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View Full Version : Custom LED lighting advice. Input please?


Coasting
02-18-2016, 07:56 PM
So I am trying to figure out what I want light wise over this new tank.
I haven't even got it yet and I'm spending all my money....

I really like the light I have now over my 65.
Corals grow great.
Size wise it is not enough for a 120 (4x2). I don't think it has the spread from front to back to cover 2feet so ordering a second one likely wouldn't do me any good.

I was thinking of ordering 3 smaller fixtures, and turning them sideways so I have full coverage.

But I need some... advice I guess on what custom LEDs I should pick.
I'm somewhat trying to replicate what I all ready have that is working well for me. It appears I have a roughly 2:1 ratio of Blue to Colour/whites. And I do somewhat enjoy the Listerine look of more blue then white! I want dramatic colour popping! My current fixture is the Nova a8. 96 x 3w leds

The other fixtures I am looking at right now, have either 2 or 3 dimmable (by remote) channels. There are 52 x 3w LEDs on it. I would likely order it with 90 degree optics (other option is 120)
If I can get it with 3 channels, just from reading around it seems a good idea to put the coloured LEDs on a separate channel. Since it still seems to be a big argument over colours contributing to algae vs enhancing coral colour. ( I was never having algae issues in my current tank....)
Otherwise if It only has 2 channels I would have the colours go with the whites like my current light. is there a better option?

Ive looked at the expensive high end fixtures people keep buying and my poor bank account cant afford those, but ive been looking at the ratio of colours and whites and blues.

Anyway, what would you pick, change? Colour wise and channel wise.... not looking for "just go buy an AI or whatever".

Help a girl out here :lol: I'm not tech savvy! :lol:

Red:630nm&660nm
Blue:440nm&460nm
UV led 410nm
IR Led 725nm
White:12,000k&7,000k&3,500k
orange:610nm
Green 520nm


http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW%20120/Nova%20Layout.png

http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW%20120/LED%20-%20Phantom%20light%201-1%20Blue%20White.png

http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW%20120/LED%20-%20Phantom%20light%20Option%203.png

GoFish
02-19-2016, 03:40 PM
Just go buy an Evergrow IT2012 or whatever :smile: oooops
Not sure what your budget is but you'd only need one (48"). If you're concerned about spread you could maybe put 120 degree optics along the front and back row?
If you're just looking for color input I don't really like the look of 6500k LEDs so replaced them on my old light with different colours. I had algae for a short period running red LEDs, covered them up, added a couple more hermits and it was gone a short time later and never came back

And you could have sunrise/sunset if you wanna tweak the way your tank looks

Coasting
02-19-2016, 04:41 PM
I know I looked at the IT2012s :P Evergrow never got back to me about customizing them haha. And I worry about spread back to front being that those fixtures are so slim I wouldn't get coverage of the coral in the front, especially if I had tall rock structures. I honestly wouldn't be object to ordering 2 48" fixtures. Even with 120 optics, light would go on a nice angle sideways but I don't think I would get what I want, where I want it with a single fixture. I looked at a lot of the 48" ones like the Razor or whatever it is, not spending 3grand on a vertex either.

Kind of like how I live at the bottom of the hill right on the beach where I am.... so because the cell tower is at the top of the hill in the booneys, its like im in a no cell signal shadow zone.


Sounds like just 2 channels on the lights im looking at :( oh well
See I only ever had algae grow on my powerhead and in my overflow, never on my rock or coral in the tank. And that's my Nova light spectrum. I just wish my corals popped more then they do. Not sure how I would obtain that ability. I was thinking of putting some blacklights into a wood canopy over the tank :lol:

hillegom
02-19-2016, 05:18 PM
Sorry, I don't have any input, just following along
Good luck

SeaHorse_Fanatic
02-19-2016, 06:24 PM
One thing I would add is a separate channel for a few (3 x 3w blue leds) moonlights to view the tank at night. If you're customizing, then for the front row of LEDs, I would use 90 degrees lenses so there's less light hitting your front panel and growing algae & more light directed downwards towards your sandbed. 120 degree lenses could be used over the other emitters for better spread, but the more light hitting your front panel, the more frequently you'll have to clean the glass.

