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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been trying to find the right led fixture for my tank for a while now. I will have low light and medium light plants, and don't have a c02 setup. The tank is a 60 gallon, 48" by 13" by 24" tall. I want it to be bright enough to have my plants growing healthy, but don't want it so bright I'll need C02 or have an algae outbreak. I am trying to decide between:

Beamswork led with 54 1 Watt 6500k LED's (couldn't find PAR readings)
http://www.aquatraders.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=56427P&CartID=1

Green Elements led with 32 3 Watt 6500k LED's (couldn't find PAR readings)
http://www.aquatraders.com/LED-Aquarium-Lighting-EVO-Freshwater-Plant-p/56547p.htm

Marineland double bright LED (35 PAR at 24")
Amazon.com : Marineland Double Bright LED Light, 48- to 60-Inch : Marineland Single Bright Led Lighting System : Pet Supplies

Finnex Ray2 (50 PAR at 24")

Thanks so much for the advice, I have no idea which would be better.
 

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What i would do is look into Build My Led. Given the fact that you have a skinny deep tank i would order one with either a 45deg. or 60deg. beam angle to insure you get that high par at the substrate. The only thing i would be worried about is if your plants grow to tall at the edges it may get no light. Also if you can order the adjustable dimmer for it to tone it back accordingly so that you won't need CO2. If you finally decide to go the high tech route you could just adjust it to full output.
 

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What i would do is look into Build My Led. Given the fact that you have a skinny deep tank i would order one with either a 45deg. or 60deg. beam angle to insure you get that high par at the substrate. The only thing i would be worried about is if your plants grow to tall at the edges it may get no light. Also if you can order the adjustable dimmer for it to tone it back accordingly so that you won't need CO2. If you finally decide to go the high tech route you could just adjust it to full output.
+1 on that. I used RapidLed.com
 

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I was in the same situation as you are. After much consideration I settled on a Planted+. I felt the Ray2 might put me at the high end of medium light and possibly cause algae problems although that is just my opinion. I figured if I needed more light I could add a Stingray which is pretty inexpensive. My Planted+ is on order so I have no results on plant growth to report.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone! I've had a couple people tell me the planted+ wouldn't be bright enough on a 24" tall, so that's why I wasn't considering it, but I'll definitely look into it more. Let me know how it works out for you rhiro. As for the build my led's, the fixture came out to be $269 which is a little too much for my budget. I like the idea of being able to convert it to a high tech, but $269 is a little steep. I'm trying to figure out rapidled, it seems a lot cheaper than buildmyled.

Bump: Also just a quick question, how much would a basic C02 system cost me? Thanks!
 

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For rapidled what I did is bought the solderless LEDs(really simple to connect) and the non-dimmable driver. All you need to do are connect the LEDs to the driver and the driver to a power chord (the driver comes with bare wire so you just have to use a wire but to connect the driver wire to the electric plug wires).
In your case I would get the proper optics so you focus your light down into the tank.
Also, I bought aluminum channel to mount my LEDs onto. It acts as a heatsink. If you have heatsinks lying around, even better.
If your willing to do a little DIY it is very economical. Also I like that I can take apart my fixture any time I want with the solderless LEDs.

For your tank I would guess it might cost $150
 

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Thanks everyone! I've had a couple people tell me the planted+ wouldn't be bright enough on a 24" tall, so that's why I wasn't considering it, but I'll definitely look into it more. Let me know how it works out for you rhiro. As for the build my led's, the fixture came out to be $269 which is a little too much for my budget. I like the idea of being able to convert it to a high tech, but $269 is a little steep. I'm trying to figure out rapidled, it seems a lot cheaper than buildmyled.

