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Old 07/31/2010, 10:46 AM   #1
scolley
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LED Color Aesthetics: The Emperor’s got no clothes. Or does he?

I’ve just finished my DIY LED fixture; 12 XR-E Cool Whites, 12 XR-E Royal Blues. Apex dimming to provide and mix of those two color lights that I desire. It’s the first time I’ve seen all LED lighting over my tank, and honestly, I’m not impressed.

Sure, when I crank the blue and turn down the white there are AMAZING colors popping in my tank that I’ve never seen before. But then you are in that heavy blue world that to me looks like an aquarium in a Tim Burton dream. If you want something that comes close to natural sunlight at shallow depth, the whites wash everything out. The colors that aren’t “popping” from the Royal Blues all look flat and washed out.

In all the hours and hours I’ve spent reading about LEDs to get this constructed, why have I not run into a thread dealing with the truth about the esthetics of LED color? Maybe no one wants to admit that for a “white” tank LEDs compare somewhat poorly to nice a Metal Halide/T5 or PC mix?

For contrast my tank normally runs a 150w 20k DE Radium on a Orbit ballast, supplemented with a pair of actinic PC bulbs. And while not the best Raduim, nor the best ballast, it doesn’t look half bad IMO. Good color, nice saturation, not too blue.

I’ve also got a 250w 20k SE Radium in a Lumen Bright pendant driven by a Lumatek 250/400w dimmable ballast. I don't use it, but have hung it just to check the difference between it and my normal lighting. And honestly it was not a dramatic change.

But in contrast – if I ignore the black light like excitation of certain fluorescent corals – these XR-E Cool Whites look flat and washed out in comparison. At least to my eyes.

Are there people out there with similar experiences? Disappointment with your LEDs vs. your MH, unless you skew the mix into that spooky blue space?


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Old 07/31/2010, 11:05 AM   #2
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You're running 20k and complaining about blue? I don't get it.

I built a DIY array for my 14g nano as well. 6 cree CW's and 5 RB's. I had been running a 150w HQI 20k halide over it. When I put the LED's over it and adjusted them properly, there was very little discernible difference in color. I can't recall the exact mix I used - perhaps 50% dimming on the whites and 65 0r 70% on the blues? The color was perhaps a bit more blue than the 20k, but the actinic pop was WAY more intense, certainly not flat at all.

My new AI modules produce a very white light, and they are perhaps not blue enough for my liking. Color rendition under these is definitely a bit 'flatter' than under the old halide. Certainly not the DIY array, though. I dunno - play with the settings. The color might take a bit of getting used to as well.


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Old 07/31/2010, 11:20 AM   #3
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I think this is a great discussion to have. Some people have stated that a 1:1 ratio on whites to blues cause a washout appearance but with your ability to regulate voltage should allow you to find the coloration you want.

Have you tried using optics with your XR-E Royal Blue LEDs?

On this thread, http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...1852268&page=6 lucasabao has recently placed LEDs over his tank and has had decent success with them.


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Old 07/31/2010, 11:30 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by jcolletteiii View Post
You're running 20k and complaining about blue? I don't get it.
You would normally expect a very blue light from a 20K. But Radium 20Ks somehow avoid that, and don't look so blue. Much more white than you would expect.

But my complaint is not about the blue, per se. It's about the color wash out from the whites.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcolletteiii View Post
You're running 20k and complaining about blue? I don't get it.

I built a DIY array for my 14g nano as well. 6 cree CW's and 5 RB's. I had been running a 150w HQI 20k halide over it. When I put the LED's over it and adjusted them properly, there was very little discernible difference in color. I can't recall the exact mix I used - perhaps 50% dimming on the whites and 65 0r 70% on the blues? The color was perhaps a bit more blue than the 20k, but the actinic pop was WAY more intense, certainly not flat at all.

