Moonlights? LED Plant Lights? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2006, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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Moonlights? LED Plant Lights?

I've seen the LED moonlights, pricey but not too bad. and I've seen a few LED aquarium lights as well, outrageously expensive. And I've priced various components and added a moonlight to my list of winter projects.

Now tonight while at a local grocery store, I see a string of LED christmas lights for $7.99, 35 LEDs to the string. Hmmmm.....

Bought a box, got home and plugged them in and the light appears to be exactly the color temp I want, that whitish blue cast just perfect for a moonlight, and with enough of them, possibly even good for plants. All I have to do is snap off the jeweled plastic covers (it's pretty easy, just score with a knife and snap) and figure out the mounting, probably just a hole in some acrylic and press fit each light in, they're water resistant and approved for outdoor use, and rated at about $0.45 cents a month to operate 6 hrs a day.

I'll be putting up pictures as I go along, but for 35 high output LEDS, $7.00 ain't bad from what I've seen.


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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2006, 03:28 AM
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How many of the lights are you going to use? Are you going to cut off the ones you don't want?

Andrew, MASI Treasurer

This message is always under construction: 75-gallon tank; 2, Eheim 2026 filters - one twice broken; Tek Light with 4, 54W T5s (6000K) ; Sand on top of 4:1 sand:clay mixture; Milwaukee CO2 controller; PlantGuild vortex CO2 reactor; pH = 6.6, kH=70mg/l, GH=120mg/l; EI; Flourish excel on 50% weekly water change: AGA Member.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2006, 03:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glass-gardens.com View Post
Now tonight while at a local grocery store, I see a string of LED christmas lights for $7.99, 35 LEDs to the string.
glass, can you share the make, model, store selling information.
I wanted to get those for shelving lights, not my fish tank.


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2006, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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The lights are wired in series and I don't know how to seperate them, I did try but the whole string went dead so I spliced it all back together, it appears with my limited knowledge of them, using the whole string will be neccessary at least for now. The good news is they aren't as bright as say the LED in my Stylus light, so spread out in an even grid on my 75 should be OK.

Display case lighting is another idea I had for them, I have a sickness that makes me collect NASCAR diecasts and Cyclone football collectibles. They should be pretty neat in that application as well.

The website for the manufacturer is Holiday Creations--Home, I bought mine at HyVee, they're all over Iowa (being an Iowa company), not sure what other states they're in, the website lists distributors and retail outlets though.

If you can't find them, let me know and I can pick some up and send them to you.

I did see some LED christmas lights at Wally World the other day, but they were Phillips brand and about twice the price.

$8.00 a pop is below the range where my wife won't ask me what the hell I'm doing now


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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 04:45 AM Thread Starter
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OK, so I've gotten this far with things. I got the fakey crystal covers snapped off and the LEDs have a somewhat focused beam, I temporarily set them on in the egg crate I have for lids on my 75, they looked pretty good, and the ideal spacing would allow for a CF fixture between them.

The other idea I was toying with, an LED aquarium light (those really freakin high priced ones ya know), I think is possible with these, if you had enough.

There cheap, I'm bored, it's worth a shot. If nothing else I can go griswold next year.


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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 11:31 AM
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If you want the light to diffuse a bit better, you can scuff the ends of them with some emery paper (fine sand paper). I used Blue Cold cathode Tubes which gave a Great Even glow over my whole 75 Gal tank. I bought them on E-Bay for like $7.00-$8.00 or so...


Click the pic for the link to some Tubes...

They are easy to wire too, all you need is a power supply, I used a variable voltage DC power inverter. I run mine on 7.5-9vDC. I like the fact that I can basicaly "Dim" them a bit, or make them brighter by turning up the voltage to 12 vDC.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
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I like the "beam", it provides for a fairly dramatic effect for night viewing.

I've looked at cathode tubes, I thought about using the UV ones to make my own UV sterilizer for a cebtral filtration system I'm working on this winter.


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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 02:10 PM
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while blue may seem the natural color choice in marine aquariums that need it, planted tanks don't care what color you use. I have tried blue green and red, and thus far green is my favorite color for night lighting your tank as the green light reflects off the plant leaves and provides a higher amount of effective illumination without disturbing your fishes normal nocturnal activity or their sleep cycle.


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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 02:11 PM
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There are plenty of HyVees here in Nebraska, especially in the Omaha area.

Aquamanx: What length did you get for your 75? Did you get it to fit the length of your tank, or shorter?

Eheim Pimpette #230

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is the remedy for stupidity.

It's not the size of the tank, but how you use it.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 04:53 PM
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I really like the cold cathode tube solution for moonlight (cheap, easy to mount with even light...).

However my concern is the cheap (plastic?) inverter that comes with those...I heard that they can easily catch fire...Anyone has any info on this??

Thanks,
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 05:05 PM
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I used them on a saltwater nano for the better part of a year with no issues (the cold cathode). But GG, you've piqued my interest in the LED lights. The small clipons from corallife are like 30 bucks a pop! Too rich for my blood, i wanna give these a try, Just have to find a way to make it work and look clean with my Tek light.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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My first build using these will be light fixture to use with the 75, which is getting built into a wall this winter (I'll be posting pics of the whole project as I go along). Pretty straight forward really, just a means of mounting a CF and two strips of LEDS on either side.

Just fooling around with them, I've found if they're about 3" off the water surface, you get this really stunning rippled effect, very crisp but gentle light, think halide only much less intense, perhaps a bit more blue.

Judging from the combined intensity of 35, I'm thinking a 2' X 4' panel, say a piece of masonite pegboard, with around 350 or so would be in the range of a decent medium light tanks needs, sounds silly I suppose, but the lights are dirt cheap, 350 of them would cost in the neighborhood of $5.00 a month to run (based on their claims), so if it works cool, if not, undercabinet lights are cool too


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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 07:17 PM
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I used 2 - 12" lengths in my 75 (4') tank. I haven't heard of the inverters they come with catching fire, I've had mine going for at least 2 years now... So far So good! I also have LED's on my 20 Gal tank, I will be upgrading them to CCFL tubes as I did with my 75 Gal. Tank. but, to each his (or her) own. If you like the outcome of what you have made, then that is Great! I would really like to know how the white LED's do on growing plants. I might just try it in a 10 gal. I have been thinking of making a cheap hood for with the Spiral screw-in PC bubls. But, with the LED's they would last much longer & cost even less to run (I think).
Anyone have any Ideas or comments on this?
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-07-2006, 03:07 AM
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I think there's a thread on here (or somewhere else) on how to build a LED light for a nano. I had it bookmarked, but my DH dumped the harddrive, and I lost nearly a year's worth of aquaria research.

Eheim Pimpette #230

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is the remedy for stupidity.

It's not the size of the tank, but how you use it.
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