Catalina aquarium LED's - The Planted Tank Forum

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post #1 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 04:34 AM Thread Starter
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Catalina aquarium LED's

I stopped in today at Catalina aquarium here locally. He had some nice 3w CREE lights and nice color temps, 6500K. These where done up nice in a hood. While sold on hoods where you can hide DIY stuff, these have a much nicer appeal for the open top lighting I like and desire for aesthetics.

The place is filled with products.
The owner is very straight forward and pleasant, nice guy.
I've offered to stop by and lend them the PAR meter I have.
He offered to donate some products to the local SAPS club.
Maybe he'll give a small talk for the club later as well, we will see.

See how being nice helps?
Most of you think I'm a big meany
Well, gotta keep that impression up.

Anyways, I noticed the small all LED hood and got talking.
My estimation for a 24" hood is about right, around 50 micromoles for 20 x 3 w LED's and a nice spread and color.

So on a 60 Cube, I've been able to drop the light to 1 w/gal using these and with penty of light to spare. I could easily grow the tank with 14 x 3 w, giving me a 0.7W/gal ratio. Not bad eh? Anyway, they can likely be done fairly easily DIY, but aesthetics matter a lot to my exposed light fixtures, so I might opt to have it custom made.

Still someone who makes a nice looking hood for LED's would be ideal........ and it would cut the energy use of my T5 lights down by 1/2, from 96 to 42 watts. Small local maker also has a certain appeal and the willingness to help a local club out scores really big points in my book.

Two green thumbs up. I'll be doing some light data from some of these hoods hopefully in the coming weeks.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #2 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 04:41 AM Thread Starter
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Jose posted this, but figured I'd offer it up here as well:

"CREE XP-G LEDs, $7 each. These are very bright! 347 lumens per LED
when driven at 1000mA
http://www.rapidled.com/servlet/the-...R5-Cool/Detail

Drivers, each driver can handle up to 14 LEDs, $26
http://www.rapidled.com/servlet/the-...ll-LPC-dsh-60-
dsh-1050-constant/Detail

24" heatsink, $35
http://www.rapidled.com/servlet/the-...luminum/Detail

fans, $10+
http://www.rapidled.com/servlet/the-Fans/Categories

You could even get fancy and hook up a microcontroller to be able
to fully dim the lights as you wish!"

Not too bad, several threads here detail it, lots on reef sites.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #3 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 05:28 AM
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Wow, those prices mean that LED fixtures have the potential to go mainstream for FW tanks soon, too.

Tampa Bay Aquarium Society - Next meeting Monday, Oct 13, 2014 @ 7:15pm- See ya there!
TBAS Annual Fish Auction - November 1st!!

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post #4 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
Jose posted this, but figured I'd offer it up here as well:

"CREE XP-G LEDs, $7 each. These are very bright! 347 lumens per LED
when driven at 1000mA
http://www.rapidled.com/servlet/the-...R5-Cool/Detail

Drivers, each driver can handle up to 14 LEDs, $26
http://www.rapidled.com/servlet/the-...ll-LPC-dsh-60-
dsh-1050-constant/Detail

24" heatsink, $35
http://www.rapidled.com/servlet/the-...luminum/Detail

fans, $10+
http://www.rapidled.com/servlet/the-Fans/Categories

You could even get fancy and hook up a microcontroller to be able
to fully dim the lights as you wish!"

Not too bad, several threads here detail it, lots on reef sites.
you can get Cree xpg for almost $5. (i just bought 115 units)

get dimmable drivers!!! so you can easily adjust your overkill!

you can use different aluminum fixtures to spread your LED's no real need for heatsinks and fans. unless they are highly concentrated on one heatsink.

i did my DIY LED for 55g cost me <$90. my LFS had T5 lights for me that did not even fit into my canopy for $115, so leds are already cheaper.
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post #5 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 04:59 PM
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One reason for the high cost of LED lights is the extras that T5HO lights don't have. For example, dimming is very rare for T5 lights. Adjusting the color temperature is unheard of for T5 lights. Programmed brightness throughout the day is not done with T5 lights. Once you drop all of those extras, LED lights become much more economical.

One good thing to take advantage of with LED lights (my opinion) is the ability to get very uniform light intensity in the tank. That takes more LEDs, but lower power LEDs, than just replacing the concentrated light from T5s with concentrated light from LEDs. But, if you don't want to do that, LEDs certainly are already economical compared to T5s today. My preference is to give up some of that cost savings to get the more uniform light, and my DIY LED lights do that.

