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5 Gallon Desk Tank

This is a discussion on 5 Gallon Desk Tank within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Sorry for the hijack... You both seem to know your LED's. This is something I've been interested in. The furthest I've ever messed with ...

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Old 03-07-2013, 11:52 PM   #11
 
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Sorry for the hijack...


You both seem to know your LED's. This is something I've been interested in. The furthest I've ever messed with them was splicing several strips together and using a charger from a toothbrush or something as a regulator. ( Go ahead and laugh but the tank looked pretty good! )


Is there a good source of info, like a tutorial, on how to do something like you've done here? I'm about to redo the hood I built and I'm currently running 2 T12's and a T8. It's kinda crowded as you can imagine. (29 gallon)
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Old 03-08-2013, 01:02 AM   #12
 
LEDs

No problem!

I'd love to help out with some LEDs. While I have limited experience with what light is best for an aquarium, I'm an electrical engineering grad student and would be more than happy to advise on any electrical stuff

One of the things I really like about LEDs are that they are so small. It's easy to mix and match to get just the right color and spectrum, this sounds like it could be really nice for your crowded hood. Maybe if you start a build thread it would be easier for us to comment? I think the place to start is by deciding how DIY you want your fixture to be. I'm pretty sure I could walk you through a scratch assembly if you wanted to do it yourself, and I'd be happy to do so!
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Old 03-08-2013, 01:09 AM   #13
 
Also LED related, maybe this will help you get some context.

My fixture is 15W. It is far brighter than I expected, too bright too look at. Even pointed into the tank, the glow will light the entire room. I'm pretty sure the light is burning the plants (is burning the right term for aquatic plants?). The bacopa is sending out new leaves like crazy, but after a day or two they start to curl/discolor. I'm going to trim the stalks and replant them lower, and also going to raise the light. We will see if that helps, but I think I'll probably end up removing a couple diodes. Fortunately, with a custom setup like this removing the diodes is very easy, it is sort of a shame to have wasted diodes, but these were $1 ea anyway. I'm just surprised/impressed with how easy it was to get SO much light.
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Old 03-08-2013, 01:33 AM   #14
 
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Yeah there's not much info about LED's and planted tanks. I'm currently running 2wpg. (60w)


I built the hood using 1x4's. I tore apart the light hoods and put the ballasts on the outside, back of the hood. The entire top opens up but I added a double hinge so you can only open the front 5 inches for feeding, water changes, etc.

Anyways the lights are sitting too close to the water and I need to completely redo the hood. So I might as well take a little extra time and learn how to build an LED set up.
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Old 03-08-2013, 01:40 AM   #15
 
Ok well when you get going feel free to point me toward your thread or message me, I'll help in anyway you need Decide what light you want then build the fixture to match. I'm currently running 9white, 4 blue, and two red, I think 8white, 3 blue, and a red would be about perfect (still very much on the strong side).
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Old 03-08-2013, 01:53 AM   #16
 
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Haha I was going to build this based off an LED set up. So I'm not exactly sure what I'll be doing yet. I'm literally an LED retard. You throwing out 8 white, 3 blue, etc. I don't even know where to begin. Is there a good site with a walk through on how to build a custom LED set up like you have? (Trying to make it easier so you, yourself, wouldn't have to type out everything you did)
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Old 03-08-2013, 02:12 AM   #17
 
I'm very happy to share my info, this stuff is fun, and I like being able to give back to the community so soon.

The diodes were selected as follows: White provides the bulk of the visible brightness and "veiwing light". They emit a decent spread of wavelengths with a nice spike in the blue range that the plants really like. I supplemented this with 450nm blue because this is supposed to encourage thick bushy plant growth and because I prefer a darker light. The red was added because there is another spike in what the plants respond to in this range and because I didn't want the tank to look too blue. I think the red is less important for the plant health, but the diversity can't hurt and it should make any red colors in the tank look better.

I actually had a very hard time finding led info for freshwater planted. All the reefers seem to be recommending using only the highest quality diodes, planted tanks just don't need light of that quality or intensity. The hydroponics guys have done a fair bit of research here and have decent info. Most of my information came from charts of the light absorption of the different chlorophylls and other pigments, combined with searching for LEDs that could produce similar light. That's a really technical way to do things though. If you know absolutely nothing about LEDs and want to both build your own fixture and understand what you are doing, I would start by just googling LEDs and reading up. Don't bother looking for aquarium specific info, just get a basic understanding of the diodes operation. Then when you go to build your fixture you'll understand what to look for. Also read up about how light works, wavelength, par, lux, wattage, color temperature, etc. Again I'm more than happy to answer any questions that come up during your research!

Edit: I feel like I should add that I like to get really technical and specific when I build (oops my engineer is showing). LEDs don't have to be complicated if you don't want them to be. You could make an educated guess at what lights to buy and with just a little help still build a top notch light.

Last edited by Jeffrey; 03-08-2013 at 02:16 AM..
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Old 03-08-2013, 02:32 AM   #18
 
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Sounds good! I'm sure I'll have some questions at some point. This won't be happening very soon so I have some time to research. Thanks for the help so far.
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:57 AM   #19
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A couple of quick comments.

If the whites are in the 6,000k to 7,000k range you don't need the blue or red, that sounds like saltwater coral influences. The blue in freshwater is for a "moonlight" look on it's own and is typically only 0.1watt or less per bulb.

With 1watt bulbs they can be spaced in pairs 4 to 6 inches apart depending on how much light you need. I have a fixture that is 24" over a 30" tank 22" deep that has 8 1watt bulbs and it is good light for all but the most light needy plants. The reason for the short fixture is that it is a manufactured unit and they don't make a 30" size, although it has sliders to adjust to fit up to a 36" tank I offset the fixture to provide a dark end for my java ferns and crypts so it worked out very well.

These LEDs provide something around 1,800 lux at that depth. The plant light range is about 500 to over 2,000 lux and the closer to the surface the higher that value is which is why floaters do so well. Without doing the math on your DIY fixture I am pretty sure that you are WAY over 2,000 lux due both to the close spacing of your LEDs and the shallowness of your tank.

If you happen to have a lux meter, perhaps even one you could borrow (I used to have one but have no idea where it went) you could check this out. Some of this depends on the focal lens on the bulb but most are focused very tight... particularly when compared against a tube.

The only reasons I didn't look into DIY were timing, Christmas, lack of plant knowledge and these were on sale in boxing week.

Jeff.
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:25 AM   #20
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Curious, what was the bill on the parts?

Jeff.
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