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I've never had a high-tech planted setup and am looking to convert my current tank into one. So far researching everything it seems like most setups have their lights suspended over the water 6-12". I'm unsure if this is just for aesthetic reasons or if the lights actually need an open space to function properly. With the current lights I have, heat hasn't been an issue but they are much lower output than the high end lights available these days.

So far I'm leaning towards the Chihiros vivid 2 and for my tank footprint [6'x2'x2'] I'll need 3 of them. If I mount them to the top of my canopy they'll be roughly 8 inches above the water line. The canopy isn't completely closed off, (there's like 4 coke can sized holes in the back for cords), but it's obviously much less ventilation than if the lights were suspended from the ceiling. I couldn't really find any conclusive answer on if this would be bad or not. I did see people critique having reef lighting inside of a canopy because of potential overheating, but these are much less powerful than lights used to grow coral. I would love any insight from people that own these or similar lights.
 

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Generally the chosen height is to maximize the light entering the tank and/ or the coverage .
Most if the heat from leds is err " up" so a gap between the light and say a glass top is " mostly" unnecessary.

With air cooled leds there should be airflow around them though and the cooler the ambient air around them is the longer they will last.
 
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