Bump: Also just a quick question, how much would a basic C02 system cost me? Thanks!
IF you want basic "on off".. one or even 2 of theses is really quite economic..
http://www.aquatraders.com/LED-Aquarium-Lighting-Beamswork-Freshwater-Plant-p/56427p.htm

Fixture Size: 48.00" x 5.00" x 1.00" (Add 0.65" in height with bracket installed)
LEDs Count: 54
3340 Lumens
Super energy efficient 1 watt HQ LEDs
46x 6,500K LEDs
8x 6,500K LEDs
Use 54 watts

$73.............. :eek:

Replacing some 6500k w/ 3500k makes it even more interesting... ;)

DIY "regulator based" CO2 would run anywhere from a lucky $100ish to a more usual $200 plus.. tank/reg/solenoid/metering valve....
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So I decided to go with the Finnex planted+ for now and just run it with the crappy lights that came with the aquarium. I'll see how it works out with my low light plants, and might end up adding a finnex stingray or one of the aquatrader led's. Might go the DIY route a little later on once I know what I'm doing a little more :icon_bigg
Thanks again for the help everyone! :proud:
 

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I am curious about why people don't suggest this 48 inch pent 0.5W light? According to all the people listing them the lumen output is way above many comparably sized 1 or 3 watt LED arrays from the same company. In addition they spread the light out more meaning you are more likely to a more even lighting which will make it easier for more leaves on more plants to catch a few rays.

Recently I was trying to pick some beamswork lights and I couldn't find any spec or reason to go with the simpler 3 watt LED arrays over these unless you want to modify them. It just seems they are more efficient LEDs period and so you get more light / watt and in most cases more total light period.
 

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I am curious about why people don't suggest this 48 inch pent 0.5W light? According to all the people listing them the lumen output is way above many comparably sized 1 or 3 watt LED arrays from the same company. In addition they spread the light out more meaning you are more likely to a more even lighting which will make it easier for more leaves on more plants to catch a few rays.

Recently I was trying to pick some beamswork lights and I couldn't find any spec or reason to go with the simpler 3 watt LED arrays over these unless you want to modify them. It just seems they are more efficient LEDs period and so you get more light / watt and in most cases more total light period.
for comparison:
Fixture Size: 46.50" x 5.00" x 1.00" (Add 0.65" in height with bracket installed)

LEDs Count: 32
4320 Lumens
Super energy efficient 3 watt high output LEDs
32x 6,500K LED
Use 96 watts
Fixture Size: 47.75" x 5.00" x 1.00" (Add 0.65" in height with bracket installed)

LEDs Count: 66
4400 Lumens
Super energy efficient 0.5 watt high output LEDs
66x 6,500K LED
Use 48 watts

the lumen efficiency is higher but overall output is roughly equal.
Then you arguably have depth vs spread, as you mentioned..

Taking off or changing the lenses on the 3w is an option not available on the .5w LED's..

Last note, I'd suspect the "watt" measurements are not accurate...

Though it is accurate for the .5W
So in the middle of my diy strip light build I came across this: <$50
LED 30" 0.5W 6500K Freshwater Plant Bright LED by Beamworks 4th Generation
110 x 0.5w LEDs. I could not help myself.

I tested this unit on a kill-a-watt meter. It consumes 56w that includes the power supply.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=627826
 

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The light you are mentioning is not the pent 0.5 W its the triple 0.5W

The first light you mention is this one I believe. And aquatraders sells it for $92.97.

The second one is this one and it is $52.98 almost $40 cheaper. And puts out the same amount of light in half the electricity usage.

But this thread is about a deep tank that will require more light and the light I linked is this one. Which is $79.97, that is still $20 cheaper and puts out 57% more light.