My new AI modules produce a very white light, and they are perhaps not blue enough for my liking. Color rendition under these is definitely a bit 'flatter' than under the old halide. Certainly not the DIY array, though. I dunno - play with the settings. The color might take a bit of getting used to as well.
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Originally Posted by jcolletteiii View Post
...perhaps 50% dimming on the whites and 65 0r 70% on the blues? The color was perhaps a bit more blue than the 20k, but the actinic pop was WAY more intense, certainly not flat at all.
In my OP I indicated that the pop of some colors was amazing. I used all caps on the work to make that clear. Again, my complaint is not about that pop. It's wonderful. It's just that to my eye (aesthetic sense), it's overshadowed by the loss of color in those color that are not fluorescing under the blues.


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Originally Posted by jcolletteiii View Post
Color rendition under these is definitely a bit 'flatter' than under the old halide. Certainly not the DIY array, though. I dunno - play with the settings. The color might take a bit of getting used to as well.
Maybe it is just playing with the settings. I certainly hope so.

And as you said, maybe it's getting used to. But I don't think so. When I switched to Radiums from a Phoenix, that didn't take getting used to. It was BETTER. And when I added the Actinics, that didn't take getting used to. It was BETTER.

With these two LEDs colors, in the blends I've used so far that washing out of the non-fluorescing colors is enough that I'm having a tough time calling this better. Different would be a better word. But then, it's all just a personal judgment, isn't it?

Thanks for the feedback!


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Old 07/31/2010, 11:33 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Genetics View Post
Have you tried using optics with your XR-E Royal Blue LEDs?
I've got 40 degree optics now, so I've got to raise the light rather high. I've got some 60's too, I could swap them out and lower the light, but I'm not sure what that would achieve.


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Originally Posted by Genetics View Post
On this thread, http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...1852268&page=6 lucasabao has recently placed LEDs over his tank and has had decent success with them.
Does it compare an LED experience with a quality MH/T5 or PC mix? That's really the question I'm asking here. But I will check out that thread. Thanks.


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Old 07/31/2010, 11:59 AM   #6
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I wonder if you could get around the 'white-wash'-out issue by removing some of the optics from just the white emitters? If you're experiencing that much wash out, I wonder if teh white is too focused at depth... if you remove half of your white optics and allow slightly greater spread, O wonder if this will help the situation?


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Old 07/31/2010, 12:05 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by jcolletteiii View Post
I wonder if you could get around the 'white-wash'-out issue by removing some of the optics from just the white emitters? If you're experiencing that much wash out, I wonder if teh white is too focused at depth... if you remove half of your white optics and allow slightly greater spread, O wonder if this will help the situation?
Can certainly try. Or at least start with swapping out the 40's with some 60's. I'll give that a shot, but my guess is that it will only change the level I've got to hang the light at to get the same luminosity.

But I'll try. Thanks for the suggestion.


Oh.. BTW, I should mention. In this current testing situation my Apex is not hooked up, and I'm driving the meanwell dimming with 9V batteries on pots. Those batteries are only at about 8.5v right now, so I'm only up to about 75% of the brightness these LEDs are capable of running that their current setting of 750 mA. So this is NOT a the situation of blindingly bright LEDs that you see so often here. In fact - to my eyes - running all 24 at that 75% brightness is not as bright as my 150w Radiums with the 2 Actinics.


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Old 07/31/2010, 12:55 PM   #8
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I'd say that in general, when viewed in person, most LED lit tanks don't look as visually bright as MH or T5 lit tanks. This was true of my Solaris fixture and is also true for my current Chinese LED fixture as well. But the PAR values tell a different story.

Color aesthetics are, as always, in the eye of the beholder. If you have a DIY build, you may want to experiment with replacing 1 or 2 of the white LEDS with red or warm white LEDs to balance out the color spectrum?


