Will Led Hood Light Grow Plants

Gabe123

I have recently bought an LED Deluxe Hood with a Light from Aqueon (30" Bulb for 36 gals.) and in the box, it says it is an Economy LED Strip Light (The Day White Variety). I would like to know if I can grow plants with this light and what type of plants (Low light, Medium light, High light)? Also, it comes with an extra space for one more bulb so should I get another bulb and then will my tank be able to grow plants?


Deluxe Hood

Possible Bulbs:





Thank You
 

Aurah

Whether a given light is appropriate for plants is a much more complicated question than it seems. You need to know the light's spectrum, which isn't listed (6500k-8000k is what plants can really use most effectively) and its PAR, which is its light intensity (this is not the same as visible brightness - visible brightness does not always indicate usable light for plants). I can't find a listing for PAR for this light (it has to be measured with a specialized meter) so if no one's posted a PAR reading for a particular light then we just don't know the intensity for sure. Since the advertisements for the strips compare their power use to a T8, then I'm going to assume light intensity is similar to a T8 fluorescent light.

If it's based on T8 output and if it's anything like other inexpensive visually-cool-spectrum non-plant LEDs that I've experimented with (these types seem to generally have pretty bad PAR), then you have low light. You can probably keep anubias and java fern just fine, and likely something like wisteria or java moss will do alright, and possibly ludwigia will live, but I doubt anything more light-demanding will hold up too well in the long term, especially if you have a deep tank. If you build up a lot of substrate and thereby put some plants much closer to the light then it might help them out since PAR decreases with depth.

More bulbs or different bulbs could help a bit, but it probably won't help nearly as much as you might expect. If you can space out the bulbs so one lights the front half of the tank and the other lights the back half of the tank, then that might be your best bet if you really want to stick with this light. But for more serious planted aquariums IME it's really best to get a light that's meant for planted tanks and/or that has adjustable brightness and spectrum so you can force even a non-dedicated-plant-light to supply what plants need. That said, I've heard good things about using the Chihiros A-series light (which has adjustable brightness) for planted tanks, and that's dirt cheap as far as decent plant lights go.

TLDR: We don't have definite figures to work with, but it's likely the situation is that you can keep plants with the very lowest lighting requirements just fine, but it's unlikely that anything more light-demanding will do well in the long term. If the super low light plants do very well and grow quickly ("quickly" as is defined for their species) then you can try something marginally more light demanding, but you certainly won't manage a carpet. If you're just looking to keep a few plants to make the tank look nice and you're willing to stay restricted to a relatively short list of species then you should be just fine with this light, especially if you place the plants in the area where the brightest part of the light hits. But if you're looking to make a jungle with more demanding plants, you'll need a better light.
 

Gabe123

Ok, thank you for the advice. I found out that my light is at the very bottom with 6500k on the spectrum and has a PAR of 20 (is that good?). All I really wanted was to grow some java fern at the back of my tank. And one more question does java moss carpet?

Thank you.

edit-
Par of 20 at 24 inches
 

Aurah

20 is extremely low for PAR, but 6500K is a good spectrum. So it should work quite well for growing very low light plants, especially if your tank is shallower than 24 inches since PAR decreases with depth. That said, PAR readings are often taken in the center of the tank where, presuming the light is centered over the middle of the tank, light is the brightest. So PAR will effectively be lower at the back of the tank since that's further from the brightest portion of the light. Basically, on the one hand it's super dI'm if you put the java fern at the very back of the tank, but on the other hand, it's java fern and it's super hard to kill. I'd say you can give it a shot, but if it looks like the java fern is having issues and its leaves are "leaning" toward the light, you should probably shift it a tad closer to a brighter area.
 

Gabe123

In my hood, the light bulb is placed toward the back and my tank is 21 inches in height. Thanks for all of the info.
 

Aurah

You're welcome. Also, sorry I missed your question on java moss. The answer is that technically yes it can, but it grows so slowly that it will take forever to carpet, especially in very low light. So no one uses java moss or any other species of moss as a carpet because they grow so slow.
 

Gabe123

Ok, thank you so much for everything.
 

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