Led Vs Tube Lighting

PlumbersMerchant

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I bought a 4ft tank second hand and basically the hood is crap and made out of some cheep aluminium. The bracket to hold the light tube in place just doesn't and as there is only one bulb I find it doesn't illuminate the tank properly. I want to make one out of wood/Mdf but can't decide which lighting to use, bulbs or LED's ?. Any advice from experience or just general ideas would be great. Also would pva glue and water act as an efficient barrier to stop the wood rotting ?
 

Ch4rlie

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This does depends on what kinds of plants you would like to grow basically.
 
IMO and from i've learned personally,
 
For example 2x T8 tube lights are good for low tech level lighting, for plants such as anubias, java ferns, elodea etc
 
2 x T5 tube lights are good for low to medium level lighting, you will get better plant growth for such plants like cryptocorynes and vallis.
 
However if you were to have 4x T5 lights or high wattage LEDS then you will be going into high tech territory, for plants like carpet plants, and red or fine leaved plants as general rule. 
 
Do be aware that a lot of LED lights are generally for Marine tank set ups, which are extremely white lights, 9,000k+ which won't do much good for plants really, you will be looking for LED that have output of at least 1w or better yet 3w per LED and 6,500k which is more beneficial for plants.
Avoid cheap LED light units with a few blue LEDS, generally these have less than 0.5w per LED and clustered close together and of no real benefits imho.
 
Also with high tech set up, you will probably do need a Co2 system, either as pressurised Co2 or liquid Co2, daily dosing of fertilisers, and possibly root tabs for stem/root plants.
 
In a nutshell, more lights means plants will need more nutrients and co2 to grow well.
 
I have only just started doing high level plants and still have quite a bit to learn but thoroughly enjoyable.
 
A lot of this does depends on tank size, depth of water, types of plants, substrate etc etc 
 
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PlumbersMerchant

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Not wanting anything too high tech really, like co2 etc. I just have a handful of live plants but their main purpose for me is to look natural and be a snack for the fish. They currently grow slowly and dont die so I don't want to change much about that, it's more so the tank is better illuminated. I have a 4ft x 15 wide x 18 high within only one bulb in the existing lid ( which leaves the back half of the tank in darkness). Would like 2 have 2 good quality bulbs or LED's. The Jong about LED is the heat sinks and wiring etc that scare me ha ha
 

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Well if its just a low/med tech set up, then IMO  2x T5 will do nicely. Very easy to do for DIY or can simply buy a light unit that fits your tank length.
 
You could use something like this as a complete T5 tropical light unit, not the cheapest but just to give you an idea
http://www.allpondsolutions.co.uk/120cm-t5-fish-tank-lights-two-tubes.html
 
DIY method would be to get a starter unit, something like this,
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Hagen-GLO-39W-T5-Twin-Electronic-Lighting-Controller-Starter-Unit-/301108840237?_trksid=p2054897.l4276
 
Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will either agree with the above or give more information than i can.
 
But for now, that will give you a start on what to look out for anyway and take it from there.
 
Do be aware there are different wattages available so plan what you would like, 24w, 39w or 54w+ for which is most suitable your requirements.
 
BTW fish don't really snack on plants, depends on species naturally but as general rule, most fish leave plants alone.
Loaches for example love uprooting plants!
 
Its generally common/pest snails that may munch on plants. 
 
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PlumbersMerchant

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thankyou for such a quick reply. I'm probably the only 25 year old out there who is so crap on the internet ha ha. I think the bulb option does sound better and all the LFS do sell them. Would you advise putting some Perspex underneath/around to stop water splashing/evaporating on the bulbs ?
 

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If DIY lights then perspex or glass under the light tubes is a good idea to make them last a little longer, not essential but good practice i think.
 
Also be sure what specie of fish you have as some are known to be jumpers like rainbowfish, hatchetfish endlers etc so a covered tank might be good idea in case yo decide on a open top tank with a overhead light unit.
 
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PlumbersMerchant

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I've narrowed it down to tube lights but am just as confused now ! Ha ha. Looks like I will need a double ballast with starter motor etc. problem is they all seem to be or specific diameter of lights, specific lengths and watts !
Why can't this suff be easy ???
 

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bricko said:
These are a cheap and efficient LED perfect for most planted aquarium, I have these on my 6 footer;
 
http://www.aquaessentials.co.uk/wavepoint-led-strip-light-6500k-48-p-6699.html
 
Comes with everthing you need, just plug into a timer and go!
 
These looks like a fairly decent led set up, does say 1w per led, making these 20w at 6,500k daylight output which is perfectly fine for low tech tanks.
 
I have this set of LED's on my nano tank, you can, of course, purchase longer length units on that website although these are higher tech than you probably want, 3w per led, gives a total 18w and at 6,500k for a nano tank which is quite a lot. These are my first set of LEDs and only had them for a short while yet, at the moment cannot say if these are any good or not for sure yet.
 
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Beamswork-6500K-3Wx-6-daylight-white-hang-on-LED-light-for-planted-aquarium-/151171228154?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item233281e1fa
 
Just goes to show, there are many varieties of LED's on the marketplace so at the choices of lights are ever increasing, sorry to make you even more confused!
 
A lot of this depends on your budget and what you really want, so a little research would be good before actually purchasing anything.
 

nortonmad213

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im running two t5's on my tank, one plant growth 'pink' light and one HO 7,500k at the front of my tank. works perfectly :)
 

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on my 35 gallon tank, the rear light is an 18 inch t5 6500k daylight bulb---mounted on the front is a 42 led inexpensive led light strip that is bright enough for my needs
 

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