While you may suspect the wattage measurement is not accurate unless someone measures it differently we need to make decisions based on what specs they release. And we don't know they are liars yet to discredit their specs. Second it would have to be really different because the difference is huge, almost double the efficiency. Right now the first bulb is half as efficient for the same output of light. So the only thing left is the OP has to spend more money on optics and calculate or know those optics will lead to at least a 60% increase in the intensity of light deeper down. All of this means either I am missing something or other people here have real measurements that point to the 0.5W arrays performing significantly worse than they are speced in power consumption or light out put or some combination of both. But if a company was lying that bad I think it would come out. I personally purchased 3 of the pent 0.5 W leds and measured their LUX with my phone under some fairly diffused conditions and still came up with what I thought was pretty good light. looked to be at least 80 par at 15 inches. This was after they passed through privacy glass that scatters light which I use on my vivariums to hide the upper infrastructure. Unfortunately I do not have the 3W arrays to directly compare but I am noticing in many places a bias against these new 0.5W arrays that I do not understand.
 

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The light you are mentioning is not the pent 0.5 W its the triple 0.5W

The first light you mention is this one I believe. And aquatraders sells it for $92.97.

The second one is this one and it is $52.98 almost $40 cheaper. And puts out the same amount of light in half the electricity usage.

But this thread is about a deep tank that will require more light and the light I linked is this one. Which is $79.97, that is still $20 cheaper and puts out 57% more light.



While you may suspect the wattage measurement is not accurate unless someone measures it differently we need to make decisions based on what specs they release. And we don't know they are liars yet to discredit their specs. Second it would have to be really different because the difference is huge, almost double the efficiency. Right now the first bulb is half as efficient for the same output of light. So the only thing left is the OP has to spend more money on optics and calculate or know those optics will lead to at least a 60% increase in the intensity of light deeper down. All of this means either I am missing something or other people here have real measurements that point to the 0.5W arrays performing significantly worse than they are speced in power consumption or light out put or some combination of both. But if a company was lying that bad I think it would come out. I personally purchased 3 of the pent 0.5 W leds and measured their LUX with my phone under some fairly diffused conditions and still came up with what I thought was pretty good light. looked to be at least 80 par at 15 inches. This was after they passed through privacy glass that scatters light which I use on my vivariums to hide the upper infrastructure. Unfortunately I do not have the 3W arrays to directly compare but I am noticing in many places a bias against these new 0.5W arrays that I do not understand.
I'm certainly not biased against them.. but consider them for what they are..

Watts are useless to plants. and lumens or LUX are only an approx. for PAR. That said PAR meters besides the Li-Cor are only approximations of LED reality as well..

ALL of this has to be taken w/ a grain of salt so to speak..
w/ Beamswork the best we can go off of is lumens...

Why I question the 3W-er is because 44 lumens/watt is a bit poor..
The quad .5w you posted is about 76 lumens/watt
93 lumens/watt for the tri-row... and measured..

Problem w/ watts and LED efficiency "we" have no way to know what is due to losses and what is the actual Wattage the LED's are at.

So the bottom line is lumens mean much more to plants than watt efficiency which is really more important to your utility bill.

current LED efficiency is exceeding 100 lumens/watt..and 100 is the "break even" point w/ fluorescent technology (roughly)..PROBLEM is that LED's are more efficient in spectrum and delivery so even w/ equal l/w an LED is more "efficient" for plants.. so you don't need to mathc l/w to equal other technologies.. PAR wise LED's are 2x more efficient than fluorescent technology..

now lumens and light delivery (directional point sources (LED) vs diffuse collimated (focused flourescent)..) also play into this, as well as spectral content..

In other words it is "messy".... ;)

Personally, I prefer 1W or better LED's, both for geometry concerns and ease of build.. Few will argue that the deeper the tank the more "focused" the LED should be.. Can you make up for this on sheer "bulk" of small LED's yes, yes you can.. but density and heat come into play..

So it is easy to say.. deeper tanks, higher watt LEDs w/ optics... watt efficiency be darned as long as the photon count is there..

Oh and the reason to question the wattage (esp in the high Watt LEDs) is few cheapish fixtures have the heat removing capacity to run a fairly high density group of LED's at full wattage (at the LED). Same w/ a high density small SMD's.. The numbers are too convenient..so to speak..

Oh and this:


a simplistic division by 1/2 still has PAR quite decent at depth 65PAR at 17"....

