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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,
My first post here but I'm a long time reader and would like to thank all of you who share their knowledge and experiences - it's really is fascinating and inspiring :proud:

I've wanted to try LED lighting for some time now.
This was my previous test setup (10G paludarium) based on 5mm super bright Led (mostly wide angle Cool white with some red and blue moon lighting):

I currently design a new Paludarium (mp KRISTALL octagon, 60X60X50cm, water level at around 25cm)- so it's a good opportunity to really get into that.

What can you recommend from your recent experiments regarding the best combination of LEDs for good plant grow (high PAR) as well as visually (high CRI)?

From what I figured so far, I would probably go for Cree's with good thermal management for good efficiency.
It seems it'll be good practice to base the light around white XR-Es (bin Q4/5 ) and combine some Blue/RoyalBlue/Orange/Red/IR(?)/UV(?) to enhance PAR and color effects.
However I'm not sure regarding specific models/spectrums and quantity each to get a good efficient (and "cost effective") results.

Also haven't decided yet regarding optics (if at all), cover, and reflector design (consider the need to cover the back wall as well as reach the bottom...).

Most of the plants, both underwater and above level, will have low-medium light requirements.
As a reference - in a similar setup, I get very good results with 3X24watt T5HO (2XCw 1XGrulux) .

I saw the threads here (i.e. Hoppy/malaybiswas and others) and learned a lot.
However, while your light (as well as most aquarium DIY projects I saw) based around mostly White/Blue combinations.
Other sites dealing with LED growing lights (not aquarium) recommend different solutions - mainly blending RED/Blue/royalBlue (depends on plant and grow stage)- which makes sense considering Maximum chlorophyll A production occurs at ~662nm (for red) and ~430nm (for blue), while maximum chlorophyll B production occurs at ~642nm (for red) and ~453nm (for blue).
I have some interesting refrences - but cant post them here yet (since new users can't post links)

Any thoughts, recommendation and/or tips are happily welcome


P.s. - Please forgive my weird English... not my native language as you may have already guessed

· Registered
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From what I have read here and on other forums, you can grow plants well with almost any "white" light, if you have a high enough intensity. And, it is far easier to get enough intensity than it is to try to adjust the spectrum of light to match what the plants prefer. I think the spectrum becomes important when you have just barely enough light, as was the case when most aquarium lighting was with T12 and T8 bulbs. But, with T5HO, PC, and LED lights we can easily get far more intensity than the plants need. So, I suggest you just use the light that looks best to you.

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Cool whites have the highest output, but you will typically run them at lower currents, especially for the medium to low light plants you are looking to keep. As a result, you might want to look into using neutral whites in a blend with cool whites. The warmer color temps have higher CRI, if that's what is important to you. Warm white is best for CRI, but looks horrible over a tank.

You could experiment with adding green/cyan and red/amber LEDs into the array, but add them in addition to the whites. What I mean by that is plan out your entire array basing everything on using white LEDs. When it comes time to add the other colors, have dedicated spots for them instead of replacing whites with another color.
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