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Old 11-06-2011, 02:49 PM   #1
Soehl
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LED lighting on the CHEAP!!!


I have a 55 gallon acrylic tank that I decided to turn into a reef with fish. I tried salt years ago(before there was a lot of info on the internet) and it failed miserably. BUT I learned a lot from the experience. I am a big DIY guy so I am not afraid to try something new. I have drilled my tank with one 1" drain going to a 30 gallon refugium with a Reef Dynamics INS 100 skimmer and a 200 watt titanium heater. In the Refugium I have a 10 gallon campartment that is going to be filled with live rock and macro algae and used to filter and also to grow copepods and amphipods to feed my tank(and maybe a Sea Horse in the future). From the refugium I have a 3/4" input into the tank. I also have a 3/4" output from the main tank going through 18 watt UV stabilizer with two 3/4" inputs on opposite sides of the display that I am going to hook up a SCWD, that line also has the option to bypass the SCWD and go with a DIY 5 gallon surge device(works GREAT but creates a lot of bubbles...)

OK, I have done a TON of research on LED lighting and I decided to try the most inexpensive route I could. I do have a T5 backup just in case.... But lets hope I don't need to use those!!!! I decided to go with 9" 24 LED strips that I have bought on eBay for an average price of $1.20 each. I mounted them in three rows on a white wire shelf that I had left over from a previous project(See the first pic of just the LED mounted to the shelf). They rotate between 18 blue strips and 18 white strips with 9 UV strips added to it. My tank is recessed in the wall(second pic) so I also added an extra 9 white strips within the wall towards the front of the tank. I am using 12volt 6amp power supplies for every 9 strips. That is about it. I am about 3 weeks away from filling the tank and adding rock/sand so I will keep you posted on my DIY reef with fish tank!

I made a hood for the aquarium when it was a free standing tank and then modified it when I put it in the wall. I again modified it for the LED set up(third pic). I can actually remove the whole wire rack LED shelf assembly if needed. I used white high gloss oil paint to coat the interior of the hood just to reflect more light. The LED assembly is secured by zip ties and comes out very easy. The T5 bulbs are mounted above the LED assembly. The two 24" T5 are ran by a workhorse ballast(I beleive it is HO but not sure...) You can see the T5 in the third pic if you look close.

Thanks for checking and I would appreciate any suggestions and comments!

Cory
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Old 11-06-2011, 04:58 PM   #2
bdial438
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What brand are the LEDs. I'd be interested in what they are. That cheap makes it sound like they will be good accent lighting. Pics of the lights?
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:18 PM   #3
Quik Z06
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I wonder what wattage they put out. Any chance you can get some readings of light in the tank at the bottom?
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:42 PM   #4
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Any more info on these lights I'd really like to try this
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Old 11-06-2011, 10:49 PM   #5
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The best specs I have been able to find are:
12 volt
1.92 watts
.16 amp

As far as brand name most of them came in an unmarked plastic bag. Really. They are that basic and cheap. If you search "24 led" on eBay they will come up.

The pic I put up is all the LEDs on except 9 white ones in front. I covered the flash when I took the pic so that is mainly the light from the tank. Kind of hard to tell how it is going to be when there isn't anything in the tank yet. In 3-4 weeks I will have the tank filled and I can take some better pics.

Is there a way for an average guy like myself to measure the par? If anyone knows a way I would love to measure the light penetration.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!
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Old 11-07-2011, 09:31 PM   #6
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So compared to buying a actual LED lights, how much did you save?
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:37 AM   #7
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18 blue strips ($1.20 x 18 = $21.60)
18 white strips ($1.20 x 27 = $32.40)
12 volt power supply ($6 x 6 = $36.00)
Wire Shelf (free)
Existing(modified) hood (free)
9 UV strips ($4.50 x 9 = $40.50)

For a GRAND TOTAL of $130.50

Now, I could have cut corners on the power supplies and the UV led. I went overboard on the power supplies. For these strips I could have gone with less amps at a far less cost(probably $20 less) but I wanted to over do it rather than just be safe. As far as the UV leds go, I could have eliminated them all together. I just thought it would add a little flair to the display, especially at night, and I have researched that it is good for the animals. On the other hand I can always add to it. I have been thinking of putting in a couple green strips just to see how it looks but that is entirely up to you. You can even go with longer or shorter strips of LED to fit your needs. With this kind of set up it is REALLY versatile. You can mix and match all kinds of "cheap" LED. They even have strips that "sparkle" that, I imagine, would give a great shimmer affect.

