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I was disappointed in my first LED lights, too, because I used either all cool white or half cool and half warm white. Now, I know that adding some very red LEDs and perhaps a few other colors, makes the tank look many times better, better than with fluorescent light. A few of the people here have become very good at figuring out what colors to add, etc. Perhaps some of them will offer some basic advice?

Today there are also some commercially made LED lights that use a variety of colors and cost less than most of our typical DIY LED lights. So, I doubt that I will try to make another one. (But, it was a lot of fun!!)
 

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i eventually did make this light fixture
...i didnt like the end result (i could get amazing light output/PAR...but it washed out ALL color and looked like poop). I eventually scrapped it...then went back to T5HO bulbs

thanks for the help everyone
Curious as to what diodes you used and the "color"..
As Hoppy said above, a few correct diodes and colors w/ LED's are quite rich...

 

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Discussion Starter #43
i dont remember because it was a few years ago

but they were all the cheap ebay 3w leds (i think they were 8000k -- i was obsessed with that temp for a while)

after seeing it --i thought that I could add a few of the cheap 12v RGB led strips and use an arduino to manipulate color without pushing the PAR over the top -- (i got to about 6x and still couldnt really make a dent)

i eventually just turned it into another learning experience and programmed cycles and sunrise/sunset/moonlight deals and rainbow effects and all that jazz

after i eventually lost interest and felt i learned "enough" -- i scrapped it and started learning a different aspect (low tech/ low lighting/sumps/autodosing/autowaterchanges/topoffs etc) -- that tank has been running quite a while and im quite happy with it....though i have no fish, but my plants are growing well (nothing exotic -- monte carlo, glosso, dhg, s repens, blyxa japonica and narrow leaf java fern) -- probably get some fish next week or so
 

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i dont remember because it was a few years ago

but they were all the cheap ebay 3w leds (i think they were 8000k -- i was obsessed with that temp for a while)

after seeing it --i thought that I could add a few of the cheap 12v RGB led strips and use an arduino to manipulate color without pushing the PAR over the top -- (i got to about 6x and still couldnt really make a dent)

i eventually just turned it into another learning experience and programmed cycles and sunrise/sunset/moonlight deals and rainbow effects and all that jazz

after i eventually lost interest and felt i learned "enough" -- i scrapped it and started learning a different aspect (low tech/ low lighting/sumps/autodosing/autowaterchanges/topoffs etc) -- that tank has been running quite a while and im quite happy with it....though i have no fish, but my plants are growing well (nothing exotic -- monte carlo, glosso, dhg, s repens, blyxa japonica and narrow leaf java fern) -- probably get some fish next week or so
Never found rgb strips could "dent" 3W LED's run hot..;)
 

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Discussion Starter #45
even when i ran them low and the RGBs at full brightness...i didnt really make a change
...the red at 100% = the green at about 50% = blue at about 30%

...it was just a huge mess all around...like hoppy said, if i ever go that route again, Id likely just buy an ecoxotic fixture or two...but im sure i could build something that was functional for less...i was probably less than $100 all in for the 30" fixture i built before...compared to the $200 a 24" fixture costs
 

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even when i ran them low and the RGBs at full brightness...i didnt really make a change
...the red at 100% = the green at about 50% = blue at about 30%

...it was just a huge mess all around...like hoppy said, if i ever go that route again, Id likely just buy an ecoxotic fixture or two...but im sure i could build something that was functional for less...i was probably less than $100 all in for the 30" fixture i built before...compared to the $200 a 24" fixture costs
Every time I built a LED fixture I was shooting for low cost. And, every time I found that the incidental, trivial, non-LED parts costs added up fast enough to run my total cost well above what I was budgeting for. A part that cost $1 can be a killer if you end up buying 100 of them.:laugh2:
 

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Discussion Starter #48
my heatsink was "cheap"
it cost <$20

i used some square stock aluminum and had two computer fans channeling the air through it...it kept the bulbs warml to the touch -- but not dangerous at all...plus with so many leds...i wasnt running it above 50-60% if not significantly less...again, cant really remember
 

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Discussion Starter #49
Broke down my main tank a few months back...
got a new bomb a** job -- but requires a lot of travel

Started a new small 1 gal tank (gonna be a "for science" tank for now)

using:
6 White LEDs
2 Red LEDs
2 Green LEDs
2 Blue LEDs

gonna set it up for
sunrise
sunset
nightlight
12 hours of light
1 hour ramp up
2 hour ramp down
9 hours of 45 - 50 par (I can get 80ish and slightly higher with the color lights on)
pressurized CO2 w/ atomizer
weekly water change
weekly fert addition
no filter

...may eventually get a blue crowntail betta

shoulda started a journal when I started but I already have it together...just waiting for the atomizer to come in teh mail (which of course will be delayed for the hurricane)....and some components to make a magnetic stirrer before I start

I also plan to time lapse it at 1/day for a minimum of 30 days...really, I just want to see if I can grow HC, glosso, DHG or monte carlo

then may get a larger tank up and automate everything with an arduino -- WCs, topoffs, ferts, lighting, etc....and I or the wife will feed

...so...patience if anyone is interested
 

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Discussion Starter #50 (Edited)
another check in after several months

the small 1 gallon tank was a success...I eventually scrapped it after my betta did some carpet surfing...currently I use it as an emersed monte carlo grow out tank

I completely got out of the hobby...but am gonna make a comeback

I plan to start up an ultra high tech 20 gallon long this year (more as a proof of concept than anything)...i have some windowsill DHG, HC, glosso, and s repens...gonna grow that out for the season while i get this tank going/built/cycled

...but now for my next project

is it possible to make an LED grow light with only 3w RGB leds?

plan so far:

(1) 120mm computer fan
(1) 19V 5A computer power supply
(8) 6pin RGB LEDs
(1) arduino Uno clone
(2) meanwell 700ma LDD
(3) 10k potentiometers and knobs
(1) breadboard
(1) bookshelf aquarium/growout tank
some activflora black
lumber for a new stand
aluminum square stock to make a heat sink
thermal paste/adhesive

will try to actually do a journal for this one...so stay tuned
 
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