Light Bulb PAR/PPFD Test Results - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-20-2020, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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Light Bulb PAR/PPFD Test Results

Hello Folks,

I recently bought an Apogee SQ-420 Par Meter and have been putting it to use figuring out what levels my aquariums are at. Its been an enlightening experience......................


Anyway, one thing I have been wondering for a while is whether I can use regular light bulbs to give me high light levels in a high tech tank. The reasoning for this is that am planning to go DIY for lighting but I also want the final result to look good. The tank I want to use this on will be in the living room/entry to my house and thus will be one of the first things anyone coming to my home will see. If I can use regular lighting fixtures / chandeliers the amount of effort and skill required to DIY something that looks GOOD dramatically lowers. For aesthetics these light bulbs would be 3 to 4 feet above substrate. That means 1 to 2 feet of air and 2 feet of water.

So that's the lead up. Now for the testing. To begin with I have two bulbs.



1) SANSI 36W Grow Light

At 3 feet this bulb produced approximately 50 ppfd directly under the light. At 3 feet down and 1 foot off center it was approximately 35 ppfd.
At 4 feet this bulb produced approximately 30 ppfd directly under the light. At 4 feet down and 1 foot off center this bulb produced approximately 20-25 ppfd.

2) Sylvania Ultra LED Night Chaser

At 3 feet this bulb produced approximately 100 ppfd directly under the light. At 3 feet down and 1 foot off center it was approximately 60 ppfd.
At 4 feet this bulb produced approximately 60 ppfd directly under the light. At 4 feet down and 1 foot off center this bulb produced approximately 50 ppfd.

The Sylvania light advertises a spectrum of 5000k. The SANSI does not advertise it's spectrum but appears warmer so I am guessing 4000K to 4500K.

For reference these numbers were obtained in open air. I don't have 24" deep tank I could test this out in at present.

I am still looking for bulbs and will update this thread as I test new ones. Hopefully this information will be useful to other folks as well.


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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-21-2020, 02:53 AM
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Hello Folks,

I recently bought an Apogee SQ-420 Par Meter and have been putting it to use figuring out what levels my aquariums are at. Its been an enlightening experience......................


Anyway, one thing I have been wondering for a while is whether I can use regular light bulbs to give me high light levels in a high tech tank. The reasoning for this is that am planning to go DIY for lighting but I also want the final result to look good. The tank I want to use this on will be in the living room/entry to my house and thus will be one of the first things anyone coming to my home will see. If I can use regular lighting fixtures / chandeliers the amount of effort and skill required to DIY something that looks GOOD dramatically lowers. For aesthetics these light bulbs would be 3 to 4 feet above substrate. That means 1 to 2 feet of air and 2 feet of water.

So that's the lead up. Now for the testing. To begin with I have two bulbs.



1) SANSI 36W Grow Light

At 3 feet this bulb produced approximately 50 ppfd directly under the light. At 3 feet down and 1 foot off center it was approximately 35 ppfd.
At 4 feet this bulb produced approximately 30 ppfd directly under the light. At 4 feet down and 1 foot off center this bulb produced approximately 20-25 ppfd.

2) Sylvania Ultra LED Night Chaser

At 3 feet this bulb produced approximately 100 ppfd directly under the light. At 3 feet down and 1 foot off center it was approximately 60 ppfd.
At 4 feet this bulb produced approximately 60 ppfd directly under the light. At 4 feet down and 1 foot off center this bulb produced approximately 50 ppfd.

The Sylvania light advertises a spectrum of 5000k. The SANSI does not advertise it's spectrum but appears warmer so I am guessing 4000K to 4500K.

For reference these numbers were obtained in open air. I don't have 24" deep tank I could test this out in at present.

