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Old 12-01-2008, 10:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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DIY LED Fish Tank Lights

Since I had a few spare strings of LED X-Mas lights, I was wondering what else I could do with them.

They are ideal for something that needs not too much light, but is on all the time.

Hmmmm. How about my aquarium light?



If I had a good way to point all the individual LEDs straight down into the fish tank, they might light it up fine.



The first thing to do was scrounge my garage for material. I need something thick enough to drill into and insert the LEDs. A soft material would be ideal, as it would have some give to it.

Scrap foam! Perfect!

I roughly measured the area of the fish tank to cut the foam to.

The light string has 40 LEDs, and I wanted them spaced even in two rows. So I magic markered the half point (20 on each side) and two rows (10 on each side) and divided that in half (5).







Then all I had to do is drill 5 holes, roughly evenly spaced in each area I had marked out.

Start at one end and stuff LEDs into the holes.

Put on fish tank and turn on!

Total time: about half an hour.
Total cost:
Scrap foam - free (already had)
LED string light - $2

2 bucks for custom LED lighting! Not bad!

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Old 01-19-2009, 08:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Well Ben, following in your foots steps ... sort of ...

I have a 180 gallon Salt water aquarium, which uses 4 CF split lights, the ones that are half blue and half white. Anyhow, when all four of those puppies were fired up they consume 520watts plus put out some decent heat ... enough to affect the overall water temperature.

One of their many draw backs is longevity. They often last only 6 months. So here again I am at a point where three of these guys have burnt out and I need to replace them again.

Well seeing this post I began digging for LED lights to see if they made them comparable to the CF's I had ... Well they do and they are rated identically to the CF's and are cheaper per unit. Power difference;

520 watts for four CF's
6 watts for 3 LED fixtures

Grant it, I need three more to complete the lighting in the tank, but 12 watts vs 520 is a no brainer.

Once I am completely set up the unanswered question is whether or not corals will grow under these new lights, many say no because the lights will not penetrate as deep as others.

I say because the lights generate virtually no heat, I can keep corals closer to the surface, with better water flow and still give them the intensity they need. Time will tell and I will include pics of how the project progresses.

BTW these bulbs are rated @ 10000K and the blues at 460nm each bulb consuming .5w in a 4 bulb arrangement.
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Old 01-23-2009, 06:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trikkonceptz View Post


Well seeing this post I began digging for LED lights to see if they made them comparable to the CF's I had ... Well they do and they are rated identically to the CF's and are cheaper per unit. Power difference;

520 watts for four CF's
6 watts for 3 LED fixtures

Grant it, I need three more to complete the lighting in the tank, but 12 watts vs 520 is a no brainer.

Once I am completely set up the unanswered question is whether or not corals will grow under these new lights, many say no because the lights will not penetrate as deep as others.

I say because the lights generate virtually no heat, I can keep corals closer to the surface, with better water flow and still give them the intensity they need. Time will tell and I will include pics of how the project progresses.

BTW these bulbs are rated @ 10000K and the blues at 460nm each bulb consuming .5w in a 4 bulb arrangement.

Hey Trikk, they actually make LED lights for sw aquriums that can grow coral. They are very expensive though!

Marinedepot.com Search results for 'pfo solaris'

I know that I read a DIY once where a fella made an LED light fixture for a very small sw aquarium. It seemed to work well. He used the white LEDs and mixed in a few blue ones for more color. I can't remember his name but I believe it was on reefcentral.com if you want to search for it..
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Old 01-23-2009, 06:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yipes those MarineDepot LED lights are expensive!

I am sure corals are very expensive as well, so you want to treat them right, but I am sure a person could design a very nice, inexpensive LED array which would keep coral happy, not to mention, reduce your electric bill.

My LED x-mas lights are rather on the blue side, which I think works just fine for an aquarium.
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Old 01-23-2009, 09:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yes I think the blue ones look cool! It's a great idea. I wonder if you could mix the white ones (which still have a bluish tint to them) with those blue ones for a really cool effect?
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Old 01-24-2009, 09:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Well I got my first batch of lights in yesterday and installed them. The overall strip is 12" long and have a very unique effect in the water. The water sparkles under this light.

My aquarium has no corals and I do not plan on getting them. As long as these lights promote algae growth on my rocks I will be ok with them.

After mounting the three, I realized that my tank estimate of 6 lights was a bit off, I am going to need 9 in order to properly light this tank, which still puts me in line with replacing all 4 CF bulbs I have now.

I currently have the three bulbs on one side and the last remaining CF on the other, I'll get some pics up tomorrow so you guys can see the difference.

Thanks ..
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Old 01-24-2009, 12:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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what led lights did you end up using?
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Old 01-24-2009, 02:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I bought these;

Current USA PowerBrite LED Lighting System, 2x1W 10000K + 2x1W 460nm Blue

I got them from Marinedepot also ..

I think my tank size is stretching the limits of these LED's. I know if I had a larger tank I would have to send them back. In the end, when I use all 9 it will be as bright as the original CF's that were in there. I'll get pics up by tomorrow ...
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Old 01-28-2009, 09:11 AM   #9 (permalink)
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just happen to find this thread while searching google, and wanted to let you know i built an LED light hood for my 90 gallon tank. I didnt use very good LEDs because they were in strips but i used a total of 354 LED's all mounted in an all aluminum hood i fabricated in my sheet metal shop. I think the total cost was around 200 but i think it turned out great!.

90 gallon lighting pics included - Page 2 - MyFishTank.Net Freshwater Saltwater Aquarium Fish Forum
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Old 01-28-2009, 10:38 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hey Mike,

Any chance you have those images posted somewhere else?

I love aquariums, but don't want to have to join yet ANOTHER forum just to see the pictures. (Can't view attached images without being a member)

Thanks.

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