Coasting
02-19-2016, 07:05 PM
One thing I would add is a separate channel for a few (3 x 3w blue leds) moonlights to view the tank at night. If you're customizing, then for the front row of LEDs, I would use 90 degrees lenses so there's less light hitting your front panel and growing algae & more light directed downwards towards your sandbed. 120 degree lenses could be used over the other emitters for better spread, but the more light hitting your front panel, the more frequently you'll have to clean the glass.

I do like that idea.

My current fixture has 90s I believe so that doesn't prevent the glass algae on that tank. :lol:

I think I have those cheapy Ikea changable LED strips sitting in my bin of fish supply crap in the garage that I used for blues at night when my tank was still in the 30gal. I could pull those out again.
I also have a spare 5m RGB Led strip, fully waterproof, with remote that I bought for shits and giggles a few months back, if I built a canopy on the new tank I could stick that up in there....

Craigdillman
02-19-2016, 09:00 PM
That looks pretty good, i build mine own LED with rapid Led same idea, only thing i would be carful on is the red and green but the red is the most visible and too many overpower the color ( i have found anyways ) so i would recommend a 120 degrees on the red and green AND/OR ability to control those colors seprate


mine is set up like this

White -1 channel
Blue 1 channel
Colors red green violet UV 1 channel

My red green and violet are on a different channel than white blue to control the visual colour balance of the red green ( no idea on par or spectrum just how it looks to me lol )

hope that helps

Coasting
02-19-2016, 09:03 PM
I've actually found another light, direct from china, that is really interesting me.

Called the Malibu s300
It actually has 4 channels that are individually controlled. Blues on one, Blue/UV on another, Whites, then Red/green/blue on the 4th.

Just trying to inquire further about those ones

I like that idea of 120s on the coloured leds with 90s on the rest.

Coasting
02-19-2016, 09:41 PM
These are the ones im looking at now....
This is worse then shoe shopping.
Too many decisions!

http://www.wegrowlights.com/portfolio-items/300w-led-waterproof-aquarium-light-with-timing-controller-full-spectrum-from-manufacture/


http://www.wegrowlights.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/S300.jpg

Craigdillman
02-19-2016, 09:57 PM
They both look good honestly , just pic the on that provides the most " coverage" for you tank and looks the best

I'm thinking for your tank 4 by 2 you would need 4 of the novas? in a square kinda and maybe 2 of the other fixtures , not sure if I'm off with that but

Coasting
02-19-2016, 10:19 PM
The Nova is my current light over my 36"x18" tank, perfect coverage on that.

The lights I mentioned in the first post were not Novas. I would need 3 turned sideways to cover a 4ft by 2ft tank

The last ones I just posted Im thinking I would get 2 x 48" ones. Then each ones is responsibe for a 1ft strip of tank. Or 3 of them if I can get my hands on a 200DD tank :mrgreen:

Craigdillman
02-19-2016, 10:57 PM
Ah ok that makes sense,

Ive been looking at redoing my light set up and maybe make a hood and include some t5s to supplement my rapid led or maybe get new leds and add t5 so this thread sparked my interest lol some of these new cheap leds are tough to beat i think

GoFish
02-19-2016, 11:28 PM
Another one to consider is the Evergrow IT5012.
It's 1/2" wider and 1" thinner than the Malibu and has 6 colour channels instead of 4. No idea on price sorry. When talking with Evergrow they're quick to reply at first but when they realize you aren't a business/going to order a 10 fixture minimum for custom colour layouts communication kinda dies off. You MAY be able to utilize Reefsupplies to help you get one instead of dealing with China yourself

If you do decide on a light that has 3w diodes and they won't customize them for you I have a handful of spare diodes in several different colours that could easily be soldered (UV, Cyan, Pink, royal blue)

maron6977
02-19-2016, 11:47 PM
Have you considered adding a T5 on front & behind fixture - to get spread on the 2' wide . That's what I did & very happy . Gottem from hydroponic store - I think $35 each with hanging kit , reflector & bulb (not that I used it)

Coasting
02-20-2016, 12:23 AM
Ive heard squat back from evergrow.
My very first light was customized directly through them.
I did see the evergrow 5012 and its fairly expensive. Over a grand US i believe and i was searching where to buy that and came accross the malibu fixtures which are more in my budget. They seem to be slightly cheaper then the evergrow 2012.

