LED Lights? Question 

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Theepum

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I am in the process of setting up a 70g. tank, however I hate the look (and always have) of the t-5/t-8 tubes.

I am an electrician and they are always the cheapest/easiest fix - probably why I hate them so much!

I am wanting to do some primary lighting at the top with some accent lighting - maybe buried in the sand, etc., hopefully using some leds (dont worry I won't shock my fish)

My question is, what kind of lighting do fish need? and does it vary with what you have in the tank? or is the lighting more of a general lighting?

I've read about for a planted tank there is a suggested watt/gallon rating that you need, I would also like a few live plants in there eventually, but again, those lights aren't replacing the sun, and unless i'm way off (still new to the live plants thing...) they don't grow off of the light provided... so it that more to do with the lumens per gallon (watt is measure of pwr - lumen is measure of light)

LED would save huge on the electric bill also...

any and all corrections on the matter are greatly appreciated!
 

Nutter

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If you want plants eventually, save your effort & just go with the fluoros. The lights are in fact replacing the sun in your aquarium, they just don't have the same sort of intensitry. There is still a minimum intensity for each plant species though & if you don't achieve that you won't get plants to grow. The lights provide energy for the plants to convert nutrients into plant matter. Without enough energy the plant can't use the food you provide & they will eventually die.

If you try to do live plants with LED's be prepared to spend big, even with an electricians discount. The technology of making LED's that have a suitable spectral output for plants & can provide the kind of intensity needed is still in it's infancy so they are very expensive. Commercially made LED fixtures that are suitable for planted tanks cost thousands.

While lumens or par would be a better guide for lighting intensity required, it is too complicated for many people to understand so they work in watts per gallon (wpg), which is a rather flawed system but can be worked with if you know to make certain allowances. Generally light intensity for planted aquariums is:
1-1.5wpg = low light
1.5-2.5wpg = medium light
2.5-3.5wpg = high light
3.5+wpg = very high light
If you go with live plants, save yourself a bundle of time & money & just go with T5 or T5HO fixtures using LED for accents or highlights.

On the other hand if you were to forget about live plants then LED's would be a very economical way to light your tank. You could set up what ever LED's give you a look your happy with so long as they contain some small amount of UV light as I believe some UV light is necessary for the long term health of the fish. I could be mistaken about the UV for fish though so double check that first to see if it opens up more options for you. Apart from that you can just have whatever lights make you happy. Marine set ups require very specific lighting that cannot be provided by LED if you decide to go down that path in the future.
 

mathas

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Theepum said:
I've read about for a planted tank there is a suggested watt/gallon rating that you need, I would also like a few live plants in there eventually, but again, those lights aren't replacing the sun, and unless i'm way off (still new to the live plants thing...) they don't grow off of the light provided.
Sorry in advance if I'm misunderstanding what you're saying here, but the plants in a planted tank absolutely do grow off the light provided by the tank fixture.

Theepum said:
so it that more to do with the lumens per gallon (watt is measure of pwr - lumen is measure of light)
To be clear, lumens are a measure of light as perceived by the human eye. While it seems almost facetious to even say this, plants don't have human eyes.

The average human eye is most sensitive to light around 555nm, while most plants need light in the 430-450nm and 640-660nm ranges. In fact, most aquatic plants actually reflect much of the light that influences a lamp's lumen rating, which is why they appear green to us.

If you're judging which lamp or lamp combination might be better for plants, I'd choose a metric that actually matters to plants rather than a human-centric measurement. As Nutter alluded to, either examining the spectral output or using a PAR meter are by far the better alternatives.

Of course, all this only matters if you decide to proceed down the planted tank route in the future. If you stay fish-only, it doesn't matter much at all.
 
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Theepum

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can someone give me a trusted site that I can look up about lumens/light required for plants? I wasn't going to buy a ready made led fish tank light, I was going to be making these lights from scratch, Even the super high output LED are pennies in comparison when you buy everything seperatly.

I cannot use the wpg ratio with led's

bottom line is I want to see if its possible, and calc. how many led's I would need to make this possible. in the end I won't be heart broken if this won't support live plants if this dosn't work, I just want to exhaust all options first.
 
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Theepum

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mathas said:
To be clear, lumens are a measure of light as perceived by the human eye. While it seems almost facetious to even say this, plants don't have human eyes.
so what do the plants require? cause they don't see watts either...? a better word for what watts produce is heat. not light.
 

funkman262

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Nutter said:
Marine set ups require very specific lighting that cannot be provided by LED if you decide to go down that path in the future.
Sorry Nutter but this is the first time I've ever felt the need to disagree with anything you've said. Just do a quick search on DIY LED reef lighting and you'll see how many people are having success with it. I have a friend who's corals are thriving off of his LED fixture. I just built one myself and expect the same results.

Theepum said:
can someone give me a trusted site that I can look up about lumens/light required for plants?
If anything, you'd probably be more interested in PAR as it's the amount of light that can be used by photosynthetic plants.


EDIT: Another member has built an LED fixture for plants. You can read through that thread .
 

djdover

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Hey there,

I'm new to all this but am currently setting up my first freshwater tank and this topic caught my eye as I was wondering about LED's myself. This is mainly directed at Nutter as he is in the same city as me, but the Fish shop I went to recently was trying to sell me LED lights for my tank (Low energy, very thin bar looks nice) and they were saying it would be fine for plants. They also said as it had some blue lights that was good for the plants (something about that is one of the main spectrum of colour they use) .So I am now a little confused.

The shop in question was recommended to me by may people (Morley Aquariums - for all I know, you work there haha). It was a two foot bar for my 15 gallon freshwater tank. Is this suitable or not (Kind of hoping it is due to the thinness of the bar - works very well with my custom stand aesthetics wise - and kind of hoping not just due the the fact it is over 100 dollars)

Any thoughts would be highly helpful.
 
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Theepum

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commercial leds are way too expensive, I set mine up in my 75 gallon tank with 4 groups of 6 blue leds and a doorbell transformer (120/16 volt) and a dimmer hooked up on the primary side for $40, I tried to take some pics, but my camera isn't the best and it looks much better in person... but here is a few pics anyways for what its worth.

I also have a reg. fluorescent light in there also, this is just the leds
 

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