I'm planning a 55G freshwater tank, and I have sort of a rough idea in my head of what I want, part of that vision is lighting...
First, I'll say that I have no desire to keep live plants in this tank, the lights will be used for viewing purposes only, and I'll be getting my FW
plant fix from a different tank.
Second, the decor for this tank will probably consist mostly of rocks and driftwood. I may end up with a few fake plants in there for color, but I'm not sure. I'm leaning towards using a darker substrate, maybe Tahitian Moon Sand?
Third, I want there to be LED
lights on this tank. This is mostly because I have a vision of providing lots of color to this tank through lighting. I'd like to be able to provide more than just white and blue light, sort of like a sunrise/sunset effect. My inspiration right now is the following: (if anyone else even understands this reference I'll be shocked)
Episode 8 of Season 21 of Survivor, there was a scene where there was this brilliant sunset and this strong, orange light was coming from one side, making the lighting of everything just strong. Here's a link to some pictures of it: Ep2108_0495
There are a bunch of other nearby pictures of it too.
Kind of obscure, I know, but I'd like to be able to have an LED
setup that can give me white, blue, and red/orange light. I suppose the more colors, the better, though.
So it doesn't look like there are any lighting systems out there that are pre-made to include any colors of light other than white and blue. What I'd really like to happen is to have a "sunrise" in the morning, starting out with red/orange light and going into white light during the day. A "sunset" at the end of the day, where the white fades out, then red light, which fades into blue light, then that fades out.
Each color of light would have to have a separate timer on it. I realize that I'm going to have to do some DIY here, but I don't have much confidence in my ability to make the final setup look good. I'm hoping to get some suggestions to make my life easier in this thread, or if not, at least I can document a lot of my ideas and if any of them actually work in case it helps anyone else.
So, what I'm thinking right now: I get a cheap LED
canopy light that has fade in/fade out capabilities with a timer that can control all of that, and that has only white light.
EDIT: The closest thing I can find to that is something like this: http://premiumaquatics.com/aquatic-s.../ML-32992.html
I'd really like to have a gradual fade in/fade out feature, and this appears to just be on/off. I have a sinking feeling that if I want fade in/fade out white light I'll have to make the same as the colored light. If I do it that way, then making it pretty might be difficult...
Then, I'll use something like these:
Radiantz Sidewinderz LED Light Strip - RED - 3 Lights RTI04
and I'd have to make my own 12V custom circuit that would control the voltage with a timer. I could just stick these on the white light system, or even on the sides of the tank -- one side for sunrise, the other side for sunset. This makes the "hard part" the controlling circuit for the colored lights, which conveniently falls close to (but not quite within) my area of expertise (I write software for a living, but I've had some hardware background). It's been a while, but I've made a microcontroller-based circuit before that could do this kind of thing.
If there's something I can buy to use for part of this circuit I'd rather do that than DIY that part, even if it costs more.
Anyways, I'll probably do some more research on this and stick it in this thread, but I welcome suggestions/constructive criticism here. If there's a way I can do this better, I'd certainly like to know about it.
I haven't bought anything for this tank yet, I think I might get the tank, stand, substrate, heater, and filter this weekend at the earliest, but even then I have 5-6 weeks while the tank fishless cycles before I have to have anything done for lighting purposes.