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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i’ve recently become obsessed with smart home automation, and after scouring the internet, i cannot find a reasonably priced 100% wifi/alexa controllable light fixture fit for a small planted freshwater tank.

SO — i’m interested in crafting my own, but unfortunately i’m having trouble finding controllable LEDs powerful enough to actually grow plants, especially through ~8 inches of water.

of all the sources i’ve found, it seems 99.9% of LED strip lights are not going to be powerful enough no matter how many i use, is this correct? or has anyone found some that will work? (and if not, how about this: )

i’ve found this 6 piece smart/wifi-enabled under cabinet LED package. with the only specs listed as so:
Wattage: 24W (4W/pc)
Lumen: R:280lm, G:780lm, B:230lm, W:1000lm

how does this look?

my tank is a simple 15 gallon (with pretty basic plants) that’s 24 inches wide. each led fixture is 12 inches long, so i figure 3 rows of 2 can be mounted to a piece of aluminum and fixed above my aquarium.

will this even have the power to grow anything? if not, does anyone have any advice on finding LEDs or a smart wifi fixture that CAN grow plants? My current light is just this 26 watt full spectrum Hygger LED fixture that seems to grow the basic plants i have just fine.

also, i’m not interested in just using a smart plug, i want to be able to set the lighting routines through alexa, as well as change the light at any time to a color of my choice while sitting across the room looking at it, or even while i’m away from home.

i know this is very niche and nitpicky, but it’s what i’ve truly set my sights on.

thanks in advance, drewby
 

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I'm also super into home automation and also did this exact same research haha, which ultimately led me to buying a sort've pricey light. Because of light intensity issues, I ended up realizing easiest route was to get a light with RGB leds and the ability to adjust the 3 channels with sliders using a controller application. I just posted on another thread about the one I got because I'm gushing about it. The Chihiros WRBG2 does all that. It let's you set a schedule, decide how bright the light is at different times throughout the day, and you can control the color channels independently. You can also go into a manual mode and just mess with it without disturbing your program. So like you mentioned, just being able to turn it on and occasionally at night and play with it from across the room. I will say, the color changing excitement of it wore off quickly because honestly, the tank looked best with a neutral color. But being able to tweak each channel allowed me to dial in the exact color temperature I liked most. I know Finnex also makes cheaper options that seem good, and instead of an app on your phone, it comes with a small remote control. I know there are other companies that have this sort of functionality built in, I would just need to look around. One other option is if you find an LED light that isn't "smart", you can get a controller on the cheap like the one featured in this video:
With something like that you can program the intensity throughout the day, so recreate a natural effect, but you wouldn't have that across-the-room control you mentioned.
 

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Not really an issue w/ small tanks.
Any 5m strip of diodes and a correct controller will work.
Each color is positive ground and pwm via mosfet in the ground side.

Apparently 5,12,24v constant voltage compatible.
W/ some creativity and knowing how much current each channel is limited to any constant voltage strip/board can be used.

4-8Amps per channel is fairly common but ?
Modding may change color associated w a channel of course




Since you have (pretty solid guess) 48w available per channel a simple array of 3w diodes w ) terminating resistors run in series/parallel you can light any rank up to 150 gallons.. In theory.
May not be rgb but ww/cw/deep red ect.


btw above us quite versatile and capable of outputting 180w of leds.

Calculator for designing 3w led star strips
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm also super into home automation and also did this exact same research haha, which ultimately led me to buying a sort've pricey light. Because of light intensity issues, I ended up realizing easiest route was to get a light with RGB leds and the ability to adjust the 3 channels with sliders using a controller application. I just posted on another thread about the one I got because I'm gushing about it. The Chihiros WRBG2 does all that. It let's you set a schedule, decide how bright the light is at different times throughout the day, and you can control the color channels independently. You can also go into a manual mode and just mess with it without disturbing your program. So like you mentioned, just being able to turn it on and occasionally at night and play with it from across the room. I will say, the color changing excitement of it wore off quickly because honestly, the tank looked best with a neutral color. But being able to tweak each channel allowed me to dial in the exact color temperature I liked most. I know Finnex also makes cheaper options that seem good, and instead of an app on your phone, it comes with a small remote control. I know there are other companies that have this sort of functionality built in, I would just need to look around. One other option is if you find an LED light that isn't "smart", you can get a controller on the cheap like the one featured in this video:
With something like that you can program the intensity throughout the day, so recreate a natural effect, but you wouldn't have that across-the-room control you mentioned.
yeah, the chihiros lineup is pretty spectacular, it checks all the boxes i’ve been looking for..... except for it being wildly out of my budget, sadly.

that controller seems pretty neat too, but i’m pretty deadset on being able to control the lighting from my phone or with my voice, instead of fiddling with the fixture itself or a controller.. and as this is my first tank, i guess it won’t be too damaging to just get some LEDs and DIY it for testing purposes.
 

