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Old 03-23-2012, 07:20 PM   #1
carpalstunna
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Led Lighting; Premade vs. DIY


I just got a new tank and am new to the forum. Its a 54 gallon corner bowfront. I will be slowly phasing out my traditional 55 gallon. Due to the different size of the hoods I will have to get new lighting, so I have been seriously considering LEDS.

Right now I have a 120w CF fixture and a 15W 24in 6500K led fixture.

The new tank is deeper than my old 22 inches plus the fixtures will be mounted up a few inches. but then 3 inches of subtrate so say 20 inches to the bottom of the tank. I am handy electronically and have been reading all day on the forum about DIY Led fixtures. I like this idea as due to its odd shape I feel like getting a premade fixture to fit right could be tough. I am going to keep my 15W led fixture and put it in the new tank.

Does anyone have suggestions on a premade LED or do you think the DIY is the way to go. My problem with DIY is that I have read so much I have no idea what I need. Alot of options. I am looking for a medium tech planted tank setup. Probably will be going to Pressurized Co2 as well.

Thoughts? Think I can succesfully put together a homemade LED setup or should I just stick to adding a few more premade units? I guess I just dont know how much light is enough.
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Old 03-23-2012, 08:09 PM   #2
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depending on your tank's dimensions, I think 1 or 2 kessil amazon suns would work just perfectly on your tank
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Old 03-23-2012, 08:39 PM   #3
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The dimensions are 27 on the two sides and 38 across the bowfront. The fixture I have is 24 inches.

dont you think that may be too much light though? Also they are like 250.
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Old 03-23-2012, 11:33 PM   #4
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It is easier to design a LED light for a typical long, narrow tank, than for an odd shape like you have. But it can be done, and it should work very well. I don't know how many LEDs it would take, nor the total cost. Given enough time I think I could come pretty close to the right number and configuration.

With a DIY LED light you can have adjustable color temperature, so you can get the appearance you like best. You can also have a sunrise to sunset effect (with additional equipment). And, you can have the ability to dial in the light intensity you want, not have to rely on raising or lowering the light to adjust it. Whether all of that is worth paying extra for only you can say.
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Old 03-24-2012, 05:47 AM   #5
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Well, the more I read and research I really Am liking what I could do for a DIY setup. Especially with the odd tank shape. All the premade LEDs are in strips so I feel I wouldn't get a great spread of light. I am look for about 40 uml at the substrate. So here are my initial thoughts.

I already have the 24 inch 12 watt strip so I run that right up the middle and then make two triangular shaped clusters on either side of the strip. I am thinking 5 3watt cree emitters in each cluster for a total of 10. So my current twelve watts plus an additional 30 watts. Is that too much for my desired light level or not enough? That's the struggle I am having.

I also would like to have a moonlight effect so maybe Add a few blueish low powered LEDs because I really like that moonlight effect.

Thoughts? The other struggle I am having is figuring out what Driver to get. Right now I am looking at the Mean Well LPC-35-700 driver
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Old 03-24-2012, 08:05 PM   #6
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This is what I would do with LEDs to light this tank:



This should give you about 60 micromols of PAR at 1000 mAmps, so if you use a dimmable driver you could adjust the intensity from 30 or less micromols to 60 micromols (or more). I believe this is a conservative design, more likely to give you even more PAR than less. And, the substrate would be pretty uniformly lighted, with minimal spilled light. I would use this heatsink: http://www.rapidled.com/drilled-tapp...num-heat-sink/ but cheaper ones are available that don't have all of the features of this one.
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:55 AM   #7
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hoppy,
Thats is very helpful!! Would I need a fan with that setup? I would like to avoid using a fan if possible but if I need thats ok.

Would it be a mistake to use the light I have as well. It has 5- cree xpg 2.25 watt 6500 K. Maybe I could put that in front of the one you designed and either scale back their wattage or space them a little further. It works well so I hate to get rid of it completely.
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Old 03-26-2012, 01:13 AM   #8
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Not to high jack you thread, but is "cree xp-g cool white" alone enough for a planted tank?
Don't you need additional blue or red to complete the wavelength specter?
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Old 03-26-2012, 01:21 PM   #9
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I was always under the impression that the 6500K lights were optimal for plant growth.

Also one other thing, I dont think I am going to be able to get the distance of 12 inches above the water. Its going to be more like 4 inches. My tank has a custom hood that fits it and I would like to keep it. Plus my stupid cats always get on the fish tank so I need a lid on it. Does that change the need for optics? Do the optics help with the spread or intensity or both?

