I am new to the forum. After more than two years break and about 4 months ago, I once again setup a reef tank. My previous setups focused upon LPS, soft corals and a handful of the “not so difficult” SPS. However, this new setup is only for acropora. So, I consider myself a newbie.
I did research on Acropora corals. But still have many questions. For now, I shall start with the lighting. My tank dimensions are 3ft x 2ft x 20 inches. Water level @ 18”. I have 2 Ecotech xr30w hung over about 10” above water level. These are G1 upgraded to G3 pro sometime back.
Currently, there are a few Acropora colonies and frags in the tank along with the usual coral safe fishes like wrasse, tang, etc. etc. The xr30w units’ intensity is set at 50%. I am getting about 200 to 300 par in the upper section (About 6 inches below water level). However, I am not getting good coverage and there is the question of the shadows it casts.
Long story short! I am planning to go for the LED-T5 hybrid. But I am reluctant to disregard my xr30w and buy a new hybrid system. I am also not keen to upgrade to the Ecotech G4. I read that it is not a big deal as it was advertised. I came across several videos on YouTube about DIY hybrid systems. However, most focussed upon building the hood and the display over their tank. Nothing much about the type of T5 bulbs and the actual setting up of the hybrid system.
But at some US forums, I came across discussions about supplementing LEDs with ATI Blue plus for coral color and growth. However again, nothing much about setting of the xr30w units to match the T5 bulbs. I hoped to get some tips and advice from reefers with experience in xr30w -T5 hybrid system. My questions are:
1. Are my xr30w units + 2 ATI Blue plus sufficient? If not, what are the recommendations? Objective – full or good coverage, color and growth of Acroporas.
2. Do I bring decrease the intensity of the xr30w units? Do I run the T5 throughout the lighting schedule of the Ecotech or just during the actual photoperiod?
3. Currently, I am not using the Ecotech SPS AB+. I thought it was too bluish. Instead, I am running the natural shallow reef pre-set. Should I switch to the AB+ when I supplement with the T5s?