The Planted Tank Forum

The Planted Tank Forum (
-   Lighting (
-   -   40 gal breeder 36" high light LED Project (

monkeyruler90 05-23-2012 05:59 PM

40 gal breeder 36" high light LED Project
Hey everyone, so after seeing my friend raidendex upgrade his lighting to LED and how easy it was I've decided to take the jump and upgrade myself

I have a rimless 40g breeder that is in desperate need of an upgrade. I've had the current fixture for over two years and I can definitely tell the bulbs have decreased in output. This is what it looks like now

you can see that sometimes the light isn't all that even but two years ago it was the best I could do.

I've been researching for a while on the best LED's for the lowest amount of money. At first I thought I'd go really cheap and just get the XP-Gs however I've noticed that the XM-L U2 lights produce the max amount of light per dollar spent. They're great

For my 36" fixture I've scouted out two aluminum bars that I'll mount the LED's to. I'm getting them local so it's going to save on shipping.
1/4 X 2-1/2 Aluminum Rectangular Bar 6061T6 come out $21.57


The optics will be bought from
I'll be using 40 degree optics at $21.48

The rest of the supplies will come from who also seems to have great prices. Has anybody worked with them before?

How are the meanwell drivers? quiet?
i'll be getting

2 Mean Well LPC-60-1750
constant current drivers at $52
some adhesive stars, 20 for $20
the 12 XM-L U2 LED's will be $96
and the wires i'll be getting from a friend locally.

with shipping, I'm estimating for everything to come around $214.84

I'll be spacing the LED's every 5.14 inches and then 6 inches between the two rows.

Since I like keeping everything close to the tank I think i'll keep the fixture around 20" from the substrate.

According to the excel calculator from hoppy I'm estimating around 113 par at the bottom using this set up. If it gets to be too high light and I start seeing algae then I'll raise the fixture or cover the LEDs since the driver isn't dimmable.

So what do you guys think? I haven't seen too many high light LED set ups. most of them are set up to be medium light
do you think i should change from 40 degree optics to 60 degree optics? i'll get more light splashing out but it'd reduce the spotting, and I'd save $13:red_mouth

give me some feedback :)

monkeyruler90 05-23-2012 06:12 PM

I was calculating how much this build was going to save compared to my normal set up

I pay $11.135 per 100 KWH
If I keep my current fixture which takes in 220 W for 7 hours a day, each year its going to cost me about $62.59 to run. If I upgrade and get this fixture then it should cost me about $18.82 a year. a savings of $43.77. This should pay for itself pretty quick :)

monkeyruler90 05-23-2012 06:42 PM

made a little excel sheet on the cost analysis of everything

BS87 05-23-2012 08:26 PM

excellent thread, I'll be following!

monkeyruler90 05-23-2012 09:52 PM

Thanks BS87, what size tank do you have? thinking about building something similar?

BTW, i just realized that i'm overshooting everything

i can do everything just fine with 10XML u2s and it can all run on a single driver. saving me more money!

so updated amount will be
10 xmls $80
optics $17.90
adhesive $5
driver $26
heat sink $21.57

everything in total comes out to $163.55
even better than i thought!!!

Pen3 05-24-2012 03:53 AM

Are you going to mix in any colors or go all cw?

In.a.Box 05-24-2012 03:55 AM

Did you remove the black trim yourself?

zonamav 05-24-2012 05:11 AM

I'm following, got a 36" 50 gallon that I would like to go LED on eventually. Good luck and keep posting!

monkeyruler90 05-24-2012 02:17 PM


Originally Posted by Pen3 (Post 1874912)
Are you going to mix in any colors or go all cw?

Well when I saw my friend's tank I really liked the all cool white color. Right now I have a mix of 10,000k and 6,500k and I like that blend so if the spectrum on the led's runs around 8,000k that'd be perfect!


Originally Posted by In.a.Box (Post 1874917)
Did you remove the black trim yourself?

No actually, it didn't have a trim. I bought this tank from a guy for $20, the glass is pretty thick so it doesn't bow or anything.
Last year, the tank exploded
and i had to replace the entire back panel. I used super strong silicone and pretty thick glass and it looks great, doesn't need a rim or anything.


Originally Posted by zonamav (Post 1875022)
I'm following, got a 36" 50 gallon that I would like to go LED on eventually. Good luck and keep posting!

Awesome! a 36"x18"x18"? good dimensions
I'll try and document everything. That's the biggest challenge i found when starting the project, not that many people had documented their builds properly so I had to research everything myself.

monkeyruler90 05-24-2012 03:15 PM

Alright, I made a little diagram of what 10 LEDS will look like, how much overlap and how much spill over was going to occur.

i noticed that i should be moving the rows to 4 inches closer to each other, that'd give better spread laterally
the angles of the cones are only 20 degrees, I wanted to model how the bright spots will overlap. since the brightest light will only be in the first 20 degrees in a 40 degree optic.
you can see the 2 inches at each end where the tank isnt getting bright light. oh well

this is how the overall image looks.I changed how the LEDS are spread out on the bar, not every 6 inches but every 5.75 inches leaving 6.5inches on each end. that way more of the light is focused on the tank

BS87 05-24-2012 06:08 PM


Originally Posted by monkeyruler90 (Post 1874447)
Thanks BS87, what size tank do you have? thinking about building something similar?

40B here as well! Going to do T5HO for now, but LED possibly in the future!

monkeyruler90 05-24-2012 06:31 PM


Originally Posted by BS87 (Post 1875546)
40B here as well! Going to do T5HO for now, but LED possibly in the future!

40Bs are the best!!

I don't know. I definitely recommend going the LED way.
It's going to be a lot cheaper

This whole build is equivalent to 3 t5HO bulbs, it's only costing me about $164
Considering a 36" tek light cost $256.99 not including bulbs i'm saving a ton of money!!
LED is the way to go!
even if you want super high light you can get 12 XMLs instead of 10 and it'll only be about $220, way cheaper than a tek and a bunch brighter!

BS87 05-24-2012 08:56 PM

Well, I haven't purchased lighting yet, but I was going to stay low-medium light with a single T5HO hung above the tank, so for $70 I'm still ahead :) You do give me ideas though...

GitMoe 05-24-2012 09:07 PM

It'll take 4 years to pay yourself back in energy savings. How is that quick? Interesting build regardless. I'm not sold on the LED thing just quite yet. They look great and definitely use less power. Just not into having to build one from scratch at this point. Eventually a company will realize the market and start making usable planted tank LED fixtures.

zonamav 05-24-2012 09:39 PM

Dont forget the yearly cost of the t5 bulb replacements, that accelerates the breakeven point faster.

Sent from my VM670 using Tapatalk

All times are GMT. The time now is 07:47 AM.

Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.