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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi

I am in a designing phase of my planted build and was reading a lot about LED lights that are available for planted tanks. Coming back to FW from a reef tank, I am a big fan of DIY LEDs and was running them at all times in my reef setups. My first thought was to modify my current LED light that features Cree XM-L and X-PE Leds, but with my busy life I might opt for buying an already made light instead.
I have some knowledge about LEDs for a saltwater tank in general, but after reading posts on planted tank and seeing pictures of people setups featuring leds, I realized I was way behind regarding FW LED lighting.
I have a source that can get me AquaIllumination Hydras for very good price, but I am starting to think that may be a huge overkill for a planted tank. I've seen most of the fw lights still use SMD strip leds that give out amazing results. I haven't seen many deep tanks with these LEDs though and hence my series of questions:

The tank is going to be either 48"Lx24"Wx20"H (if I keep my current reef ready tank) or something around 48"x22"x22"H if I sell my current setup and make myself a new one. Therefore I am looking into 18-20" water column and I would like to suspend my lights at least 10" from the water column.

My goals are a high-light CO2 injected tank that can grow light demanding plants. I am not sure yet if I achieve my goals, but I would rather start with a high-end light than have to upgrade later. The options I selected as are follows:

1. Getting two of these AI Hydras or one AI Hydra 52. I know these are expensive lights, but I can get them at a discount and I will have budget from selling my sw equipment. The problem is these are reef oriented lights and I don't even know if they can be tweaked to grow plants. I am also undecided if these would not be overkill for my tank
2. Current Satellite FW+ LED . I thought of getting two of these lights, but will they offer enough PAR all the way to the bottom of the tank. I like the fact that you can tweak the RGB channel to your liking, as well as an additional dimmer that you can purchase for these fixtures
3. Finnex fixtures- was thinking about two ray2 DS 7000K. Pros are great price and a lot of good reviews on these lights, but I don't like the fact these are not controllable and I don't know if they offer enough light for a deep tank
4. Buildmyled- I would opt for one Dutch Planted 6300K - XB Series and one 1000K, but at $325 for one 48" ficture they seem to be quite expensive for a FW tank and would come very close to Hydras at this point. On plus side they can be controlled with apex controller that I own (but so can AI Hydras)
5. The last option would be to stay with DIY leds and modify the light to my liking. Currently I have 36 XM-L diodes with green and cyan mixed in, 36x X-PE Royal Blue and a separate channel for 1W UV leds (I guess these are usless in FW planted tank).

Thanks for all your help and opinions.
 

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If you want high light in that tank I would rule out Finnex or Current. Just don't think you will get there without a farm of fixtures on top of your tank. Plus, by time you did make it you'd be maybe a tad short of a more expensive fixture that can do it with just one. JMO

If the Hydra come in 10000k that is all you need for a fw setup.
 

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you could diy light that tank using 2 12 inch heatsinks with 2 30 watt bridgelux bxra emitters and 8 cree xml 7k, then if you want to be fancy put 4 red and 4 royal blue on as well. that should get you into the high light category. I would drive it with individual meanwell ldd drivers all hooked up to a decent dimmer. would probably run around 300 dollars I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
If you want high light in that tank I would rule out Finnex or Current. Just don't think you will get there without a farm of fixtures on top of your tank. Plus, by time you did make it you'd be maybe a tad short of a more expensive fixture that can do it with just one. JMO

If the Hydra come in 10000k that is all you need for a fw setup.
I was afraid both finnex and current might not be enough for high light planted tank. I need to as if Hydras can be set to 10000K.