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Old 07/31/2010, 01:39 PM   #9
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I'd say that in general, when viewed in person, most LED lit tanks don't look as visually bright as MH or T5 lit tanks.
Yup, that appears to be pretty well understood phenomenon. I was just bringing it up because the concern I'm raising has less to do with "actual" usable light, and more to do with "perceived" light. And to underscore that the "perceived" brightness of these LEDs in not high... not responsible for what I see as a washout of color.

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IIf you have a DIY build, you may want to experiment with replacing 1 or 2 of the white LEDS with red or warm white LEDs to balance out the color spectrum?
That is a PITA (thought I was through with soldering irons for a while... ), but definitely an option.

To this point the discussion I've seen on adding warm whites or red have all been about putting missing spectra back into the tank to benefit coral growth. I've not seen discussion around this making white LEDs just look better. But it's definitely worth a shot. I tapped my heat sink with threaded holes specifically so swapping LEDs would not be too painful. So I may try that. Thanks.


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Old 07/31/2010, 01:47 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jcolletteiii View Post
I built a DIY array for my 14g nano as well. 6 cree CW's and 5 RB's. I had been running a 150w HQI 20k halide over it. When I put the LED's over it and adjusted them properly, there was very little discernible difference in color...

My new AI modules produce a very white light, and they are perhaps not blue enough for my liking. Color rendition under these is definitely a bit 'flatter' than under the old halide. Certainly not the DIY array, though.
That is exactly the sort of feed back I was looking for though. Thank you.

You've had CWs and RBs over a tank that previously had a 20K MH over it, and you see little color difference. What type of MH bulb was it? And ballast? Maybe that's the issue.

Lot's of people worship the color of Radiums, and I've got to say I'm happy with mine. And while I may need to tweak LED color balance, and may need less tight optics, or to swap in a few warm whites or reds, I can definitely say my current setup of Cree CW's and RB's is not getting it when compared to my Radium augmented with actinics.


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Old 07/31/2010, 03:10 PM   #11
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well i have used pc, mh, t5's and led, had the maxspec 170w version and liked it but just didnt give the coverage for my tank i needed and to the eye seemed no where near as bright as the tek 8 bulb t5 i had on it. needless to say after 3 weeks got rid of the led and put the tek back on, i switched to led to cut long term cost, ended up getting a ati 6 bulb and dropped 78 watts by losing 2 bulbs, imo i dont think any light, mh or led gives off the over all color or lighting completely of a tank like t5 does,


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Old 07/31/2010, 04:15 PM   #12
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I've tried a xp-e red and didn't notice any difference in overall apperance IMO. Next will be a UV led.


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Old 07/31/2010, 04:17 PM   #13
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these XR-E Cool Whites look flat and washed out in comparison. At least to my eyes.
It ain't your eyes. The problem is you're discussing this with other reefers who have invested a lot of money in LED lights and they sure as hell aren't going to admit there's something wrong. Dig through the forums and you'll see a lot of white heavy LED lights with terrible color while the builder is bragging about them. It's like a guy buying an expensive camera but can't take good pictures - good luck telling him he stinks.

The problem you are running into is the sh_tty spectrum produced by cool white LEDs, which are are heavy on blue and green spectra, but weak on anything else. They are designed to be bright, but not have good color. The excessive green of cool-white LEDs cancel out pinks, purples, red and other colors and then relies on actinic to pop colors. This is why we don't use daylight CFLs over our tanks, of which cool-white LEDs are similiar. Talk about a double standard. There is no scientific reason to use cool-white LEDs on your reef tank. Somebody started doing this in their basement and everybody copies and defends this. The growth energy in LEDs is in the far blue anyways. you have no idea how many reefers I run into that are complaining about this and went back to halides.

What I advise everybody who's going DIY LED is try different LED combos first on a small heat sink, and verify your favorite colors. My favorite combination is two royal blues combined with a single 4100-3500k neutral. This produces color more similiar to deep K halides and gets rid of the sterile white LED look. I proved it - I brought a couple of my LED lights to the local reef shop that runs XMs, Radiums, and Reeflux and we all compared. Everybody loved the LEDs with my warmer mix and hated the LED light with cool-whites and RBs. The warmer mix also looked close enough to the halides to be competitive. 1:1 RB/cool-white works good for a parking garage.

