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Old 07/08/2011, 12:03 AM   #1
Felixc395
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LED Recommendation Thread

LED's are quite common and are becoming even more popular. So to cope with the rising market, there has to be a thread to help inquires out. So why not let this be the place.

If you have any questions on LED's post them here. Others will hopefully help you out. I've been waiting for an LED Q&A thread for a while, so why not start one. As a new LED enthusiast, I can't get enough information. And what better way to learn then from others.

Pictures are always helpful and will be of great use to others. LED's are a great form of lighting and are extremely versatile. Considering that both T5 and metal halide have had Q&A threads, LED should too.

Just got a new fixture, post it! New brand that you just found out about? Post it! Need help finding the fixture that works best in your situation, feel free to ask! Have some awesome coral pics under LED's? Post them!

So ask, comment, and post away everyone!


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Old 07/08/2011, 01:00 AM   #2
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AI's seem to be the best all round, I like the blue models.

Are AI's really the best?


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Old 07/08/2011, 10:18 AM   #3
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I wouldn't call AI's the best, however I would call them the best in reliability. They've been around long enough for people to know they do in fact work and there's a plethora of experience that people have shared to confirm it.

I believe that any fixture with 3 watt cree's is manageable. Fixtures like acanlighting or the new maxspect mazarra, that people just don't know too much about could really be quality fixtures, there's just less experience there.


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Old 07/08/2011, 10:23 AM   #4
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Why they have to be cree LED's, cant they be from anonther brand??


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Old 07/08/2011, 10:36 AM   #5
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yes great idea for a thread as I am sure lost of people are looking in to LEDs for there tanks.
I just a new tech. that I think alot of people are having trouble justifying the price tag of LED. one day you spend 1k on lights and three months later the next best thing some along, or there a even better upgrade.


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Old 07/08/2011, 10:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by symon_say View Post
Why they have to be cree LED's, cant they be from anonther brand??
For the moment, cree's have the highest luminous output, if other manufactures can match the technology of Cree, then they would be great too. Cree is just very advanced and the moment.

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yes great idea for a thread as I am sure lost of people are looking in to LEDs for there tanks.
I just a new tech. that I think alot of people are having trouble justifying the price tag of LED. one day you spend 1k on lights and three months later the next best thing some along, or there a even better upgrade.
You have a good point, but the best thing about LED is their upgradibility! Hey, a new Cree bulb comes out that's revolutionary, just switch out a puck or strip of LED's and your setup. Firmware upgrades also keep the fixtures up to date. But I understand where you're coming from. And also, a lot of people switching from high energy fixture like metal halide really get a quick payback time that is totally worth it for sure!


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Old 07/08/2011, 11:12 AM   #7
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I assume DIY is not an intended topic of this thread? It is a viable option for those 'handy' types who like to tinker a little. Talk about maintainability, serviceability, and cost savings....


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Old 07/08/2011, 11:48 AM   #8
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I wish I was handy enough. But I'm terrible with DIY projects.


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Old 07/08/2011, 11:50 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by brassmonkyballs View Post
I assume DIY is not an intended topic of this thread? It is a viable option for those 'handy' types who like to tinker a little. Talk about maintainability, serviceability, and cost savings....
But of course DIY talk is welcome here. For others, DIY is a great recommendation that is an extremely valuable option for price and quality. So DIY talk away! Haha.


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Old 07/08/2011, 03:57 PM   #10
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With DIY can you get the some results as AIs? How much cost savings are we talking about with DIY vs AIs?

If AI aren't the best "All in One" the whom is?


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Old 07/08/2011, 07:45 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by 3.99AfterTaxes View Post
I had a few AI's. I got replaced them with an Illumina. Couldn't be happier.
What makes you happier with the Vertex Illumina??


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Old 07/08/2011, 07:48 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Felixc395 View Post
But of course DIY talk is welcome here. For others, DIY is a great recommendation that is an extremely valuable option for price and quality. So DIY talk away! Haha.
Well then here's a snapshot from a large DIY thread I participate in....copied and pasted to here. The thread title is DIY LEDs-The Write-up but its a few hundred pages long I believe I would need 3 AI Sols to light my tank. I did this for slightly more than the price of 1. Ask away and I'm happy to answer....and excuse the bare tank...its a new tank build too


Thought some folks might be interested in some PAR readings from my build. Recap:
120G 4x2x2 Oceanic Tech tank
36" fixture
18 Cree CW
6 Cree NW
50 Cree RB
MW HLG 120-42B running the whites and 6 RBs
MW HLG 185-42B running 44 RBs

THERE ARE NO OPTICS ON THIS BUILD

Overall I am very happy and i think in the perfect range and in fact all my corals are responding very nicely...no burnout or bleaching! With optics there is no doubt the top of the tank would be too high. Thats not to say I couldn't add some 60 degree lenses on the very front row and the ends to focus a bit more on the sand and the sides of the tank.

