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Hello!

I'm sorry to ask this because I know it's been covered a thousand times, but I still can't make an educated decision (!!!). I just bought a 36 gallon bowfront and want to grow high light plants without co2 (later on down the road I'll try co2, but right now it's seems a little complicated for me since I'm new to plants). I've read all the articles, and still don't know what kind of lighting I should go with. Will LED grow high light plants? Currently, I have a T5 Odyssea on my 10 gallon and it's doing it's job, but I don't like the way it attaches to the tank with the bulky plastic screw on brackets, I want something that just sits on top of the tank.

What do you guys recommend???

Thank you in advance for your help and thank you to whoever runs this sight, it's been a great help to me!

Christy
 

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I think the big advantage to leds is they are dimable. Yes they can grow high light plants.
With no co2 get one you can dim. On my 10 gallon i have a current sat plus. Its dimmed just a little and i dont use co2. If you want high light you will need co2 and use a different fixture.
 

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Those plant's that require more light, or are said to be high light plant's ,will also need more in the way of CO2 or liquid carbon such as product Excel which need's to be used daily.
Will possibly also need more in the way of nutrient's, depending on the light energy being directed at them.
Truly ,it is the light energy that drives the demand for that which plant's need along with temperature of the environment.
 

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What kind of plants do you want to grow? Are you growing the types of plants you are interested in currently without CO2 in your 10 gallon? One problem of adding high light to a tank without CO2, is that you can increase the chance of having a lot of algae. The advantage of LED's in this respect, is that some fixtures are dimable.

I think if appearance is a major factor in your decision, then the LED's are thinner and nicer to look at. Many people here use LED's and will be able to recommend various lights.
 

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IMO it is not unlike the transition from "film" photography to "digital" photography. Eventually we are all going there. (and as an avid B&W darkroom fan, I dragged my feet until I did a cost analysis) I am 3 days from receiving my 6th finnex ray II fixture. I will have successfully replaced all cf's, t8's and t5's.
 

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Hello!

Will LED grow high light plants?
Not only can they grow plants, with the proper power supply/driver and LED you can actually cook plants for supper. There are so many power option and LED combinations that your choices are mind blowing. I'm a fan of DIY setups since your investment can carry over as the tanks get deeper and larger, which they also seem to do. BUT, some of the newer manufactured units have some ability to upgrade as well so that is an option too.

the other consideration is bulb maintenance. T-5s need to be changed yearly or at least every two years while LEDs can go 15 years if not driven at too high a temp, which is a non-issue for manufactured units, just DIY.
 

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I just bought a 36 gallon bowfront and want to grow high light plants without co2
This might not happen, ferts will also be required.

but right now it's seems a little complicated for me since I'm new to plants).
Decide what type of plants you would like in the aquarium.

I've read all the articles, and still don't know what kind of lighting I should go with.

Will LED grow high light plants? Yes
Buy a fixture that could provide high light for a 36 bowfront.
Dimming is your friend and you don't want an algae farm.
 

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A dimmable LED fixture makes a lot of sense for your situation. There are a few T5HO fixtures you can dim but they are far from common. My experience starting out, I bought T5 (normal not HO fixture), then bought another one, then another for my low tech turned high tech, eventually very high light. Then I went with an overpowered T5HO fixture, did not dim but did have two banks. I thought this would help but it was just too much light. All my LED tanks have done well and not all my LED's have been dimable but I feel they are much more flexible when they are. A few years ago, people said you couldn't grow red plants or they would not be high light enough, this has been proven wrong over and over. I may not replace a T5/T5HO lamp on a tank doing perfectly in short time, eventually I would but on a new tank, LED is a no brainer. The cost is usually higher, not always if it isn't dimable, but you pay for the difference quickly in new bulbs. Now, I don't expect any of my LED fixtures to last 10 years, even though an LED can, something usually happens an a few LED's will go out but a reliable brand probably will last you 10 years, minus a few LED's.

In the CFL, T5, T5HO days (I was not a part of the T8/T12 days), a fixture would be dated quickly by new technology. With LED, this was much more quick, early LED fixtures don't compare to what is available today but I feel in the last 2 years, you wouldn't want to upgrade in two years with the right choice. I think LED's offer the flexibility you likely need, plus will cost less long term, and won't be something you will feel the need to upgrade.
 

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Thank you guys so much for all of the information!!!

I've decided on a high quality LED (I think the Finnex Ray2, what do you think?), and I can't believe I'm saying this, but also adding a co2 system! The research begins on both.

When my SunSun canister filter arrives I'll start the fishless cycle using ammonia (I always ran two, Fluval 406s, on my 75 gallon, one Oscar aquarium, but they both leaked, so I thought I'd try a different brand), and after the cycle completes, I'll add plants (not anubias, swords or java ferns/I don't know the names of the ones I like, just the ones I don't lol) and fish. I really wanted one fancy goldfish, nothing else in the tank, but I don't think that would be a good choice for this whole setup, so I've decided on two baby angelfish and nothing else with them.

