LED Lighting, yet another choice

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by screebo, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. screebo

    screebo Guest

    Kind of like I think we'll all be driving electric cars before too long, I think we'll all be using exclusively LED reef tank lighting "before too long". OK, sounds a little extreme but that's what my instincts are telling me. Several BAR members have been giving the application a good work out and new products just keep on coming. I'm getting familiar with new terms, new concepts and I'm liking what I see. If it makes sense, I may be trying to recoup a little of the $2K investment I made in a Photon Plus fixture 18 months ago before it's totally obsolete. At the time it was one of the best and most compact units of it's type. 6 T5's on two separate circuits and two SE 250w Mh's on separate circuits. It works great but is a huge energy hog and generates enough heat to cook the Turkey.

    Has anyone had experience with this fixture? http://www.aquariumspecialty.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=6957
    Also, any of our members who have been using LED only fixtures, please offer any updates with how you like your equipment and how your livestock is doing. I sure like the 48" strip of Reefbrite blues I added to supplement my existing light.
  2. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    Google them. There was quite a bit of talk about them and their CS, or rather, the lack of it.
  3. screebo

    screebo Guest

    Good suggestion. Thx.
    I was also impressed by what I think were Aqua Illumination modular units as demonstrated by Richard McKellips (Sunlight supply Inc.) at Neptune Aquatics last Saturday. Lots going on with LEDs. I'm reading as fast as I can......... H)
  4. CookieJar

    CookieJar Guest

    I was thinking of starting a similar LED thread. I also was inspired at Neptunes about the Aqua Illumination LED system and am contemplating taking the 100% LED plunge. I know there's debate as far as how well SPS do, but I have mostly LPS and Jess & Kralen seem to be fully satisfied with their LED setups. Wondering if anyone else has also gone in full LED and how satisfied they are.

    My 48" blue Reefbrite strip is a nice supplimental lighting, I turn on manually if I feel like it and treat is as a viewing enhancement.
    I did replace 1 250W MH with a 120W LED system (Evolution) and was mostly satisfied for a span of ~3 months. The things I didn't like were the fans were noisy and it was very blue, almost too blue. I a 20K look and it looked bluer than 20K to me. The corals did perfectly fine under them, although I have almost all LPS and 1 or 2 SPS under it. Having the dimmability for an LED light is almost a requirement for me so I can add/ remove the blue & white colors to get the look I want. For that reason, the Aqua Illuminations LEDs are high on my list.

    The aquarium specialty fixture I have never seen, but it's way too white for me.
  5. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    The Evolution fans have been swapped for better ones in current models. The new ones are dimmable view a remote control as well, from what Reef Koi just told me. They also offer a 14K model now.
  6. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

  7. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    I've got a couple tanks with reefbrites only. One a 90 gal 4x18x24tall with a 3 ft blue and 4 ft 50/50. It has lps and softies with a lone bridsnest. I think one more 50/50 would bring the light level a bit more where I want, but all is doing well.
    The other is a 55 gal standard, 4x1x20ish tall with one 4ft 50/50. I replaced a two t6 bulb setup with OLD bulbs in it. Much brighter an better color, shimmer is nice. Softies and a couple lps only, but looking good so far.
  8. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    I love LEDs.
    My current tank is 1/2 LED, 1/2 T5, been working well for several years. No SPS though. Well, 2 tiny ones.

    I did start a build thread here:
    But it is inactive, since I focused on plumbing and aqua-scaping first.
    I have most of the parts now though, so after Thanksgiving it will pick up.

    I have spent a LOT of time reading and talking to people.
    Generally, there are 4 main problems:
    1) What you can buy off the shelf is rather poor, and overpriced.
    They are low volume, and not a lot of R&D has been done. Plus, LEDs change so fast, they are
    obsolete faster than computers, which makes big R&D investment a tough sell.
    2) Getting the intensity right at first is hard.
    Since PAR is so different from the human eye, it is hard to estimate, so you can starve/bleach corals easily.
    3) Initial cost.
    Scares people off if they don't do all the calculations. Especially true if buying off-the-shelf.
    4) The color.
    It is difficult to get the look you really want. Getting a very blue 20K+ is not so hard,
    but if you want something in the 12K range, with decent color in the red range, it can be tricky.
  9. 99sf

    99sf Guest

    John, thanks for starting this thread. Will be great to hear about BAR members' experiences with LED lights. It does seem like LED lights will be the wave of the future (pun intended), due to lower power consumption and not needing to replace bulbs frequently. Jugato's nanocube has LED lighting, and he recently weighed in about his experience.
    I have been following a thread on SDReefs, started by a long-time hobbyist who helped me drill my office nanotank. Larry arranged a group buy and PAR tested the results of a new LED fixture.
    I have also been following a "for sale" post on Craigslist for many months for the first widely-distributed LED reef fixture--Solaris. Since that company has gone out of business, nobody seems interested in shelling out a lot of money for the used fixture.
  10. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    PAR readings from LEDs are always suspect to me given the nature of LEDs and the nature of low end PAR meters. They usually read lower then they really are.
  11. GDawson

    GDawson Guest

    OK…here’s what I’ve experienced using only LEDs

    2 x LumenSKY LS-81 = 81W (27 x 3W) over 75 gal


    White : 12k
    Blue: 465nm
    2 to 1 white to blue
    On 7 hours a day (thinking of reducing to 6)

    Purchased at BAYMAC this last May.

    Though I like the color of the tank next time I’d go with a high colour temp on the whites. Additionally, I would think of someway, even if it’s a separate fixture to get more blue bulbs in there to increase the florescence of the coral. I’m definitely getting some fading from some of the more colourful pieces.

