Ok. so I know i'm eating my own words here since i've been such a huge supporter of LEDs and such in the past few months. But I'm having some regrets about my set up.
I am so sorry to see you have these experiences and post this
I have built two setups based partly on your DIY projects and some of your advice. Both, IMHO, have been very successful in the short term(7 months or so on one and 5 weeks on the other). THANK YOU!!
I believe that all things in moderated excess is best, including planted aquariums. I absolutely do not want to question the many far more experienced and knowledgeable aquarists who have created this great community and made this so much easier for me. But, maybe 40 micromols of par is not "enough" in all cases? Your issues certainly sound like a light source issue in my limited experience.
I hope this is OK, But here is a PM exchange we had in May:
Originally Posted by IWANNAGOFAST
I would not run optics if this was your plan. at 8 inches, you'll be in the 100's for par, way way way WAY too high, even if you're only using a 350ma driver.
I'd go w/ 2 strings of leds, 3-4 each string if you want to use the 350ma driver. Or, you could do 1 string using a stronger 700ma meanwell driver.
Originally Posted by mjproost
I love your LED retrofits! You have inspired me to create a new hood for my Edge and try some CREE LEDS. Per the lighting plan 5-6 Crees with the 65 degree optics will cover all but a 4 very small spots of the tank. The LEDS will only be 8" off of the substrate so I could not figure what driver to use that would not nearly blind the inhabitants. I saw your retrofit with the 350 mA driver from RapidLED.
By chance did you take a par reading at 8" or your setup?
Currently the tank is slated to have HC, Hairgrass and few stems so I want to make sure I can get enough light to them.
Thank you in advance.
Well, I ended up building 2 setups on Edges with the 350ma drivers and XR-E's, one with optics(for a friend in June) and one without(mine dry-start 3 months ago and flooded a little over a month ago. IMO, both are doing really well and have no significant algae issues aside from a BGA outbreak I attribute to BGA colonization during the dry-start phase. However, the optic tank has denser lower HC growth and beautiful rotala stems. Both are EI tanks with injected CO2, however I cannot be sure nutrients levels are equal. So, my experience is purely anecdotal, I have no hard data or measurements.
Is it possible we are underestimating the amount of light required to get the type growth we want? Maybe there a difference between enough light to "grow almost anything" and enough to create the growth we might be looking for?