I think I am definitely going to use a dimmer that way I can control the amount of light easily. I have been looking at stevels leds and thanks to hoppy rapid led as well. I think I like their website a little better, also prices seem fair enough. Any other suggestions on where to source this stuff? I would also like to do a moonlight at night but with the controllers I have seen I would need two and just hook each one up to my timer I have now, one set for day one set for night.

I will probably be starting a new tank thread too. I have alot of questions/ideas. This is more overwhelming than the first tank. First tank I just kind of threw together with minimal knowledge and it just worked out. Dumb luck.
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Old 03-26-2012, 04:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carpalstunna View Post
hoppy,
Thats is very helpful!! Would I need a fan with that setup? I would like to avoid using a fan if possible but if I need thats ok.

Would it be a mistake to use the light I have as well. It has 5- cree xpg 2.25 watt 6500 K. Maybe I could put that in front of the one you designed and either scale back their wattage or space them a little further. It works well so I hate to get rid of it completely.
You wouldn't need a fan, since you would be running the LEDs considerably below their rated maximum current. I would be sure to use a finned heatsink though. There would be no advantage to using your existing light in addition to this, but you could use those LEDs as part of the new light.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carpalstunna View Post
I was always under the impression that the 6500K lights were optimal for plant growth.

Also one other thing, I dont think I am going to be able to get the distance of 12 inches above the water. Its going to be more like 4 inches. My tank has a custom hood that fits it and I would like to keep it. Plus my stupid cats always get on the fish tank so I need a lid on it. Does that change the need for optics? Do the optics help with the spread or intensity or both?

I think I am definitely going to use a dimmer that way I can control the amount of light easily. I have been looking at stevels leds and thanks to hoppy rapid led as well. I think I like their website a little better, also prices seem fair enough. Any other suggestions on where to source this stuff? I would also like to do a moonlight at night but with the controllers I have seen I would need two and just hook each one up to my timer I have now, one set for day one set for night.

I will probably be starting a new tank thread too. I have alot of questions/ideas. This is more overwhelming than the first tank. First tank I just kind of threw together with minimal knowledge and it just worked out. Dumb luck.
If you can't raise the light to 12 inches that design won't work well. I need to think about it again with a 4 inch height for the light. Optics increase the light intensity and reduce the spread of the cone of light from each LED.

Another good source for LEDs is LEDgroupbuy. The only disadvantage of that site is the time it takes to get the LEDs, since they group orders together and get a good price from the manufacturer that way, but that can cause a month delay in getting them.
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Old 03-26-2012, 04:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ugn View Post
Not to high jack you thread, but is "cree xp-g cool white" alone enough for a planted tank?
Don't you need additional blue or red to complete the wavelength specter?
You don't need additional blue or red LEDs. Cool white grows plants very well. It is PAR that determines how good the light is, not spectra.
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Old 03-26-2012, 05:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post


If you can't raise the light to 12 inches that design won't work well. I need to think about it again with a 4 inch height for the light. Optics increase the light intensity and reduce the spread of the cone of light from each LED.

Another good source for LEDs is LEDgroupbuy. The only disadvantage of that site is the time it takes to get the LEDs, since they group orders together and get a good price from the manufacturer that way, but that can cause a month delay in getting them.

Thanks good advice again. Let me know if you come up with something. Could the distance be decreased and then just not use any optics? For example say 10-12 3 watt LEDS running at 1000 ma evenly spaced 4 inches apart? I saw your thread with the calculations, very intersting, my algebra isnt that good unfortunately.

I am going to be planning and researching this tank for a couple months as I dont know exactly how I want to do it right now, so I could wait a month or so to get supplies. That wouldnt be a real inconvenience at all.
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Old 03-26-2012, 05:46 PM   #13
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This should work for about 60 micromols of PAR at 1000 mAmps current and 80 degree optics.
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Old 03-26-2012, 06:52 PM   #14
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also I may have a decent size piece of malaysian drifwood going in this tank so would it be wise to not focus alot of light over that area? Will it promote algae growth on the piece? Its about 16 inches tall.
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post


This should work for about 60 micromols of PAR at 1000 mAmps current and 80 degree optics.

wow hoppy that looks awesome, only 8!! I am just realizing how amazing these LEDS are. Also I am liking how this build keeps getting cheaper. You think that will give pretty even coverage on the bottom of the tank? The radius across the front is 38 inches and both back sides are 27.

I am not worried about that back corner really because I think I want to do some kind of 3d background back there in order to hide my equipment so the last few inches wont have any plants etc.

Also after looking on rapidbuy what is the difference between the Mean Well ELN-60-48P and the D model? They are both listed as dimmable. However the mentions it works with a controller. Do they both work with their dimmer kit? Whats the difference I guess.
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