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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone,

I am relatively new to the planted tank and I have quite a challenge ahead of me. My tank is very unique 375 gallon with so many tannins it is tea colored after 24 hours after a near 100% water change. Dont worry no fish yet. But of course I have plants. Im starting to grow baby tears for an aquascapet carpet plant look and I need powerful light so I am purchasing a 500Watt LED module (Extremely bright) to punch through to the bottom and grow my plants. I know there are ways to 'fix' tannins I just want to let nature take its course with them. I am faced with a very expensive decision. I can go with the 500Watt lamp 27"X16" that puts out 130lumens/watt=65000lumens for $1050 or I can go with the 500Watt lamp same dimensions that puts out 100lumens per watt=50000 lumens for $800. Additionally, I am trying to determine if I should include the cost of a dimmer which is an additional 30% per fixture. So Im looking for second opinions as (you may have gathered) I don't know everything about light. The fixture will be 6,500 kelvin for optimal plant growth and I have a 100Watt flood light on either side of the aquarium with 10,000 lumens each. It's pretty surprising how dim the light gets by the time it reaches the bottom. I know that lumens arent the best measure of light but its all I have to go on from the manufacturers and the easiest measurement for me to understand as watts per gallon doesn't seem to fit with all types of light sources. I also have many different wattages available to me (100-900) but I really like the 500 Watt. The only risk of too much light is algae right? And there are dimmer areas of my tank off to the sides where the shy fish could stay if they think its too bright. I am using miracle grow organic choice potting mix (which I found has too many wood chips), peat moss (the probable culprit of the intense tannins) and the back wall is entirely made of virgin cork (took forever but looks incredible and will make a nice plant wall). I also have an overflow with a standpipe that drops only an inch and a half for minimal agitation, auto CO2 injection with a pH controller from green leaf aquariums (the choice one with 15lb co2 bottle and pH controller), a semisealed sump (did the best I could) and two return pumps via inline ocean clear canister filters and a UV sterilizer. My well water is also very high in pH (high sevens) and my CO2 system is new so I am seeing experimenting and trying to bring it down with carbonic acid. So what recommendations do the more experienced and knowledgeable experts have? What fixture and accessories should I go with? Thanks in advance.
 

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Have you got a link to the Led modules that you're planning to run? I'd like read up on them a bit, and determine their lumen/$$$ ratio.
 

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Those tannins make a huge difference in light penetrating the water as well I'm sure you noticed the difference from first filled to 24 hrs later :)
 

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Wow, you like to jump in with both feet! I have nothing to add to the conversation but I am intensely interested in this project. Pictures would be cool.
 

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Wow!!!! That is a lot of $$$ for 500W of LED's.

I would do my own build. I have used these LED's on my Reef tanks with FANTASTIC results!

http://www.satisled.com/3w-high-pow...lm_p125:17908b265211a9f8e8c5430b7633d937.html

These come in a 180lm/W version. 196 of these with 60 degree optics runs $325.75 shipped. Pair those with this driver (you would actually need 3 of them).

http://www.rapidled.com/mean-well-hlg-185-42b-dimmable-driver/

3 of these would run $345 shipped.

Total cost = $670.75
Add the heatsinks, fans, other goodies, and you are still below $1000 with everything and you are getting closer to 105,840 lumens with dimming capabilities using PWM, 1-10V, or resistors.

This will be a killer amount of light for a planted tank, but it would be completely dimmable.
 

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That's a crazy amount of money for some lights Jesus Christ. Especially when something for $100 will do the same thing.

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The problem with $100 lights on a tank that size is penetration. A cfl or even a T5 is not going to penetrate all the way to the substrate. You need something more powerful or at least more focused (like LED's with optics). A 375 gallon tank is a whole different beast.
 

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You might be surprised at the penetration you can get from LED's. plus a metal halide uses more power produces less PAR, and creates A LOT more heat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That's a crazy amount of money for some lights Jesus Christ. Especially when something for $100 will do the same thing.

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I do think its pretty pricey too. I did spend about $200 on the 100 Watt 10k Lumen floods and they don't even make a dent so I was just going to step up my game. I hope to use my system to grow rare aquarium plants at great speed and sell them. So its an investment and LEDs last minimally ten years and don't lose much brightness or get very hot as compared to fluorescents and HIDs, respectively.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That is a big tank. That is A lot of expense. Wouldn't a 400w metal halide over this do a fine job for around 300 bucks? I suspect metal halide can handle the depth better than LED.
Actually not really. The opposite is true. LEDs have about double the output as metal Halides for a given wattage. And I don't want the heat/fire risk of a hot metal halide in my house nor the UV light they give off as its rumored to yellow some acrylics.
 

