Reef Tank Lighting – T5, MH or LED?

Some of my early tanks at home before the business was formed were from Red Sea, a Red Sea Max 130 and a Red Sea Max 250. Both were lit by T5 and had good success with them! But my first tank was a second hand biorb, yes a biorb but hey you’ve got to start somewhere! It was converted to marine with their upgrade kit, and I had a cleaner shrimp and a couple of clowns. It didn’t take long to get hooked and I soon upgraded to the Red Sea Max 130. I then had a custom 5ft tank where I experimented with the Triton method, built a custom made sump for the chaeto and first started to experiment with LED lighting, and even sourced some second hand Lani LED!

Then the hobby went a bit out of control, and I set out in my first small shop, and went LED for all the fish racks and coral tanks. The lighting on the fish systems was perfect, however on the coral tanks the technology wasn’t quite there yet for the SPS with the fixtures I had purchased. Our corals lost their colour, and when the lights were swapped with T5 they soon came back to their former glory. I then gave the Orphek Atlantik 2.1B a go in 2014 and was pleasantly surprised! So purchased 2 more for our then new 6ft display.

We then moved premises and I purchased an 8 x 3 ft tank for display, so needed a lot of light and went T5 again with ATI sunpower. The results were great.

We then experimented with Metal Halide on our coral frag systems, with 400w Bulbs and undeniable results with amazing shimmer, growth, colour and a HUGE electric bill.

In late 2020 we moved premises, and took the gamble to go full LED on my coral system, this time with the Orphek Atlantik iCon. I can safely say, I’ve found the perfect balance of everything with this light.  After over a year with this lighting, our corals are thriving using this light and our UltraPolyp range.  We filmed our UltraPolyp promo video below using corals that have only ever been lit by the Orphek Atlantik iCon since seeing the ocean 18 months ago!