New LED Aquarium Lighting

pilotinho

Blue Ring
Registered
#1
I am doing research with LED lighting for Aquarium use. I am new to aquariums and cephalopods but am loving it. I am also an electrical engineer and it occured to me to try to build an LED lighting arrangement for my Bimac tank. As I understand it Octos have no light requirement so I figured that I had room to play. I am posting a picture of my aquarium lighted with White LED's that consume less than 10 watts. I wanted to reduce electric use and reduce heat introduced into the system and to increase the useful lifetime of aquarium lighting. Would anyone be interested in having an LED lighting system?
 

Attachments

Nancy

Titanites
Staff member
Moderator
#2
Hi pilotinho,

First of all, octos need low light (I used a 30W fluorescent) and you'll need this light to keep your coralline algae growing and maybe some other things in your tank.

It's interesting what you're doing with LEDs. LEDs are being sold as moonlights - I have blue LEDs built into my lighting system that serve as moonlights. You might want instead red LEDs so that you could see a noctural octo but he couldn't see the light.

I think we need to know how LEDs compare to other aquarium lights - the low temperature is attractive. I have a 10,000K lamp, for instance. How do LEDs compare with that?

Nancy
 

Thales

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
#3
Cool!
There are several people working on this from time to time. If you do a search on some of the reefing sites, you'll see whats been done so you don't have to reinvent the wheel - unless of course you have already. In that case I slink away....


Other than that, I would totally be interested in a LED system for my cephs. Cost would be the first factor, and total output would be the second. :D
 

Chipdog

O. bimaculoides
Registered
#4
If it were my tank I would include some blue lights in with all of your white ones to help bring out the colors in the tank and you octo.
One problem you may come up with is some types of algea and bacteria (red slime) will grow in special sectrums of light.
I wouldn't worrie about it too much but if you start haveing trouble with the algea then you may want to change the lights.
Keep us informed
Chip
 

Castor

Vampyroteuthis
Supporter
#5
I think it would be a great idea. Keep us posted on how it works out for you, i.e., algae groth and blooms, spectrum etc...
 

pilotinho

Blue Ring
Registered
#7
Response to some questions

The spectral response of White LED's are typically heavy in the blue with a red spike and weak in the green. The blue helps grow coral which octo owners don't really care about but might be good for expanding the idea. I have a Bimac and they are intertidal guys who , if they get stuck in a tide pool, can handle full sunlight. As for reef octos they tend to be nocturnal. My problem has been getting enough together to make even lighting. I think I have done this now but it is not suitable for reef tanks. I calculated the light output of 100 white LED's to be about 1100 Lumens. For a point of comparison my 65 watt actinics produce about 6000 I think. My setup is about equivalent to Nancy's 35 watt flurescent I will check out what people have done on the reef sites. Thanks for the heads up.

~Paul
 

pilotinho

Blue Ring
Registered
#8
One More thing

I was really excited about the idea because of the ability to simulate ocean life more accurately. You can computer control the lights to dim gradually. You can have blue LED's come on at night, and when the sun would be rising or setting you can kick in more red. The owners could balance red green and blue to suit their tastes with varying levels of intensity. There is a lot of fun work to do in this field I think.

~Paul
 

milchy

Cuttlefish
Registered
#11
just a quick update... You can now purchase 5Watt LEDS!!!!! for those who are interested with developing lighting using leds... the technology is evolving fast!
 

eternaleds

Larval Mass
Registered
#12
LED light bulbs?

Hi everyone,

For those people who don't want to solder, but parts etc like in the last link...
I just started a website selling LED lightbulbs: www.eternaleds.com

From what I've read in other forums these would be pretty suitable for aquariums since they:
Use much less energy - about 3W compared to typically 50W
Generate less heat - less algae?
Focused light - Give the tank depth/ambiance
Lasts WAY longer than both fluorescent and incandescent - average 100,000 hours compared to about 4000 hours - Aquarium lights are typically on 24 hours/day right?

Do any of you guys have experience with these? Also I can import colored LED light bulbs as well - i.e. Red, green, blue, yellow. Would any of you be interested in these?
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#14
For our ceph tank we used a set of 5 commercially available sealed led dome lights placed on a wooden bar across the top of the tank with one power supply (DIY on the power supply attachment). Each dome light has 24 LEDs. To aid with color, we used two blue and three white. Additionally, we have a "loose" (quite literally) red dome light that is on all the time but is the only light on at night. The red detracts from the tank color in the daytime and I occassionally move it for esthetics but put it back in the evening when I feed (too much trouble to turn it off but ANOTHER timer or one with opposite on/off plugs would work).

The tank has absolutely no cyno or green algae and almost no brown (established August 2006). Of all my tanks, this is a million times easier to keep clean. I DO have coraline algae that has not died and keep low light sponges thriving. I am experimenting with a low light gorgonian that is polyping and some red mushrooms that should live but will not take on the bright red that they do in full light (I know they should live as I have another that fell to a viewable but not reachable dark hole in my reef).

