The Planted Tank Forum banner

1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello Plantedtank Forum

I am new to this place, but i hope to be more active here than the smaller aquarium forum i was in before.

Ill go straight to the point. I ordered a 160 liter aquarium (40 US Gallon), and i need to look for a light. The aquarium is 80cm x 40cm x 50cm (30x15x20 in inches).

When looking for a light for a planted aquarium, what to look for?
I know what kelvin is, and i kinda know what lumens is. But how much of kelvin and lumens is good for a planted aquarium of my size?

PAR i have no idea what is, so far i found no places where the PAR value was shown on the light.

Hope someone can help me in the right direction. :help:

Edit: More info here
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,424 Posts
Figure out these questions first (in no particle order): Do I want low, medium, or high light? Do I want co2 injections? What kind of plants do I want? What kind of lighting do my plants need? Do I want to dose fertilizer? What kind of fauna do I want? I always figure out what plants I'm looking to buy then go from there. You don't want to buy a really bright light then go out and buy some low light plants. Its hard for us to help you with the light without knowing what you plan to do. If this is your first tank I'd look into low-med light plants.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,545 Posts
Hello Plantedtank Forum

I am new to this place, but i hope to be more active here than the smaller aquarium forum i was in before.

Ill go straight to the point. I ordered a 160 liter aquarium (40 US Gallon), and i need to look for a light. The aquarium is 80cm x 40cm x 50cm (30x15x20 in inches).

When looking for a light for a planted aquarium, what to look for?
I know what kelvin is, and i kinda know what lumens is. But how much of kelvin and lumens is good for a planted aquarium of my size?

PAR i have no idea what is, so far i found no places where the PAR value was shown on the light.

Hope someone can help me in the right direction. :help:
PAR is in its easiest definition is the light plants can use for growth. Generally speaking it has little to do w/ "kelvin" (just a definition off color temp) and lumens (which is just a visual quantity to the human eye).. Look each up for more of a clinical definition..

higher the K the "bluer white" th light looks.. Higher the lumens the brighter it looks to you re: of color..

Re: lights you want to balance a few things out 1)what it looks like to you 2)what the plants need and 3)how much work you want to put into the tank..

high light = faster growth=more nutrients needed inc. CO2 and a balance must be achieved to give plants an advantage over algae.

One unfortunate thing in your case is (and please correct any assumptions) your tank is non-standard US size and 2)your in Europe (at least if you meant Denmark ) which limits many from having any knowledge of what is easily available to you, though I assume shipments from China are not too difficult to get..


Then do you have a type of light preference LED, T5 , compact fluorescent.
Do you want to be able to do things like dimming/timers..ect.

so to even begin try to reframe your questions w/ more specifics:

I could say.. get this:
Amazon.com: Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light Plus Moonlights, 30-Inch: Pet Supplies

and be done w/ it.. but that wouldn't be fair...

so maybe if you describe a light you think you could use it may be easier..
 

·
Fresh Fish Freak
Joined
·
24,403 Posts
Welcome to TPT!

I agree that you need to decide on your goals before you can pick out the light fixture that will help you meet those goals.

Low light/low tech planted tanks = much less startup costs, plants grow more slowly so not nearly as much maintenance and a lot easier to keep them healthy and happy... drawback is you'll be a little more limited with the plant species you can be successful with, and it will generally take longer for your plants to grow/fill in

Medium and high light/tech tanks will require CO2 (and with your size tank, you'll need to invest in a pressurized CO2 setup as it's really too big for DIY yeast-based CO2), you'll need to learn how to dose fertilizers immediately, and will require much more weekly maintenance to keep things healthy and in balance.

Personally- I always recommend that new planted tankers start off with low tech setups. People can always add lighting and buy additional equipment down the road after they master the basics in a slightly easier setup.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow, 3 replies in one night, i love this place!

Figure out these questions first (in no particle order): Do I want low, medium, or high light? Do I want co2 injections? What kind of plants do I want? What kind of lighting do my plants need? Do I want to dose fertilizer? What kind of fauna do I want?
I guess my original post missed quite some info, i wrote it in a bit of a rush since i was heading to bed.

Im going for high tech, with CO2, Liquid Fertilizer and some sort of plant substrate. As for the plants, i have no general idea what i want. I have some plants now, but i would also like to be able to switch out plants, without having to worry about my light being enough. I would really like an awesome carpet, but the plant im trying to get to carpet right now, isnt really doing much.
The aquarium is rimless, so im gonna put a glass cover on the top, i dont know if this will hinder the light in some way.
My old tank (approx 15 gallon) is going to be transformed into a low tech tank, so i will have one high tech, and one low tech.

PAR is in its easiest definition is the light plants can use for growth. Generally speaking it has little to do w/ "kelvin" (just a definition off color temp) and lumens (which is just a visual quantity to the human eye).. Look each up for more of a clinical definition..

higher the K the "bluer white" th light looks.. Higher the lumens the brighter it looks to you re: of color..

