seems to me like the Maxspect do have advantages. I like the fact you can customize the LEDs to bring more spectrum. Also the addition of optics are a large factor in choosing an LED system. In my 72 bow front it is tall and narrow so only two fixtures should fill my tank with wonderful light as long as I have the correct optics.

Acro,
Thanks to you i will be considering Maxspect now as well as AI when I finally buy my system.


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Old 01/29/2011, 06:16 AM   #24
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Thanks Acro.. I just requested that you hold it straight up to get the most accurate information in this post.
McGuyver,

Per your request, I've used another stick and this time I've aligned my sensor to face straight up, and as you can see, the PAR is actually in the high 300-ish at the bottom of my tank.




Other locations in my tank with the sensor facing straight up, which is very close to the "overall" shot I've posted above.





Quote:
Originally Posted by bif24701 View Post
Great thread! So much information for a LED novice to read and be able to make an informed purchase. Seems to me like the Maxspect do have advantages. I like the fact you can customize the LEDs to bring more spectrum. Also the addition of optics are a large factor in choosing an LED system. In my 72 bow front it is tall and narrow so only two fixtures should fill my tank with wonderful light as long as I have the correct optics.

Acro,
Thanks to you i will be considering Maxspect now as well as AI when I finally buy my system.
No problem, I'm glad the data I've posted have been useful!


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Old 01/29/2011, 09:55 PM   #25
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Over 300 par on the sand bed, in the middle of the tank, god I love led.


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