Replacing some of your cool-whites with neutrals will fix the problem to an extent. The problem is if you have a 1:1 mix on your tank your spacing will be off. Seriously, just replace a couple cool-whites with neutrals and put a piece of cardboard over the rest of the light to compare.


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Old 08/01/2010, 05:13 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by blasterman789 View Post
It ain't your eyes. The problem is you're discussing this with other reefers who have invested a lot of money in LED lights and they sure as hell aren't going to admit there's something wrong. Dig through the forums and you'll see a lot of white heavy LED lights with terrible color while the builder is bragging about them. It's like a guy buying an expensive camera but can't take good pictures - good luck telling him he stinks.

The problem you are running into is the sh_tty spectrum produced by cool white LEDs, which are are heavy on blue and green spectra, but weak on anything else. They are designed to be bright, but not have good color. The excessive green of cool-white LEDs cancel out pinks, purples, red and other colors and then relies on actinic to pop colors. This is why we don't use daylight CFLs over our tanks, of which cool-white LEDs are similiar. Talk about a double standard. There is no scientific reason to use cool-white LEDs on your reef tank. Somebody started doing this in their basement and everybody copies and defends this. The growth energy in LEDs is in the far blue anyways. you have no idea how many reefers I run into that are complaining about this and went back to halides.

What I advise everybody who's going DIY LED is try different LED combos first on a small heat sink, and verify your favorite colors. My favorite combination is two royal blues combined with a single 4100-3500k neutral. This produces color more similiar to deep K halides and gets rid of the sterile white LED look. I proved it - I brought a couple of my LED lights to the local reef shop that runs XMs, Radiums, and Reeflux and we all compared. Everybody loved the LEDs with my warmer mix and hated the LED light with cool-whites and RBs. The warmer mix also looked close enough to the halides to be competitive. 1:1 RB/cool-white works good for a parking garage.

Replacing some of your cool-whites with neutrals will fix the problem to an extent. The problem is if you have a 1:1 mix on your tank your spacing will be off. Seriously, just replace a couple cool-whites with neutrals and put a piece of cardboard over the rest of the light to compare.
Blasterman789....... As usual you pop around every now and repeat what people have already discussed and tried to find a solution to such problems. There are no such rules set in stone regarding ratio or for any particular flux for the white LEDs. Your argument has already been discussed on other thread and please don't try to repeat yourself over and over again. I guess we all are in experimenting mode at the moment and with shared knowledge (DIY), we will get where we want.


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Old 08/01/2010, 05:33 AM   #15
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Blasterman789....... As usual you pop around every now and repeat what people have already discussed and tried to find a solution to such problems. There are no such rules set in stone regarding ratio or for any particular flux for the white LEDs. Your argument has already been discussed on other thread and please don't try to repeat yourself over and over again. I guess we all are in experimenting mode at the moment and with shared knowledge (DIY), we will get where we want.
Sounds like you don't like your set-up either.

Honestly, I feel the same way about the white issues. When I used P38's, I got the crazy colors and got used to it- I still had thought it was too blue in many circumstances. It looks right on certain tanks.
I just got the 12k Photon Cannon and there is zero blue light and this great amount of white light makes everything look like A$$. I guess that means that I really have drab corals and I need to find vibrant colored corals that look good in 12k. It does show off the true colors of my fish though, but I do miss the fluorescent abilities of the blue light.


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Old 08/01/2010, 07:40 AM   #16
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Your argument has already been discussed on other thread and please don't try to repeat yourself over and over again.
Actually I disagree and appreciate the post. This topic may have been discussed in many other places, but I've never seen a thread devoted to the question of whether or not standard LED selection produce a light color that has esthetically pleasing color rendition when compared to more traditional lighting. So unless there is another thread devoted to this exact topic, I'd just as soon see more people bring their experiences forward.

