Madison Area Reef Society - Club and reef discussion

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Postby Rslinger on Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:21 pm

So I am thinking about making the switch to led. Maybe buying a rapid led kit. Or there already put together fixture. My biggest question do I need to be able to dim or is that not a huge worry?
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Re: led????;

Postby Rslinger on Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:47 pm

Second question my wife wants to know. Will I save much on my power bill. I currently run two 150 halides and 2 56w t-5.
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Re: led????;

Postby creik on Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:46 pm

I have a Aqua Illuminations "Nano" and the matching controller on my 12gal. cube. It looks great, I love the control you get with the controller,
day/night, storms, etc. and best of all no need to mess with timers.
The big benefits beyond that are:
1. quiet. the cooling fans cannot be heard standing right next to tank
2. i have no data, but i bet anything that LED's consume significantly less power than MH
3. there is virtually no heat generated, so that translates in indirect A/C savings
4. there is no degradation of light spectrum
5. they last 50,000 hours, so you have to amortize the cost over that period of time
i hope that helps.
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Re: led????;

Postby Beer Reefer on Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:28 am

I switched to a 24 x 3watt rapid led diy fixture about 9 months ago and am really happy with the results. I had a 150 DE metal halide.

I would go with the dimmer feature. The 3watt leds are BRIGHT and it's nice to be able to choose the color of the output. I run my blues at around 80% and the whites at around 50%. I like a more blue look.

If you go with the diy kit i would not glue the lens on the leds. The leds with no lens have a spread of 120 deg. My personal opinion is that even with the 80 deg lens you could still have a "hot spot" that could burn corals. I did try the lens on the leds and got what some people call the disco effect. I then took off the lens and what a difference. Great color. I have one fixture over my 40 gal tank that is 21" deep and the fixture is 5" above the tank. I have a maxima clam and an anemone at the bottom of the tank that are thriving.

As for the electric bill. Yes you will notice a huge difference. At least I did.

The diy fixture is fairly easy to put together. Do you have any experience with a soldering iron?
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Re: led????;

Postby jelly on Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:24 pm

when i switched form MH and VHOs to LED i save alot.. i went from 1000w down to 550w.. i have a diy kit with 165 leds. i save money on power and water cause i have less heat in the water and less evaperation. i got my diy kit from reefledlights.com and its a phoenix kit.. you can also get fixtures from them and they are out of chicago. i ask have my kit hooked to my apex controller so i will dim up and down on its own for me. i love my leds..
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Re: led????;

Postby Rslinger on Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:19 pm

I ordered the 48 plug type kit from rapid this morning with the controller they offer that let's you do the sun rise type effect. I also ordered 4 extra blue led because I enjoy 20k. I am ready lol. No optics you think. I will have to try with out first but in my canopy I can put it 2 feet off the water if I would like.
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Re: led????;

Postby muskee82 on Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:27 pm

So I wrote all this below while you were posting your most recent reply - but I thought since I already wrote it out I'd still include it and it might be helpful to someone else looking at led's.

I know most people on MARS do dyi led fixtures but don't shy away from the pre-made ones either if you're not led savvy like myself. I didn't have the time or background knowledge to build my own so I went the pre-made route. From what I've seen there's basically 4 different options: 1) the longer marineland reef capable types (name brand and off brand on e-bay), 2)Kessils or similar 3) rectangular 55x3watt 120 fixtures that are a plenty at swaps and online 4)more expensive fixtures

What I've seen from my research.

1) Marinelands and similar can work but you need a lot of them. From what I've heard from friends in the hobby the ebay versions are actually better. The biggest problem here from what I've heard is that they're overly white in their spectrum and they cost a lot for what they are.

2) Kessils (sp?) have a great reputation but they can be pricey and only work in situations where you can get them high enough for proper light distribution. That means a no go for canopies etc.

3) The 3x55 watt 120 fixtures seem very popular. I lot of what's out there is still limited on spectrum (ie very blue or very white) but if you don't mind the spectrum they are fairly cheap and from what I've read very effective. Easily transported for swaps and whatnot. Recently several companies have come out with design your own options for spectrum and a similar light would be the new "evergrow" 120watt full spectrum fixtures on e-bay and throughout the web. Do some research on these. The spectrum is amazing, and there's a TON of info on these out there on the web . I have 2 of them over my 150 tall and they light it way better than 2-250 radiums did. The spectrum is better, the coverage is better, the heat is way less, and I don't even drive them at 100%. They can be had for about $170 each if you watch. Your rapid led pre-made fixtures would fall into this category although they aren't as powerfull and cost about $270 a piece. But you get the piece of mind of a brand name and the warranty with it etc... I've heard good things about their products.

4) If you have the money for the really nice expensive led fixtures then go for it. Lots of great options out there. I personally would rather spend the difference on fish or corals but there's some really nice fancy options out there fixture wise. Timers, awesome spectrum, different mounting options etc...

Whatever you do I'd go with optics unless you tank is only like 18-20" deep. Much better at reaching deeper into the tank and just a nicer overall look, more shimmer etc... imo.

In answer to your direct questions: Yes, I would highly recommend being able to dim them for several reasons. Unless you see a fixture in person and really like the spectrum, the dimmers are crucial in dialing in exactly what color you like for your tank. They're also very helpful if you have any valuable corals in your tank to acclimate your corals to the new light level. Even with your setup with halides, LEDs are just different. There will be corals that get bleached or burnt most likely if you go full blast right away.

Yes you will save on your power bill. Currently your fixture runs "412 watts". I put that in parenthesis because a lot of halide and t5 fixtures overdrive the bulbs so you may actually be using closer to 450 or 500 watts. 2-120 watt fixtures would handle that tank no problem and you could probably do it with the dimmer at 50-75 % so you're looking at probably 180-200 watts of actual electricity used. Not to mention money spent cooling the tank in the summer etc.. etc.. with your current setup. Interestingly enough though you might be surprised depending on your setup that a lot of the cost of running your tank isn't necessarily the lighting. Return pumps, heaters, skimmer pumps all can suck a lot of power. Powerheads might only be 5-25 watts but use 4 or 6 or 8 of them and it adds up quick.

You will also save a ton on reusables. Most fixtures go for 30-50,000 hours on leds but I would realistically expect more like 3-5 years because we're just on the forefront of the led fixture movement - and I expect other parts to fail before the 17 years that the leds would last if on for 8 hours a day. Even at 5 years with your current fixture you'll probably spend a minimum of $600-900 on bulbs replacing at every 12 months, and much more if you replace every 8 months or run premium bulbs.
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Re: led????;

Postby Rslinger on Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:42 pm

The new bulb cost is what I think I really sold my wife on. I said its either 250 for bulbs every year or 6 hundred now plus save on electricity.
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