LEDs are not cheap but for the moment I think the prices are cpmparable to a decent T5/Halide unit. I am in the process of making a LED luminare for the reefMessage 1 of 3 , Oct 26, 2009View Source
LEDs are not cheap but for the moment I think the prices are cpmparable to a decent T5/Halide unit. I am in the process of making a LED luminare for the reef and I would agree that the colour of corals/fish/coralline etc. Come out spectacularly but maybe for plants it is a bit different.
I am using Cree bulbs and using a friends PAR & Light meter, a 60W LED unit seemed to out compete a 150W Halide and a 200W T5 (remember that T5s have a wider distribution so it is not a like for like comparison).
Still in the process of making a 50W unit as a test with 12-14000K bulbs (originally rated at 10000K but fiddling around with the driver voltage they can be changed to an extent.. albeit at the expense of a slightly shorter lifespan). For a planted tank, you would really need 5000K bulbs (sold as 6500K but again, can be adjusted if you know what you are doing ;) )
Oh and I am using 5W and 10W bulbs (5W cree and 10W Chinese – not all that bad in quality but half the price)
Eventually my plan is to replace the entire T5 unit with LEDs and the cost is not going to be horrendously high.. the 50W unit cost me only £120 ~ $190 to make including the drivers, decent heatsinks, LED lenses and an Arcadia empty luminaire etc. All inclusive. And thats roughly 4200 lumens of light (ok half that compared to a halide bulb but then there is no wastage here).
Can you post a link to the LED strips you are referring to? I have done some work with LED lighting and I did not find it to be cheaper than fluorescents, actually far from it if you compare the amount of light they emit. The LEDs need to be full spectrum LEDs, the kelvin matters little, that's more for your personal taste. I have used the Solaris LED fixture on a reef tank and it was a disapointment from intensity perspective, coral colors were amazing on the other hand, but overall these are not the right "look" for a planted tank. I made a fixture using Luxeon Star LEDs for a friend, they do work, but it wasn't cheap. Perhaps now the prices are lower and higher power modules are available that make it a little more affordable to do... These are great products:
Does your light strip have an electronic ballast or magnetic? (if it has starters under the tube it's magnetic). If you have an electronic ballast, you can safely replace the tubes with 32W T8 bulbs or even better, T6 bulbs. Both consume less watts but emit more light. You can also add a second fluorescent light strip to the fixture or if you are a DIY'er you can overdrive the existing light strip or purchase a compact fluorescent retrofit kit. The retrofit method would likely give you the most amount of light in a small footprint.
If LEDs are still on your preferred list, here's some links that will be interesting to you:
They work very well on smaller tanks, but I fear that in a 50g tank, you would need a lot of them and the price may be higher than other options which would probably perform better anyway... Even T5 fixtures these days have come down so much in price...
Some links to alternatives:
Hope that helps, let us know how you make out!
--- In UniQuaria@yahoogroups.com, "double_doc_farms" <double_doc@...> wrote:
>planted tanks? I currently have a twin flourescent tubes on my 50 gallon tank with only 80watts output and I would like to add some wattage to my tank to get better light for plants like Vallisneria etc. I don't have much extra cash at the moment and found some LED strips in the 8000K range for $30. I was thinking about concentrating these in the area I would like more plants. Any tips? Or should I just tough it out for another 4-5 months and save my pennies for a "real" light. The LEDs are still appealing, with their submergability and price for lots of watts.
> Is anyone using LED lights as a complement to other types of light for