This is WAY too important a subject to be only covered as OT discussions buried in threads of different sub-topics. IMO it deserves it's own thread.

So, my request is...

If you've got an experience with this question - please, by all means post. This is the place. And if you've got a link to another location where this has been posted, please post a link. And for goodness sakes, if your prior discussion was in one of the many LED threads that have become so long as to effectively useless, please provide a post number along with the link.

Thanks.


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Old 08/01/2010, 08:04 AM   #17
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Also... to anyone that thinks they do have an LED that compares favorably to more traditional lighting, please post pictures. What kind of pictures?

  1. Whole tank shots. Not your one particularly lovely frag. Let's see the whole thing.
  2. Tanks that look like a traditional 12K or 14K type tank. Not screaming blue tanks with fluorescing hot spots of color. We all know RBs can create that.
  3. Pics of YOUR tank, one you can prove, or reproduce if contested.

If such pics exist, I'd love to see them. 'Cuz personally, I'm still looking for proof that the emperor has clothes. And pictures (as I've described above) are about as close as we can get to proof.


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Old 08/01/2010, 08:41 AM   #18
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Thanks for starting this thread. I was about to order two PAR 38's for my 40B and would have been pretty sad to have found this info on color after spending my $$$'s.

I've never seen a tank lit by LED's so I can only go by the MB posts. From what you read everyday you'd certainly think that LED's are THE way to go. Seems everyone is building or buying them and you never hear anyone saying anything negative.


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Old 08/01/2010, 08:47 AM   #19
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lights

ok let me see if i can do this right, this will show a 36" tek 8 bulb t5 and the maxspect 170w. i will say this when all leds are on the maxspec had really nice temp of around 18k with just the blues on it made everything look fake first pic is with all leds on second pic is of t5's


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File Type: jpg nano 9-29-09 1265.jpg (85.4 KB, 2210 views)
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Old 08/01/2010, 09:19 AM   #20
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Actually I disagree and appreciate the post. This topic may have been discussed in many other places, but I've never seen a thread devoted to the question of whether or not standard LED selection produce a light color that has esthetically pleasing color rendition when compared to more traditional lighting. So unless there is another thread devoted to this exact topic, I'd just as soon see more people bring their experiences forward.

This is WAY too important a subject to be only covered as OT discussions buried in threads of different sub-topics. IMO it deserves it's own thread.

So, my request is...

If you've got an experience with this question - please, by all means post. This is the place. And if you've got a link to another location where this has been posted, please post a link. And for goodness sakes, if your prior discussion was in one of the many LED threads that have become so long as to effectively useless, please provide a post number along with the link.

Thanks.
Agreed. I am also in the process of planning a 120G reef and thought I had narrowed the lighting down to the Ecoxotic Panorama LED system (2 panels), but this issue raised with LEDs is making me a little concerned. I want the tank to run as cool and quiet as possible (I want to get away with no chiller), but I do not want to invest that kind of $$$ only to discover that the color limitations of LEDs make them suck compared to traditional fixtures. I will be watching this post closely for everyones experiences and/or recommendations. It also seems like there are more and more LED systems coming on the market, so to the extent that anyone knows of ones that are better at creating the right color spectrum, that would be very helpful.


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Old 08/01/2010, 03:33 PM   #21
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This is a very difficult topic to discuss in an online forum because people like different colors in their tanks. This is somewhat easy to compensate for with MH by using different bulbs (and to some extent different ballasts) and very easy to compensate for with T5s by varying the bulb mix. This is usually somewhat difficult to adjust for with LEDs since a lot depends on the batch/bin of the LEDs that you/they use to build it. Sure, you can adjust the blue/white mix with dimming but this won't replace the frequencies that are missing in the lights to start off with. This could be mitigated if the LED manufacturers came up with a simple way to plug and play different LEDs into their mounts/connectors allowing people to customize the color to their preference, much like T5s.