Once I get everything up and running, I will post pictures and videos for everybody to see!

Thank you again for your help, you have pointed me down the right path and gave me direction!!

Update: I got the Finnex Ray2!
 

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I am looking forward to seeing your photos. That was a good decision to get the CO2. It opens up more possibilities. I have the first generation of LED's (Marineland Double Bright), on a 10 gallon low light shrimp tank, and it has done very well for the last 4 years. I don't think I will be shifting over all my T5HO's until it is necessary, however, it is interesting reading about all the advances in lighting.
 

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Update: I got the Finnex Ray2!
That's a nice unit, but if the 36 gallon is 20" deep and the max PAR on that unit is 26 at that depth, you may have trouble with high light demanding plants as your first post indicated was your preference.

So if I am correct, do not blame the product which is top shelf, but perhaps not engineered for your specific requirements.
 

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That's a nice unit, but if the 36 gallon is 20" deep and the max PAR on that unit is 26 at that depth, you may have trouble with high light demanding plants as your first post indicated was your preference.

So if I am correct, do not blame the product which is top shelf, but perhaps not engineered for your specific requirements.
 

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Jeffkrol, I was under the impression that the 36 gallon bow front is 30" long, not 36". I read the PAR values posted by Lowe and thought that the 30" was the same config as the 24", just longer so I used that number.

And you seem knowledgeable on manufacturer's ratings, so can you please explain why a longer fixture, with more LEDs, but less power per LED, would have a higher PAR value at the sweetspot? Do they change optics to go deeper as the tank gets longer? I understand that the total output increases with more LEDs, by why PAR. Looking at the Finnex site, the 36" seems to be better "powered" compared to the 24" and 48" inch in terms of wattage and the number of LEDs. I know that you cannot compare wattage across completely different models, but why not across lengths within the same model? Are the manufacturers loading up the middle where the rating is taken from? Thanks in advance.
 

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well, I just look at "aquarium dimensions" when a poster doesn't post the actual ones...
Could have errored... and your right a 24" is probably valid.
Not even sure they make a 30 RayII
They do make other real 30" though.
Opp's guess they do:
Aquarium Lights : Amazon.com: Finnex Ray2 Aquarium LED Daylight, 30-Inch

As to PAR ratings and longer fixtures.. think overlapping cones of 120 degree light..At farther distances more "outliers" contribute..



You need to brain modify that image to one row and 120 degree angle to make it more relevent. Too lazy to find the 120/90 ones right at the moment..

most of these fixtures use "wall watts" so somewhat irreverent..PAR overrides watts regardless..

The "company" PAR measurements were done in air w/ an Apogee meter..
In tank (refraction and reflection effects) and a better PAR meter (true 400-700nm measurement) will change the results.. usually favoring the PAR not less.
 

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As to PAR ratings and longer fixtures.. think overlapping cones of 120 degree light..At farther distances more "outliers" contribute.
Great graphic, easy to understand. Does that explain how the end emitters reach the middle, where the max PAR is measured? If you kept adding LEDs at the edges, how does that effect the center cone? You said ignore the 2nd row, but do the longer units have more rows. That would make sense but the dimension changes in length only. I am imagining a unit 50ft long with a single row and how a diode 25ft away would have any effect in a 20" depth tank. Am I making sense?

And as far a wattage, yes I understand the difference between power supply draw and diode power. I understand that efficient emitters will produce more "output" regardless of spectrum, but I assume that the various lengths of fixtures in the same model line use the same diodes and just increase power to handle the added diodes. So my question is why the change in "efficiency" between lengths and why does the 36" provide more power per LED. I am just guessing the answer to be array design changes and perhaps the inexact power supply increments available for mass produced units. I know that you know the answer so please educate me.

Not to completely hijack this thread, the original poster has what I believe to be a 20" deep tank and a 30" Finnex Ray 2 and is expecting to grow light demanding plants, so I just tried to tamper down expectations. What are your thoughts on that issue?
 

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Not to completely hijack this thread, the original poster has what I believe to be a 20" deep tank and a 30" Finnex Ray 2 and is expecting to grow light demanding plants, so I just tried to tamper down expectations. What are your thoughts on that issue?
co2 can "make up" somewhat for lower than perfect light levels..
Point is the Ray II is about the strongest PAR SMD common fixture.. Pretty sure their diodes are lens-ed at 90 degrees (or were) unlike the typical 120 found in others of its type.. Same power but more PAR per sq inch due to lensing..
In other words the RayII is an over-performer in its category...
now the lack of red is another matter... ;)

all tanks have a natural difference, different water, different fertilizers, different plant composition..and will respond different.

There are certainly stronger albeit much more expensive lights that, if you picck the right one can be "tailored" to whatever light level and "color" one prefers..
 
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