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Old 12-20-2011, 05:04 PM   #1
IWANNAGOFAST
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LED regrets


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'm running 24 cree xp-g cool whites with meanwell dimmable drivers with 65 degree optics, and 8 royal blue crees with no optics.

Colorwise, looks decent. Plant growth wise... not so much.

My stems never look as good as they can be, the middle of the stem seems to rot out pretty quickly. I'm getting some gnarly algae growth too(mostly green hair algae). I dose EI and have good co2, and my light is only running at about 40umols at the substrate...

Has anyone else that has ran these LEDs for a long period of time regretting their decision?
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Old 12-20-2011, 05:28 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IWANNAGOFAST View Post
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'm running 24 cree xp-g cool whites with meanwell dimmable drivers with 65 degree optics, and 8 royal blue crees with no optics.

Colorwise, looks decent. Plant growth wise... not so much.

My stems never look as good as they can be, the middle of the stem seems to rot out pretty quickly. I'm getting some gnarly algae growth too(mostly green hair algae). I dose EI and have good co2, and my light is only running at about 40umols at the substrate...

Has anyone else that has ran these LEDs for a long period of time regretting their decision?
There's plenty of people using LED fixtures with great results so it's more than likely something your doing, not the LED fixture. I've gone through the same question with t5's when I first got them (first couple months), but soon realized it was my error not the light. As long as the wave lengths of light are usable by the plants, it's not a problem.

However, that does not support the fact that the cool white LED's may be supporting algae by having too much of one piece of the visual light spectrum.
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:11 PM   #3
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I've had LED lighting over my tank for nearly 2 years now, and have run into the same issues. The thing is though- The problems that I've had are the same ones that I struggled with prior to switching to leds. I know for a fact that leds will grow plants just as well as other types of lighting, as I've seen lush growth with nearly non existent algae for months on end, and then the algae comes back around. The Algae problem has to be due to some sort of nutrient imbalance that goes unnoticed and uncorrected. I've tested my tank water when the growth was good and found nitrate hovering around 20 ppm and phosphate at .25ppm. Later on- as the algae reared it's ugly head, nitrate levels had dropped to 2ppm and phosphate was not measurable. I try to dose nutrients- Macro&Micro on a regular schedule now, but even then the results vary. I'm keeping my leds and I'll continue to struggle with the plants- I look forward to those short lived times when everything just seems to work out and my tank looks awesome. Here's one of those times-
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:58 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by IWANNAGOFAST View Post

My stems never look as good as they can be, the middle of the stem seems to rot out pretty quickly. I'm getting some gnarly algae growth too(mostly green hair algae). I dose EI and have good co2, and my light is only running at about 40umols at the substrate...
You are dosing per the EI method - therefore no shortage of any of the basic nutrients.
You have 40 micromols of PAR, which has been proven to be enough to grow almost any plant - therefore no problem with inadequate light.
You have good CO2 - hmmm, considering just how difficult it is to dial in an appropriate level of CO2, and have it be available to all plants in the tank, this is probably the problem. Maybe you should try slowly, over several days, increasing the bubble rate a little, to see if the plants react favorably. If so, you very likely have inadequate CO2 for the amount of plant mass you have and the amount of light you have. You could also verify that the water circulation throughout the tank is good, and the water surface is pretty well covered with ripples.
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IWANNAGOFAST View Post
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'm running 24 cree xp-g cool whites with meanwell dimmable drivers with 65 degree optics, and 8 royal blue crees with no optics.

Colorwise, looks decent. Plant growth wise... not so much.

My stems never look as good as they can be, the middle of the stem seems to rot out pretty quickly. I'm getting some gnarly algae growth too(mostly green hair algae). I dose EI and have good co2, and my light is only running at about 40umols at the substrate...

Has anyone else that has ran these LEDs for a long period of time regretting their decision?
I cannot comment on why this is occurring, but a lot of the reef guys have switched back to T5s due to a number of factors: unpleasant coloration [Kelvin rating] when compared to T5/MH, poor or bleached color growth (could be due to focused 40 degree optics) and the fact that LEDs do not output light in various wavelengths (ie. UV is missing).

Check RC, plenty of people ditching their AI Sols, etc.
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:24 PM   #6
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Yeah, I have an AI Sol over my reef and I don't like the color that much. Although I like the blue-actinic look, it's missing a lot of the warm spectrum too.
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:27 PM   #7
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You are dosing per the EI method - therefore no shortage of any of the basic nutrients.
You have 40 micromols of PAR, which has been proven to be enough to grow almost any plant - therefore no problem with inadequate light.
You have good CO2 - hmmm, considering just how difficult it is to dial in an appropriate level of CO2, and have it be available to all plants in the tank, this is probably the problem. Maybe you should try slowly, over several days, increasing the bubble rate a little, to see if the plants react favorably. If so, you very likely have inadequate CO2 for the amount of plant mass you have and the amount of light you have. You could also verify that the water circulation throughout the tank is good, and the water surface is pretty well covered with ripples.
I'm running 2 ehiem filters, a 2236 and a pro3e, and there's a koralia 425gph that is directly above my diffuser to blow the bubbles around.

