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Old 12-21-2012, 03:58 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Anybody tried a flood LED light?

I don't have a horse in this race, but one of my reasons to avoid metal halides is that they are so hot.
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Old 12-21-2012, 04:46 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Anybody tried a flood LED light?

Halides - I don't like the size, the heat, the need for a bulky ballast. One thing that I personally dislike is a device that uses a lot of energy and emits a lot of energy being close to the tanks (or in the house for that matter). T5HO bulbs emit some kind of electomagnetic field, even if they are grounded and I always wonder if that affects things in some way. Also a Halide cannot be placed close to the water surface. It has a lot of light spill when hanging up high. Even the ADA pendants whose light, if installed correctly, is supposed to hit the rim of the tank spill quite a bit of light around the tank. With a high hanging light that is not exactly tailored to the tank size and strong reflections from the surface of the water you are good until the tank is close to a wall or in a corner. Then the dancing light reflections above the tank get really distracting.

The point of LEDs being long lasting is apparently laughable. A commercial light installer told me that from what they have seen LEDs don't last nearly as long as the manufacturers state. And he was talking about them going out. How soon they lose their light loses its original parameters is another interesting question. But for the price I got that LED flood I think it made sense.

This 30W LED flood was $70. Last night I tried to see how much it would cost to make my own from ebay parts - LED, heatsink, driver and whatever else is needed (cord, resistors, optics). I could not find a cheaper deal than the plug-and-play flood I got for $70.

I wanted to try an LED flood primarily because of the shimmer. The original idea was to have it over a tank at my church - a 30 gallon standard. The tank is for the kids and flat looking fluorescent light is not what presents the blue-graveled tank best. It needed some movement and sparkle. Also the fixture has to be safe for the kids. After trying the new LED flood over that tank I took it home and put it over all my tanks, which I described above. I liked the low profile of the fixture, the fact that it is sealed very well, stays cool, and it is $70. Apparently it works better over certain shape tanks. The main question though is "Will it grow plants?"

From what I gather nowadays you can find powerful LEDs pretty cheap. DIY or ready-made like this outdoor light flood that I'm trying out now. But they are advertised in a stupid way - you can easily see that the parameters are flimsy claims. Often the same product, with the same picture is advertised with a slightly different parameters. So I bet it is possible to find an LED that is both good for plant growing and has all other good things I like. Rambozo has apparently found one very much by pure luck. But unless someone tests a few we will never know which are actually good for the plants - just like Wet suggests. Buying an $70 LED flood is such a narrow aimed shot.

Let me see how this LED flood performs over the course of a few weeks. If the swords pearl good every day I think we'll all agree that the light is good. Then I can get very much any plant I can dream of (and probably more) from the local DFW folk. If that goes well too then we need to see how well does this cheap LED wonder performs in the long run. My take on that is that if the $70 light is good for 1 year it is worth it. Now, how to find other LEDs that are better for plants I do not really know other than buying and trying.

Last edited by niko; 12-21-2012 at 04:52 AM..
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Old 12-21-2012, 02:48 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Anybody tried a flood LED light?

This is crazy, more or less! I've observed things like the following only with strong T5HO Giesemann Midday bulbs with individual reflector on each bulb. 480 watts over a 160 gallon tank made all the crypts pearl within 2 minutes. Now I see something very similar but with a cheap LED light.

So it is 5:30 PM, one day after I installed the 30W LED flood. Last night I forgot the CO2 running for the first time during the night. The 4 neon tetras could care less so I have nothing to worry about. I turned off the LED at 10:30 last night. I turned it on at 5:15 today. The tank had the T5HO running since 4PM. No pearling.

Here's the news. It is big and I just took pictures + a video.

There are 3 new leaves - one on each plant in the tank. The swords' new leaves are almost 3/4" now. They were less than 1/2" last night when I turned on the LED for the first time. The smallest Lotus' leaf has doubled in size since last night but there is also a baby leaf now that did not exist last night.