I really hope i hear back from the malibu light people. Even not customized the lights seem nice. I would just want darker blues. :D

Coasting
02-20-2016, 03:22 AM
Oh goodie! They do allow customization of the Malibu fixtures....

I think perhaps...
Per each section. 4 sections per fixture.
Ch1: 6 x 460nm Blue
Ch2: 6 x 12,000k white
Ch3: 2 x 410nm UV 4x 460nm Royal Blue
Ch4: 1 x 630nm Red 1x 530nm Green 2x 440nm Blue 2x Either warm whites or more blues.....??
Not sure how I feel about channel 4.... What would you put?
Same as below except this ones channel 4 is different then the photo.



http://www.wegrowlights.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/S300.jpg

AquaAddict
02-20-2016, 04:49 AM
First of all, I hope your don't mind me asking the question below -

Maron..

Could you tell me what kind of T5 you bought? I would like to do the same thing but don't know if it should be 5,000 or 15,000 or 67,000 to supplement my LED Zetlight. How is everything working out on your lighting?

AquaAddict

Coasting
02-20-2016, 06:50 PM
Okay what do you guys think of this?
What would you change? add? remove? instead of?
Move UV on number 3, and more dark blue on number 1? or leave as is.
the 4th one is still getting me. Not sure what I want.

http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW%20120/MalibuOPT1.jpg

maron6977
02-20-2016, 08:38 PM
First of all, I hope your don't mind me asking the question below -

Maron..

Could you tell me what kind of T5 you bought? I would like to do the same thing but don't know if it should be 5,000 or 15,000 or 67,000 to supplement my LED Zetlight. How is everything working out on your lighting?

AquaAddict

I'm using 48" sunblaster T5 HO w/reflector with Ati blue plus .
Using 1 on each side of my Kessils because of my 30" wide tank . These lights can be piggy backed up to I think 6or8 lights - then just one cord.

mike31154
02-20-2016, 09:46 PM
Okay what do you guys think of this?
What would you change? add? remove? instead of?
Move UV on number 3, and more dark blue on number 1? or leave as is.
the 4th one is still getting me. Not sure what I want.

http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW%20120/MalibuOPT1.jpg

Are you sure you're not somewhat overthinking the whole process? Could take hours of study & research if you take it to this level & we don't know for sure what you're trying to keep under your lights with regard to livestock. Have you considered some of the multichip options such as Kessil, which has already come up here? They've already done the research & come up with a blend of colours that suits most applications. Custom is great provided there is an easy way to change colours out if you find you've made the wrong choice for your needs. If you like the Listerine blue look, then go for more blues, based on the ratio you have on your existing fixture. Some folks love to have many controllable channels, but in the end it adds needless complexity & I wager most of them end up setting & forgetting at some point. Don't forget to consider your livestock in this decision too though, although it sounds as if your current fixture has done the job on the previous tank.

Coasting
02-20-2016, 10:45 PM
Oh I know I'm totally overthinking it.
I really do like what I currently have. However more colour POP would be nice (not sure how to obtain that)
So in my mind I guess im having difficulties replicating what I have on my Nova fixture, into this other fixture.

I tried to do research... and everything is so ... EVERYWHERE!
Don't use colours! BLUE AND WHITE ONLY
or
Use colours! It enhances your corals colours.

I am mostly LPS, with a few simple SPS. I have no intentions of dosing or doing anything complicated at this point.

I frequently played with the 2 channels on my Nova fixtures.

I think the shimmer from the kessils would make me nauseous.

