DIY LED Lights - how many strips of LED tape?

Aquarium Decor, DIY and Equipment.
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Last Triumph
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DIY LED Lights - how many strips of LED tape?

Post by Last Triumph » Sun Dec 01, 2019 17:50 pm

Having been very disappointed with a Fluval Plant 3.0 due to it being far too yellow/green and not having enough red/blue capability despite endless adjustment on the app, and not wanting to spend £500 on a Twinstar 1200SA which does have my desired colour spectrum and brightness, I want to have a go at building my own.

To give myself the colour spectrum control, I intend to use 24V 5050 RGBW LED strips, which give circa 1,000 lumens per meter - it;s a 48" tank so the strips will be about a meter long, or slightly more.

My questions to anyone else who has made their own light fixtures using LED strips is, how many strips of light did it take to give satisfactory light levels?

I do like a bright tank and have previously in years gone by used twin T8 Hagen PowerGlo lamps which are proper bright and powerful - I'm looking to replicate that to penetrate a 22" deep tank.

My gut tells me I'll need at least 6 strips, maybe even 8, especially if I dim some of the white and green out to give me spikes in the red and blue spectrum.

Anyone?

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fr499y
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Re: DIY LED Lights - how many strips of LED tape?

Post by fr499y » Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:24 am

LED's might not look as bright as T8/T5 but they are! I'm suprised you're not happy with the plant 3.0! You don't need a lot of red/blue as the warm and cool white contain most of what you need. RGBW strips are a waste of time unless you are mixing them with whites. Have you tried using the new 'Pro' mode?

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Re: DIY LED Lights - how many strips of LED tape?

Post by Last Triumph » Mon Dec 02, 2019 18:09 pm

fr499y wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:24 am
LED's might not look as bright as T8/T5 but they are! I'm surprised you're not happy with the plant 3.0! You don't need a lot of red/blue as the warm and cool white contain most of what you need. RGBW strips are a waste of time unless you are mixing them with whites. Have you tried using the new 'Pro' mode?
I sent the 3.0 back as I just couldn't stand the look of the light - it was far too green/yellow for my taste and my orange and blue fish looked grey and dead.

I played around with it for hours and hours, trying to get a colour temperature that I was happy with and I had so much of the white turned down, it was way too dim as there was nowhere near enough red and blue - I'd have needed 4 of them to get close.

I'm used to PowerGlo and Tropical Daylight Tubes which have a very strong cold white/blue/pink colour tone to them which makes the fish colours really pop - the 3.0 just looked dull and lifeless, or incredibly dim once I'd throttled back all the white to get the reds/blues to show up.

The ideal lights (for me) need lots of ice white at 15,000k+ and plenty of red and blue, with very little or no green and yellow.

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Re: DIY LED Lights - how many strips of LED tape?

Post by fr499y » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:16 am

You'd be better off looking for a light unit with 450nm royal blues and reds to make the fish pop. Plants might suffer though with the type of lighting you want.

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