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Aquarium Lighting with LED Spotlights

maintenance, care, compatibility

DIY Aquarium Lighting, LED Lights in Aquarium

DIY Aquarium Lighting, LED Lights in Aquarium
One of the key moments of maintaining a healthy, beautiful aquarium with lush aquarium plants is LIGHTING. Highlights of the selection of aquarium lighting have already been covered on FanFishka.ru, in this ARTICLE.

Here, I would like to share with the reader my experience of creating a high-grade, high-quality lighting for an aquarium with live aquarium plants.
So, we will discuss the creation of mixed lighting: the installation of LED spotlights (hereinafter referred to as “SD projector”) in a plastic aquarium cover and a T5 fluorescent lamp (hereinafter “LL T5”). Also in this article we will consider the installation of coolers in the aquarium to cool the water in the summer.
CONSIDER ALL QUESTIONS BY ORDER:
– What is mixed lighting, why is it needed, what are the advantages?
– Why precisely LED spotlight? –
– Why precisely in the cover?
– Why do I need a T5 lamp?
– Choosing a cd spotlight?
– What do you need to create lighting with your own hands?
– The process of assembling aquarium lighting in the home.
– How much is it?
– Is it worth bothering? What is the effect?

What is mixed lighting, why is it needed, what are the advantages?

MIXED LIGHTING – It is a combination of different sources of lighting. A good example of such lighting is the ADA Solar I luminaire, where Takashi Amano combines a metal halide floodlight MH-HQI 150W with two LL T5 lamps of 36 watts each.
In general, if we talk about high-quality aquarium lighting, then in my opinion a metal halide spotlight (hereinafter – MG) in combination with LL is the best option. Such lighting “breaks through” even the deepest aquariums, the characteristics of such lighting are as close as possible to natural, natural lighting.

Well, and a visual row, you just will please – sparkling glare of waves at the bottom of the aquarium, the shadows of plants and fish, natural, rich colors. Why do you need such mixed lighting?

It’s very simple to recreate the “effect of the sun” in your tank: the effect of sunrise, zenith and sunset.
Agree, the Sun does not fry 24 hours a day, the maximum intensity of sunlight is observed only during the day – at lunchtime. The rest of the time, the Sun either rises or sets, the intensity of illumination gradually increases and then decreases.
Approximately the same effect can be achieved with a mixed luminaire (lighting), when LL T5 (sunrise) is switched on first, then a searchlight (zenith) is added for 3-4 hours, and then (LL T5) again work (sunset) again.
The advantages of such lighting are clear:
1. Aquarium plants get the most natural light. Set a certain rhythm.
2. Prevention of algal outbreak. Powerful, long-lasting, and even more so illumination leads to the “greening” of the aquarium.

It is only necessary to create a peak of activity of lighting, and not to “fry” an aquarium for 12 hours a day.
3. At the same time, the presence of powerful, directional and high-quality lighting in sufficient quantities is the key to success!
Why LED led spotlight? Why precisely in the cover? The only significant drawback of the metal halide lamp is that it heats up very much.

Alas, such lighting can be used only in open aquariums (without a cover), at a distance of at least 30 cm from the surface of the water, while using hangers or stoics for the lamp.
When I decided the question of what kind of lighting would be in my aquarium, I proceeded from the assumption that the aquarium would be closed (with a lid). Firstly, the spouse wanted so much))), secondly, I agreed with her that the aquarium with the lid looks at home, as it is more comfortable, plus at home cats who watch “Aqua-TV” every evening, and all the same, the house is not an exhibition center and not an ADA laboratory … metal halide spotlights in a house are a bust!

But, here everyone decides for himself … my opinion is not a dogma.
So, an analogue of the metal-halogen spotlight is the LED. Immediately I will note the word “analog” in quotes … yet there is a significant difference.

First, LED lighting, in contrast to the MG discrete. Discreteness (from the Latin. discretus – divided, intermittent) – a property opposed to continuity, discontinuity.

To explain on the fingers, below the photo example, what a continuous and discrete spectrum looks like.

Thus, we see that the spectrum of LEDs, to put it mildly, is not the best. And the thing is, not even in the peaks of red and blue, namely, that aquarium plants in fact, in the process of photosynthesis, absorb the entire visible spectrum, and it is deficient in diabetes.
What is the similarity between MG and SD, you ask? Why initially do such “poor-quality” lighting?