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=415522
 

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I am not completely following what the main point of your post is, are you suggesting that beamswork and sellers are falsifying the specs on the 3W leds to make them look far worse then they actually are? Or lying about the specs on the 0.5W arrays? Why would they do this on a more expensive product they carry? One that should also be easier to assemble given you don't have to solder on hundreds of tiny SMDs to the 0.5W units.

I understand if you are going to modify this you want the 1 or 3W arrays because you can easily purchase and replace or add optics. But I think if that is the main motivation it should be asked if the OP is willing to do all that work. Most people who purchase pre made lights do so because they don't want to do extra work. And it should be brought out to the OPs attention that these are only better if they OP is willing to pay more and do more work.

I do not think it is fair to assume they liars and use that as evidence to suggest another product they sell. It's kinda weird its like saying oh well ford lies about the focus and makes the efficiency look too good so you should buy an F-150 its probably more efficient than ford claims. Why wouldn't ford be lying about all of their line in a similar direction? Why would they only lie about some of them? Without independent verification we shouldn't be assuming that the older model 3W are way better than they are speced or the newer 0.5W are way worse or any combination in the middle.

In the thread you linked another person measured wattage on a 30 inch pent LED and came out with 56W which is right in line for the fixture he purchased. I also have 3 of these and I used a ubiquity mFi to measure 2 of them and they both read about 48 watts for a 30 inch fixture note that my device often reads lower than the stated specs by a little.

So IMO we have a few verifications that the wattage they claim is not far off. I have also measured the LUX and the 30 inch fixture has higher light than a 36 inch finnex ray 2 once again more evidence these are powerful lights.

So someone is going to have to dig up any numbers that have been released for the 3W figures in order for anyone to claim that something is wrong with the specs of that one. IMO unless such informations surfaces then we should stick to making decisions based on the manufacturer based specs and avoid guessing about all the complications involved in electronics.
 

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I am not completely following what the main point of your post is, are you suggesting that beamswork and sellers are falsifying the specs on the 3W leds to make them look far worse then they actually are? Or lying about the specs on the 0.5W arrays? Why would they do this on a more expensive product they carry? One that should also be easier to assemble given you don't have to solder on hundreds of tiny SMDs to the 0.5W units.

I understand if you are going to modify this you want the 1 or 3W arrays because you can easily purchase and replace or add optics. But I think if that is the main motivation it should be asked if the OP is willing to do all that work. Most people who purchase pre made lights do so because they don't want to do extra work. And it should be brought out to the OPs attention that these are only better if they OP is willing to pay more and do more work.

I do not think it is fair to assume they liars and use that as evidence to suggest another product they sell. It's kinda weird its like saying oh well ford lies about the focus and makes the efficiency look too good so you should buy an F-150 its probably more efficient than ford claims. Why wouldn't ford be lying about all of their line in a similar direction? Why would they only lie about some of them? Without independent verification we shouldn't be assuming that the older model 3W are way better than they are speced or the newer 0.5W are way worse or any combination in the middle.

In the thread you linked another person measured wattage on a 30 inch pent LED and came out with 56W which is right in line for the fixture he purchased. I also have 3 of these and I used a ubiquity mFi to measure 2 of them and they both read about 48 watts for a 30 inch fixture note that my device often reads lower than the stated specs by a little.

So IMO we have a few verifications that the wattage they claim is not far off. I have also measured the LUX and the 30 inch fixture has higher light than a 36 inch finnex ray 2 once again more evidence these are powerful lights.

So someone is going to have to dig up any numbers that have been released for the 3W figures in order for anyone to claim that something is wrong with the specs of that one. IMO unless such informations surfaces then we should stick to making decisions based on the manufacturer based specs and avoid guessing about all the complications involved in electronics.
to try to clear this up a bit...

to PLANTS wattage is less important than lumens which is less important than PAR which is less important than PUR (photosynthetically useable radiation) ... ;)

Using watts for anything besides calculating how much energy you are using (heat plus light) is a bit meaningless..

where efficiency gets "important" is when you are paying a premium price for a premium fixture.. Using "standard" or "cheap" diodes would be unacceptable..

