old dog needs new LED tricks

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NoodleCats

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PAR is important to let you know intensity with LED lights. Over 90 PAR at 12" is high lighting, apparently. So that might help give a guideline for that.

Nicrew on Amazon for me shows the details if you scroll down past into the product details, and I like they have a general guideline for their product there.

Took some screenshots here, shows the stats on various of their lights, this may help give you a guideline of what to look for in product details for shopping around to find a light you and your wallet like.
Screenshot_20210521-005332_Samsung Internet.jpgScreenshot_20210521-005341_Samsung Internet.jpgScreenshot_20210521-005346_Samsung Internet.jpg

I use SkyLED Plus, ClassicLED Plus, and ClassicLED on various tanks, depending on plant types.


When looking at an LED, try to find the product details, even on the manufacturers sites too.
 
Apr 2, 2002
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I am like fishorama- I have no clue about LEDS for aquarium use. I will likely never upgrade to LEDS. The reason for that is I have a ton of replacement bulbs on the shelf. I will get rid of my tanks before I can use them all. I used to have 13 planted tanks including a pressurized co2 one. Now I have only 7 and one is a temporary tank and another is only 5.5 gals. Finally one relies on only sunlight, so no lights over it.

I have a T-12 or two but mostly T-8s and power compacts. I am familiar with most of the lighting related measurements. I have always considered the most important of these to be CRI (Calor Rendering Index). I am a fan of bulbs with a rating in the 90s. I have 5 of the 36 and several 24 inch of this Zoo Med:

The Ultra Sun is a 6500K high intensity trichromatic full spectrum daylight lamp. With a CRI rating of 98, it provides excellent color reduction for optimum viewing of your freshwater or marine fish and live corals with a balanced full spectrum of visible light and UVA. Promotes photosynthetic processes in plants and marine algae. Ideal for all freshwater and marine fish as well as reef tanks. Zoo Med’s line of fluorescent aquarium lamps are made in Europe for ultra high quality, color, and longer burn life. Our energy saving T8 sizes can save you up to $30.00 per year in electricity over the thicker T12 size lamps! Effective up to 10,000 hours.
Here is a pretty good explanation of CRI
What does CRI mean and why is CRI important in LED lighting?

Can’t tell the difference between the black and navy colored socks in your walk in closet? Could be that your current lighting source has a very low CRI! Not all light is made equal; some light renders color better than others. Color Rendering Index (CRI) is the measurement of how colors look under a light source when compared with sunlight. The index is measured from 0-100, with a perfect 100 indicating that colors under the light source appear the same as they would under natural sunlight.

This rating is also a measurement in the lighting industry to help discern naturalness, hue discrimination, vividness, preference, color naming accuracy, and color harmony.

- Lights with a CRI that is measured greater than 80 are considered to be more than acceptable for most applications.
- Lights with a CRI that is measured greater than 90 is generally considered “High CRI” lights.
from https://www.flexfireleds.com/color-rendering-index-cri-and-led-lighting-what-is-cri/

I did not post the above as any sort of endorsement of the product. They do not offer aquarium specific LED set-ups. I was searching to see if CRI even applied to LEDS and I found that site.

FW tanks lighted with high CRI bulbs, no matter what type, makes colors pop. What you see in the tank is pretty much the same as what you would see in the wild. To me that is important. Needless to say, high CRI lights are full spectrum and that means they are fine for plants. I also have a bunch of new T-5 bulbs on the shelf. I still use them over my 150 gal clown tank which has huge anubias in it. I also have t-5 over my 75 gal. jungle tank.

None of the above is meant to deter folks from using LEDs. I just cannot waste the perfectly good stuff I already own that works fine. I keep a lot of replacement stuff on the shelf for tanks. :p
 

NoodleCats

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I am like fishorama- I have no clue about LEDS for aquarium use. I will likely never upgrade to LEDS. The reason for that is I have a ton of replacement bulbs on the shelf. I will get rid of my tanks before I can use them all. I used to have 13 planted tanks including a pressurized co2 one. Now I have only 7 and one is a temporary tank and another is only 5.5 gals. Finally one relies on only sunlight, so no lights over it.

I have a T-12 or two but mostly T-8s and power compacts. I am familiar with most of the lighting related measurements. I have always considered the most important of these to be CRI (Calor Rendering Index). I am a fan of bulbs with a rating in the 90s. I have 5 of the 36 and several 24 inch of this Zoo Med:



Here is a pretty good explanation of CRI

from https://www.flexfireleds.com/color-rendering-index-cri-and-led-lighting-what-is-cri/

I did not post the above as any sort of endorsement of the product. They do not offer aquarium specific LED set-ups. I was searching to see if CRI even applied to LEDS and I found that site.

FW tanks lighted with high CRI bulbs, no matter what type, makes colors pop. What you see in the tank is pretty much the same as what you would see in the wild. To me that is important. Needless to say, high CRI lights are full spectrum and that means they are fine for plants. I also have a bunch of new T-5 bulbs on the shelf. I still use them over my 150 gal clown tank which has huge anubias in it. I also have t-5 over my 75 gal. jungle tank.

None of the above is meant to deter folks from using LEDs. I just cannot waste the perfectly good stuff I already own that works fine. I keep a lot of replacement stuff on the shelf for tanks. :p
This is great info! Thanks for this!

I don't think either option is wrong, as long as it works. Everyone has their preferences.

I still use T8s on my shrimp tank and goldfish tank, but ive moved on to LED on my other ones. My fixtures got old and had to be tampered with too often, got sick of it lol. One fixture is over 25 years old now, use it as a viewing lamp now for my kids ant colony and his trapdoor snails.
 

dougall

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from a plant perspective, for the most part depending on what chlorophyll they have and stuff, light is light is light

from a people perspective, you will worry about how much it keeps to keep up, electricity used and replacement of bulbs etc.