I am still looking for bulbs and will update this thread as I test new ones. Hopefully this information will be useful to other folks as well.

you may want to look for High CRI bulbs...
Quote:
TORCHSTAR Dimmable 12W LED PAR30 Short Neck Light Bulb Spotlight, High 90 CRI[/SIZE][/B]

https://www.amazon.com/TORCHSTAR-Loc.../dp/B01N0V4R54
40 degree lens, 5000K 6/$43 (1/$13.59)

3ft above the water surface to the front of the bulb would be a starting point for a 24x24 area per bulb..

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Last edited by jeffkrol; 03-21-2020 at 03:07 AM. Reason: edit
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-21-2020, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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you may want to look for High CRI bulbs...



https://www.amazon.com/TORCHSTAR-Loc.../dp/B01N0V4R54
40 degree lens, 5000K 6/$43 (1/$13.59)

3ft above the water surface to the front of the bulb would be a starting point for a 24x24 area per bulb..
I definitely want a high cri bulb. Finding them powerful enough has been my issue. I ordered one of these fellows which advertises 90 cri. Hopefully it will work. I am also planning to mix spectrums.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1


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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-23-2020, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
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Update:

I got in the Lemeng 30w 6000k bulb. The test was unfortunately a disappointment. The 120 degree br30 diffuser really does go 120 degrees so by the time I was testing it at 3 feet and 4 feet there wasn't much light left.



At 18" directly under the bulb I registered 60 ppfd. 1 foot off center I registered 25ppfd.
At 3' directly under the bulb I registered 15 ppfd. 1 foot off center I registered 13-14 ppfd.
At 4' directly under the bulb I registered 10 ppfd. 1 foot off center I registered 9 ppfd.

Lemeng makes a Par38 bulb with a 40 degree reflector but sadly this does not come in the 6000k version near as I can tell. So the hunt continues for other bulbs. Basically what I'm looking for is a bulb that reaches down 3 to 4 feet with a minimum of 50 ppfd when it gets there and is in the 5000 - 7000k range of the spectrum and also at least 90 cri.

Its a tall order. At this point though I know it needs to have less then a 120 degree diffuser/reflector. 90 degrees would probably be ideal though I wouldn't turn up my nose at a 40 degree.

The testing continues!!


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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-23-2020, 09:37 PM
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And I'll be following this thread with interest. BTW, I'm in the UK.

Aquarium lighting interests me greatly. I designed my own custom BML fixture five years ago and it's still going strong. But, I would dearly like to have control of the light spectrum. I do have a very low cost spectroradiometer, which I have calibrated with a variety of light sources. I don't yet have a PAR sensor but I think I'd decided on the Apogee SQ-520.

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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-25-2020, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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And I'll be following this thread with interest. BTW, I'm in the UK.

Aquarium lighting interests me greatly. I designed my own custom BML fixture five years ago and it's still going strong. But, I would dearly like to have control of the light spectrum. I do have a very low cost spectroradiometer, which I have calibrated with a variety of light sources. I don't yet have a PAR sensor but I think I'd decided on the Apogee SQ-520.

Anon
The SQ-520 is a great sensor. I would have bought it myself except I didn't want to spend the extra few hundred dollars heh. If you get one and start testing light sources please post your results!

And with that:

UPDATE:

Two new bulbs to test today. A 100w Grow Light sold by Derlights (its actually 20w) and a 35W Daylight LED Grow Light.



The so called 100W bulb is was a real disappointment I will say. Its only slightly more powerful then my 10w SANSI. I bought it because it advertised a CRI of 97. This would be the highest CRI of any bulb I have seen first hand. I can't say how accurate that is but its certainly not terribly bright for a 20w and without even a clear lens/cover on it, its use in damp situations is suspect...

The 35W Daylight bulb is the first bulb I have purchased with a fan inside it. I actually didn't realize it had a fan until I screwed it in and heard the fan start up. The light produced was pretty yellow, definitely 4000k or below. This was a surprise since the temperature was not advertised and I assumed it would be cooler.

Anyway here are the results.

