Mr. Saltwater Tank

Mr. Saltwater Tank LED Experiment Update

Fat Jack has been up and running for 8 weeks now and we’ve encountered an unexpected bump in the road and I’ve gotten more evidence for my opinion on LEDs in a saltwater tank.

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Comments for this article (32)

  • Matt McDaniels says:

    I’ve noticed with my tank that under my LEDs it appears frags go through a few weeks of very little growth in the beginning while it acclimates to the lighting. I have 4 friends in my town who have also switched to LEDs and have the same experience. I think the LEDs frags will catch up as the test continues. 🙂 I’m excited about tagging along.

  • Dusty says:


    At the 3:39 point, what do you mean by, “Mike’s tank went through a period of sustained stress. We actually got the tank TOO CLEAN.” What does “too clean” mean?

  • Eric Hall says:

    I have LEDs of my 375 now for 1.5 years. I have awesome growth and color.

    I am seeing better color and growth than I ever had with 400W MHs. When other members have seen the tank they want to switch to LEDs. I feel the LEDs are worth it!!

  • Mad Hatter Reef says:

    I’m ready for the switch. I thinking about doing DIY LED set up for a frag tank to work out the bugs than on to the main. Great Video! Keep ‘um coming….

  • C. Thao says:

    You had mention that some coral were loss due to tank water being too clean. Please explain this because I thought this tank was plumped into the mature 120 gallon. Shouldn’t water parameters be equal ?

  • C. Thao…these tanks are plumbed together so they both experienced the same stress and you can see how the corals under each type of light are reacting.

  • Matt…I’ve heard the same thing. We will see where this experiment is in another 4-6 weeks.

  • Matthew Tibbits says:

    One thing I did notice was with the first SPS frag you showed, the one you put in the main tank did not have a bunch of algae over it and the one put into the LED tank did. I think that by itself is going to cause some growth problems. Just my two cents.

  • John says:

    We need a video on what “too clean” means

  • James says:

    I think it would be interesting to see how your friends main tank is plumbed. a little confused when you were setting up “fat jack” and it filled the tank automatically.

  • Chris says:

    LED’s don’t put out much UV-B radiation, while halides put out a large amount. I would think this has to do with the digital nature of LED’s vs the “fusion” of traditional bulbs.
    Also, those AI’s are designed to be placed well above the surface of the water, due to the more acute angles of reflectance. This may also be skewing your results, as corals are receiving less of a “mixed” spectrum, and rather intense whites, or intense blues.

    All in all, I agree that high-light sps should still be grown under halides, but for almost every other instance, LED’s are the best option. Pretty sure that’s what you came up with as well.

  • Kevin says:

    Can you not compensate the led with a few T5 lighting to compensate for the lighting spectrum.

    At least that’s what I’m planning in about one year, the newest lights, but added two (one on each side) T5’s for some added colour spectrum.

    The current led technology is going so fast that an experiment like this is already outdated when it started…

  • khurram says:

    Hi Mark, can a tank be too clean for LPS corals?

  • Matt says:

    Cheers to you both for taking the time to put this all together… 🙂

    I’m looking forward to any future updates and I’m really looking forward to seeing what you choose for your Tank Mark… I’m hoping its a company that supplies UK spec equipment!

    Keep up the good work… 😉

  • zac says:

    Wow thats weird i have led’s over my tank and my sps grow fast i guess every tank is different though.

  • Chris says:

    Great job Mark! I’m waiting to see what you come up with before I looking for lights for the 300g I’m setting up. Keep up the good work.

  • khurram…sure! I can’t keep some LPS in my big tank b/c they all die off from the clean water.

  • khurram says:

    yes same here mark, i wanna keep an aussie gold torch, and i have tried over and over and failed. my other LPS’s do well. but for some reason can never get the darn aussie gold torch to do well.