Plus I think this is still a better bang for my buck. I will get full coverage of my tank and im paying well under $1000 for lights. Kessil... Ha, I think id need another job...

mike31154
02-21-2016, 03:15 PM
For the POP you wish to have, something in the royal blue & UV spectrum will do the trick.

daplatapus
02-21-2016, 05:01 PM
After over a year researching what I was going to do with my DIY fixture here's what I came up with that anyone thinking of doing something like this needs to keep in mind:

1) Corals typically grow under natural sunlight which has an extremely vast range of light wavelength - the range of those wavelengths gets shorter and shorter the deeper you go.

2) I believe, that the light we create needs to re-create that spectrum as close as possible to achieve as natural as possible coral growth.

3) LED's light spectrum's are incredibly narrow. So the more variety you have the closer our light fixtures reach natural light. I personally have issues with fixtures that only have Royal Blue and Cool White LED's. Sure they will grow stuff, and sure they look ok to the human eye. But I sincerely believe that they lack 90% of the spectrum (or more). And we really have no idea exactly what parts of the spectrum every symbiotic algae needs in the corals, clams and other creatures that may live in our tanks. It is my personal opinion that is why MH lights work so well over 99% of LED fixtures. They provide the entire light spectrum while every single LED fixture produced, does not.

4) You can cut out certain wavelengths (and this may indeed be desirable in some cases) as some wavelengths do seem to grow undesirable algae's better than others.

The whole subject is difficult to grasp and is not fully understood by even the leading scientists. But it only seems logical that we need to recreate as close as possible natural conditions within our personal constraints of fixture size, budget etc.

And, yes, I know that my ramblings may not be entirely helpful, lol :)

Coasting
02-21-2016, 05:14 PM
See that's why I figured adding reds and greens and warm whites makes sense.... Not all the corals we have are from 100ft or deeper.... tons of reefs are within 1-2 feet of the surface. So if the reds get filtered out by the water, then the water in my tank would help filter them out.

I really do like LEDs... Every overpriced name brand fixture is slightly different. So whos to say which one is correct?
MH would probably cook us to death in the summer.

ReefMaverick
02-22-2016, 12:57 AM
How about a DIY project using Radion Puck...there is a good post on Reef Central on how to do this...

Coasting
02-22-2016, 01:21 AM
How about a DIY project using Radion Puck...there is a good post on Reef Central on how to do this...

Because I suck at technical stuff :P
And there's usually way to much swearing involved in that kinda stuff :lol:

gobytron
02-22-2016, 04:55 PM
I would just consider going T5 and supplementing with LED.


You get the full power and spectrum of T5 plus the phosphorescence of LED.

It would also be a lot cheaper and easier.

LED technology is a moving target, you'll likely require a lot of trial and error before you and your coral are happy.

Coasting
02-22-2016, 05:35 PM
I was never happy with the colour I got with T5. Tried a few different bulb combos. I mean I have enough 24" t5 fixtures I could probably get away with using those on the tank for the time being, but I was never happy with them. When I sold the 36" one off my 65 and got my Nova, I was much happier. Things actually started growing and I could actually frag them.

Im not in any rush to buy a light, I don't even have the tank yet LOL then Id want it to cycle a bit with some dry rock and heck even use it with a few new fish before I move everyone from my 65 over. So it wont be seeing coral any time soon.

Researching spectrums and what not just makes my brain want to explode. Every article I read is different. Every person has a different opinion. Blah...

gobytron
02-22-2016, 07:11 PM
That's because it's an ever developing technology and every reefer has different eyes.

I agree that LED looks so much nicer than t5 but I think you would find the best fit in going with T5 and supplementing with LED.

Even putting a cheap hamilton strip light to accentuate my 2 55 watt CF bulbs in my RSM130 makes huge difference.

You could spend 150-200 bucks on a sweet, controllable led that will make your corals pop and still get the growth you're looking for from T5's.

That being said, if you'll thoroughly enjoy the learning and building process for an LED, that's probably worth the trial and error in and of itself.