The other problem with this discussion is the usage of pictures. As we all know, taking pictures and using them as a basis for comparison between different tanks/people is problematic because so much depends on the photographer's ability to render color accurately (set white balance properly) and also because LED tanks are notoriously difficult to photograph properly (the end photos tend not to look anything like how the tank looks like in person).

Regardless, I agree with scolley that this is a worthy topic of discussion and I'm very interested in what comes out of it though I've pointed out a few issues with methodology. While all of my tanks are currently LED lit, my primary motivation for this was electrical savings (hard to ignore when your electrical bill runs around $400 - 600 a month) with color rendition and growth a second and third. I'm certainly not wed to the technology since I originally dumped my Solaris and went to an ATI Powermodul a few iterations back.


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Old 08/01/2010, 04:56 PM   #22
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About 20 years ago, we had 5500k Halides that produced this thin white light much like todays' 10k LED's. All your corals were kinda pale, dull, and boring. You could get really excited if some of those powder blue mushrooms from JP Burleson found their way into your tank. Green star polyps and Trachyphyllia were the "wow' colored corals that looked brighter than the rest. When VHO actinic came around, it was like a black light went off in your bedroom.

The reality of this whole topic is that corals in the wild are nowhere near as colorful as they seem to be in our tanks. Be thankful that now you have a powerful light that costs pennies to use and delivers very little heat.

Start buying and growing corals that look good under white light. Urine looks kinda boring in the toilet, but when you turn on the black light, it glows pretty nice.


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Old 08/01/2010, 05:13 PM   #23
blasterman789
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tahiriqbal View Post
Blasterman789....... As usual you pop around every now and repeat what people have already discussed
Baloney. I'm the only one that's brought up a solution to the issue. Many of you are so busy copying what one or two guys have done over at Nano-Reef with small tanks and arguing about dimmer circuits it's annoying.

99% of DIY reef builds are RB + cool-white Crees, with no discussion towards other brands of LEDs or colors. I can hit the same PAR values and improve color with a build that costs no more than half what it costs with current Cree centric designs, and you don't see me making official write-ups.

Quote:
There are no such rules set in stone regarding ratio or for any particular flux for the white LEDs.
Again, total Bull, and OP here has confirmed this. The rule is that you use 3watt Crees, only use RB and cool-white, spread them all over your tank like recessed lighting in your basement, and obsess over the best way to build a dimmer circuit. Would you like me to link 1,000+ or so threads to prove it?

A couple guys dictate these LED tutorials, and they're all the same. "Use cool-white and RB Crees because they're the standard". The result is crap color, and there is no open thought on this because those of you who've dropped several hundred dollars on cool-white based lights won't admit it. However, a year or two down the road I'm betting you'll quietly dump your lights and replace them with SMD based strips using better color combos, cheaper, and likely not running Cree.

Quote:
Your argument has already been discussed on other thread and please don't try to repeat yourself over and over again.
It hasn't been discussed because the guys pushing Cree lights also sell them, which is a serious conflict of interest and a forum violation.

I don't care what emitters you use, but I encourage people to at least try different color ratios small scale before commiting. You have a problem with that? Also, please don't tell me what to post or how to think, got it? If we were discussing this in an engineering board room you'd likely be excused because I'm objectively open to other solutions.

Quote:
This is a very difficult topic to discuss in an online forum because people like different colors in their tanks.
It shoudn't be difficult, and that's what's annoying. With metal halide you have a choice of a dozen brands of bulbs all of which deliver excellent color and PAR, nobody obsesses over dimmer circuits for halides, and nobody running 400watt halides is told they should use a dozen 30watt halides so they can get 'better coverage'. T5 users have an ever greater array of options.

However, with DIY LED threads you are only allowed the option of Cree, RB, and cool-white, and how dare you use something other than Cree or cool-whites? Doesn't this seem a bit odd? Why is it nobody pushes you to use cool-white CFLs over your tank, but cool-white Crees are 'the standard' when the spectrum is similiar?