The 100W had the following ppfd values.

At 18" directly under the bulb I detected 60 ppfd, at 1 foot removed from center I detected 38 ppfd.
At 3 feet directly under the bulb I detected 18 ppfd, at 1 foot removed from center I detected 14 ppfd.
At 4 feet directly under the bulb I detected 11 ppfd, at 1 foot removed from center I detected 10 ppfd.

The 35W Daylight bulb was a monster, it's values are as follows.

At 18" directly under the bulb I detected 365 ppfd, at 1 foot removed from center I detected 65 ppfd.
At 3 feet directly under the bulb I detected 90 ppfd, at 1 foot removed from center I detected 53 ppfd.
At 4 feet directly under the bulb I detected 65 ppfd, at 1 foot removed from center I detected 43 ppfd.

The search continues!

I also ordered 4 individual lighting fixtures that will eventually be used on my 120 gallon tank build. In the meantime I plan to attach them to a temporary structure so I can string them up and test bulb combinations on a 2' by 4' footprint that will represent my hypothetical 120 gallon tank.


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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-25-2020, 08:34 PM
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You need to focus on on lights w/ about a 45 degree beam angle and about 30 LED watts each of planning on using only 4...

most daylight or full spectrum is misused and is generally around 4000K if not warmer..AFAICT.

https://www.tvc-mall.com/details/osr...86000326c.html

EXAMPLE only above..

The "100Watt" is prob theoretical watts or watt/ equiv. and "lensed"at 120 degrees..

FUN bulb.. High CRI adj beam angle max CRI is only 4000K though..
https://lumicrest.com/product/pro-se...le-lens-par30/


Only 16W though..

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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-25-2020, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
You need to focus on on lights w/ about a 45 degree beam angle and about 30 LED watts each of planning on using only 4...
Ugh tell me about it!

Unfortunately finding this mythical creature is proving extremely difficult. High CRI? No problem. High Watt/Lumen? No problem. Both together??? Difficult/impossible.

I'm considering this critter as my next investment:

https://store.yujiintl.com/collectio...30270759043149

Its high cri and high output but its a corncob. So I would be relying on the shade to direct a lot of the light. Maybe mixed with other lights it might work...

The first one you linked is 4000-4500k so same problem as the others. The second one is spiffy but as you point out not powerful enough.


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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-25-2020, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Ugh tell me about it!

Unfortunately finding this mythical creature is proving extremely difficult. High CRI? No problem. High Watt/Lumen? No problem. Both together??? Difficult/impossible.

I'm considering this critter as my next investment:

https://store.yujiintl.com/collectio...30270759043149

Its high cri and high output but its a corncob. So I would be relying on the shade to direct a lot of the light. Maybe mixed with other lights it might work...

The first one you linked is 4000-4500k so same problem as the others. The second one is spiffy but as you point out not powerful enough.
Well this is the thing.. Why limit yourself to 4 bulbs?


Remember height doesn't matter w/ better focus.. and power doesn't matter w/ more bulbs..


I can get 600 Lux out of a tiny flashlight at 3ft (8 PAR).. Just would need dozens.. and dozens..


JUST for fun..
https://www.lightbulbs.com/product/l...t-design-08109
CRI only 82... but obviously not the biggest problem..

Another lower CRI (80-ish) but good fit..
https://www.lightbulbs.com/product/satco-12253

Manuf catalog.. see what's in it..
https://export.satco.com/Portals/0/a...9%20Lo-Res.pdf
pg69 for commercial ..

Sure you don't want to build one..

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Well this is the thing.. Why limit yourself to 4 bulbs?


Remember height doesn't matter w/ better focus.. and power doesn't matter w/ more bulbs..



Another lower CRI (80-ish) but good fit..
https://www.lightbulbs.com/product/satco-12253

Manuf catalog.. see what's in it..
https://export.satco.com/Portals/0/a...9%20Lo-Res.pdf
pg69 for commercial ..