Secondly, LED "efficiency" actually increases based on a decrease in drive current.. but the "output" decreases... In other words underdriving LED's increases their efficieny but decreases their luminous output.

In effect you can increase l//w by under driving them and making up for the loss w/ more diodes.. not to mention extending their life span significantly..which leads me to the "rated spec" thing.. I do doubt that, if you tested the diodes in a 3W LED fixture they would not be consuming 3W but a reduced percentage. IF overall system losses i.e current limiting resistors and PS efficiency create the magic "watt consumption" (which is real) this does not reflect the inherent "efficiency" of the LED , only overall system losses..
In the case of the Beamswork 3W light, if indeed it consumes 3W times x diodes overall and has an "efficiency" of 40l/w it would be more a reflection of "system losses" not diode inefficiency... but I admit this is speculation on my part.
They could very well be driving each @ 3W.. but then again.. only the output matters.
Most likely if you measure the current/voltage at 1 3w LED you'd find it is not running @ 3W....


uding a random data sheet on a Bridgelux "die" you can see that "normal" rating of a drive current of 700mA @ 3.4V w/ junction temp of 150C is "only" 2.38W..at the LED..
http://www.bridgelux.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/BXCD4545_revE-BXCD4545-Datasheet1.pdf

But this is just an example.. but the point is most manuf will not run the LED's at max W due to heat effects on "average" heat sink designs.......

I would like to see more real world data on Beamswork lights, and yes we need to take some of the manuf. data as a "guide" but only a guide, not anything set in stone, particularly from batch to batch.....

Beamswork has the lumen output.. so "watts" don't really matter, but as I said I find their watt numbers to "convenient"........

AFAICT the 1W or larger Beamswork LED's run 4 diodes in series and one "current limiting" resistor.. Assuming the PS is 14V (which if memory serves me right) thhen the voltage to the LEDs is 14 minus the resistor voltage drop divided by 4..So the V(f) cannot be more than 3.5V and w/ the resistor a bit less..Which brings us back to the I being around 700mA and the "real" diode wattage at under 3W......
 

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I understand all of that, but it doesn't answer the question why do you think the 3W are likely to be somehow better in actual performance?

How many real Lumens do you think the 3W and 0.5 watt arrays are putting out? And why do you think the company would lie about one and not the other?
 

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I understand all of that, but it doesn't answer the question why do you think the 3W are likely to be somehow better in actual performance?

How many real Lumens do you think the 3W and 0.5 watt arrays are putting out? And why do you think the company would lie about one and not the other?
I don't think they "lie" but they may 1)test 1 fixture out of 1000's and 2)maybe just use "theoretical" based on average electrical characteristics

I don't doubt their lumen output measurements on average...since they show a low "average". As I said 44l/w for the 3w fixture is a best a very average figure. Not something to be faked...

lumen for lumen I consider the 3W "delivery system" to be more effective for deeper tanks..
The point is arguable....



If you take a look at the LED itself for instance, you can see the various lens types, which result in the angles of emitted radiation. This helps boost our PAR values, keep the light where it needs to be, and also reduces the glare across the room.
http://marinelifetech.wordpress.com...y-beam-angle-and-led-optics-explained-part-1/

We are talking about a 24" deep tank here...
http://www.reefdup.com/2014/04/20/leds-analysis-and-results-part-iv/

Lighting penetration is also of concern, so optics should be used for tank depths greater than 25 inches. 80-degree optics should be used for deeper tanks up to 30 inches deep. Deeper tanks, such as the author’s 31 inch-deep tank should use 40-60 degree optics as well as higher wattage LEDs (such as 5W rather than the standard 3W).
Lets just say I'd err on the side of caution ..
 
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