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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there. I have a 75g planted tank, 60 cm tall. I'm currently using 3 x T8 40W bulbs to light, but plants tend to be a bit hit and miss. A lot of it is probably down to my plecos attacking the plants, but I think the lighting could be better as well. I'd like to try CO2, but want to get better lighting first. So, like lots of others who want to keep the running costs down and generally be nicer to the planet, I'd like to use LEDs

The stickler is the cost, with what are generally defined to be aquarium LED sets running into hundreds of pounds, and requiring cooling etc. However I've seen on ebay a lot of lighting units like this:


Also tubular units with 200+ LEDs. Given the price (about 20GBP) they're obviously just standard LEDs rather than high power ones, but I imagine they're making up for power with sheer quantity. I was wondering about picking maybe 3 of these up and putting them in a row in the hood, to replace the T8s. But I've come to get some advice from those who know much more than me. I would imagine there's a good reason I'm missing out on why other planted tank owners don't use stuff like this - would it be completely ineffective and a waste of money?

Any advice gratefully received
 

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However I've seen on ebay a lot of lighting units like this:
The thing is most of those cheap ebay LED mass light arrays/tubes is that there is not even enuff power for mood lighting,LOL.

But seriously, the reason most useful plant growing LED fixtures are expen$ive is due to quality optics, powerful AND Efficient LED emmiters, and good design.

There have been many threads here on those cheap 10watt china LED emmiters bought off Ebay

Though I dont have any experience with these chinese Leds.

You dont need bright lights to use co2 in your aquarium. But I do understand the desire to obtain useful LED on the near cheap.
 

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There are effective cheap LED units and non effective unit. The picture you posted is a pretty terrible unit as it runs many many very small diodes which have terrible penetration. The LED flood lights use arrays consisting of 1w diodes and work pretty well for the price. Cheap units specifically created for aquariums with >1w diodes also work pretty well, ie Beamswork.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the advice everyone - it's as I suspected

The beamswork ones look nice - I would like to keep my hood though - jumpers scare me, and light escape annoys me.

I'm considering make my own with T5 HO, but even the ballasts are expensive - it's getting difficult to find any cheap option for this
 

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another cheap option is building your own hood out of wood and installing verticaly mounted CFLs a bit above the water line. with this you can change the light intensity by swapping a 13watt bulb for a 19 watt or 23 watt. the downside is that the bulbs can get in the way of inside tank maint (planting etc.) but I usally remove the hood anyhow to do this comfortably
 

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Cheap gu10 led bulbs may be an option, I've got the 3w models (3x1w LEDs) and they make a ton of light. So much so that I'm now forced to find a co2 solution
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Cheap gu10 led bulbs may be an option, I've got the 3w models (3x1w LEDs) and they make a ton of light. So much so that I'm now forced to find a co2 solution
Those GU10s look interesting - what kind of socket / ballast would I need to put them in? I've looked around for a GU10 'strip', with maybe 3-4 sockets, but can't find anything

Algae Beater, that tank is fantastic - love the plants out the top
 

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The cheap Chinese led floodlights off eBay are awesome. I replaced my cfl with a floodlight led on my 10g I saw noticeable growth within a week. I was not seeing this kind of growth before with a cfl. I paid 12$ shipped. I had to wire my own plug on but that only took a few minutes.





For a 75g tank the 10w fixtures will not penetrate very well. I would suggest 3-4 20w fixtures or maybe a couple 30w fixtures.

Here's a couple threads on led floodlights

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=195589

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=186491

Hope this helps :)
 

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If it has tiny 5mm LEDs on it -- it's not good for growing anything. The end. Tiny LEDs, even when corncobbed together into a super duper ooper lamp suck. I have 4 3x3watt GU10 LEDs over a 24" tall tank (it's a tall hex) and it gives me low light at the substrate (bulbs basically on the top of the tank cover) and two of the 10W flood fixtures above my 20L (about 18" to substrate). Stick with multiple (DIY or purchased) 1W/3W LED arrays or the 10/20/30/50 floods, they're built with new high efficiency high output LEDs, and not with chinese VCR leftovers. Mine were 2wire ungrounded, but the case is built with gaskets and grommets to make it "outdoor safe".
 

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I bought the Beamworks 600 I think from Ebay for $45 36" LED with moonlight, looks awesome in the tank for about $150 cheaper than the Marineland Version.
Not sure if it's the best think for a planted tank but My plants are doing fine.

Ive used 3 shop lights with 100W equivalent CFL's before and my plants did amazing.

Just saying you dont have to buy expensive name brands my 55Gal has a T5HO dual 48" fluorescent bought at a hardware store for $35-$40 (bulbs included) and spray painted black
 

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If you're looking for something compatible with your hood I would go DIY LED arrays or CFLs. For CFLs just grab a bathroom vanity fixture (~$3 online) and mount that into your hood. DIY LED arrays use the same arrays as the flood lights and cost the same $/w to setup but can have a much slimmer design which would allow them to fit into most all hoods - of course you'll have a bit more wiring and drilling to do than floodlights.

Here I have 300w of LED over a 100g via 6 separate 50w arrays, with fans they take up 1 3/4" in height - in my hood (not shown) I have two fans mounted in the ends which means those on top aren't necessary which lowers the profile to ~1".



Example of cheap CFL lighting -



Of course the flood lights are great as well - I have ten and no problems so far. There's a California distributor on fleabay who sells them for $11.5/10w with free shipping and a 1 year guarantee. Good lights to have around in general IMO for non fish related stuff as well.

 

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i have 2 10W LED Floods and 2 20W LED Floods (to be tested).

The 10w are a great inexpensive lighting option for shallow tanks like a 5.5g, 10g or 15g but be aware:

  • Floaters should not be used as it will cast wide shadowing due to the single point light source
  • Lamps are best used through a versa top for maximum intensity. Hanging them 2-3 inches above the tank will diffuse the light intensity significantly on the 10w. It will be noticible as you lift the lamp fixture above the tank.
  • Lamps generally are the most efficient without any sort of cover. this works to keep the fixture cool through air circulation but also to provide the brightest light down to the substrate.
The specs on the 20W lamps are significantly greater than the 10W but i have yet to personally wire it up. I intend to keep the 10W on my 5 and 10 gallon tanks but would go with multiple 20W or 30W for the larger tanks.
 

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I've looked at the 50W grow panels that come up for sale on ebay, they might work.., most of these square panels are 12W and like 225 bulbs., but I doubt any of the grow panels get the depth penetration of the Cheapo floodlights and spotlights.
I proudly own a 30w and a 10W round model and love them both. The best part is no 1000% mark up because it is an "aquarium light".
 
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