  • matt says:

    hey mark
    i have marineland reef capable led lighting that came with my tank its the same size as fat jack. I think cause the sol led fixture didn’t didn’t light some parts of fat jack that i should buy supplement lighting. I have enough money to get the following supplement fixtures, i could wait till the flare supplement lights comes out, get a 50 reef brite led, or get a double bright fixture by marineland to cover the entire tank. which do you think i should get.btw my tank is mixed reef

  • Fred says:

    I see a lot of problems with this review. I am 150% convinced you can grow all SPS with LED lighting. The main thing when comparing is having two equivalent tanks running under each light utilizing the same system and comparing two identical frags from the same piece of coral. Remember when conducting an experiment there can only be 1 variable in the experiment if you want to properly test the difference. You also need to learn how each led falls in its own spectrum, like a T5 bulb. You have Cool White, Neutral White, Warm White, Blue, Royal Blue, Cyan, Yellow, Amber/ Orange, Red, UV, 10k White, and ect. Now you have to realize Metal Halide will hit each spectrum on some level. In essence the MH is the easiest way to go if that is what matters. A LED fixture such as a Maxspect fixture may provide a better color range with the proper LEDs hitting each spectrum of light and should rival the overall cost of MH.

  • Paul says:

    How could this a fair comparison? This guy tank is not in a great shape by looking at the hair algae and detritus flying all around?
    A proper fair comparison is if both water body is the same but different lighting.
    this comparison failed!

  • Paul says:

    Also, from what his statement if the 0,0,0 water condition….and you said
    hese tanks are plumbed together so they both experienced the same stress and you can see how the corals under each type of light are reacting.

    Something is not right here..

  • you are correct paul..the halide corals are reacting differently than the LED ones in that so far we’ve seen some growth and increased coloration in the halide corals. I bet the LED corals will catch up, but we haven’t seen it yet.

  • We clearly explained in the first video that the tanks share the same column of water…they are plumbed together as one big system so the chemistry is identical.

  • Paul says:

    Thanks for the respond. Have you look into DIY LED or maybe using Orphek or Vertex LED?
    I have to admit that I am using LED myself. I am seeing massive growth on sps and also nice coloration. Maybe it’s because the color combination i am using.> who knows

  • No DIY for us, it would void our homeowner’s insurance. Orphek doesn’t use a modular approach so I ruled them out as well. Vertex looks nice but their controllable model isn’t available for sale in the US.

  • Mark says:


    Have you done any research on the reef tech leds. I am switching out from my panaromas to reef tech.

  • Hi Mark, I like you video’s alot – very informative and well put together. I’m starting a 45 gallon reef tank LPS & SPS. What do you think of the ecoray 60D LED’s for a reef tank.. They look pretty good but I just wanted to know what your comments are.. or should I still be looking at metal halide.. Check out my youtube channel and you can see my progress on my build.. Let me know what you think and I look forward to your reply. DJ

  • Gerardo says:

    I got something u guys may wanna take a look at

    its a 72 gallon tank with 480 watts of LED. its split into 2 panels. each panel contains 120 (2 watt) LEDs. its about a 14k look. ratio is 1 White LED to 1 Blue. the panels have separate power cords for the colors so i can have just the Blues on if i want for dawn/dusk. which looks great. im starting to put corals so we’ll see how it turns out. i do have several sps frags which seem to be doing great, but i guess time will tell with the growth rates. other things to take into consideration in my setup are my Neptune Apex which is controlling most of my tank, my 2 MP10 pumps which provide crazy flow, and my kalk top off (basic 5 gallon jug sitting over my sump and gravity dripping Brightwell aquatics Kalk+2 at the same rate as my evaporation so its my cheapo top off lol). it works well and keeps my PH around 8.1-8.3. also got a good protein skimmer and chaeto in the sump. everything seems to be doing great. let me know what you guys think. ill take good quality video if you guys want.

  • dan says:

    What do you think about aqua illuminations Sol blue led light fixture VS. the White one on a 24x24x10.5 in tank

  • Jeff says:

    Hey Mark, I was wondering, how did you mount the A.I. Sol to the wood mounting bracket you guys fabricated? Screws? Zip ties? Were you worried it would fall into the tank?

  • mike gosselin says:

    are u running the radion pro over your new tank if so can u make a viedo of your program settings that u have your radions running at.

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