Quote:
This could be mitigated if the LED manufacturers came up with a simple way to plug and play different LEDs into their mounts/connectors allowing people to customize the color to their preference, much like T5s.
Originally the Chinese were just using cool-white and RB because for the most part Asians manufacturers are copycats. However, the trend has been increasing towards SMD based lights that look like T5's, and those tubes having color combos of preference. So, your color options will likely be like changing T5 tubes.

The current DIY design of spreading 3watt LEDs evenly around a big chunk of aluminum is already obsolete. Again, this works fine for a nano tank, but is inefficient and expensive on larger tanks. Don't take my word for it - just look at the direction recent commercial lights are going.

Another controversial topic is that PAR meters are typically not skewed properly for reef requirements and put too much weight on longer spectrums because they are primarily designed for terrestrial fruiting plants. The result is that cool-white LEDs yield a false high meter reading with PAR meters, even to the point where I've seen white only LEDs deliver higher meter readings than twice the wattage of RBs. This is absurd and why I don't trust PAR meters except for same spectrum reference tests. Far blue is the action spectrum for corals, and if you think the high levels of green and yellow-green light in a cool-white LED contribute to photosynthesis somebody needs to go back to science class.

What this means is your tank looks darker than your halides as I believe you complained about. The main reason for this is because cool-white LEDs are given more PAR weighting than they should. As long as you have sufficient RB, and this includes the blue that's in cool-whites to be fair, everything else is optional. The good thing is that LEDs are hyper efficient at producing 450-470nm light. Originally I was using 450lumen Bridgelux cool-whites without RB, and getting decent PAR. It was simply because there was enough far blue buried in those high powered emitters to keep things growing. Color sucked though, but at the time I was on the band wagon.

Again, the color problem is greatly helped by simply trying different color combos, such as warmer LEDs closely flanked with two or even three RBs. It will get you in the ballpark of 20k or 14k halides and actually drive actinic colors harder. This fixes color disco problems as well. Also, once you stop using cool-white LEDs Cree doesn't have such an efficiency lead and there's more LED options.


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Old 08/01/2010, 05:18 PM   #24
NyReefNoob
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i do agree on the part about where it is hard to get a proper picture dictating the color, the photo's i posted make the led seem as bright or brighter then my t5's were. this is definately not the case as it was in person. also the pic with the t5's seem a little washed out as it isnt in person


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Old 08/01/2010, 06:16 PM   #25
tahiriqbal
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Location: Manchester England UK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blasterman789 View Post
Baloney. I'm the only one that's brought up a solution to the issue. Many of you are so busy copying what one or two guys have done over at Nano-Reef with small tanks and arguing about dimmer circuits it's annoying.

99% of DIY reef builds are RB + cool-white Crees, with no discussion towards other brands of LEDs or colors. I can hit the same PAR values and improve color with a build that costs no more than half what it costs with current Cree centric designs, and you don't see me making official write-ups.

[I]" As matter of fact washout colour from LED fixtures was and still been highlighted and discussed. Since you have also pointed out that many of us has joined the bandwagon what one or two people on forums has either recommended or tried with their DIY fixtures "WRONG". I am almost done with my prototype LED boards and each board has set number of LEDs from different colour flux and not only that, I have also employed plain blue LEDs with equal ratio royal blues. I have also employed Cree's MCEW (RGB)LEDs which would also help me to blend and mix the colour very well to suit and meet my needs."This will enable me to make the right decision as what ratio or what particular make/brand LEDs to go for" Lets not forget that we have not worked out the best way to use the optics to mix the colour with our current setups. [/I]


Again, total Bull, and OP here has confirmed this. The rule is that you use 3watt Crees, only use RB and cool-white, spread them all over your tank like recessed lighting in your basement, and obsess over the best way to build a dimmer circuit. Would you like me to link 1,000+ or so threads to prove it?