The watts that are with the fictures are about how much electricity is used, not exactly how much light is produced (It depends on the electronics used for the most part)

Green light is used less by most plants to grow, but without green light your plants will look black for the most part.. or maybe purple.

As with all numbers from manufacturers, I would corroborate with reviews of the fixtures, the planted tank has many. A par of 20 at 12" doesn't say if that is through air or water.. it doesn't take onto account the spread of the light (think the difference between a spotlight and a flood light)

CRI is a lighting industry grade to show how accurate the color of the light is across the spectrum. there are flaws to the measurement, but personally I don't really care how accurate the light portrays the contants of my artificial slice of nature in a glass box; I want it to look good to my eyes. Also remember that the spectrum of light from the sun changes through the day also... it's a personal thing so go with what looks good to you rather than what is perceived as accurate.

Personally I have switched over entirely to LED lights, and (from what I can remember) I use mostly Finnex (Ray2 and planted+ 24/7, Fluval 3.0, Build my LED, Chihiros, Hiro and a couple of other brands I cannot remember.


I would absolutely ask around your club, folks may have old used fixtures you could try/buy. or show you how their tanks look under their lighting; a lot is going to be how it looks to you, not how numbers work. Pay attention to PAR or lux values, and see how that will work over your tank, buy something with more power than you think you will need but that you are able to dim. And I would trusy hobbyist measured numbers before I trusted most manufacturers.


It's just another form of lighting, technology has become better, you can dim and have thunderstorms now if you like, but it's getting more and more difficult to buy any sort of non LED lighting these days, so best start to make the switch
 
Apr 2, 2002
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I consider the electricity costs of my lights not to be worth worrying about. Filters and heaters use a lot more power than my lights. I only use the lights on my pleco tanks when I am working in them. And some I can see fine using the room or natural light to work on them.

If you want a better understanding of CRI and how it is calculated, have a read here https://www.waveformlighting.com/tech/what-is-cri-color-rendering-index

What you will see is that CRI is source specific. So, if one wants to achieve a look as similar as possible to midday sunlight, one would use a base standard of full spectrum 6500k. One the other hand one might prefer a look similar to what one might see early or later in the day, then maybe a 4,000k standard would be best.

Because I have always tried to use full spectrum daylight bulbs, I am comparing what I see to natural sunlight at a spectific time of the day. The way the standard for any bulb is set is by testing the ideal bulb for that light. Then the CRI rating for the bulb you are considering is based on how close it is to that specific standard. So, if you want to have your tank contents look like they would in bright afternoon sunlight, that is actually measured and then your bulb's CRI is based on that standard.

Some will say CRI is based on a comparison to daylight. Here is an example re LED lights https://www.flexfireleds.com/color-rendering-index-cri-and-led-lighting-what-is-cri/
 

fishorama

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I'm more than slightly brain dead after reading LED stuff all afternoon (again!!) & no closer to deciding anything. I may end up going cheap-ish for now just to try them out.

dougall, my plant clubbers are mostly into high tech high end lighting &/or nano tanks of various tech...or DIY, that's definately not me. We will finally get to have a (masked) outdoor meet in June. I haven't seen any of them in more than 1.5 years let alone been to anyone's home...

Lux & lumens, PAR & PUR & CRI, oh my!!
 

dougall

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If you have tanks that are the same length, but different heights, you can get one fixture and try on them. so a 4foot fixture would fit on a 33L, 55, 75 etc.

or 20L, 29 and 37.

so you have 3 lengths with the same strength. Just don't start trying to light your favorite tank, in case you decide thatyou want more light than the fixture will provide (I would likely settle for a 4 foot light over a 5 foot tank, unless it was totally scaped to each side)

but, for the love of god, get something labelled as 'full spectrum'. and read reviews or ask for first hand experiences.

I know from my experiene, of teh cheaper lights, Nicrew, beamsworks or Hygger all work pretty well.


The decision is ultimately going to end up with what plants you want to keep alive, and how the overall look is to your eyes
 

fishorama

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I really (REALLY!) know I need a full spectrum 4ft light to try out...yes, I get it! & that's as much as I've taken in, lol. & a 4 foot seems like the best way for a try out. I have a pretty low light 55g tank that could be ok with just about any lighting, I think it has a T-12 now..that will be the default tank for "lesser" LEDs. My slightly deeper 110g 5 ft only has a 4ft PC & it's only OK-ish, could be better, PCs are old & will die soon. I also have a 75g with an old T-5 x 2 (HO?) & a similar 55g w/T-5s...but 1 bulb flickers ominously until it warms up...I do have other T-5 bulbs for a while...but it's LED time, I know...

The 20 long is not being used right now but may be the default if a 30 inch & a 4 ft are not enough for the 110g. Sort of higher light plants in the middle area & lower at the other end...mostly medium-ish...how's that for confusing? Sorry, brain dead...
 

dougall

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I would maybe look at the Nicrew SkyLED for a budget light.. or maybe the finnex 24/7..if you can, really look at them in person, see how the light looks to your eyes.
 

fishorama

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Right now I'm leaning toward the Nicrew sky plus. If it looks too odd & I can't adjust to make it better, I have a couple tanks I don't see all the time unless I make point to go look. LOL, no fish, just plants right now...

I will ask my club if anyone has tried it but it's been out less than a year...& like I said, many are into $600 worth of Kessils on tanks smaller than mine...& other pricy options or nano tanks...

I really appreciate everyone's help!
 
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