Re: lights you want to balance a few things out 1)what it looks like to you 2)what the plants need and 3)how much work you want to put into the tank..

high light = faster growth=more nutrients needed inc. CO2 and a balance must be achieved to give plants an advantage over algae.

One unfortunate thing in your case is (and please correct any assumptions) your tank is non-standard US size and 2)your in Europe (at least if you meant Denmark ) which limits many from having any knowledge of what is easily available to you, though I assume shipments from China are not too difficult to get..


Then do you have a type of light preference LED, T5 , compact fluorescent.
Do you want to be able to do things like dimming/timers..ect.

so to even begin try to reframe your questions w/ more specifics:

I could say.. get this:
Amazon.com: Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light Plus Moonlights, 30-Inch: Pet Supplies Amazon.com: Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light Plus Moonlights, 30-Inch: Pet Supplies
and be done w/ it.. but that wouldn't be fair...

so maybe if you describe a light you think you could use it may be easier..
Makes somewhat sense, but how will i figure the PAR value if its not given? Is there some formula for calculating it in relation to the depth of the aquarium etc?
I thought the lumens was the light output of the light, so higher lumens pr watt means more effective light.
As i wrote above, i would like a high tech aquarium, so im thinking high light will be fitting, also then i can switch plants out later without worrying about my light. Yes, i do live in Denmark, and the light options seem very limited here. Probably the most used would be T5 T8 Fluorescent tubes.
As with the Finnex, i see those everywhere i look, if they can be shipped to Denmark, then that would be a great contestant!

Personally- I always recommend that new planted tankers start off with low tech setups. People can always add lighting and buy additional equipment down the road after they master the basics in a slightly easier setup.
Have had a low-tech for arround half a year now, i am now at the time where i wanna expand my spectrum. Im trying to get as much info, before i make my decision, dont wanna end up with something ill become unhappy about.

- Nielsen
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,545 Posts
I thought the lumens was the light output of the light, so higher lumens pr watt means more effective light.
Yes and no. It is a measure of the intensity of the light somewhat irregardless of wavelength.
With white LED's it is pretty close.. It is "possible" to have a high lumen light w/ a low PAR. Think of a high lumen green light:
The problem with lumens is especially pronounced when measuring light at the far ends of the human visual response curve. Consider three lamps—red, green and blue—each emitting the same number of watts of optical energy. The red and blue lamps would have much lower lumen ratings compared to the green lamp, simply because the human visual response is very low at red and blue, and highest at green. That’s why a high lumen rating does not necessarily make a lamp better suited to growing plants.
http://www.lumigrow.com/demystifying-lumens-lux-par/

of course nobody does THIS:
To properly measure the amount of energy present for photosynthesis we must use a spectroradiometer. This instrument measures energy in watts at each specific wavelength over a range of wavelengths. A spectroradiometer can provide a direct comparison of each lamp’s ability to produce light that plants can use for photosynthesis.
;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,001 Posts
For your sake, I hope when you say that you intend to use liquid ferts that you are mixing your own. If buying pre-mixed liquid ferts, that usually is very cost prohibitive. Each bottle is an avg of $12 and you have to buy numerous bottles. The avg EI pkg for powdered ferts is about $15 and can last over a year with your tank size (without doing the math). The bottled ferts are nothing more than water and powdered ferts.

http://greenleafaquariums.com/aquarium-fertilizers-supplements/micro-macro-fertilizers.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This post shows that PAR is best measure, i figured that part out already. But as the retailer does not inform the PAR value, there is no way to know this before buying.

Yes and no. It is a measure of the intensity of the light somewhat irregardless of wavelength.
With white LED's it is pretty close.. It is "possible" to have a high lumen light w/ a low PAR. Think of a high lumen green light:

http://www.lumigrow.com/demystifying-lumens-lux-par/

of course nobody does THIS:


;)
So when retailers only inform the lumens, kelvin and wattage, how am i supposed to pick a light that will do the trick?

Also if i want to import a Finnex light from USA, which should i choose for my size aquarium, that will be able to grow any plant at aprox. 20 inches deep? Also if i buy a 30 inch Finnex fixture, will that fit on my 80cm (31,5 inch) wide aquarium?

