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Is anyone using LED lighting from buildmyled.com?

I just found this company from a facebook post on the Bucks County Aquarium Society. Their customizable LED lights seems like a great solution for an upgrade to my planted tanks.

I've always run 5500k to 10,000k
spectrum CF bulbs of various manufacturers.

They are suggesting for each 12 inch section: (10) 5700K, (3) 660nm, (2) 450nm
and that it renders 8500k. (15 LEDs total per section)

If i was trying to grow redder red plants is there a better suggestion? Are the red 660nm and blue 450nm productive?
 

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I just ordered the 12" planted tank light about ten minutes ago. The red and blue are present in those numbers because those wavelengths provide the most efficient food for plants. People have reported excellent plant growth from the showtank light, which is probably closer to what you're used to. Nick, the owner, said the planted light gives about 3% higher par than the show tank light, which isn't very significant. I bought the planted tank light because I looking for a warmer color that makes cardinal tetras and red plants pop, but your tastes might be different.

In terms of growing redder plants, that depends greatly on fert levels, co2 and (though it's now debatable) light intensity. The increased red should bring out the reds that your plants do have, though the red leds won't necessarily create many more red pigments by themselves.
 

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Hi Izzy,

When I do my upgrades/retrofits I will be using the AH Supply LED arrays. 6400K; runs on 120 VAC (no drivers or ballasts required); 17" & 22" lengths;slightly less wide that a compact fluorescent tube.
 

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I'm using 2 of their pre-made planted ones for a few weeks with our plants. I don't know much about plants, but so far they seem good.

The mounting brackets seems kind of flimsy though.
 

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I recently ordered the newly available 72" fixture for my 180G tank. The plan is to have it replace my ancient VHO lighting system (4x160W uvlco.com Aquasun & Actinic Whites). I've been exclusively using VHO bulbs to grow my plants for 14 years! The new fixture is only a couple inches wide and supposedly weighs very little. The VHO's are in a heavy acrylic box that covers 60% of the top. So I'm pretty stoked about the much smaller footprint for my lighting solution.

I'm trying to track down a PAR meter so I compare levels before and after. If anyone knows where I can rent/borrow one, PLEASE PM me or post it here.

Nick at buildmyled.com was extremely helpful. He (very patiently) answered my questions about the product and didn't give me a bunch of marketing mumbo jumbo. I've been quite impressed with the customer service and I'm confident that if there's any problem at all, that they will take care of me.

Anyway, my light should arrive in a week or so. I'll post pics and observations here.
 

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If you compare the price of leds and the price of fluorescents you will see that for the same wattage you will pay the same price. Often higher. And no, you are not going to use the leds forever as everybody tells you. They do not last as long as we all love to believe. Also you cannot replace say 50 watt of fluorescents with 25 watts of leds or something like that. The match needs to be watt per watt. The only thing that leds have going is the coolness factor and special cases in which the light has to have custom footprint.

Bottom line - for now leds are still a fad.
 

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Im using buildmyled lights and love them.

Nick has been extremely helpful and bent over backwards to get me what I need.

The lighting is very bright and has plenty of par.. Depending on the depth of your tank.

Build quality of the lights is great.. The hanging kit was simple to use. I have his lights on two of my large 300g display discus tanks and they are doing well... Controlled by an apex which handles the dimming.

Pm me if u need any more details

Gm


Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
 

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If i was trying to grow redder red plants is there a better suggestion? Are the red 660nm and blue 450nm productive?


Hello, I did grow red ludwigia (repens) in my 20H tank with 2 CFLs 23 watts - 6500K that I did buy at the grocery.

I was able to grow orangish hygrophila polysperma with the same lighting.

If you want red plants, it is a question of intensity, you need intense light I think.

Michel.
 

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While I can't claim any expertise on LEDs, my experience and research has led me to understand that lighting is way more complicated than "hey, a watt is watt and any old watt to get to your target watts per gallon is all you need." I do think the watts per gallon measure (WPG) has some valid uses and aquarists can be very successful using it.

That said, PAR has scientifically been proven to better measure the light available to plants. Note that there is no relationship between watts and PAR. A lighting solution that delivers equivalent or higher PAR with fewer watts is not science fiction, but something I can buy in a Drs Foster and Smith catalogue right now. Yes, that was flip... but it is a fact.

Which brings us back to price. I concede that the up-front cost of LED light is greater than many other sources. Offsetting that are the promises of power-consumption savings. Are those real? Dunno for sure right now. I will be able to measure that and I will post my results here.