The answers to these questions will reveal the benefits of CD spotlights.
1. Like the metal halide spotlight, the LED has directional lighting. That is, the efficiency of LEDs is much higher than, for example, in fluorescent lamps, the effective use of which is possible only with reflectors. Speaking in everyday language, the SD and MG projecters “beat” one way, and not “sprayed” at all.

It is this property that makes it possible to “pierce” MG and SD spotlights the deepest aquariums and the water column of 60 centimeters or more.
2. Unlike MG, the LED spotlight does not emit excessive heat. Verified

From the front side, the LED searchlight does not heat up at all, and the back part heats up, but is tolerable (tolerable for a hand and a plastic cover). Some aquarists are advised to put a cooler on the CD for heat, but so far even now, when it’s 36 on the street, I see no need for that.

Again, this is not a constant, everyone has their own specifics.
3. LED lighting is by far the most economical lighting. You will save 3, 10 times on electricity.
4. A significant drawback, for example, of fluorescent lamps, is their flickering with a frequency that is noticeable even to the eye. In this connection, with a long-term effect of LL on a person, his eyes very quickly get tired.

LED lamps are powered by direct current, so they have no flickering.
5. Other positive aspects of diabetes: safety (work at low voltage, which is important for the aquarium business) and long life (up to 100,000 hours).
Why do I need a T5 lamp? From the fact that T5 fluorescent lamps are better than T8, I think they already know a lot, so I will not focus on this particular attention here.
I used LL T5 in my case, firstly, to create mixed lighting, and secondly, to make up for the discreteness of the LED spectrum.
Namely, the so-called “Full Spectrum” lamp was used.

Fluorescent lamp for the aquarium, designed to provide intensive lighting. The JBL Solar Ultra Color T5 lamp has increased power compared to standard T8 lamps and has a full range of colors.
When using a JBL Solar Ultra Color lamp in an aquarium, you will gain increased red and blue color transmission of aquarium fish and other inhabitants of the aquarium.
Having a higher proportion of red and blue in the spectrum, the JBL Solar Ultra Color aquarium lamp stimulates the synthesis of chlorophylls, which in turn speeds up the process of photosynthesis.
Naturally, this lamp was installed with a reflector / reflector. I note that I wanted to initially install 2 such lamps, for uniform lighting and good power, but alas, the dimensions of the cover did not allow to do this.
The choice of LED spotlight
To the selection and acquisition of LED spotlight must be treated with special scruples. This is a very important and expensive moment, without paying enough attention to that, you can simply throw your money away.
Since I am a pioneer on FanFishka, I had to subtract a lot of information, review a lot of characteristics of various projectors and LED panels, collect scant information on forums and talk with a few experts on the LED case.
And so, what conclusion was made! Per 100-110 l. Aquarium, net volume need:
1. Two LED spotlights. Since they have a directional light and one, albeit a more powerful searchlight does not cover the entire area of ​​the bottom and the reservoir as a whole.
If the cover allows, you can put three spotlights (of lesser power), which will give you more confidence that the spotlights will not burn quickly. Alas, the repair of SD-spotlights are not subject.

Less powerful spotlights heat less, respectively, the risks are reduced. At the same time, the smaller the watt of diabetes, the less its “penetrating” ability and its other characteristics, too.

In general, all you need to calculate and estimate.
2. Everyone knows that LED lighting is much more powerful than the nominal. That is, the power of LEDs in watts to measure at least not correctly.
So I asked the question, but how many watts then is needed in my aquarium. To believe the sellers in the market who say: “Multiply by three years and there will be those real wats” is stupid!

In general, I had to rummage in this matter and find clearer information.
And the truth is quite simple, lighting, in addition to watts, has a lot of characteristics, including the so-called Lumens – is the amount of light emitted / emitted by the light source. A light source with a luminous flux of 1 lumen, which uniformly illuminates any surface of 1 square meter, creates on it (surfaces) an illumination of 1 lux.
Experienced, aquarists have found that for a good herbalist, for the Dutch and Amanovo aquarium, you need 40-50 lumens per liter of pure water.
The task was solved and the choice of searchlights became extremely specific – you need two searchlights so that in the sum of their Lumens they give 50 Lm / l.
3. And the last two important points when choosing a CD projector are all the same: spectrum and Kelvin.
As it turned out, the searchlights were full of variety: there was a warm glow, a cold glow, I even came across RGB searchlights (and for a long time I understood what that kind of thing was))). But, we only need one searchlight – with a spectrum as close as possible to daylight.