The pearling definitely starts within 1 minute of turning on the LED. While taking the pictures I had the LED off and the pearling stopped within 30 seconds. It resumes within 1 minute of turning on the LED. There is an exposed tip of a root on one of the swords and a big bubble comes out of it every 2 seconds. Last night it was every 1 second after about 1 hour under the LED.

I will link to the pictures and the video later tonight. They show the new leaves, a stream of Oxygen, the big bubble coming up too. I guess I will have to make sure that the shimmer is visible on the video too, I may make another one later. I did the comparison of the manual photo exposure with a T5HO only and with T5HO+LED. From what I can tell the tank is at least 4 times brighter with the LED (the exposure on one side of the tank shows an entire speed step down and on the other side if the tank it shows two speed steps down!). Someone correct me if I'm wrong on the relationship "1 step = 4 times more or less light."

So far the results are pretty mindblowing for such a cheap light and in a tank with an unfertilized water column or substrate.

Last edited by niko; 12-22-2012 at 12:46 PM..
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Old 12-21-2012, 06:17 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Anybody tried a flood LED light?

This is starting to look really strange!

It's 9:05PM now and I just saw 2 tiny brand new Lotus leaves. They were not there at 5:30PM! So the baby leaf that the big Lotus had last night doubled in size by 5:30PM today, a second leaf had started to grow, and between 5:30PM and by 9PM a 3-rd baby leaf has shown up! Actually 2 of them because there is a short baby Lotus plant by the big one and it has sprouted a new leaf the last 3/5 hours too!

Also the 2 new leaves on the swords have visibly widened in 3.5 hours. One is definitely 1 inch long now and the other one is 1-1/2 inches. At 5:30 they were about 3/4" long each!

At this time, 3.5 hours after I turned the LED on today the undersides of the sword leaves are covered with hundreds of Oxygen bubbles. This is inaddition to the stream of tiny bubbles and a few big bubble soures blurting bubbles every 2 to 5 seconds.

I just put 3 new plants in the tank. Tiny portion of Pellia, about 2 cubic inches of Najas sp. "Roraima", and a tiny Java Leaf baby. The Java fern is one of the heaviest pearlers out there and I want to see if that small plantlet will make some visible bubbles soon.

This is all fine and dandy and one can say the LED is some kind of a miracle but about 2 hours ago I discovered that the pearling slows down considerably if I turn off the 24 watt Giesemann Midday T5HO.
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Old 12-22-2012, 07:11 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Anybody tried a flood LED light?

I wonder if there is a synergistic effect, with the LED supplying some necessary part of the spectrum that the Giesemann does not, and vice versa.
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Old 12-25-2012, 07:10 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Anybody tried a flood LED light?

Allright, here are some pictures:

Big sword:
http://i45.tinypic.com/2em2y2s.jpg

Small sword:
http://i50.tinypic.com/34nqxcj.jpg

Lotus:
http://i49.tinypic.com/nbqdzl.jpg


Did not upload any video. Quality is too low on my camera. It is obvious what is going on in the tank.

Added 30 neon tetras on Day4. As I expected algae appeared on the glass one day later (today). It's the brown kind and this has happened before in this tank when adding 30 other neons all of a sudden.

Pearling on Day 5 is like on Day 1, but only after a 30% water change. Before that there was pearling but not as much as on Day 1.

To recap:

1. Plant leaf mass has increased immensely (3 new leaves on the big sword, 3 new leaves on the small sword, 6 new leaves on the lotuses, the second lotus bulb has a first new leaf)

2. Added Java Fern - as expected it pearls heavily

3. Najas sp. "Roraima" likes food in the water. It shows a slight pearling though.

4. There were some fluffy algae on the rocks even before I added the LED light. Grey like BBA but fluffly like diatoms. They pearled well on Day 1 as well as right now on Day 5 after the water change

5. Under the 10,000 Kelving LED the neons glow very intensely. Think of police officer's red and blue lights in the night - it's the same impression, except that here this is happening in a brighly lit tank.