Sure you don't want to build one..
That one you link is the best out of that catalog I think. Probably worth checking as well. Currently my thinking is that I won't find say 4 high cri bulbs strong enough to put down at least 50 ppfd at 4 feet. But I might find some 80 cri. If I stick together say some 80 cri 4000k, some 6500k and maybe even a burple I might get all the way to 90+ cri. Apparently its not unheard of but the mixing will be very trial and error. Hence all the bulb testing.

As to why 4 lights and why not build this whole thing from scratch? The answer is the same, aesthetics.

My plan right now is to go for an industrial look with some conduit attached to the stand and then overhanging the tank. From the conduit I will attach a board of hardwood. Not sure what yet, maybe cherry, maybe walnut.. Will need to see if I have something that will fit already in stock or if I need to go buy it. Anyway from that wood I will have 4 pendant lights hanging down in the middle of the tank. This is my lighting solution.

I already found my pendant lights as well. This is a picture from overstock:



To give some perspective it's 8.5" in diameter. Since most of the lights I am testing are around 6" in diameter this is really about as small as I can go. I can't really fit 5 of these over top of the tank either without being so close to each other that they are literally touching (tank footprint is 4 feet by 2 feet) or doing more then one row which I am trying to avoid.


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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-26-2020, 12:26 AM
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That one you link is the best out of that catalog I think. Probably worth checking as well. Currently my thinking is that I won't find say 4 high cri bulbs strong enough to put down at least 50 ppfd at 4 feet. But I might find some 80 cri. If I stick together say some 80 cri 4000k, some 6500k and maybe even a burple I might get all the way to 90+ cri. Apparently its not unheard of but the mixing will be very trial and error. Hence all the bulb testing.

As to why 4 lights and why not build this whole thing from scratch? The answer is the same, aesthetics.

My plan right now is to go for an industrial look with some conduit attached to the stand and then overhanging the tank. From the conduit I will attach a board of hardwood. Not sure what yet, maybe cherry, maybe walnut.. Will need to see if I have something that will fit already in stock or if I need to go buy it. Anyway from that wood I will have 4 pendant lights hanging down in the middle of the tank. This is my lighting solution.

I already found my pendant lights as well. This is a picture from overstock:



To give some perspective it's 8.5" in diameter. Since most of the lights I am testing are around 6" in diameter this is really about as small as I can go. I can't really fit 5 of these over top of the tank either without being so close to each other that they are literally touching (tank footprint is 4 feet by 2 feet) or doing more then one row which I am trying to avoid.

your CRI 'shortage' is usually in the red and cyan range .

you might need to sacrifice a bit atm..
https://buyledonline.com/satco-s1225...120-volts.html

Bulb w/ Fan like the one you already bought..
https://www.amazon.com/PAR30-LED-Flo.../dp/B07Q7GBJ32

6000K..
Beam angle 25 degrees..
Specification

Quote:
Power: 36W
Input Voltage: AC100-240V 50/60Hz
LED Chip: 36pcs Philip Lumileds
Flux: 2800-3200lm
CCT: 3000K/4000K/6000K
CRI: 80+
Beam Angle: 25 angle
Power Factor: 0.95
Operate Temperature: -20 to 40 degree
Body Material: Anti-aging and fire-resistant PC+Precision aviation aluminum
Lamp base: E27/E26
Body Color: White
IF it's any consolation, generally the lower the CRI the more "efficient" the light..

And Lumileds are generally better even at lower CRI's..(personal opinion)

Need to be about 4ft off the water line to the front of the bulb..

Estimate would be 260 PAR at the water surface..

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your CRI 'shortage' is usually in the red and cyan range .

you might need to sacrifice a bit atm..
https://buyledonline.com/satco-s1225...120-volts.html

Bulb w/ Fan like the one you already bought..
https://www.amazon.com/PAR30-LED-Flo.../dp/B07Q7GBJ32

6000K..
Beam angle 25 degrees..
Specification



IF it's any consolation, generally the lower the CRI the more "efficient" the light..