This type of LED has the best characteristics.
Kelvin (K) – This is the color temperature of any light source. This is the measure of our impression of the color of this light source. For maintenance of aquarium plants, it is recommended from 6500 to 8000 K.

What do you need to create lighting in the aquarium with your own hands and how much will it cost?

LED (Light Emitting Diode) lighting is an excellent option for a saltwater or freshwater aquarium. LED lamps do not consume much electricity.

Differ in long and rather easy operation. These features allow you to reduce operating costs for a long time. Environmentally friendly LED lighting does not contain harmful chemicals such as mercury or phosphorus, unlike fluorescent lamps.

You have the opportunity to install LED lighting aquarium with your own hands, if you use the instructions.

  1. LED aquarium lighting is initially expensive, but standard LED lamps currently work up to 50,000 hours, and are cheaper if you count on their long-term perspective.
  2. LED lighting also emits less heat, so it does not always require fans and cooling systems (depending on the number of lamps installed).
  3. Determine what type of LED light will best suit your needs for lighting a fish tank. If you have a salt water aquarium, more powerful LED lights will be required. Large and deep tanks also require strong lighting.

  • This is ideal for a tank with relatively small plants. Tanks with lively underwater reefs require more light, and buying LED aquarium lamps with higher power ratings is highly recommended.
  • Electricity and water in the interaction form a charge that can be deadly. The human body works as a channel between them, and with improper maintenance of the lamps, injury from electric shock may occur. Turn off all electronics, wiring systems and lighting when installing LED lamps, and drain the water from the aquarium. It will protect your life.
  • Look at the LED backlit aquarium.

    How to install LED aquarium lighting by yourself

    The first method, how to make LED lighting aquarium do it yourself is the simplest. Here you can use the cover with a special backlight.

    It is recommended to attach white LED stripes around the perimeter of the lid, which will provide a variety of spectrum and ensure uniform illumination of the upper perimeter of the tank.

    The second method is to make a small “chandelier”. Above the tank it is necessary to make a block of square, round or diamond shape, in which you can put all the equipment and LED strip. Lighting capacity of 120 watts is enough for a spacious tank with a capacity of 250-300 liters, where many fish and plants live.

    Such a “chandelier” may contain about 40 LED lamps with a luminous flux of 270 lm (lumen), 3 watts each. The brightness of the illumination will be more than 10,000 lm, which will provide a bright light spectrum in an aquarium of such a volume.

    The main thing is to constantly monitor the balance of the ecosystem: an excess of green light contributes to the reproduction of microbes.


    How much does it cost to assemble such a lamp? The cost may be different, depending on the seller.

    It is advisable to buy LED lamps from trusted manufacturers, so that they last for a long time and do not create installation difficulties. Reliable imported LED lamps: Osram, Cree, Philips, Lumileds.

    Russian manufacturers of LED dump: “Feron”, “Camelion”, “Jazzway”, “Gauss”, “Navigator”, “Era”.

    To mount the lighting with such bulbs yourself, you need:

    • Buy a lot of LED bulbs, LED strip;
    • Plastic trench 10 cm wide and 2 meters long;
    • Power supply 12 V, can be carried out from a stationary computer;
    • Take the soft wire 1.5 mm;
    • Get air conditioning at 6-12 V;
    • No LED connectors are needed for the LED strip; 40 lamps are required for the lamps;
    • Cutter for holes 48 mm.

    See how to make LED lighting for the aquarium with your own hands.

    After all materials have been prepared, two grooves should be cut along the plastic construction, and about 20 pieces should be drilled in the lower part. at 1 meter, you can staggered. Then in the holes you need to put the LEDs, and fix them. All lamps must be connected to the power supply.

    If you do not know how to properly handle the wiring, contact an electrician who can perform the procedure correctly.

    The cooler or fan should be placed in the place of evaporation or heating of the lighting coating. For decorative purposes, you can make a night light, which will become an imitation of moonlight. It is needed for tropical sea fish and sea anemones.

    For night light, you can use a blue LED ribbon, which can be installed on the back wall. An electric lighting timer or automatic switching on / off of the backlight must also be connected in order to regulate the amount of daylight required.


    The lighting of the aquarium should come from its upper part – this is how soft and diffused light is formed. It is better to use an ICE lamp with a power of 1 W, however, for different aquariums the appropriate power is chosen.

