Best LED mix for freshwater - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-06-2010, 08:16 AM Thread Starter
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Best LED mix for freshwater

I plan to build a LED fixture for a 15G tank and I would like to know what is the best LED mix for a freshwater palnted tank?

I plan to use Cree XP-G for white and add some red XP-E for red. Or should I also add royal blue?

I found this nice graph of PAR sensitivity (the red line):


Should I try to mimic it?
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-06-2010, 04:37 PM
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I'd like to do something similar. I did a string of blue leds on my reef and it really rocks! I'm thnking for my planted tank I might do a combination of XP-G which is around 5-8K and cool white XR-E which is around 6.5K. Not sure about the red. I got mine at Rapidleds.
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-06-2010, 04:56 PM
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Last I looked into this, nobody is producing a high power red led in the 660ish range. Or if they are we can't get it yet. (may be wrong) Is this for looks or plant growth cause if its for looks then that wont matter much!


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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-06-2010, 05:08 PM
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Plants grow when they have enough light, whether the spectrum is close to matching that graph or not. Pick what looks best to you. But, I don't know how you can do that without first building the fixture. If the LEDs are not closely spaced, the red or blue LEDs will give you colored spots on the substrate. If I were to do this again I might mix cool and warm white, but not add any red or blue ones.

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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-06-2010, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Plants grow when they have enough light, whether the spectrum is close to matching that graph or not. Pick what looks best to you. But, I don't know how you can do that without first building the fixture. If the LEDs are not closely spaced, the red or blue LEDs will give you colored spots on the substrate. If I were to do this again I might mix cool and warm white, but not add any red or blue ones.
Similar to what I said, skip the reds and just alternate the whites so you don't see the different colors at different parts of the tank. I'd also use 60 or 80degree optics which spreads the light rather than having narrowowly fucused bright spots.

Last edited by Larry Grenier; 12-06-2010 at 05:19 PM. Reason: I cant sspel
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-06-2010, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Baadboy11 View Post
Last I looked into this, nobody is producing a high power red led in the 660ish range.
Well, I found a 660nm 1W LED on fleabay, but it is of Chinese origin. And a 440nm 1W LED too.

On second thought, mixing those crazy LED colors would make the tank look ugly. Maybe an alteration of warm and cool CREE whites would be enough. Also I have noticed a new type of XP-G LEDs - the 90-CRI, did anyone had a chance to use them?
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 05:17 PM
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I am getting ready to plunge in to LEDs (I love the driver you linked to recently, Hoppy), and had a similar question. What do those who have done DIY LEDs think about the pleasantness of the color? Does it seem fairly flat and monochromatic? What would you do to make it look better?
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 07:18 PM
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You get used to whatever light you use, so even though it may appear to wash out the colors on the first look, it soon looks normal. I used all cool white LEDs, and it does wash out the colors a bit. I suspect that a mix of warm and cool white would look better, but I haven't tried it. As LEDs get better, there will very likely be some better choices to make.

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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-08-2010, 11:07 PM
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I am in a similar bind: want to make a light for wife's 9 gallon ADA tank as a Christmas gift. The tank is roughly 18"x9"x9". How many LEDs would I need? Would it be possible to create an appealing light spectrum? How many lumens should I target? Would using two of a Cree PAR-38 assemblies create too much of a spot-light effect? Where is a good place to buy everything? Is there a one-place stop shop where LEDs, heatsinks, and whatever else is needed can be ordered from?
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-09-2010, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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Is there a one-place stop shop where LEDs, heatsinks, and whatever else is needed can be ordered from?
I think that you will need 7-10 Cree XP-G "outdoor white" at 350mA. Unfortunately there is no one-place shop (maybe RapidLED.com), because you need soldering stuff (soldering iron, solder, etc.), LED stuff and metal.
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-09-2010, 05:35 PM
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I think that you will need 7-10 Cree XP-G "outdoor white" at 350mA. Unfortunately there is no one-place shop (maybe RapidLED.com), because you need soldering stuff (soldering iron, solder, etc.), LED stuff and metal.
Thank you for the reply. Could you elaborate why you specifically say "outdoor white". From my research I saw people using cool white or a mix of cool whites with warm whites. Are outdoor whites give a pleasant spectrum without having to mix?

Also, you say that I should get 7-10 of those. Ten would give something 1300 lumens. I was thinking I would need on the order of 3000. Am I mistaken?

As for the soldering stuff, I already have the iron and the solder. I am fairly electronically literate (build hifi vacuum tube amps as a hobby). I guess, LEDs, heatsink, and maybe a power supply is all I am looking for to buy at first.

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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-09-2010, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
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Outdoor whites give a spectrum similar to cool+warm. In my 15G tank I have 12 neutral white @ 350mA + 2 Royal Blue and it is a little bit too much.

You can buy a 700mA LED driver with dimming and fine tune the LEDs.
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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-10-2010, 01:16 AM
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Thanks for clarifications. I am having the hardest time trying to find a place that sells XP-G outdoor. Digikey sells them in minimum quantities of 1000 only.

Are the heatsinks from RapidLED a good way to go for this?
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-11-2010, 06:11 AM
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Check ebay too, lots of cheap surplus heatsinks there.


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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-17-2010, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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So, I have carefully studied the docs and the conclusion is that Outdoor whites are not suitable for a planted tank - they have a low kelvin rating and color rendering index.

Neutral white are better - they can be found in 5000k with a "typical CRI" of 80. It's bad that the cool whites are not sorted by kelvins.
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