old dog needs new LED tricks

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fishorama

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As some of you know, I've hung onto my old lighting for a long, loonngg time, lol. But my PC lights are dying or dead...T-5s hanging in...for now...but the writing is on the wall for them too.

I've never really been clued into LEDs (I hear you laughing) but it's time to adopt (some) newer tech. I don't have a smart phone (more snickering) & don't use co2...What I need is "medium-ish" lighting for plants that don't look too multicolored "disco lights" & fish that look normal to my eyes. Some of you know what I mean...I also think my fish & I'd prefer a total lights out period rather than the always on "moonlight".

My tanks range from 20g long (30 inch x 12) to 4 foot 55g & 75g to a 5ft 25 inch tall. Each have their own issues, the 5ft is ok (so far) with a 4ft raised light.

A lot of LEDs seem to be against the glass so less light spread.

& I don't need the "best possible" (expensive) lights but I'm confused with the old "watts/gal" vs whatever LEDs come in...

dougall, I'm looking to you & others for guidance. I know I've asked before...
 
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dougall

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Ugh, it's late, this is a lot to take in.

Soneone should really have written a sticky ilon this 🤣, but it would likely be outdated by now .

The two things you need to consider, mostly, are the power of the lights (measured in PAR, or not quite as usefully in lumens), and then the spectrum of the output(I.E how well each color, red green or blue, will show.. you may see CRI listed, but it is kind of a fudge to try to show color is accurate but it really isnt) at the end of the day all light will grow plants as well as each other more or less... You want to choose something that will make the contents of your aquarium look good. And be able to turn it down if needed due to algae or whatever (or turn it up if you decide to go with supplemental CO2)

To go the cheaper route, especially on non display tanks, there are plenty of LED shop lights which work pretty darned well.. just be sure to choose ones with at least daylight light (5000K or more) or you won't be so happy with the resulting look


The disco effect is generally due to different colored LEDs being spread out. The more LED emitters you have in the fixture, the less you will see it.. if it is an RGB or WRGB fixture you will notice it less still.


I would say to try as hard as you can to get something controllable, or at least dimmable so you have better control over the look of it all, or at least control algae.

To keep costs down, especially on a non display tank, there are plenty of shop lights around you can use. They are call over amazon, Wal Mart, home depot etc.) Just be sure to get one with at least daylight (5000K light) otherwise you will not be happy with the overall look.

That's it for now, too much to type on my phone already, but hopefully it helps some. Let me know if any questions. Otherwise look around and see how similar plants and fish to what you have look under different LED fixtures, hopefully that might give you a bit of help into choosing something.
 
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fishorama

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YES! That does help a LOT dougall. I know we've discussed this all before but maybe without the color ranges & lack of "disco lights" thing...I was only testing the eventual options before...but I need to get more serious soon. Thank you!

Tech has changed quite a bit in the last couple years...& maybe, just maybe, it's starting to sink in at last, lol. You're always very patient & helpful, I appreciate it! But there will likely be more questions...you've been warned!
 

dougall

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Im here for whatever you need..

I would much rather talk lighting than fish anyways!
 

fishorama

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You're being nice as usual :cool: I'm just dangling my feet in the LED waters...don't they come with legs to boost them up? The 1s I've looked at seem to have the flat sliding supports...is that the new normal? I found the 4ft PC & T-5 fixtures on 3? inch legs did a fairly good spread over my 5ft tank but that 25 inch height...trickier!
 

dougall

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I want to say that most of the everyday LED fixtures are very flat to the top of the aquarium either with legs that pull out or feet that go on the side of the fixture.

Some higher end lights, like ADA or Twindtar, have feet that raise the light by a few inches.. they are also designed to go onto rimless aquariums too.

But my experience is that it has not mattered much. The light is fine in the tank. There will be darker patches at the top front and back but it is normally fine.

Otherwise you have the option of hanging the lights instead, or you can often find 'risers' that will go onto the side of your tank and give the light a little extra elevation.
 

NoodleCats

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Nicrew is affordable and good, I like their lighting.

For "medium" id suggest either the Nicrew Planted Plus, Nicrew Classic Plus, or Nicrew SkyLED Plus (which you can dim for as it can be high light full brightness). Of those, I love my SkyLED Plus lights, they do well.


But, if you can get JC&P full spectrum, I love those best. In built timers, and they do really well for plants, even medium light. On par with Nicrew for price, but doesn't seem like they're widely available everywhere.

Here are my two 20 gallon longs.

First has a 30" JC&P full spectrum on full brightness with a layer of water lettuce and vals up top
20210513_181844.jpg



Second is a Nicrew SkyLED Plus with a dense layer of duckweed and water lettuce
20210518_200042.jpg


Can get an idea of how the lighting looks on the tanks themselves.

The JC&P does well for my red Ozelot. New leaves grow in a deep wine red under that light.
20210518_213552.jpg
 
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FreshyFresh

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My 3 tanks are all 4 footers, so that opens up a bit more range of possibilities for lighting.

One LED fixture is a Current Satellite (planted + I believe?). It's been going ~8hrs/day for 6 years or so, plugged into a lamp timer. I have it adjusted to what I liked and it's stayed locked in there even though the remote no longer works- which may just be the button batteries in the remote. This light has supported the plants in this tank very well for me.

I also have a cheaper no-name white/bluish 48" LED strip from 2014 running over my oscar/severum tank. Again, ~8hrs/day since 2014. I got that one from eBay. No plants in this tank.

3rd tank has a cheap twin tube T8 fluorescent I ordered online a few months ago for like $30 shipped. It came with one 6700k tube and one 10000k tube. I was going to do just a shop light over this tank, but couldn't buy a T8 w/ tubes for that price. It's growing plants well in the 55 it's over, but I have to tweak things. Getting a bunch of BB algae choking out some plants.
 

fishorama

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I tried LED tubes that were "supposed to fit" T-8 but the ballast must've been shot. Returned the bulbs & pitched the fixture. I'm not "cut out" for remove or replace ballasts...or DIY LEDs as early adopter clubbers have done. 2 PC bulbs cost as much as a some new LEDs...

dougall, you mentioned lumens but most LEDs I've looked at don't tell that, some say watts...some just # of LEDs in various colors. From what I remember green doesn't help plants but may help fish look better...

I'm hanging in with a 4ft T-5 x 2, HOs I think...I have spare bulbs for now...but if the ballasts die, they're out! I don't actually have a 20 long going right now so lower priority. But 2 x 30inch might be good for my 5ft tank...but it's 25" deep.

I really appreciate all the help guys! I'm almost afraid to ask my plant clubbers...
 
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