Lighting led for planted aquarium canopy

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AC Members
Jun 28, 2006
SF Bay area, CA
OK, I haven't done LEDs just yet but from what little I know we need to know the distance top of the canopy to the surface of the water. & to the substrate..& the size of your tank.

What plants do you hope to grow? I'm a low-medium-ish plant person, no co2. But you may want something more...? Others will help with the high light/co2 thing. But I can help with low maintenance plants as can many of us. Pics or both your tank & your vision of it?
Apr 2, 2002
New York
There is one more thing to know about LEDs, they do not like moisture. I started with T-12, went to T-8 and then to power compacts. It has only been in the last year that I needed some lights for a 5.5 and a 15 gal tank. So I got LED fixtures. The one warning is they need to not be allowed to get wet.

With the fluors I have, over the last 2+ decades had T-12 or T-8 strips light go into the tank and get grabbed out fast, No schock, no dead fish and the light worked fine afterwards. I normally willeither remove the glass lid and put the ligh back on the top of the tank to see where I am working, Not an issue if water splashed up of I drip water in the light, I cannot do this with the LED fixtures. But has the ones that look like this
LED Strip Light

Different brands can be attached to fancy tops and may have better end brackets that raise the light above the glass lid more. I wanted cheap that did the job, but I would go with a better quality if it was for a bigger tanks. I have to be pretty careful when I work on the tanks not to get mine wet.

On the other hand , you can find much better fixture which are enclosed and better protected from moisture and which can be mounted in a better way including attached to a cover.

I still like my older fluors better. I am a big fan of full spectrum high CRI builbs. To this day the best lighting I used were T-8 tri-chomatic rare earth bulbs made in the UK- Triton. They went away and I was so sorry. For the older T-8 bulbs I now use the Zoo Med Ultra Sun which have CRI of 98. Also you run them until they go out- about 10,000 hours. These bulbs all make colors pop.