The bottom row of measurements are on the sand next to the glass with the end readings in the corners so well away from the fixture. The ends of the center and top rows were taken just outside the fixture ends but the middle is under the fixture. I also am led to believe that the sensor reads the RB ~20% low due to the narrow spectrum but who knows.

Here they are



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Old 07/08/2011, 08:44 PM   #13
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For me, the LED system needs to be control by a controller, like a Profilux.
I need, want full control of everything attach to my aquarium, so it be control anytime, anywhere.

I think the only ones are AI and Pacific Sun that can be controlled by a controller?

I know Pacific Sun are coming out with some new models later this month.
Waiting to see what they have before I buy a my LED system for my new build.


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Old 07/08/2011, 09:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luisagos View Post
For me, the LED system needs to be control by a controller, like a Profilux.
I need, want full control of everything attach to my aquarium, so it be control anytime, anywhere.

I think the only ones are AI and Pacific Sun that can be controlled by a controller?

I know Pacific Sun are coming out with some new models later this month.
Waiting to see what they have before I buy a my LED system for my new build.
Well, I know that those two can since I have both and I do use a Profilux.


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Old 07/08/2011, 09:15 PM   #15
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I want to build a new DIY fixture soon and have been following EgKids build as he has the same setup I have been pondering. It is a supreme 24 3W cree LED w/ 60* optics on a 4.25"x23" drilled and tapped heat sink. He did dimmable drivers and price wise I would like to do constant for the health of my wallet and funds. Now would this setup from rapidled.com be enough lighting to keep softies/lps and maybe a few sps in my 40B? Should I choose different optics? Perhaps 80*? Worry about shadowing?


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Old 07/08/2011, 09:35 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bedroomgangsta View Post
I want to build a new DIY fixture soon and have been following EgKids build as he has the same setup I have been pondering. It is a supreme 24 3W cree LED w/ 60* optics on a 4.25"x23" drilled and tapped heat sink. He did dimmable drivers and price wise I would like to do constant for the health of my wallet and funds. Now would this setup from rapidled.com be enough lighting to keep softies/lps and maybe a few sps in my 40B? Should I choose different optics? Perhaps 80*? Worry about shadowing?
Would go with the 80 degree optics but it depends how high your fixture will be....if 8" or less you won't need any optics. I think that kit would be fine for what you want to do. by the way...go with the dimmable drivers....they give you infinite capability to mix your color....and I suggest you ask them to trade out for more RBs...like 16 RBs and 8 CWs...they'll do it no problem...great guys.

note also....DIY builds using dimmable drivers do connect to those with controllers every wants the ability to use.


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Old 07/08/2011, 11:17 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by brassmonkyballs View Post
Would go with the 80 degree optics but it depends how high your fixture will be....if 8" or less you won't need any optics. I think that kit would be fine for what you want to do. by the way...go with the dimmable drivers....they give you infinite capability to mix your color....and I suggest you ask them to trade out for more RBs...like 16 RBs and 8 CWs...they'll do it no problem...great guys.

note also....DIY builds using dimmable drivers do connect to those with controllers every wants the ability to use.
Well said, good advice. And I didn't know that about DIY controlling capabilities, interesting. Thanks.


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Old 07/08/2011, 11:23 PM   #18
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And thank you brassmonky for those PAR readings and specs. It's interesting to see the difference between optics and no optics.

I'm also surprised that you can get such high numbers, without optics, over a 120 with only 74 LEDs. Proves how strong LEDs really are. Thanks for the information, it will benefit many people I'm sure.

And not a shabby tank in any respect either! Very clean, elegant, and beautiful


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Old 07/09/2011, 09:58 AM   #19
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Now for the most part, I've heard LED's are great. But there's still some that report color loss or browning.

I was wondering if this was due to either
- a large increase in PAR over their previous non-LED light that is just too much for the corals to take, resulting in fading.
- but I still can't figure out the browning part. I feel like at times this is a result of a non-light aspect as maybe water quality of flow isn't supposed to be.

Now LED's have been around a while, and I've also heard they don't cover the spectrum well. Based off some fantastic LED tanks, I don't believe it for a second.

But could someone clarify this to me? Does LED do an adequate job covering the proper spectrum, say an AI module for instance???


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Old 07/09/2011, 11:18 AM   #20
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The Vertex Illumina also has a controller, its a wireless dongle that you program from your computer.


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Old 07/09/2011, 11:26 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Felixc395 View Post
Now for the most part, I've heard LED's are great. But there's still some that report color loss or browning.

I was wondering if this was due to either
- a large increase in PAR over their previous non-LED light that is just too much for the corals to take, resulting in fading.
- but I still can't figure out the browning part. I feel like at times this is a result of a non-light aspect as maybe water quality of flow isn't supposed to be.

Now LED's have been around a while, and I've also heard they don't cover the spectrum well. Based off some fantastic LED tanks, I don't believe it for a second.