For your sake, I hope when you say that you intend to use liquid ferts that you are mixing your own. If buying pre-mixed liquid ferts, that usually is very cost prohibitive. Each bottle is an avg of $12 and you have to buy numerous bottles. The avg EI pkg for powdered ferts is about $15 and can last over a year with your tank size (without doing the math). The bottled ferts are nothing more than water and powdered ferts.

http://greenleafaquariums.com/aquarium-fertilizers-supplements/micro-macro-fertilizers.html
This seems like a total different topic than what i asked in the question, this is the lighting forum afterall ;)
But regardless, im not going to be mixing my own stuff, as i am not much of a DIY kinda guy. Liquid fert in Denmark is arround 40US$ pr liter, and a liter should last for quite a while if im correct.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,545 Posts
So when retailers only inform the lumens, kelvin and wattage, how am i supposed to pick a light that will do the trick?
Yuo baically can't but some assumptions can be made.
Also if i want to import a Finnex light from USA, which should i choose for my size aquarium, that will be able to grow any plant at aprox. 20 inches deep? Also if i buy a 30 inch Finnex fixture, will that fit on my 80cm (31,5 inch) wide aquarium?
IF you want a guarantee this is how I'd approach it.. Find a light w/ high "w" output that is dimmable. Pick one w a color that is pleasing to your eye..30-80W of led's should grow anything..
THIS will grow anything you like over your tank and I don't need a PAR measurement. ;)
And if you are really into it, in theory, you can tailor it to your needs:
When you order the light, you can choose what you need
.
http://www.365ledlights.com/120w-fr...ight-led-fish-tank-light_p369.html?cPath=2_51
NOTE: that is not dimmable nor are there "channels" you can choose from.
Going up the pricelist a bit:
http://www.365ledlights.com/cree-13...t-freshwater-aquarium-led-light-55w_p377.html
Still not dimmable but seperate channels of off and on at least.

This seems like a total different topic than what i asked in the question, this is the lighting forum afterall ;)
But regardless, I'm not going to be mixing my own stuff, as i am not much of a DIY kinda guy. Liquid fert in Denmark is around 40US$ pr liter, and a liter should last for quite a while if I'm correct.
Light levels and fert regimes are related
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yuo baically can't but some assumptions can be made.
A LED technician in Denmark told me he could make a fixture with 2 LED Tubes. 1 with 6000k and 1 with 3000k, at 2100 lumen combined, and 20w. From what i checkec this seems low for a 40 gallon tank, but as i cant figure the PAR rating, how to know?

IF you want a guarantee this is how I'd approach it.. Find a light w/ high "w" output that is dimmable. Pick one w a color that is pleasing to your eye..30-80W of led's should grow anything..
THIS will grow anything you like over your tank and I don't need a PAR measurement. ;)
And if you are really into it, in theory, you can tailor it to your needs:
.
http://www.365ledlights.com/120w-fr...ight-led-fish-tank-light_p369.html?cPath=2_51
NOTE: that is not dimmable nor are there "channels" you can choose from.
Going up the pricelist a bit:
http://www.365ledlights.com/cree-13...t-freshwater-aquarium-led-light-55w_p377.html
Still not dimmable but seperate channels of off and on at least.
High w means higher temperature on the light right? That could become a problem too, keeping the water temp at 24-25 degrees celcius. And the main reason for LED is less power i thought, so why go with a light with that much wattage. Dont the finnex solutions grow plants well, and theres even several different choices to pick from, but if they cant be adjusted .75 inch in each end, then they wont fit, stupid american measures :p

Light levels and fert regimes are related
Fert regimes? I dont quite understand.



Great response on my first post, i love it :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,545 Posts
I'll go backwards.. Most here would discourage high light unless they felt confident you were 1)supplementing nutrients and 2)supplementing CO2 (tech. a nutrient but oh well)

Watts in LED's are really a bit misunderstood.. you can have a 3W LED but generally speaking it will not be outputting 3W of heat under "normal" "recommend" operating conditions.. As to the high W LEDs I mentioned few are put right on top of the tank. Heating is minimal at say 1/2M distant from the tank. Even big W lights..
The narrower optics ie 90 degrees or less pretty much demand higher distances from the tank than "tanktop"..
I suggested high W because you specified "Any plant" ..and I suggesting dimming as a prerequisite to compensate down if necessary.. Lower you drive LED's less heat as well ..

The LED tech's plan (if using at least 1W LED's.. THAT req. is more a personal opinion and smaller 1/2W SMD LED's may be "enough") is fairly sound and I'd guess involves 10-1W LEDS per "tube" (series string?)

I wouldn't quite agree on the white color choices and that is more on the ratio of 6000/3000.. but that is a bit subjective.. I'd add more 6000k interspersed in the 3000k branch.. like 50% 3000k 50% 6000k in one tube. 6000k in the other.
If you are not going to be able to measure PAR or nobody gives you any specifics you will always be shooting blind as they say.. Overcompensating w/ dimming is my suggestion in cases like this..
 

·
Fresh Fish Freak
Joined
·
24,403 Posts
I don't personally know enough about LEDs to be able to help here, but I think that if you post up the actual specs of the LEDs that you have available to you in Denmark, some of our other more tech-savy members can probably help you figure out a good configuration.