Hoppy
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post #6 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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I already know of the DIY aspect, my thing, and one that makes the lighting much more mainstream is the pre made ones.

Many just will not do it.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #7 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
Many just will not do it.
Like me.

I'll DIY lots of stuff, but not anything electrical. Especially electrical stuff that's gonna be near water... LOL

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post #8 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 05:45 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
Like me.

I'll DIY lots of stuff, but not anything electrical. Especially electrical stuff that's gonna be near water... LOL
Not a 9 volt licker huh?
I think many are the same way, but it's a matter of time before someone like Catalina or some other outfit makes them and they will be a bit more than T5's, but the options and reduced energy will make up for that.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #9 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Min View Post
you can use different aluminum fixtures to spread your LED's no real need for heatsinks and fans. unless they are highly concentrated on one heatsink.
Heatsinks will make your LEDs last longer and use less electricity per lumen. So I would recommend them.

I have read on some reef forums that one reason LED fixtures are already not commercially available in the US, is that a certain company holds the patent for LEDs used for aquatic growth (or some such nonsense) and they have been very active suing smaller companies that try to sell them. Thats why there are lots of sites (like rapidleds.com) that sell kits but don't sell fixtures.
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post #10 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 06:37 PM
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Not a 9 volt licker huh?
Was that a confession?

My hair can be wild and wooly enough, I don't need the Einstein thing going! ROFL

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post #11 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 07:07 PM
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+1 for Catalina. Just purchased this fixture for my new 56g and it's perfect: http://www.catalinaaquarium.com/stor...oducts_id=1414

I had the switches reversed, no charge. LEDs and mounting legs thrown in gratis without even asking. Catalina was responsive via email and fixture was packaged well and shipped (cross-country) quickly. Highly recommended.
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post #12 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 07:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solid View Post
I have read on some reef forums that one reason LED fixtures are already not commercially available in the US, is that a certain company holds the patent for LEDs used for aquatic growth (or some such nonsense) and they have been very active suing smaller companies that try to sell them. Thats why there are lots of sites (like rapidleds.com) that sell kits but don't sell fixtures.
This is a reference to Orbital vs PFO. Created lots of bad blood. Basically Orbital Technologies obtained a patent for using LEDs as light on aquariums and sued PFO, creators of the Solaris LED fixture for copyright infringement. PFO eventually went bankrupt and the case was dismissed. Orbitec continues to hold the patent afaik and likely all LED applications will need licensing from them although there are some loopholes in the patent.

With this said, there are still a number of commercially available LED fixtures on the market. Eco Lams, Ecoxotic, Elos, Vertex, TMC Aquaray and Aqua Illumination all have LED fixtures. Cree, the company that makes LEDs, has just released an aquarium fixture as well. The issue is that most, if not all of these fixtures are really designed for marine applications and most marine guys are used to paying hundreds to thousands of dollars for their lights. Most planted guys I know still cling to T-5s because they can get the color spectrums they want and the lower initial costs.

I am still excited about the future of LED and if Catalina can make a no frills LED that works at a decent price, then more power to them!

-Charlie
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post #13 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Was that a confession?

My hair can be wild and wooly enough, I don't need the Einstein thing going! ROFL
Static in my attic?

Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #14 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 08:32 PM
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post #15 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trackhazard View Post
This is a reference to Orbital vs PFO. Created lots of bad blood. Basically Orbital Technologies obtained a patent for using LEDs as light on aquariums and sued PFO, creators of the Solaris LED fixture for copyright infringement. PFO eventually went bankrupt and the case was dismissed. Orbitec continues to hold the patent afaik and likely all LED applications will need licensing from them although there are some loopholes in the patent.

With this said, there are still a number of commercially available LED fixtures on the market. Eco Lams, Ecoxotic, Elos, Vertex, TMC Aquaray and Aqua Illumination all have LED fixtures. Cree, the company that makes LEDs, has just released an aquarium fixture as well. The issue is that most, if not all of these fixtures are really designed for marine applications and most marine guys are used to paying hundreds to thousands of dollars for their lights. Most planted guys I know still cling to T-5s because they can get the color spectrums they want and the lower initial costs.

I am still excited about the future of LED and if Catalina can make a no frills LED that works at a decent price, then more power to them!

-Charlie
Yes, I think this is a good overall history thus far.
The thing with Catalina, is the guy is nice, approachable, we can help them out and also ourselves, which makes it a win-win for both.

Being local to me, I can go over and detail specifically what I want. Catalina can then make it and then market it on line for TPT folks or the planted folks in general.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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