But could someone clarify this to me? Does LED do an adequate job covering the proper spectrum, say an AI module for instance???
I don't know about the browning but the bleaching is just too much light IMO. Before I went whole hog LED I bought a 14g cube and retro'd the hood solely for experimental purposes. Initially I had a 50/50 cool white/Royal Blue mix. The Royal Blues are in the 450nm range which we've learned is beneficial to our coral. i grew several monti caps which grew very fast, a branching hydnaphora, a couple chalices, and zoas like bam bam, eagle eyes, and some no names. All grew very very well...even fast. With the 50/50 mix the greens got very bright but the reds were not quite as vibrant. The chalices while growing lost a tinge of purple but the green rim on one really darkened up.

Earlier this year a friend brought over an ORA Tri Color Acro to put in it for a test. After a month the purple tips washed out to green but the thing kept growing. We became suspect that the color was too white so I took out half the whites a replaced them with the royal blues. A month later the purple tips came back, the chalices colored back up, and the bright greens got brighter. Now we had it figured out.

The Cree XPG cool whites (DIY, AI) are about 8000k temperature. When I did my 120g build I mixed in a few Cree Neutral Whites (~4000k) to throw some yellow into the mix and I went 2-1 Royal Blue to total white. I have since sold off the small cube and the pieces I had in there are part of my 120 and I can happily report that the tri color has really taken off and the purple has really exploded. The Chalice has doubled in size suddenly and colored up a nice purple with green rim and green eyes. Every SPS i picked up has colored up better than were they came from.

To me some zoas look very different though. Under blues they all look great but when my whites come on a few of them are not as vibrant but look healthy.

So with all that said I believe it really has to do with the power of the fixture with regards to bleaching and the color temp with regards to color.

I do not have 1st hand experience with the AIs but since they use Cree then I think highly of them but would opt for their 'blue' version which I think is the 2-1 blue to white which is what my experimenting over the last year has proven to be a winner for me on my DIY.


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Old 07/09/2011, 01:10 PM   #22
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No optics at all? So just basically the white pad with the led on it? What would be best to get the most spread/least spotlight effect for my 36" tank on a 24" heat sink? Do you think going dimmable is the best right off the bat because I can control the color or if I did ask for more RB leds and less CW on a constant driver @ less cost would that be as effective? The cost is my main issue so Im trying to conserve, granted they pay for themselves in short time.


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Old 07/09/2011, 01:44 PM   #23
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Also, would you recommend the drilled and tapped heat sink, or the one that is not? With a 15$ price difference is the D&T sink easier to put together or would I be fine with the solid one? I wanted to try and keep this under 250$ for the build and eventually add on to it, such as a controller, more led's etc...


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Old 07/09/2011, 03:35 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bedroomgangsta View Post
No optics at all? So just basically the white pad with the led on it? What would be best to get the most spread/least spotlight effect for my 36" tank on a 24" heat sink? Do you think going dimmable is the best right off the bat because I can control the color or if I did ask for more RB leds and less CW on a constant driver @ less cost would that be as effective? The cost is my main issue so Im trying to conserve, granted they pay for themselves in short time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bedroomgangsta View Post
Also, would you recommend the drilled and tapped heat sink, or the one that is not? With a 15$ price difference is the D&T sink easier to put together or would I be fine with the solid one? I wanted to try and keep this under 250$ for the build and eventually add on to it, such as a controller, more led's etc...
Go dimmable, that's for sure. Also 70 or 100 degree optics would spread the best without sacrificing PAR. And the tapped heatsink will probably save you some time, probably worth the extra money IMO.


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Old 07/09/2011, 03:47 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by brassmonkyballs View Post
Well then here's a snapshot from a large DIY thread I participate in....copied and pasted to here. The thread title is DIY LEDs-The Write-up but its a few hundred pages long I believe I would need 3 AI Sols to light my tank. I did this for slightly more than the price of 1. Ask away and I'm happy to answer....and excuse the bare tank...its a new tank build too


Thought some folks might be interested in some PAR readings from my build. Recap:
120G 4x2x2 Oceanic Tech tank
36" fixture
18 Cree CW
6 Cree NW
50 Cree RB
MW HLG 120-42B running the whites and 6 RBs
MW HLG 185-42B running 44 RBs

THERE ARE NO OPTICS ON THIS BUILD

Overall I am very happy and i think in the perfect range and in fact all my corals are responding very nicely...no burnout or bleaching! With optics there is no doubt the top of the tank would be too high. Thats not to say I couldn't add some 60 degree lenses on the very front row and the ends to focus a bit more on the sand and the sides of the tank.

The bottom row of measurements are on the sand next to the glass with the end readings in the corners so well away from the fixture. The ends of the center and top rows were taken just outside the fixture ends but the middle is under the fixture. I also am led to believe that the sensor reads the RB ~20% low due to the narrow spectrum but who knows.

Here they are
You have the same tank as I have and you are running a very similar led build!! I have 13 cw, 13 nw, 4 blue, and 39 rb running of 5 eln's all retrofitted into a 48 inch fixture, no optics, about 4 inches over the water. Works awsome.


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