6. On Day 4 I noticed a tiny amount of short hair algae showing up on some leaves. When I say tiny I mean like 15 hairs, very thin and noticeable only under a certain angle. You can see the same algae in some of ADA's tanks if there is a macro shot. The water in the tank had evaporated about 1/2 inch. The filter outlfow was stirring the surface pretty good and there was a nice underwater light shimmer too. But I gues the CO2 level had dropped. After one night (on Day 5) there was only a few hairs of that algae left. Darkness does not do it well and lack of food in the water is not good either. The 30 new fish apparently didn't help it either.

I don't think that at this point there is any doubt that this mix of a 30W 10,000 Kelving LED Flood light + a 24W T5HO Giesemann Midday is an excellent mix for growing plants. The question remains how long the intensity of the LED will stay good.

I will be posting an update once a week. And I foresee a very careful fertilizing of the water. The tank has inert gravel. The growth in the last 5 days has been nothing short of amazing because of that. This cannot go on without any food forever. As you all know I will be fertilizing at very low levels - so a test will not show anything but the food will be there.
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:18 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Anybody tried a flood LED light?

Niko, this is a digression sparked by our telephone discussion of Nymphaea. The lotus in the progress looks like N. micrantha to me, based on leaf color and shape. Do you have a whole plant photo?

Interesting discussion, I look forward to your updates.
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Old 01-01-2013, 04:42 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Anybody tried a flood LED light?

Update on this tank and light:

Day 12:
Today I did a second water change after installing the lights.
No fertilization since the first water change.

Plants are pearling every day. The new growth of the swords looks washed out. The red leaves seem a mix of white and red when they come up. The green just come out very, very light green, almost white. But they keep coming. I've seen this in another well lit tank (5 wpg + 100% RO water).

Algae: The algae that appeared on the glass after adding the 30 neons have increased a little. I'd say 25% more in comparison with the first day they appeared. So they have a hard time growing too - show up in 1 day, increase 25% in 6 days - this is not how slow algae grows. They were brown in color, not green. The new leaves that the plants produces are much, much more mass wise compared to the increase of algae mass.

So today after the 2-nd water change the pearling is once again increased from its usual rate. It is VERY obvious I need to supplement with nutrients in the water. The substrate is inert after all.

Judging by the very slow growth of the Java Fern and the Najas sp. "Roraima" what I need is Macros. So here I go. Very carefully.
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:28 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default

I bought a 10w for my 10g, the only thing that grew was Anubias. It died after 300 hours.

I just installed a 20w over my riparium yesterday, well see how it goes
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:59 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Anybody tried a flood LED light?

Yes, I do think that this LED by itself would not be that great of a light. Is is missing too many wavelengths. No reds for sure.

Here's something that may have to do with LED having a narrow wavelength: Today I noticed something interesting in another tank. That other tank has a 15 watt fluorescent bulb + a strip of 24 one watt Epistar LED. 12 of the 24 are blue and 12 are 6500K white. I used that strip over that tank to make the neons really sparkle blue. It is in the kids area of my church so blue colored substrate and sparkling blue fish is the very thing to detract a kid from the real beauty of Nature.

After 4 days with that blue light I noticed something very strange. Big areas of the Java moss in that tank have turned brown. Thing is the brown areas are not dead. They are either alive or mumified. No falling apart. The brown is somewhat strange too - it is not the usual brown but it has some kind of red component. I wonder if the blue LEDS change something in the pigments or the Chlorophyll iteself. Anyway - I attribute that to blue light that is hitting the plants pretty strong. There is an article on the Advanced Aquarist website that desribes transfomations of the pigments under different color light. And of course - I maybe totally wrong and the moss maybe just rotting. But it does look very odd brown-red color (with the blue light turned off).
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