Bit of an update on the Lighting used and the seaweeds.
The gamble I took with going for the Aquaray GroBeam LED lights that are intended for freshwater aquariums seemed to have been worth it. The fact that whatever I collect wont be in deeper water than 5m and even that only at spring tides indeed most of it will be in less than 1-2m, I think the light being used in a my Rockpool aquarium needs to be as close as possible to natural daylight (~6500k) which is used in freshwater aquariums. Jon Olavs also had huge success growing massive amounts of macroalgea using daylight spectrum which gives me hope this will work.
The lights seem very good quality I am really happy with them so far. They where accidentally submerged during aquascaping for at least three times (cant believe that actually happened so many times!) and still working perfectly. The light is very bright, the colors of animals, stones and seaweed come out very nicely, its very natural looking and the shimmer effect is amazing and realistic. There is almost no heat being introduced to the water surface. The only heat dissipation is at the back of them where the heat sinks are located. This is a very important factor for temperate setups and well worth the investments because you might get away not using a chiller or at least save a lot of money on electricity on the running cost of the lights and the lower load on a chiller. Currently my Aquarium is at 17 degrees unchilled (the fact the the sump is on ground level where the coldest air is drafting around might help this significantly)
In the first two weeks of starting the tank I was waiting for the 30W Tile (GroBeam 1500 Natural Daylight 6500k) and was only operating the tank with the two 12W Strips (GroBeam 600 Ultima Natural Daylight 6500k) all the seaweeds seemed to slowly disintegrate and dissolve even though I had them on a 12h cycle. After about a week of having the 30W plus the two 12W going together (total 54W LED) the red and brown seaweeds are definitely growing which is fantastic! (This is now four weeks ago) The greens seemed to have stopped dying or some might even grow a little bit, but not sure. With the browns and reds its obvious to see the growth and some even popped out that wherent there before or too small to see. Also what I deem to be the Rainbow wrack has gotten a lot of its color and iridescent effect back after loosing it under low light conditions. Really delighted about this as I like to see growth and those LED lights where a bit of an investment. I started operating them at 12 hours then 10 now I am down to 9 which is still a bit longer than natural but I will eventually match the actual sun schedule. An important thing to mention here is maybe that my tank is unchilled and running at 17.5degrees which is a lot higher than the 12degrees that the sea is at this time of year. Maybe that and in addition with longer lighting is simulating a bit of summer and thats why there is growth? Also I do think what might also have an effect is that I am feeding a lot more and regularly.
The only downturn in terms of reproducing a natural habitat with these lights is that they are only ON/OFF, the fish dont actually spook from it when it goes on full blast but its not very natural. There is a nifty Aquaray controller to allow you to dim those lights in and out in different channels all programmable. I hope Santa is reading this 😉
Also in terms of lighting, I am using the Moonlight that is on the “Tunze Pump controller 7096” which simulates a 29 day lunar cycle. (more on the controller later) This light is cool in terms of the lunar cycle control but its very much a spot light (around 25degree beam) which I dont find natural looking. So I added just one 0.5W cool white LED (120degree beam) which is permanently on that gives a really natural smooth moonlight effect. Hopeing to find some settings on the phone camera to get this effect on picture.
The three spined Sticklebacks really enjoy the moonlight as they are always schooling very close together at night in the rays of the “moon”. They seem to be a bit afraid of the dark 😉 naturally, even though there is no big Pollack waiting to feast on them at night anymore…
I tried to put together the names of the seaweeds that are growing at the moment and the ones that dont but I find identification very difficult so I gave up. Please feel free to comment on the pictures if you know any ID’s or correct the ones I identified wrong 😉
I just add a few pictures with notes here of some of the seaweeds…