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yeah, the chihiros lineup is pretty spectacular, it checks all the boxes i’ve been looking for..... except for it being wildly out of my budget, sadly.

that controller seems pretty neat too, but i’m pretty deadset on being able to control the lighting from my phone or with my voice, instead of fiddling with the fixture itself or a controller.. and as this is my first tank, i guess it won’t be too damaging to just get some LEDs and DIY it for testing purposes.
That controller can do both afaict.
Amazon Alexa Voice phone App Control WL5
 

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Your cheapest option (unless you already bought strip lighting) is a smart bulb. I am running a 30 gallon tank with a single smart bulb right now. I am planning my 75 gallon around 3 smart bulbs. Definitely enough power to grow plants and a lot of features for 20 dollars or less.
 

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... but i’m pretty deadset on being able to control the lighting from my phone or with my voice, instead of fiddling with the fixture itself or a controller.. and as this is my first tank, i guess it won’t be too damaging to just get some LEDs and DIY it for testing purposes.
I find myself thinking that once you have spectrum and scheduling ironed out you really will not be doing much configuration unless you enjoy "plant roulette", which can of course be a fun part of our hobby. My vote is to get a high quality commercial light strip with all of the configuration and smart phone options that you want and then just let it do it's job.

Given that this is your first tank and planted tanks are not exactly a piece of cake to get balanced, you may find that experimenting with frequent lighting changes might be something to try further down the road once you have the other parameters that make for a stable tank ironed out. Otherwise you may be encouraging the beloved Algae Monster...

PS. I use Alexa with multiple smart plugs to allow me to schedule my CO2 and to turn my pump on/off for feeding and maintenance. I use an Echo Dot and it works great. When I verbally turn off my pump I even have it set to remind me to add Prime if doing a water change and also to turn it back on in 90 minutes should I forget. For feeding I say "Feed fish" and it turns off the pump for 10 minutes and then back on again. I do not have a smart plug on my light because I use the timer/dimmer mentioned above. Set and forget. Works perfectly.
 

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I find myself thinking that once you have spectrum and scheduling ironed out you really will not be doing much configuration unless you enjoy "plant roulette", which can of course be a fun part of our hobby. My vote is to get a high quality commercial light strip with all of the configuration and smart phone options that you want and then just let it do it's job.

Given that this is your first tank and planted tanks are not exactly a piece of cake to get balanced, you may find that experimenting with frequent lighting changes might be something to try further down the road once you have the other parameters that make for a stable tank ironed out. Otherwise you may be encouraging the beloved Algae Monster...

PS. I use Alexa with multiple smart plugs to allow me to schedule my CO2 and to turn my pump on/off for feeding and maintenance. I use an Echo Dot and it works great. When I verbally turn off my pump I even have it set to remind me to add Prime if doing a water change and also to turn it back on in 90 minutes should I forget. For feeding I say "Feed fish" and it turns off the pump for 10 minutes and then back on again. I do not have a smart plug on my light because I use the timer/dimmer mentioned above. Set and forget. Works perfectly.
Yea control is funny isn't it.
Think in the past year I've only changed my Bluefish mini controller once or twice (currently replaced).
Thing is though, I can't see not having it because Manuf choices aren't (almost always ) my choices.
Ramping up/down sunrise/sunset to me is not an option but a necessity.
Once in awhile it is just fun to look at it differently.. even if only temporary.
Then very minor things like switching to daylight savings time on a phone app.
Currently have 10 controllers and one remaining tank and one grow out tank w/ a Finnex
It's an illness.. :)
Even had some custom made to my specs.
Gamma dimming
60V DC in capable
5 channels 700mA drivers (changeable but not adjustable)
12 point schedule (pretty much the minimum amount of points acceptable.
3 pre sets
wifi and battery backup for clock.
It was based on the KISS principal. No moon phases, no clouds (was actually hard to give up) no temp monitor ect.
No, no Alexa ect.

Currently testing them.
1025794


I'll need to sell some of my prototypes soon.. Getting to much "stuff"
Behind it is a 5 channel (channels can be combined w/ jumper wires) Luxeon Z puck
(2 660nm 1 405nm violet) , 1 pc amber, 1 lime, 1 royal blue, 1 cyan.
A reflector can be added as well.
Pin heat sink yadda yadda yadda.
It has great color but the violet alone is $8 for a few watts.

See it IS an illness..
 

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