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I have a 55 gallon (48x12x20) and would like to attempt the seemingly impossible task of DIY LEDs. It seems like a lot of people have ordered from, so my first question is- what do I need to order?

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So I was looking for people to do a group buy from with me and I collected a bunch of info. Since this is my favorite forum, I figured I would share it here as well

In this post I have
-what to watch out for when getting LED's
-what bulbs to get
-how many bulbs to get
-links to write ups other people have made from everything from the LED's themselves to controllers for the LED's
-Articles written about light fixtures

I am going to start by saying that there is a lot of people talking about how LED's don't preform. That is because companies can make a bulb that costs $.50 or $3.00 and sell it for the same price since no one knows its value. Cree is one company that is know for their incredible innovations. Their products are top of the line. That being said, just because something is Cree, means it is good. There is old models that they made 4 years ago that produce a fraction of the output of their new models (comparing 2007 XP-E and 2011 XP-E for example). You can buy a Cree bulb that is old for $3 or you can buy a new Cree bulb for $4. The fact of the matter is, the new ones cost more for a reason.
The builds are not hard at all if you are doing a non dimming kit. With dimming, things get more complicated. I do advise you get dimming if you are doing a fixture that is going to be the sole light for the tank. These bulbs are wicked strong, and it would suck to get too much light. hahaha. With that being said. has walk throughs and a great customer service crew.
XP-E Are great actin bulbs.

XP-G are great white bulbs. They are super powerful and relatively new. From what I have heard they run at only 80% the wattage as their predecessor and produce a bit more light.

There is a brand new bulb made by Cree called XM-L that is suppose to be giving out a lot of light but I am not sure how it preforms as far as PUR goes (photosynthetic usable radiation). I have not been able to find anything about its performance for coral growth or anything.

With these things being said, the XP-G is strong and reliable. 1:1 ratio of XP-G and XP-E will give a 14,000K look and 1:2 ratio will give a 20,000K look

As far as how many bulbs you need for keeping SPS, I have heard a rule that you should calculate this by taking length by width and dividing by 15 to 20.

I also heard of a rule saying it should be about 2/3 how many gallons you have. I have heard this is an outdated rule.
I have a 55g tank and I plan on getting:

-7 function multimeter
-balk wire
-DIY 2 color dimming kit
-36 ultra premium LED DIY kit with dimmable drivers (24 XP-E 12 XP-G, 60 degree lense, and thermal adhesive)
-80mm vantec stealth fan kit
-2x 4.25*16 heat sink

This at $7.25 per gallon, I can make a light setup that can keep SPS corals.

Below are the costs I figured I'd spend in the next decade on a light fixture (fixture+bulbs+electricity=total):
Cost of T5HO (216 watt fixture) setup over a 10 year period: 350 + 950 + 500 = $1800
Cost of LED (108 watt fixture) setup over a 10 year period: 400 + 0 + 230 = $630
Cost of MH (250 watt fixture) setup over a 10 year period: 350 + 1000+ 575 = $1925

FYI, I am a college student who is on break during summer... So I have found more time to think about this than I need.
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