you could diy light that tank using 2 12 inch heatsinks with 2 30 watt bridgelux bxra emitters and 8 cree xml 7k, then if you want to be fancy put 4 red and 4 royal blue on as well. that should get you into the high light category. I would drive it with individual meanwell ldd drivers all hooked up to a decent dimmer. would probably run around 300 dollars I think.
I already have royal blue and cool white then it may be an option after all. How many leds would you run for 48x24" footprint? I also have three of these http://www.rapidled.com/6-width-black-anodized/ 6"x20" heatsinks
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I am steering towards DIY LED light after all. I realized it would be stupid (read expensive) not to use what I already have and spend another $600-$700 for a quality fixture. If I frankenstein my light I'll have around 30 cool white cree x-ml, 4 cyan phillips rebel, 4 green xp-g and 12 uv leds. Oh, I have some neutral white lying around too. From what I understand people are mixing cool white with neutral white in a ratio of 1:1, but at the same time cool white run at 5500-8000K, then shouldn't cool white be mixed with neutral white in a ratio of 3:1 or even 4:1?
 

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I am steering towards DIY LED light after all. I realized it would be stupid (read expensive) not to use what I already have and spend another $600-$700 for a quality fixture. If I frankenstein my light I'll have around 30 cool white cree x-ml, 4 cyan phillips rebel, 4 green xp-g and 12 uv leds. Oh, I have some neutral white lying around too. From what I understand people are mixing cool white with neutral white in a ratio of 1:1, but at the same time cool white run at 5500-8000K, then shouldn't cool white be mixed with neutral white in a ratio of 3:1 or even 4:1?

Cool white seems to be a flexible term...

Other than that you are on the right track.. What you are lacking in your mix is 660nm red LED's.. Skip "some" of the UV.. Presently I don't see any advantage to them but...

example:
http://youtu.be/kHX1hosIgzE
http://youtu.be/lkq9rr8NQtc

;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have 6 dimmable meanwell drivers capable driving 14 leds each. I was thinking about around 30-36 leds cool white on 3 of the meanwells and then have one for royal blue and one for rest of my colors. What do you think? How many leds of each color would you run on a tank that size
 

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I have 6 dimmable meanwell drivers capable driving 14 leds each. I was thinking about around 30-36 leds cool white on 3 of the meanwells and then have one for royal blue and one for rest of my colors. What do you think? How many leds of each color would you run on a tank that size
all depends on how much light you need .. IF it was my tank I'd contemplate 84= 3w LEDS divided int x channels..then working my way down ...
This is a 180cm light bank 3w multicolored.. dimmable in 2 channels..


http://youtu.be/lkq9rr8NQtc

http://youtu.be/kHX1hosIgzE

I like 3-4 channel designs myself..
1)Red 660nm
2)bluish 440
3)neutral, which could be split to 2 channels cool white, warm white..
4) (opt) moonlight

Problem comes in how many of each per channel .Plant wise you want a lot of red.. vision wise it can be overwhelming..

ect..

http://www.dsuny.com.cn/En/Product_...serInfo_ID=727023&CorpProductImages_ID=931264

9 660nm red, 9 440nm blue rest white/warm white and cyan... ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
all depends on how much light you need .. IF it was my tank I'd contemplate 84= 3w LEDS divided int x channels..then working my way down ...
This is a 180cm light bank 3w multicolored.. dimmable in 2 channels..


http://youtu.be/lkq9rr8NQtc

http://youtu.be/kHX1hosIgzE

I like 3-4 channel designs myself..
1)Red 660nm
2)bluish 440
3)neutral, which could be split to 2 channels cool white, warm white..
4) (opt) moonlight

Problem comes in how many of each per channel .Plant wise you want a lot of red.. vision wise it can be overwhelming..

ect..

http://www.dsuny.com.cn/En/Product_...serInfo_ID=727023&CorpProductImages_ID=931264

9 660nm red, 9 440nm blue rest white/warm white and cyan... ;)
Thanks for your help. I would like to have my light dimmable with apex controller, therefore I have four dimming channels as apex have four variable ports. I am planning to use four 6"x20" heatsinks that I have so I will have a 12"x40" panel that I will try to spread LEDs onto. I was thinking of doing:

36x Cree XM-L Cool white
13x Cree X-PE Royal Blue
8x 660nm red XP-G
rest on separate channel- cyan, orange, green

What do you think about that? Should I mix cool whites with neutral whites or rather spread 2 red leds without lenses on each heatsink instead?
 