To address your question about LED watt overheating your tank, though- I do know that a well-designed LED fixture will incorporate some sort of heat sink that will direct heat away from the tank. So that *shouldn't* be a concern.

You've said that your goal is to go with a moderate to high light tank, so that's a good starting point.

Are there any pre-made LED fixtures there that you're considering?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'll go backwards.. Most here would discourage high light unless they felt confident you were 1)supplementing nutrients and 2)supplementing CO2 (tech. a nutrient but oh well)
Which is what im going to be doing, CO2 kit plus liquid fertilizer and growth soil.

Watts in LED's are really a bit misunderstood.. you can have a 3W LED but generally speaking it will not be outputting 3W of heat under "normal" "recommend" operating conditions.. As to the high W LEDs I mentioned few are put right on top of the tank. Heating is minimal at say 1/2M distant from the tank. Even big W lights..
The narrower optics ie 90 degrees or less pretty much demand higher distances from the tank than "tanktop"..
I suggested high W because you specified "Any plant" ..and I suggesting dimming as a prerequisite to compensate down if necessary.. Lower you drive LED's less heat as well ..
Yea well the ones you suggested were just bulk lamps, no way of fitting them on unless i would have to hang them from the ceiling, would like a kind of "on the edge" fixture, if thats possibly for what i want atleast.

I wouldn't quite agree on the white color choices and that is more on the ratio of 6000/3000.. but that is a bit subjective.. I'd add more 6000k interspersed in the 3000k branch.. like 50% 3000k 50% 6000k in one tube. 6000k in the other.
The reason he wanted to add a 3000k tube was to "slow down growing" as he called it. Have no idea how this works, or even if it does work that way.

Might be too much to ask to want to go for growing any plant, but what im looking for is to get atleast a great thick cool looking carpet, and then being able to fiddle arround with plant setups would be enjoyable too.

I don't personally know enough about LEDs to be able to help here, but I think that if you post up the actual specs of the LEDs that you have available to you in Denmark, some of our other more tech-savy members can probably help you figure out a good configuration.

To address your question about LED watt overheating your tank, though- I do know that a well-designed LED fixture will incorporate some sort of heat sink that will direct heat away from the tank. So that *shouldn't* be a concern.

You've said that your goal is to go with a moderate to high light tank, so that's a good starting point.

Are there any pre-made LED fixtures there that you're considering?
Thats the problem, complete fixtures such as what is available in every store in the US, is very hard to get in Denmark. The only ones i found so far cost atleast double of the US price, and might not even be sufficient for the tank alone, just as an addition to a fluorescent light or something.
 

·
Fresh Fish Freak
Joined
·
24,403 Posts
Thats the problem, complete fixtures such as what is available in every store in the US, is very hard to get in Denmark. The only ones i found so far cost atleast double of the US price, and might not even be sufficient for the tank alone, just as an addition to a fluorescent light or something.
Well... they aren't exactly in every store here, either. Planted tanks are a pretty "specialized" sub-section of the aquarium hobby, and LED fixtures that cater to freshwater planted tanks are still pretty new on the market. Most of us have to order online.

You seem pretty drawn to the Finnex fixtures; have you tried contacting Lowe to see about getting a Finnex fixture shipped? (Check the Finnex sponsor forum here.) Build My LED may be another company for you to check out, see if they're worth having shipped.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,545 Posts
I currently have 96 "pretend" watts (32- 3W LED's) 15cm above the glass. Air temp is 21C
Glass is 28C lights are open frame air cooled..

I've yet to hear reefers (saltwater tanks) who run "chillers" w their close to KW MH's complain about overheating tanks with "watt counts" even higher than I suggested..

As to availibility
go Chinese then..worked for the UK.....
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=533178&page=7
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well... they aren't exactly in every store here, either. Planted tanks are a pretty "specialized" sub-section of the aquarium hobby, and LED fixtures that cater to freshwater planted tanks are still pretty new on the market. Most of us have to order online.

You seem pretty drawn to the Finnex fixtures; have you tried contacting Lowe to see about getting a Finnex fixture shipped? (Check the Finnex sponsor forum here.) Build My LED may be another company for you to check out, see if they're worth having shipped.
Seems like every planted tank i see have Finnex something or Marineland etc.

Checked the build my led, and it seems quite expensive aswell. Still cant even figure if they can ship the Finnex from amazon to Denmark, that website is like a maze.
Which Finnex Fixture is the best for plants, and how well will it do in a tank of my size?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,545 Posts
Seems like every planted tank i see have Finnex something or Marineland etc.

Checked the build my led, and it seems quite expensive aswell. Still cant even figure if they can ship the Finnex from amazon to Denmark, that website is like a maze.
Which Finnex Fixture is the best for plants, and how well will it do in a tank of my size?
Get 2:
 

·
Fresh Fish Freak
Joined
·
24,403 Posts
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top