And Lumileds are generally better even at lower CRI's..(personal opinion)

Need to be about 4ft off the water line to the front of the bulb..

Estimate would be 260 PAR at the water surface..
That 6000k might have to wait a bit heh. I just bought a bunch of lights before seeing that one and I despite appearances I really don't want to pour unlimited money into this experiment. I did pick up the SATCO bulb plus.... I think I found it!

The only thing its missing is a reflector. But all the LEDs are mounted in a forward facing position. No fan, high CRI, 5600K, 45W!

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ..._led_bulb.html

Really excited to see how this critter performs.


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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-30-2020, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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I received my Yuji Corncob light today. Sadly it was another disappointment.

I've never owned a corncob before but I was definitely hoping the reflector on my lamp shade would do more of the heavy lifting. It was not to be.



At 18" directly under the light I detected 35ppfd. At One foot removed it was 25ppfd.
At 3' directly under the light I detected 15ppfd. At One foot removed it was 14ppfd.
At 4' directly under the light I detected 8ppfd. At One foot removed it was 7.5ppfd.

The light is very bright and will be useful in my basement or garage most likely as it lights up everything around it quite well. Even with my new pendant lights (which also came today) its just too monstrously big and the last inch or so sticks out. That said, I will likely try it in the pendant light once I get a test rig setup just to see how that shade changes things.


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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-31-2020, 07:05 PM
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You also have the option to "customize" the CoB bulbs. I picked up a few of the sylvania ones on clearance for $10 each, and tore one apart to find how it worked. It's just a constant current driver and CoB. You can pick a similarly sized high-CRI CoB and swap em, like the newer bridgelux V13 Thrive (check to make sure it's the right size, I didn't take measurements) but you get the drill. 25W high CRI for cheaps.



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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-01-2020, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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You also have the option to "customize" the CoB bulbs. I picked up a few of the sylvania ones on clearance for $10 each, and tore one apart to find how it worked. It's just a constant current driver and CoB. You can pick a similarly sized high-CRI CoB and swap em, like the newer bridgelux V13 Thrive (check to make sure it's the right size, I didn't take measurements) but you get the drill. 25W high CRI for cheaps.

This is not a bad idea! I very well may do this. For a while now I have been wondering if there was some kind of kit I could buy where the base is a lightbulb and then add my own parts to it. I haven't found it, but it looks pretty easy to take off that chip and replace it. I would need to be very very careful to make sure I replaced it with something that used the same specs of course. This is the main issue to overcome as I would need to figure out what the driver is supporting.

Anyway Update:



I got in my Raya Photography bulb and it was sadly another disappointment. This one was my best hope for a high cri bulb powerful enough to put down enough ppfd to make this work without mixing spectrums etc. No such luck. The Here are the results:

At 18" directly under the bulb I detected 75 ppfd. At 1 foot off center I detected 45 ppfd.
At 3' directly under the bulb I detected 25 ppfd. At 1 foot off center I detected 20 ppfd.
At 4' directly under the bulb I detected 15 ppfd. At 1 foot off center I detected 14 ppfd.

This bulb allowed for the diffuser to be removed fairly easily and I did take it off. I got around 10 extra ppfd at the 18" mark but less at the other differences. To lose that bit of water resistance is probably not worth it.

I should know better then to doubt Jeffkrol on anything lighting related but I do like to experiment. Oh well it was very informative for me.

Thus what Jeffkrol told me several days ago is correct, I need to consider only lights with 40
degree lenses/reflectors, anything else will spread the light too much for this to work.

I still have not gotten my SATCO bulb in, I suspect they haven't even shipped it yet. Possibly the place I ordered it from is not currently open due to the virus. I think I will try to cancel that order and get the other bulb Jeffkrol found.


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