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CaptainK

Solar Tube Lighting

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So I have been out of the hobby for a year but I now live in a house instead of an apartment. I was thinking about setting up a tank with Solar Tube lighting with supplemental LEDs. I was wondering if anyone is currently running a tank with this form of lighting? I would be using a 12" solar tube over a 45 or 60gallon cube tank. Any advice or info would be appreciated.

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Welcome back Captain! I know nothing of solar tubes but I bet a little research will yield some info to help you make a decision. Main things to consider are par values, being able to maybe put a filter over the light to have it more of a spectrum you'd appreciate instead of the harsh yellow light, and like you mentioned, supplemental lighting to make it more pleasing to the eye.

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Yea just wondered if someone local was using them since they are location specific based on amount of sunlight we get here in Austin. Also wanted to see if anyone already got par readings from a tank with solar tubes. I don't mind less blue light and I can always ramp the k up with leds. 

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I'm dealing with roughly a 4' x 12' vertical picture window so I get a fairly intense amount of sunlight even with the change between summer and winter solstices.   I doubt a 12" solar tube will provide enough light but I've never measured one to see what the  intensity is.  I'd suggest either finding someone local with a solar tube to measure or looking online and seeing if someone close to our same latitude has posted PAR or lux values.

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17 hours ago, FarmerTy said:

I have a solar tube in my master closet. emoji1.png

you would *lol*

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Measure it!
I'll need to borrow a par meter. I don't have one. There was a guy in Reefcentral who used solar tubes. I'm sure he has par data for it.
you would *lol*
I bought the house this way! Hater!

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20 minutes ago, FarmerTy said:

I'll need to borrow a par meter. I don't have one. There was a guy in Reefcentral who used solar tubes. I'm sure he has par data for it.I bought the house this way! Hater! emoji12.png

suresure... just admit you like seeing your skin sparkle like in those movies.

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suresure... just admit you like seeing your skin sparkle like in those movies.
I have no idea what you're talking about...#teamedwardforlife

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If I remember correctly, someone in San Antonio had a tank with three solar tubes over it. I remember reading his thread on RC probably 7-10 (+/- 5 lolz) years ago, so not sure if it's still up and running. San Antonio is close enough to Austin to get similar results though. I would search that thread out and see what you can learn! I'd be interested in what you find since I have always been curious about supplementing a tank with natural light.

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The fall equinox is in a couple weeks Ty, good time to get some readings during the day to get max intensity and an idea on how  intensity ramps up and down.

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The fall equinox is in a couple weeks Ty, good time to get some readings during the day to get max intensity and an idea on how  intensity ramps up and down.
In the name of science, I need a par meter stat!

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Ok the bad news is solar tubes are susceptible to oxidization especially when near a saltwater tank. So the par levels are likely to drop. But depending on how much, I could always ramp up an led. I don't know if this issue still occurs in the new models. 

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I was thinking 1.5-2ft. The reflective coating inside the tube can deteriorate. For normal use this isn't noticeable unless you use a par meter. I thought the tubes were sealed off but I'm not sure. 

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I found 3 tubes and tested around 1:00 PM them 1 week and 2 weeks after the fall equinox.  2 were 8" and 1 was 14".  On a cloudy day I got 1 and 2 PAR.  On a sunny day it went up to 3 and 5.  They all had a frosted lenses closing off the tube in the ceiling and ceilings were 10'.   PAR meter was held at shoulder height.

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