Par 38 led fixtures? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
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Question Par 38 led fixtures?


I am returning to my aquarium hobby after about an 8 year hiatus. Looking to upgrade my lighting from my ancient T8 to something from this century. LED bulbs look quite intriguing. After searching endlessly on ebay and google and a few threads here, i am leaning toward purchasing a few pendant type led bulbs that can screw into a regular lamp fixture, like a par 38. Problem is that the more i research, the more confused i become about what i should get. It is all completely new to me, and time is of the essence. Can someone help me out please?

Some background: My tank is about 135 G, 5 ft long, 18 inches wide and 2 ft deep. I am planning to grow some moss and ferns on the rocks and driftwood, nothing on the ground. I am looking for enough light so that the plants can look healthy and eventually spread over the driftwood, and the aquarium looks nice and bright. I also would like to see a nice shimmering effect from the lights/water turbulence.

Like i mentioned earlier, i am leaning toward getting a few pendant par38 type led light sources. But this is where my certainty ends. How many should i get? What kind? I am hoping to strike a good balance between price and quality. Here are some options i considered.

[Ebay Link Removed]

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Please help me spend my money wisely!

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 03:41 AM
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Hi K, welcome to the Planted Tank.

FYI, we don't allow ebay links here due to possible self-promotion.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 04:04 AM Thread Starter
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Hm, ebay is where i was hoping to find a good deal. There are just too many choices but it's hard for me to tell which is a good one.

In particular i looked at this listing, where the person was selling a 10-pack of cree led bulbs for $350 with the following specs:
doesn't list Kelvins though, only vague descriptions such as "cool white".

Has anyone used these?
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 01:53 PM
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I use Cree Diminble PAR38s over my 40g. See the link in my sig. line. I believe Cool white = 5K?

Do email the seller.

I highly recommend dimmible and a LED compatible dimmer switch. I got mine from HomeDepot. Also educate yourself about the light spread with a PAR38 "bulb". There are several ways to address the cone effect that light casts.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-08-2013, 12:12 AM
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i bought a par38 for my nano reef from now extink 3 460nm and 2 10k i think. 5-3w cree's with 60deg opticks. i paid a lot but well built and it's literaly the brightest light i've ever seen. and because it screws in any were, it's fun to blind your buddys.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-08-2013, 12:56 AM
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Re: Par 38 led fixtures?

I had an ad in my email today with these sellers advertising lights. I wonder what you guys think of these particular bulbs:

I'm still shaky on the wattage vs par, angle and such with this type of light bulb. Any input would be appreciated. Thank you!
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-22-2014, 07:10 PM
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I have been running 3 - 36w, Par 38, 30 degree, Cool white bulbs on my tank for a few years now. I have learned a few things:

1. First set of bulbs I bought lasted 7,000 hours, no where near the 20k-60k some manufactures state. They might have had a warrenty, but since I bought them from Ebay...

2. Second set of bulbs I bought from ledliquidators which give a 6yr warrenty.

3. I bought dimmamble but next time I will not, I have them on a dimmer and have never turned down the light.

4. Most people online say that 36w of leds in a par38 housing is to much. If you mount these in a hood, put a fan in also or they will overheat.

5. I love the light output and the ability to mount them out of the way. Everyone that sees my tank loves my light setup, and how unique it is.

*see my sig for my setup*
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-26-2014, 06:57 AM
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The par38s listed as 36w are really maximum 18w (18x1w) in my experience. With 18w the heatsink gets really hot, the leds would burn up if powered with 36w.

Ive been using two 18x1w cold white bulbs over my 60p for about a year and can highly recommend if youre on a budget.
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