Again, I have no idea if my LEDs are going to work out and I'm not interested in being a shill for buildmyled.com. But I believe that lighting is the most important element to a successful planted aquarium and perhaps the least understood. For that reason we should make every attempt to refrain from misinformation.
 

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If you compare the price of leds and the price of fluorescents you will see that for the same wattage you will pay the same price. Often higher. And no, you are not going to use the leds forever as everybody tells you. They do not last as long as we all love to believe. Also you cannot replace say 50 watt of fluorescents with 25 watts of leds or something like that. The match needs to be watt per watt. The only thing that leds have going is the coolness factor and special cases in which the light has to have custom footprint.

Bottom line - for now leds are still a fad.
I'm going to disagree with almost everything here. Watt per $, LEDs are still expensive. But the game ISN'T watts. For that to be true, than efficiency (both photon-electron conversion) and PAR/PUR need to be the same. They aren't. In some cases, not even remotely close. I've grown plants with LEDs and coral with LEDs. I needed far less "watts" of quality LEDs compared to quality Fluorescent/T5/MH. LEDs may or may not last the full spec. There is extrapolation, but the practical key is thermal engineering. Earlier (and cheap) LEDs have pad thermal design and that can substantially shorten the life. But lets consider that even if we are talking 1:1, AND LEDs don't last nearly as long, they still last a damn long time. many years of normal use (for a typical system). Bulbs are expensive and add up. More son on my reef where I had to replace 1x150 HQI every 6mo or so and 4xt5 every year or so. That is $$$$$. In one year, the bulbs replacement cost is like a new kessil. It was also a lot more power than my LED setups for equivalent light.

Bottom line - I mostly disagree :)
 

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I recently ordered the newly available 72" fixture for my 180G tank. The plan is to have it replace my ancient VHO lighting system (4x160W uvlco.com Aquasun & Actinic Whites). I've been exclusively using VHO bulbs to grow my plants for 14 years! The new fixture is only a couple inches wide and supposedly weighs very little. The VHO's are in a heavy acrylic box that covers 60% of the top. So I'm pretty stoked about the much smaller footprint for my lighting solution.

I'm trying to track down a PAR meter so I compare levels before and after. If anyone knows where I can rent/borrow one, PLEASE PM me or post it here.

Nick at buildmyled.com was extremely helpful. He (very patiently) answered my questions about the product and didn't give me a bunch of marketing mumbo jumbo. I've been quite impressed with the customer service and I'm confident that if there's any problem at all, that they will take care of me.

Anyway, my light should arrive in a week or so. I'll post pics and observations here.
Do you have a Kill-a-Watt or similar meter? If you could not only borrow a PAR meter, but also a Watt meter and post before and after with PAR readings, Watt readings, and power factor that would be really awesome.

The post above made my day. Lol.
I found it rather amusing as well. Lol
 

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Oh yeah, I have a kill-o-watt already. Hoping someone comes through on the PAR meter.

Thanks for the encouragement!
 

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The Reef Farm in Raleigh, NC came through! I temporarily have a PAR meter!! Thank you Grace!!! I'll be doing some measuring this weekend.

Also, my LED is apparently en route (currently in Jackson, MS).

So more coming soon! :D
 

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If you compare the price of leds and the price of fluorescents you will see that for the same wattage you will pay the same price. Often higher. And no, you are not going to use the leds forever as everybody tells you. They do not last as long as we all love to believe. Also you cannot replace say 50 watt of fluorescents with 25 watts of leds or something like that. The match needs to be watt per watt. The only thing that leds have going is the coolness factor and special cases in which the light has to have custom footprint.

Bottom line - for now leds are still a fad.
Niko,
While reading around, I found a little info relating to this subject. From "Lighting an Aquarium with PAR instead of Watts", there is a usable comparison between T5HO and LEDs.

Under "PAR vs Distance, PC Lighting Fixtures" is the graph of PAR vs distance of an AH Supply power compact T5HO for 35 or 55 W versions. Note that a 55 W PC bulb is 22" long. The following PAR values at a distance are taken from the graph:
  • 15" - 57
  • 20" - 39
  • 25" - 26

Next, a little bit further down, there is a graph entitled "PAR vs Distance for Various LED Light Fixtures". In the graph, is a line for the AH Supply 20 W LED array. This is significant because the AH Supply LED bulb is designed to be a plug and play upgrade for current PC users, and fits into the same bulb mount clips as PC bulb. It is also 22" long, the same size as a PC bulb. Here are the PAR values, again taken from the graph.
  • 15" - 58
  • 20" - 41
  • 25" - 32

Assuming the tests were preformed accurately with a calibrated PAR meter, I believe this fully supports that LED's are not just a fad. The PAR readings are very similar, yet the LED array uses 20 W and the T5HO uses 55 W, which also seems to disbunk your claim that you can't replace "say 50 watt of fluorescents with 25 watts of leds or something like that".