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I had used 2 100 watt multichip LED's over my 90 gallon reef with great results. That is an even cheaper solution. I did not use flood lenses, but 90 degree optics. It was a super easy build. I think the floods would not be focused enough to penetrate to the bottom of the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Have you got a link to the Led modules that you're planning to run? I'd like read up on them a bit, and determine their lumen/$$$ ratio.
Actually no. The provider I am using is an LED wholesaler for outdoor, warehouse, and Stadium lighting. They don't list their prices on a website so I have contacted a rep directly. She provided me with the following chart and I hope to have the prices for each soon. They seem to be the best, compact, LED floods I can find.
 

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I do think its pretty pricey too. I did spend about $200 on the 100 Watt 10k Lumen floods and they don't even make a dent so I was just going to step up my game. I hope to use my system to grow rare aquarium plants at great speed and sell them. So its an investment and LEDs last minimally ten years and don't lose much brightness or get very hot as compared to fluorescents and HIDs, respectively.
Well by all means if you need it then go for it. that price just shocked me.

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Have you got a link to the Led modules that you're planning to run? I'd like read up on them a bit, and determine their lumen/$$$ ratio.
I got it for ya! The prices are below along with a low quality picture of the modules and their design. I will of course be removing the U-Bar in the back as I plant to place it face down onto the top of the acrylic tank and only have 4 inches of clearance from under hood. The unit gets up to only 50 deg C (122F) so it will be a bit hot to touch but nothing the acrylic can't handle.
 

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How deep is the tank, you never stated this critical piece of info. In general, LED's offer poor spread of light, good for spot lighting or from a long distance, but then you lose intensity, so it often ends up being a poor trade off energy wise.

If you chose the Cree 3 W, they offer decent spread and you can space them out evenly over the foot print, the spot light type things do not do that and tend to add too much light, the tannins will go away, too much light will be a thorn in your side for a long long time to come.

Better to go less, rather than more, with light intensity. Especially a lot of light on a larger tank. Great way to grow algae though.
 

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I think you need to step back and start thinking from the start. You apparently can afford $1000 or more for lighting, but you are using the cheapest substrate material you could get. As a result of the substrate decision, you have a big tannins issue, making lighting the tank more difficult than it needs to be.

Why not switch to a commercial aquarium substrate, that doesn't release that much tannins, using some of the money you plan to spend on lights? You can buy a lot of ADA Aquasoil for that much money, and have a proven great substrate, that doesn't give you the tannin problem. Your tank is probably something like 96" x 30" x 30", which can easily be lighted with T5HO, or LEDs. You could use 4 of these 48" lights, http://www.catalinaaquarium.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=71_198_200&products_id=1842 in two rows, separated by about a foot, and get about 50 micromols of PAR at the substrate, more than enough to grow any plants.

Then, start planning a CO2 system, which will be essential, and is by far the hardest thing to get right on a big tank like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
How deep is the tank, you never stated this critical piece of info. In general, LED's offer poor spread of light, good for spot lighting or from a long distance, but then you lose intensity, so it often ends up being a poor trade off energy wise.

If you chose the Cree 3 W, they offer decent spread and you can space them out evenly over the foot print, the spot light type things do not do that and tend to add too much light, the tannins will go away, too much light will be a thorn in your side for a long long time to come.

Better to go less, rather than more, with light intensity. Especially a lot of light on a larger tank. Great way to grow algae though.
Thank you very much for your insights and articulate advice. As many have said in the past it is always great to have you chime in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
There are other lighting options that may be workable. They are fluorescent induction lighting and possibly plasma lighting.

fluorescent induction lighting
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=136175
Great suggestions Steve. Thank you. I actually looked into both. The ESL (induction) bulbs seems a great option but I couldn't find too much information on them never mind easily obtainable products. But they have great lifetime. I also looked into the plasmas and they are by far (IMO) the best quality of light as they essentially duplicate the sun's spectrum but they have massive transformers/heat syncs/fans, probably get very hot and again like the ESLs are in their infancy manufacturing-wise. I was only able to find one supplier and the expenses were astronomical. I will keep my eye open for both though as they may find their way into the aquarium world soon. Thanks again.

P.S. Just read through some of the links you provided via the other thread. There is some great stuff in there and I didn't know about those ESL suppliers.
 
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