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Old 05-25-2019, 10:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default LED vs CFL

hey, all,

I have spent some time at the forum, learnt a lot from experts. But this question of LED vs CFL really bothered me... In the need to know the best lighting solution, especially I am going to have another tank. I wanted to ask the simple way, why cfl is suggested?

right now I have 5g nano, with an 11w CFL, it literally sits on the tank lid, I am not sure if this is ok, but the plants growing great, fish also thrive. On the other hand, I have some rotala, which I want to bring the red colour out of them.

So I searched ways to do so, and this specific planted led light is one way that I found online (image attached, sorry for the Japanese, the essential info should be enough) The manual suggested to have the led at least 20cm away from plants...exactly the opposite of my setting...

By learning from hoppycalif and researching the PAR for LED in the same tank setting. I just could not get a satisfied answer and I don't want to waste money...

Therefore, I guess the two questions here would be:
1. Is LED and CFL using the same equation for NPT (2W per gallon)?

2. Should I actually not to have my light on the lid, even though everything seems alright?
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Old 05-26-2019, 06:44 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: LED vs CFL

The light's PAR output is the important thing. Watts/Gallon is irrelevant with modern lights like LED, CFL, T5, etc...

You're growing plants fine (in balance) with CFL but your goal now is to get the rotala to turn red? If so, this mean you'll need to go out of balance like more PAR, less nutrients. This is fairly dangerous goal in a NPT since you're not adding CO2 into the equation. You'll likely get an algae outbreak.

Removing your lid will give you a little more PAR with your CFL but water evaporation will be more.

If you want a cheap solution, why not get a 22W CFL to see if things work out before buying more expensive LED bulbs?
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Old 05-26-2019, 08:14 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: LED vs CFL

CFLs are being phased out as they are replaced by LEDs which are more efficient and do not have the toxic waste (mercury) associated with CFLs.

A lot of my tanks still have CFLs over them, but as they burn out, I am replacing them with hardware store LEDs. To get about the same amount of light, I try to find LEDs with half the wattage of the CFLs I was using. For example, my 15 to 20 gallon tanks have two 13w CFLs. I replace them with 6w LEDs.
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Old 05-26-2019, 08:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: LED vs CFL

You can buy a cheap lux meter, like https://www.amazon.com/123CityFarmer...-2-spons&psc=1 and use it to measure the light intensity in lux instead of PAR, at the distance your light is from the substrate, out in the air, not in the water. Divide the lux by 70 and you have a good enough reading of the PAR you get with that light on your tank. You should aim for about 30 to 40 PAR - 2100 to 2800 lux. I think $20 is a small investment for being able to make good enough judgments about how much light you have.
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Old 05-26-2019, 05:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: LED vs CFL

Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
The light's PAR output is the important thing. Watts/Gallon is irrelevant with modern lights like LED, CFL, T5, etc...

You're growing plants fine (in balance) with CFL but your goal now is to get the rotala to turn red? If so, this mean you'll need to go out of balance like more PAR, less nutrients. This is fairly dangerous goal in a NPT since you're not adding CO2 into the equation. You'll likely get an algae outbreak.

Removing your lid will give you a little more PAR with your CFL but water evaporation will be more.

If you want a cheap solution, why not get a 22W CFL to see if things work out before buying more expensive LED bulbs?
I like the idea! thank you... I think I have been looking at other's scape too much lately, that most of them are high-tech, which the red plants are just looking gorgeous ...Couldn't help myself wanting to try some else is capable of my budget, lol... IDK if I will every try co2, maybe the new 60cm(20Ggallon.)
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Old 05-26-2019, 05:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: LED vs CFL

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael View Post
CFLs are being phased out as they are replaced by LEDs which are more efficient and do not have the toxic waste (mercury) associated with CFLs.

A lot of my tanks still have CFLs over them, but as they burn out, I am replacing them with hardware store LEDs. To get about the same amount of light, I try to find LEDs with half the wattage of the CFLs I was using. For example, my 15 to 20 gallon tanks have two 13w CFLs. I replace them with 6w LEDs.
Thank you! half of the W of CFL, great! that clears my question!

just curious, two 13w for 20 gallons is enough at all? so in that case, I am getting a 20 gallons tank, will a single 20W led be enough then?
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Old 05-26-2019, 05:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: LED vs CFL

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoppycalif View Post
You can buy a cheap lux meter, like https://www.amazon.com/123CityFarmer...-2-spons&psc=1 and use it to measure the light intensity in lux instead of PAR, at the distance your light is from the substrate, out in the air, not in the water. Divide the lux by 70 and you have a good enough reading of the PAR you get with that light on your tank. You should aim for about 30 to 40 PAR - 2100 to 2800 lux. I think $20 is a small investment for being able to make good enough judgments about how much light you have.
Thank you man! always a great helper!
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Old 05-27-2019, 06:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: LED vs CFL

"just curious, two 13w for 20 gallons is enough at all? so in that case, I am getting a 20 gallons tank, will a single 20W led be enough then?"

You need two so that the light is spread over the entire tank more evenly. And my tanks are Walstad tanks with low to medium lighting. If you want high light, add wattage or more LEDs.
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Old 05-27-2019, 01:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: LED vs CFL

CFL has lower efficiency and life expectancy than led, and it loses more efficiency after the first year. LED also shows better color on fish and plants if you select high K value with red and blue. No wonder CFLs are on the way out. All my aquarium lights as well as my household lights are now LED.
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Old 05-27-2019, 05:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: LED vs CFL

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Originally Posted by tiger15 View Post
CFL has lower efficiency and life expectancy than led, and it loses more efficiency after the first year. LED also shows better color on fish and plants if you select high K value with red and blue. No wonder CFLs are on the way out. All my aquarium lights as well as my household lights are now LED.
interesting point, actually I am swapping the current 11w CFL to a 5w or an 18W LED to see what's different, ofc 18w will be mounted way far from the tank
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