I'll look into other issues too but for the life of me, I can't think of anything other than the light that could be causing these issues.
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:38 PM   #8
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I was using a 10W LED floodlamp on my nano and it worked great. No complaints. Granted it is on a much smaller scale but it was hung 18" above the water line and had to penetrate 7" to the sub.



You can see it was a good ways up, not as close as it should have been considering how weak it was but again, no alage and great growth.

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Old 12-20-2011, 07:44 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Raul-7 View Post
I cannot comment on why this is occurring, but a lot of the reef guys have switched back to T5s due to a number of factors: unpleasant coloration [Kelvin rating] when compared to T5/MH, poor or bleached color growth (could be due to focused 40 degree optics) and the fact that LEDs do not output light in various wavelengths (ie. UV is missing).

Check RC, plenty of people ditching their AI Sols, etc.

Most of the people ditching LEDs in the reef world were early adopters who bought fixtures that simply don't put out nearly enough PAR to grow reef corals.

That isn't a problem here.
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:53 PM   #10
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Most of the people ditching LEDs in the reef world were early adopters who bought fixtures that simply don't put out nearly enough PAR to grow reef corals.

That isn't a problem here.
No, the posts I read involved recent adopters.

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...&highlight=sol

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...ght=led+regret

A lot more posts can be found that resemble the thread above.
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Old 12-20-2011, 08:44 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by O2surplus View Post
I've had LED lighting over my tank for nearly 2 years now, and have run into the same issues. The thing is though- The problems that I've had are the same ones that I struggled with prior to switching to leds. I know for a fact that leds will grow plants just as well as other types of lighting, as I've seen lush growth with nearly non existent algae for months on end, and then the algae comes back around. The Algae problem has to be due to some sort of nutrient imbalance that goes unnoticed and uncorrected. I've tested my tank water when the growth was good and found nitrate hovering around 20 ppm and phosphate at .25ppm. Later on- as the algae reared it's ugly head, nitrate levels had dropped to 2ppm and phosphate was not measurable. I try to dose nutrients- Macro&Micro on a regular schedule now, but even then the results vary. I'm keeping my leds and I'll continue to struggle with the plants- I look forward to those short lived times when everything just seems to work out and my tank looks awesome. Here's one of those times-
This is a very good observation. I've noticed similar things in my LED tanks. Here is my theory: Diana Walstad, in Ecology of the Planted Aquarium, says that light in the blue wavelength tends to break down iron into a nutrient that algae feeds on and promotes algal growth. I'm not sure of the exact chemical process, but if you read the algae section of the book she talks about it.

My theory is: strong blue light from LEDs combined with iron from dosed micros in the water column creates an algae bloom. Things you could do to resolve this - try using only 6500K LEDs that shouldn't produce so much light in the blue spectrum - dose less iron - although that's tough when you have red plants in your tank.

Let us know if turning off the blue LEDs helps at all.
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Old 12-20-2011, 09:08 PM   #12
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that's an interesting idea. I'm going to try to shut off the blue LEDs and see how it fares.
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Old 12-21-2011, 01:16 AM   #13
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My personal belief about the LED market is that it's still too new to reliably judge whether or not something is going to work the way its intended. There are simply too many variables involved, and not enough consistency between products. Two lights from the same batch, same manufacturer, same factory - different lumens. LEDs are made similar to the way processors are made, but not exactly. They may run a batch of 1000, and the ones that come out the best are driven higher and sold for more. Intel has been doing this with processors for years. I'm referring to the individual LEDs - not the pre-fabbed fixtures.

We also have to think about the numbers of people that are DIYing these. I think most are capable of setting these things up properly, but there are a lot of areas to make mistakes. LED lights aren't necessarily a technology that you setup to either "work" or "not work". There's a lot of wiggle room there.

Being into reefs myself for the past 15 or so years, I haven't tried LEDs and don't plan on it anytime soon. I think that the technology is great, it's just not "dialed-in" enough for me yet. Until I saw this thread, I hadn't heard anything about anyone going back to CF or halide once switching to LED.

If you want the shimmer - it's still halide for me.
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Old 12-21-2011, 01:26 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raul-7 View Post
I cannot comment on why this is occurring, but a lot of the reef guys have switched back to T5s due to a number of factors: unpleasant coloration [Kelvin rating] when compared to T5/MH, poor or bleached color growth (could be due to focused 40 degree optics) and the fact that LEDs do not output light in various wavelengths (ie. UV is missing).

Check RC, plenty of people ditching their AI Sols, etc.

If you have unpleasent color and poor coral growth than you are using the wrong LED fixture, simple as that... Have those reef guys try out MVAVA or Reefbrite and tell me what they think.

If anything you will get BETTER color and growth...
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Old 12-21-2011, 03:27 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by IWANNAGOFAST View Post
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:
Quote:
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjproost
Hello-

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?
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