There is a new system out that runs about $2,000 to die for. It is supposed to compete with halides (if you want it to) and is fully adjustable and programable so that one light does it all. My understanding is that you can do full daytime, seasonal and moon programming (for the price you should be able to get a tan as well!). It would be nice if a less expensive version would become available (or I could win the lottery :roll: )
 

eternaleds

Larval Mass
Registered
#15
dwhatley;91110 said:
Each dome light has 24 LEDs. To aid with color, we used two blue and three white.

The tank has absolutely no cyno or green algae and almost no brown (established August 2006). Of all my tanks, this is a million times easier to keep clean.
So dwhatley - For the white - is it a more of a bluish white or warm white? Does the color temperature affect algae growth?

Also so it IS true that LED lights reduce/eliminate algae...Is this because of the lower heat output that LED lights give off?
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#16
Light does not create algae, it just feeds it :hmm: . The difference is somewhat unimportant as you can definitely use lighting period and intensity to control (at least in part) green algae. Interestingly enough, the purple coraline in my rocks seems to be growing (or at least not diminishing) but I don't get much (if any) on my walls (unlike one of my other tanks (lighted with compacts) where I have to scrape the acrylic daily to remove the purple (looks great on the snails but doesn't seem to grow much on the rocks - go figure).

I can't give a good color determination really. The setup we decided on uses 3 sets of white and 2 sets of blue (24 lights each) and we haven't tried just the white. The combination shows off the coraline purples nicely but the effect is diminished drastically by adding just one red dome (24 lights) which is why I usually move the red to the back of the tank during the day. The added blue is not quite as effective as an actinic visually (actual wave length will be different but plants are not a factor here). I also have one of the whites inside the sump cabinet and there is definitely a color difference.

The intensitiy of the lighting I am using is far less than the lights in all my other aquariums (compacts in most with one MH for the 4' skinny tank) with about the same photo period. I cannot have critters that host algae nor any long term plants. I do put in helemedia to feed my pencil urchins and it does last for over a month but nothing green will survive long term. I have found that adding the live plants is important or my urchins start eating other things (like my feather dusters and gorgonian) and they won't eat the dried seaweeds commercially available. I have kept the small, orange, deep water sponges for over 6 month and they seem to tollerate the lighting very well. I recently put in the mushrooms and they are surviving but reach out for the light during the day and don't really add a lot to the esthetics of the tank.

The article my husband recently read (I can get the link from him if you are interested but he found it way to technical to be useful for our level of undstanding) did some comparisons between using the newest LED lighting vs Halides. The basic understanding that he came away with was that using enough LED's can produce the intensity of MH but there is a wave length difference. The article did not take a stand that one was better than the other but confirmed that the intensity could be equivalent.

Lastly, you can forget about heat, from your lights or from your equipment, being part of algae control. My pot bellies live at 66 degrees and algae loves the tank :sad:
 

gtownfunk

Larval Mass
Registered
#17
Check this light out

http://www.homegrownlights.com/100W.html

It's 100watts (56lamps) of the new CREE XLamp LEDs. This is all blue/red (40blue/16red), first off how important is the green light for fish.. and is there enough interest (or it is needed) to have HGL put together a light with some white LEDs.

It basically outputs the equivalent of a 400W metal halide with minimal heat and only 125watts total usage (built in fan, no ballast needed either).

I think the only place you can get it online right now is http://www.indooragriculture.com/ (it's a grow light). 10,000+ lumens for $600 isn't bad at all.

Ben
 

Colin

Colossal Squid
Supporter
#18
eternaleds;91078 said:
Aquarium lights are typically on 24 hours/day right?
QUOTE]

No, generally we have aquariums light on a 12 hr cycle to mimic natural conditions. There may be some regional/seasonal variation but 12 hrs is about right.

The only instances where lights might be on 24 hrs are in refugiums with macroalgae such as caulerpa or swapping bright day time lights for 'darker', mostly red night lights...

Most light used in marine aquaria are designed for coral and are high in the blue spectrum and about 10000 - 20000k. The wattage is not as important as the colour spectrum the bulb produces.

Bright lights are mostly redundant in a cephalopod tank unless it is a reef come cephalopod tank

cheers
Colin
 

fyrmanemt

Larval Mass
Registered
#19
led lighting

doing some research on this myself, and yes you can duplicate pretty much the same lighting as halide, actually if you get the right leds they produce much higher percentages of the usable blue spectrums than mh's do. around 85 percent of the light produced is at 450nm wavelength as apposed to only 52% with mh. with about 50 % savings on electric power consumption.you need to use 3-5 watt l.e.d.'s and many of them, they can also be dimmed with a simple switch you can buy at your local electronics supply store such as radio shack. I have found a good sight to purchase them from that i have bought from before in hong kong that has great prices , after all that is where most are made regaurdless of what brand name is put on them. if anyone is interested feel free to contact me or add it on here and i will see if i can get a link posted.i am almost ready to start building mine which should cost around $200 for a 48" 90 gallon tank
 

monty

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Supporter
#20
:welcome: to TONMO, let us know how your lighting works out... are you a ceph keeper, or did you just find us looking for lighting discussions? If you're keeping a ceph, it's worth noting that it's often good to have deep red LEDs as well, since those allow humans to watch nocturnal cephs while the cephs think they're sneaking under cover of darkness...
 

Members online

No members online now.