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On an interesting side note. The hood for this tank had built in Tetra LEDs, marketed as ideal for plant growing. These leds measured Par 3 at the bulb and had no measurable par at the substrate.

Thank you for posting this. I've used the Sylvania compact fluorescents on 5 of my 6 tanks for years, and the clamp light fixtures are especially good because they hold the CFLs in the vertical position. CFLs produce significantly more light (for aquarium purposes) when mounted vertically in a reflector. The reasons are complex and are mostly due to a phenomenon known as restrike.

Planted tank enthusiasts, throw off your chains! Effective aquarium lighting can be cheap and easy.
 

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Discussion Starter #142
We tested the Aqueon LED fixtures at a shop during one of our meetings. These were the expandable ones that you can add 2 extra LED strips to the one that comes standard. They were a little better than your Tetra, but even with all 3 strips installed, the fixtures are essentially worthless for planted tanks.
 

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I think the finnex has been the only plant led I've seen with good par. then you get in to the saltwater led, and got lots to choice from but then you look at 300-800 dollars.
 

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I started making my own LED fixtures about 8 years ago for my salt water tanks. Home built was a fraction of the cost of commercial fixtures and with the commercial fixtures I heard loads of Complaints from people that even spent $1000.00+ on fixtures.

Now that i converted all my tanks to fresh water I found I have to detune the fixtures considerably. On some of my tanks i'm getting fantastic plant growth with less than 1/2 watt per gallon. The thing though is I'm using LED that are producing 150 plus lumns per watt. And I'm tuning the spectrum for plants.

On my brightest tank I'm using 18 Watts on 30 gallon tank. I had to reduce my cycle time to about 5 hours per day in order to keep algea under control.
 

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TropTrea,

I just sent you a message about a DIY LED fixture for a 6' tank. Please check it out.
 

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PAR DATA COLLECTION

Aquarium size: Standard 55g

Type of light fixture AND reflector: DIY hood w/ Pigtail CFLs, white semi-gloss paint interior

Number of lamps, bulbs, or tubes, and wattage: 7x 13w 6500k CFLs

Age of lamps, bulbs, or tubes: 5 months

Other information: CFLs are mounted horizontally

Distance from light fixture to substrate: 24"

PAR VALUES MEASURED AT SUBSTRATE: 54

Comments: I thought I had too much light, tank is very bright. Till I learned that I'm only at 54PAR at the substrate. Going to upgrade to 23w bulbs instead of 13w and re-measure. Also I have white semi-gloss paint inside my fixture maybe aluminum reflectors is superior, will experiment with that as well. This is a high-tech tank with CO2 and ferts. Aiming for 80+ PAR
 

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Discussion Starter #147
Thanks for posting this! 80+ PAR will be a lot of light.

Unless you can install highly polished metal reflectors in your hood, you are unlikely to get much improvement over the white paint you already have. As an alternative to CFLs, I've had really good results with hardware store LED screw-in "bulbs".
 
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