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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All,

So far in my planted tank time, I've used only DIY fixtures until today.
I was really curious about the SBReef lighting that I've seen others use for great results and I had some money to spend, so I picked up two of the 18" basic models for my 55 gallon.

First impressions out of the box are good build quality for the fixture itself, but it's a little lightweight for there to be a full heat sink in there.

First impressions on the tank, with just 20%/20% on the channels, my plants instantly started pearling. This is something that I was able to get on my DIY fixture, but only when driving the channels at 80% and above. Typically for the guessing game that I dealt with for DIY LED's I could get really strong pearling at very low settings, just at the end of the light cycle.

I don't know what the result of the plants will be, but IMO all light can grow plants fine, we'll see what happens with the red plants that I have right under the middle row.

The reason why I went with the pre-built fixture is because the par values have been documented so I'm not having to guess at what I have.

Disappointments:

The mounting hardware is useless if you have a glass top because they don't fit down the inside meaning you have to set it on top of the glass top.

The mounting hardware has the legs go through about half an inch so if you're in my position putting 2 of the 18" models on a 4ft tank the middle legs won't sit flat and the screw hole increments don't allow you to fix this. I got these lights to hang them so this isn't that big of an issue in the long run.

The 90 degree beam angle means that there's lower par and visual brightness around the outside of the fixture. Again not that big of an issue because I'm going to use plants that can adapt to lower light in these spots.

Overall:

Nice lights, easy to install, easy to use.
The same fixture could be built for around $100 for a single 18" model, or around $200 for two if you use the same diodes provided in some diode layouts floating around for these lights.
 

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The 90 degree beam angle means that there's lower par and visual brightness around the outside of the fixture. Again not that big of an issue because I'm going to use plants that can adapt to lower light in these spots.

Overall:

Nice lights, easy to install, easy to use.
The same fixture could be built for around $100 for a single 18" model, or around $200 for two if you use the same diodes provided in some diode layouts floating around for these lights.
SBReef were "rumored" (only putting it that way because their website is sometimes lacking esp for FW lighting.) to use mixed optics..
90's around the perimeter and 120's around the middle on "some" diodes.
W/ these cheaper optics not sure there is much of a real difference between the 90's or 120's and frankly during assembly in China not sure they really care what they throw in.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
SBReef were "rumored" (only putting it that way because their website is sometimes lacking esp for FW lighting.) to use mixed optics..
90's around the perimeter and 120's around the middle on "some" diodes.
W/ these cheaper optics not sure there is much of a real difference between the 90's or 120's and frankly during assembly in China not sure they really care what they throw in.
Yeah, there's some that look to be wider, but the beam angle of the fixture itself seems to be less than what I could get with the lensless 120 angle diodes. Might just be in my mind though.

Having not messed with lenses before, I didn't realize how important they are for focusing the light and increasing par. This is the main reason I decided to check out a fixture that has been proven to grow nice plants. Just a learning experience to see what's out there.

As far as I can tell one of your previous posts on the SBreef light was correct, there's 3 types of lenses at least visually. One that has ridges which I assume is the 90 degree, one that's smooth which I assume is the 120 degree, and one on the violets that looks stippled.

If I had a par meter it would be interesting to see what kind of par my DIY builds would put out by simply adding different lenses to the diodes.
If I had to guess, just based on the plant reaction to the SBreef fixture at known par values, my DIY fixture was putting out between 60-80 par at 100% which is very likely due to the lack of lenses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Could you post a pic or video of the lights to show off color rendition? If so thank you


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Image quality isn't that good, but it shows the basic idea. ISO 80 on the phone cam the lights are much brighter than the image is showing.
I would post a picture of the whole tank, but at the moment you can't see much because of a bacterial bloom that I've had going on for a little bit for some reason.

Channels are set at 40% channel A and 60% channel B for a Kelvin of 6223 according to the spreadsheet.
 
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