" Once again there is no set rule regarding the use of 3 watt LEDs but only to point out that some LEDs in "3watt" bracket are much better than others brands. I have used high power LEDs (jumble of 1 watt LED DIES plastered on a jumbo ceramic) long before you even started to read about LEDs and trust me they failed miserably so don't even go there. 10/20/30/50 or even 100 watt LEDs are no way as good "efficiency point of view" when compared with any well known branded LEDs. IMO, If you want to go with any other brand than what people are already using then no one is stopping anyone.

A couple guys dictate these LED tutorials, and they're all the same. "Use cool-white and RB Crees because they're the standard". The result is crap color, and there is no open thought on this because those of you who've dropped several hundred dollars on cool-white based lights won't admit it. However, a year or two down the road I'm betting you'll quietly dump your lights and replace them with SMD based strips using better color combos, cheaper, and likely not running Cree.

Sorry, but SMD LED are not powerful enough to punch the light on deeper tanks so going with SMD would not be an option.


It hasn't been discussed because the guys pushing Cree lights also sell them, which is a serious conflict of interest and a forum violation.

I don't care what emitters you use, but I encourage people to at least try different color ratios small scale before commiting. You have a problem with that? Also, please don't tell me what to post or how to think, got it? If we were discussing this in an engineering board room you'd likely be excused because I'm objectively open to other solutions.



It shoudn't be difficult, and that's what's annoying. With metal halide you have a choice of a dozen brands of bulbs all of which deliver excellent color and PAR, nobody obsesses over dimmer circuits for halides, and nobody running 400watt halides is told they should use a dozen 30watt halides so they can get 'better coverage'. T5 users have an ever greater array of options.

However, with DIY LED threads you are only allowed the option of Cree, RB, and cool-white, and how dare you use something other than Cree or cool-whites? Doesn't this seem a bit odd? Why is it nobody pushes you to use cool-white CFLs over your tank, but cool-white Crees are 'the standard' when the spectrum is similiar?



Originally the Chinese were just using cool-white and RB because for the most part Asians manufacturers are copycats. However, the trend has been increasing towards SMD based lights that look like T5's, and those tubes having color combos of preference. So, your color options will likely be like changing T5 tubes.

The current DIY design of spreading 3watt LEDs evenly around a big chunk of aluminum is already obsolete. Again, this works fine for a nano tank, but is inefficient and expensive on larger tanks. Don't take my word for it - just look at the direction recent commercial lights are going.

Another controversial topic is that PAR meters are typically not skewed properly for reef requirements and put too much weight on longer spectrums because they are primarily designed for terrestrial fruiting plants. The result is that cool-white LEDs yield a false high meter reading with PAR meters, even to the point where I've seen white only LEDs deliver higher meter readings than twice the wattage of RBs. This is absurd and why I don't trust PAR meters except for same spectrum reference tests. Far blue is the action spectrum for corals, and if you think the high levels of green and yellow-green light in a cool-white LED contribute to photosynthesis somebody needs to go back to science class.

What this means is your tank looks darker than your halides as I believe you complained about. The main reason for this is because cool-white LEDs are given more PAR weighting than they should. As long as you have sufficient RB, and this includes the blue that's in cool-whites to be fair, everything else is optional. The good thing is that LEDs are hyper efficient at producing 450-470nm light. Originally I was using 450lumen Bridgelux cool-whites without RB, and getting decent PAR. It was simply because there was enough far blue buried in those high powered emitters to keep things growing. Color sucked though, but at the time I was on the band wagon.

Again, the color problem is greatly helped by simply trying different color combos, such as warmer LEDs closely flanked with two or even three RBs. It will get you in the ballpark of 20k or 14k halides and actually drive actinic colors harder. This fixes color disco problems as well. Also, once you stop using cool-white LEDs Cree doesn't have such an efficiency lead and there's more LED options.



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