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Thanks for your help. I would like to have my light dimmable with apex controller, therefore I have four dimming channels as apex have four variable ports. I am planning to use four 6"x20" heatsinks that I have so I will have a 12"x40" panel that I will try to spread LEDs onto. I was thinking of doing:

36x Cree XM-L Cool white
13x Cree X-PE Royal Blue
8x 660nm red XP-G
rest on separate channel- cyan, orange, green

What do you think about that? Should I mix cool whites with neutral whites or rather spread 2 red leds without lenses on each heatsink instead?
I always like to group by "color palette"..
So cyan goes w/ green
Orange would go w/ red but if not electrically compatible I'd skip them..
As to spacing I'd keep this in mind..
495nm is Turquoise that should be used small amounts on a tank as it will quickly over power other colors if not mixed with 660nm Deep Red and 455nm Royal Blue. When mixed with the Deep Red and Royal Blue, all 3 colors will display a "White" light but still bring out fluorescent pigments found in corals. The Turquoise is going to bring out oranges and reds.
This wavelength is almost a green color and is currently experimental. The idea behind this wavelength is to fill the missing gap needed to bring out certain colors like reds and oranges in a standard Neutral White + Royal Blue combo.
http://www.ledgroupbuy.com/turquoise-495nm/

Keep all whites w/ whites regardless of choices in color temp.. though I have added white w/ the blue channel to increase white count overall.
I can't picture a real need for orange..but heck why not..

I like to use 3500k "whites" to cover the low red /orange range..and those could be put anywhere.. ;)

As to spacing .. this rule of thumb is just fine.........
For example, on a typical 75g aquarium, you have 864 square inches of surface area (18" x 48"). You might end up with 48 LEDs. That's 18 square inches per LED, which is fairly typical. If you had two heatsinks that were 12" wide by 18" long, you'd be able to "cover" most of the tank with heatsink area (if that makes sense). Then, you'd just space out 24 LEDs evenly on the surface of each heatsink. If you did 4 rows of 6 LEDs on each heatsink, you'd end up with 3" between rows, and 3" between columns (roughly, depending on how far in from the edge of the heatsink you started the LEDs.) This would be a very typical build, and result in a typical spread of LEDs.

However, that doesn't mean all builds will end up with 3" spacing!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

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Hi Jeff,

The violets were the recommendatio of ASO.
I was curious also, and read somewhere the 420nm violet wavelength is ideal for supporting photosynthesis.
My other kit from Aquastyleonline has Royal Blues, they are very nice.
Yes, I am running Cree XT-Es, 35 white 6500K, 14 white 4500K, and 7 warm white 3000K. Also running 7 660 nm reds, which is also ideal for plants.
Thanks, Jeff. And the fans are pretty quiet. :) )
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Feel free, Smog! Another forum user already has... (Getcusome). :cool:
Thanks. I have a question- do you see a visual benefit of having cool white crees mixed with warm and neutral whites? If I Frankenstein my light I will end up with 31 cool whites and not a single warm or neutral. What's your ratio on'em? Also, how many royal blues did you use (cause I'm gonna have the whole 39 of'em:)?
 

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Hi Jeff,

The violets were the recommendatio of ASO.
I was curious also, and read somewhere the 420nm violet wavelength is ideal for supporting photosynthesis.
Close enough..


Usually chl. A peaks at 440nm...violet royal blue both close enough.......


 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
One more question Mark- where did you get that box for drivers? I always mounted everything onto the light, but this time I want to avoid it as it makes the whole thing really heavy (well, I also made the case out of Corian, which made it weigh a ton). Here are a couple of pics of my latest build:









Also, if anyone is interested in dimming their DIy lights with Apex controller, here's a little write-up I did some time ago

http://www.reefs.com/blog/2012/12/1...-lights-with-neptune-systems-apex-controller/

Apex is an amazing controller and well worth the money IMO.
 
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