    A LED strip of 30-40 light bulbs with a total power of 3 watts may be enough for a 200-liter tank. The main thing that the light was not too bright, and not harm the slaves and plants.

    The optimal calculation is 0.5 watts per 1 liter of water, but for a deep and spacious aquarium in the formula, all indicators must be multiplied by two.

    It is also important to take into account the thickness of the bottom – visually the water and all bottom plants should receive enough light in the lower layers of the tank. Bottom fishes and snails require a little light, but the plants will still grow and require more light.

    In the process of photosynthesis, plants will require a lot of light, because of its deficiency will emit less oxygen. To avoid problems, you need to adjust the amount of daylight, and create a uniform lighting in the pond, which will receive every inhabitant.

    What are the requirements for the LEDs in the aquarium?

    What types of aquarium LED lights are available?

    The choice of LED aquarium lights on the market is not as large as, for example, fluorescent lamps. Most often in the stores there are low-power colored, usually blue, lamps that mimic the moonlight.

    They are good in those aquariums where they live night fish – with the help of night lighting, you can observe them.

    LEDs are widely represented to illuminate nano aquariums, the most popular are the small Aquael Leddy hinged luminaires with a power of 3 and 6 W. There are similar lamps from Dennerle and Aqualighter, but they are on sale much less often, and Dennerle is also several times more expensive.

    And only in the most advanced aquarium online stores you can find LED lights for large aquariums. These are Aquael Leddy long (39 and 54 cm each), Aqualighter 1, 2 and 3 rulers and adjustable-length Fluval LED luminaires.

    They are designed to be fixed in the lid or on the walls of the aquarium, protected from the ingress of water, very convenient to install and operate.

    As for the power of their lighting, then, according to aquarists, it is abundantly enough for good lighting of fish and scenery, but only professional, very expensive Aqualighter 3 and Fluval LED models are suitable for Amman or Dutch aquariums with a large number of capricious plants from the above models.

    For the sake of fairness, we will mention another group of LED lamps, which are almost not found on sale in Russia. This is a high-tech, powerful and incredibly expensive complexes for lighting marine reef aquariums firms Hagen, Eheim, Giesemann.

    Since industrial-made LED aquarium lights are not yet very affordable, and the choice of ordinary LEDs at any electrical store is huge, many aquarists are trying to make lighting for their aquarium on their own.

    For this, depending on the required light power, LED lamps, a searchlight or a tape are used. There are no established rules, everyone is experimenting for his own pleasure, as well as to the best of his skills and financial capabilities.

    For example, we chose the easiest and cheapest way and supplemented the fluorescent lighting of our aquarium with LED strips. Since we only needed to increase the illumination slightly (the plants in this aquarium are unpretentious), we decided that such an upgrade would be enough.

    The following materials and equipment were used:

    1. SMD 5050 LED strip: super power diodes, white color, color temperature about 6000 K, increased dust and moisture protection (silicone casing). Tape power 14.4 watts per meter.
    2. Start-charging device (its power must exceed the total power of the tape installed in the aquarium). In our case, a device with a capacity of 60 watts was used on a 3.5 meter tape with a total power of 50.4 W.
    3. Aquarium silicone sealant.

    A cover with tapes stuck on the power supply.

    The length of the tape was measured according to the size of the cap so as to cut along the lines indicated on the tape. Cut in other places can not be!

    Cut the tape into the desired number of parts.

    The ends of adjacent tapes were soldered with short pieces of wire with respect to polarity (plus to plus) and soldered to the power supply. We made the wire to the block long enough for the latter to be located on the pedestal, outside the aquarium.

    Then they glued the tape to the lid with silicone, pressed it with a load until it was completely dry (it can last up to a day, depending on the glue). The ends of the tape are sealed with silicone sealant.

    And everything, after drying the cover is ready for installation.

    Sealed wire and tape connection.

    The result of adding LEDs to fluorescent lamps immediately became noticeable visually – the aquarium brightened, in addition, the condition of the plants improved: they began to more actively photosynthesize (this can be seen from the oxygen bubbles on the leaves), grow faster and produce new shoots.

    No undesirable side effects, such as overheating, are noted. The starter heats up to about 40 ° C, but since it is outside the aquarium, this does not affect the water temperature.

    In short, we were satisfied and are going to continue to experiment in other aquariums.

    Obviously, LED lighting is the future of aquarism. But now there are enough opportunities to evaluate its merits.

    Take advantage of them and see for yourself.

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