    Coral acclimation really depends on the type. Softies (e.g. sinularia, etc…) almost require no acclimation and are doing really well under these lights. Zoas and palys look good but are growing slower than I think they should. My first sps fried under these lights. LPS gets divided into two groups. Really large polyped stonies (duncans, hammers. blastos, etc…) are ok but growing REALLY slowly. Additionally, they require at least 2 to 3 weeks under a ledge on the bottom to acclimate before moving for another 2 to 3 weeks into the open bottom before moving up. Small large polyped stonies (chalice, turbinaria, including favias and acans [maybe the fleshier the polyp the better?]) don’t seem to make the transition from under the ledge. I do have one candy cane and the Sex You Up mycidium(sp?) that look like they’re going to make it. Mini nems and a RBTA that has split seem to like the lights but long term success is still needed.

    The units themselves are sexy looking. They produce no heat and run, most of the time, silently. There is an issue with on e fan that periodically makes a whining/grinding sound (the company support would address the issue if I wish to pursue it). The units sit on rails that straddle the tank aqpprox 3 inches from the water. I am having an issue with salt creep getting into past the sealed lenses and onto the lower part of the reflectors. This is going to require me disassembling the units and removing the lenses to clean. After that I’m going to hang the units to 1) eliminate the salt creep, and 2) hopefully increase the success rate of the LPS corals (hanging height suggestions welcome) . The units have moon light LEDs and the capability to run just the blue lights before the whites. Unfortunately, this requires manual intervention by flipping rocker switches. There is no way to use these features with a timer or internal programming. The makers have been notified of this issue and will hopefully address this as it makes these features completely useless.
    Support has been very good and quickly responsive. They seem to really want to make a good product for the hobby.

    If anyone has any comments or suggestions to help fine tune my system please let me know. I’m not unhappy with my choice, but I could be happier.

  12. eldiablosrt8

    eldiablosrt8 Sponsor

    John you know where i stand with leds once my budget(get a job) gets better i will be replacing my frag tank lights with reefbrites just so i can be truely 100% reefbrites......

    john i have and awesome pink lemonade bali tri color and many montis that are cloroful and growing fairly fast under my reefbrites. Jose(bluevoodoo) can second the growth he has seen my sps grow very well and he has seen my Miami Hurracanes grow pretty darn quick as well.....

    the fixtures at roberts the other day might be the way i go 1 of those and 2 all blue reefbrites over my 60 flat
  13. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    I want to like LEDs, however they're a double edged sword for me.

    1) They don't warm the tank at all, and this is a HUGE negative for me. They're about on par (no pun :D) with MHs as far as brightness, and that extra heat instead of being directed up goes into my tank which means my heaters don't have to kick on as much

    2) The spectrum of "white" bulbs isn't particularly desirable due to that huge hump in the red region. As far as a CRI goes I'm sure it's good, however I've come to notice they're much more favorable for nuisance algae then your typical 14K to 20K MH bulbs that really lack that part of the spectrum. Of course this could actually be a blessing in disguise since it tells how dirty the water might be, then again nuisance algae growing out of control can easily overwhelm corals and isn't always a quick fix.
  14. screebo

    screebo Guest

    What a bunch of great input. I'm especially interested in what Jess is doing with only Reef Brites. I'll have to review your combination of color. Also a great testimonial from Gregory. Several Reef Brite strips mounted on a common frame would surely be a great value and bang for the buck solution.
    All very interesting........... :glasses:
  15. tuberider

    tuberider Guest

    IME if you're to go 100% LED coral placement is WAAAYYYYYY more critical than with other lighting systems. I do like the AI fixtures and I like their customer service, I have yet to get a message machine and I've called them a few times already. Reef Brites are nice, but the customer service is not what I have experienced with AI.
  16. Gomer

    Gomer Honorary Member

    I'm still not sold on LEDs. of course, it could be my bad experience with them as a primary lighting source. I think they can work great as a supplement though.
  17. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Not sure the physics of that really make sense.

    It takes X energy to light the tank, and Y energy to heat the tank. REGARDLESS OF METHOD.
    With LED, X = completely from LED. y = completely from heater.
    With MH, x = from MH, y = from MH + heater.
    So yes, heater runs less, but energy y is still the same!!
    Same amount of total energy required. No magic there.

    Now look at the energy loss:
    In LED, very little heat escapes into the room. With MH, a lot does.
    Key for total efficiency!

    So really, even counting heating, MH is absolutely LESS efficient
    Sure heaters run less, but total energy used is still more.

    Minor side note:
    Lighting only warms the tank in the day, when lights are on, and when the room is a lot warmer.
  18. eldiablosrt8

    eldiablosrt8 Sponsor

    i run full leds on my 120 and i just finally had to bump heater on for first time all year...... i stay at 78-80 no problem witha light period of 6 lamps for only 7 hours
  19. Gomer

    Gomer Honorary Member

  20. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Tony summed it up fairly nicely, although his ability to quote = teh suck :D

    However energy is energy, 150 watts of halides, will put the same amount of energy as 150 watts of LED, some of it is in the form of visible photos, some of it is in the form of IR photons (just because something is hot). So as long as we can agree the same amount of total energy in both cases will be released we're onto something :)

    Bottom line lots of heat escape from LEDs, its just they have heat sinks and fans to dissipate it into the room so it doesn't seem as hot. Trust me I put an LED on a flat aluminum plate, that plate got up to a nearly 200 degrees before I worried and turned it off, they cook, they just cook up rather than down.

    Now the downside is there's also heat loss where the ballast is, and probably more so than the LEDs driver, so that is wasted in the sense that it heats the room up more so than the tank.

    Absolutely true, however as long as the ambient air is lower than tank you will get energy transfer out of the tank, and I don't keep my room any where near my tanks temp :D

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