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I'm in desperate need of a lighting upgrade. I got my 55gal setup from a friend that had no plants, didn't care about lighting, etc. I want to upgrade, but I'm very finicky in what I want!

What I've got right now is two 18" T8 bulbs, I can see they are 15w GE bulbs, and they look god-awful. The bulbs are about 3 years old, the left one is considerably brighter than the right, and are an eyesore.

I have been searching far and wide for an acceptable LED-based fixture that can be used with a dimming timer, but I am always seeing that LEDs are the devil when it comes to planted tanks.

I'd rather have LED for the power savings (and the shimmer effect), and I would like to use a dimming timer for sunrise, midday, sunset, etc (and for moonlights, a lunar cycle would be nice as long as it doesn't break the bank).

I would also like for the light to not shine out of the tank (through the glass if fine, over the top is what I do not want, light would be shining in people's faces sitting in the living room on the couch), though I would like for it to hang a few inches above the tank, as I have seen that is recommended.

As much as I love DIY stuff, this is not somewhere I'd like to go unless it is a full kit. I'd rather not try and mix and match something that isn't compatible, there's still a lot that I don't know/understand quite yet.

If anyone can kinda guide me along, I'd love some pointers. As far as what brand (I know Cree has the best LEDs), what store to get them from, etc.

Thanks for any info you can give!
 

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I have been searching far and wide for an acceptable LED-based fixture that can be used with a dimming timer, but I am always seeing that LEDs are the devil when it comes to planted tanks.
Unless Anton Lavey is now giving planted tank advice, I'm not sure I've ever heard anyone demonize LED's for a planted tank.

Most of the commercial fixtures are for reef tanks right now, and are uber-blue (and butt ugly over a planted tank). But they'd grow plants just fine, plenty of PAR output.

Things are changing though. I've seen some decent mostly-white LED lights show up that are very attractive.

Plus, I've been using LEDs over planted tanks for about a year now, in several formats and several light intensity.

The only danger with LEDs is overkilling it. One of my tanks is spot-on perfect Low-tech. No serious algae problems and plants grow well. My other LED tank has BBA growing because my LEDs are too bright, but I really don't care right now so I just let it grow :D since I will be getting CO2 in the coming few months anyhow.



As much as I love DIY stuff, this is not somewhere I'd like to go unless it is a full kit. I'd rather not try and mix and match something that isn't compatible, there's still a lot that I don't know/understand quite yet.
There are some good kits from www.rapidLED.com. Their kits are almost complete kits.

You will want all white 6500K (cool white), unless you prefer some warm sunny color, where you'd want warm white/cool white 50/50. A few blue LEDs evenly distributed for a touch of tropical coolness is helpful but no more than 1 blue per 5 whites is a safe bet.

They sell a PWM dimmer that will automatically do the sunrise/sunset thing. Not cheap, but awesome.


As for how to do this, there are a bunch of threads here, and also on the lighting forum at www.nano-reef.com (look at the top 5 threads, they are sticky threads, and two are LED DIY threads that are SUPER helpful).
 
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