The LED array is a little more expensive, but not by much. It's $83.99 for the LED array, and you'll spend about $15 more for a endcap, power cord, and light mounting clips (no housing). The 55 W PC kit is $44.99 for the ballast, endcap, power cord, mounts (no housing), and then $17.99 for a bulb. That's about $99 for the LED array and $63 for the T5HO PC. Replace just two fluorescent bulbs and the LED array just paid for itself, and that's not counting the power savings.

Thoughts?
 

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I think I found where Niko's opinion about LED price and effectiveness came from. He did a test using a $70, 30 W LED flood light, not an aquarium LED light, and compared that to his T5 lights. http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/showthread.php?p=647723

Ctyank, looking forward to hearing your results! I'd like to get my own PAR meter from somewhere as I have a hankering to build my own PWM Arduino controlled LED light for my second tank once my first tank is up and running. I sorta want to add red and orange LEDs as well to simulate "sunrise" and "sunset" for no other reason then it'd be fun. Bit of a geek here, lol. :D

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
 

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measuring light in watts is like measuring distance in days.

its luminous flux at needed wavelength delivered to plant that counts.

as for leds lifespan, led itself has a very long life(by very i mean very very), its the power supply block that fails because of poor design an poor cooling.
--
electronic engineer
 

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So my LED fixture arrived on Monday and it is a thing of beauty! I am going to start a new thread on it since this one is a little more generic in purpose. Once the new thread is started, I'll update this thread with a link.

A small preview of the data:

VHO bank 1: 214 Watts (as recorded by my kill-o-watt for two 160 watt VHO bulbs using an Icecap ballast)
VHO bank 2: 212 Watts (same thing only these two bulbs are Actinic whites vs Aquasuns)
6 foot Buildmyled.com fixture: 97 watts.

PAR measurement for one sample data point (#3 on the tank map) in the tank:
VHO banks 1 & 2: 73
VHO bank 1 only: 35
VHO bank 2 only: 38
LED fixture: 46

This is just one sample point and cannot be used to evaluate the entire setup. In general, I see that the LED outperforms each individual bank, but cannot match the PAR of the combined banks.

My separate thread will provide A LOT more data.
 

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Yes.
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/...-plant-club/80982-par-data-collection-10.html

PAR measured 19" below the bulbs (1" of air +18" of water):

Using 2x24 T5HO bulbs with individual Tek reflectors + a Fulham Workhorse ballast.

------------PAR 79------------------------------------------------
Cost: $150.
Replacement bulbs: $50.
Total of 48W
1x24W Giesemann Midday +1x24W KorallenZucht Fiji Purple

------------PAR 61------------------------------------------------
Cost $105.
Replacement bulbs: $6.
Total of 48W
2x24W Satco Hygrade (cheap $3 bulbs, 3500K, 2900 lumens each)

------------PAR 143------------------------------------------------
A combination of the all the bulbs described above.
Cost: $156.
Replacement bulbs: $56.
Total of 96W.

Things that puzzle me:
- Most PAR readings published on the net are done without water. My PAR readings are through 1" of air + 18" of water. They can't be that high but that's what I see.
- I bought the PAR meter from Hoppy. He told me that it was designed for general PAR measurements. It will not catch all the PAR if you use bulbs with funky light spectrum (purple for example, like one of my bulbs). The PAR 79 that I get is likely even higher than 79.
- I used old reflectors (water stains, more than 40% of each reflector surface is dull).

Comparing PAR:
It is a tricky thing to do. The age of the old bulbs apparently plays a huge role. I measured PAR 45 with 220W of the old VHO only 6" from the bulb. Through air! Comparing brand new LEDs (or anything new ) to your old bulbs will indeed show a huge difference. Also if the tank is more than 16" deep things really change big time. It is a simple fact that shallow tanks provide the best overall lighting environment for plants. Also the shape of the tank plays a huge role (reflection from the glass). Taller plant shading of the bottom is another problem. I am still unclear if the plants like strict wavelength values hitting the photosynthesis peaks (LED) or they do better with a smooth slope around the main wavelength value (fluorescents). There are more questions to ask about PAR but I do believe that plants do not care as much what the exact PAR is - as long as it is above certain value.

I'd be interested to see the PAR values of the 97W LED fixture 19" away AND through water (surface not moving). With 97W I hope to see values way above 140. Then we can calculate the approximate PAR if that fixture was 48W. Hope to see values way above 70.
 
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