Now I just hope I can grow corals!!!!!
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Old 11-15-2011, 08:09 PM   #8
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Interested to see how well Corals do. Still wondering what PAR is at base of the tank.
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quik Z06 View Post
Interested to see how well Corals do. Still wondering what PAR is at base of the tank.
I am too!!! I am still about two weeks away from getting my rock. I have been looking for a way to measure the PAR but haven't had any luck. Any suggestions would be great!!
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:03 PM   #10
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tagging along..i wanna seee this..hope it works!!
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Old 11-27-2011, 07:17 AM   #11
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Old 11-28-2011, 03:18 PM   #12
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i am afraid to say i tried a very similar set up with these lights and failed very bad, there is not enuff light for the corals mine almost died after 3 weeks and also the led strips went orange and the light emmited was very low as if the lights had burned them selfs out, so now im i looking into a t5 ballest running 1 day tube and one blue tube and then 3 cree led light bars to get the shimmer effect every one is looking for, i will put some pics up of my diy led's and how the tank looked,

But it is fair to say standard LED's will never be able to grow corals, only CREE LED's will come close
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:10 PM   #13
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I converted my 55g reef to LED using 4 4w GU10 cool white led's and 6 3w blue led's. Total of 34 watts. I was running some tired power compacts. The whole setup cost under $100 and required no special ballasts, the units are wired in series.

I'd post pics but I have yet to hit the required five posts to allow me to do that!
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:12 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by johnburnett View Post
I converted my 55g reef to LED using 4 4w GU10 cool white led's and 6 3w blue led's. Total of 34 watts. I was running some tired power compacts. The whole setup cost under $100 and required no special ballasts, the units are wired in series.

I'd post pics but I have yet to hit the required five posts to allow me to do that!
I should note that I'm not keeping any difficult SPS corals, mostly soft corals, but all are doing BETTER and growing FASTER! Not to mention the dancing light bands take the tank from blah to WOW!
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Old 11-30-2011, 04:18 PM   #15
Soehl
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Originally Posted by djcowely View Post
i am afraid to say i tried a very similar set up with these lights and failed very bad, there is not enuff light for the corals mine almost died after 3 weeks and also the led strips went orange and the light emmited was very low as if the lights had burned them selfs out, so now im i looking into a t5 ballest running 1 day tube and one blue tube and then 3 cree led light bars to get the shimmer effect every one is looking for, i will put some pics up of my diy led's and how the tank looked,

But it is fair to say standard LED's will never be able to grow corals, only CREE LED's will come close

I have heard of a couple failed attempts. What can I say. Hopefully I have done something different than what has been tried. I have heard that the penetration isn't there.... So I used TONS of strips. I have a lot of light. I have used LED in the past for different things and I have not noticed any change in color... That would kind of defeat the purpose of an LED. What you had was probably a white led with a covering over it to give it a certain color.

Oh, and I do have T5 mounted in the hood just in case. 24 watt. I used the ATI blue and the ATI actenic. I don't plan on useing them but.... just in case! lol

Anyway, we will see. I just added sand to the tank yesterday and it is really cloudy. My live rock will be here any day so I am thinking in a month or so, I can try out the LED set-up on something alive!

I do have to say though, it is REALLY BRIGHT!!! The blue is very strong. The UV looks great. Just having an empty tank I had people comment on how bright it is, now with the sand, I think it will be even more. I will keep posting. As soon as I have an opportunity I will put on some more pics. Probably when the water clears in a couple days.
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