there is a lot of talk and debate about LED for freshwater and there is not enough posts or information yet, so here is my 2cents.
I do not want to prove anything or argue how many watts per gallon there should be because it all too much calculation and guessing.
I bought a used 55 gal tank with stand and canopy and the lights were regular 2x 15w flourensic bulbs. obviously was not enough to grow anything.
after looking at some possible light options i could not come up with anything less than $120 for 4xT5 used fixture at my LFS. the thing even did not fit in my canopy, so i decided to see what happens with DIY led.
to keep this short this is what i have:
Mean Well LPC-60-1050 constant current driver
$26+ship 6 = 32$ from rapidled.com
CREE XP-G R51B 7000K 350LM Emitter with 16mm Base $5.71 x8= $45.68
from dealextreme.com (free shipping but takes forever)
later i found a better source than above for LED it is http://www.ledgroupbuy.com/
the site is legit and i currently bought LED's there 2 times. Original factory and at even better price. cost of shipping is more, but if you can "pool" with someone or consider its definetely comes out of factory its well worth it.
picked up 36 in. x 1-1/2 in. x 1/8 in. Aluminum Flat Bar at local Home depot for another $8 for heatsink.
soldering kit at local Radio shack was another 9.99$
Having fun soldering -FREE
wires, plug and connectors from various house hold items -FREE
so roughly $96 total.
i just spread LED "evenly" on the aliuminum rod 4-5 inches apart. oh i forgot to put in some thermal glue for $2 that i got from dealextreme also.
now as far as light goes. you can see for yourself
it tried to see how it will progress and if thats going to be enought light and so far i do not see any need for additional LED at all.
I had to start using excel since there was algea burst once i start using the lights.
now water wisteria seems to be taking over the tank.
My personal thought is that going with lots of LED and running them half power is fine also, but why should i invest money in something im only gonna use half of it.
More pictures added Mar 8th