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Old 02-17-2011, 01:09 PM   #11
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I've run the LEDs at full power just to check how hot the fixture got. I'd like to avoid using fans if I can. Fans would mean I need another power supply and small fans make a lot of noise because they need to run at high RPM to move any air.

I'd rather add some heat sinks to the fixture or try a water cooling setup instead of fans. I contemplated doing water cooling from the start. I was going to use a small powerhead and some tubing and pump tank water through the fixture. It could still be done pretty easily, but I need to find some aquarium-safe tubing that transfers heat well.

I also thought about using thermal epoxy instead of screws to fasten my LEDs to the frame and running water directly through the aluminum frame. Apparently aluminum can be toxic in an aquarium, so I scratched that idea too.

Right now I've got the LEDs running at 1/3-1/2 power. I don't have CO2 or ferts yet and I've got green spot algae all over the glass, so I had to turn them down further. Once I've got all the gear I need, I'd like to crank the LEDs all the way up and see what happens. I think a high-light jungle tank running on ~30W of light would a pretty good accomplishment.
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Old 02-17-2011, 01:38 PM   #12
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Fully cranked that would be more than highlight lol. I have seen a few people try the water cooling methods on some Reef led setups they have to use stainless or titanium which both are way spendy. I run my fans at about 9 volts and they are silent you would be suprised how very litte air movement you need. On my 36 the light bar for my actinics sits right next to my halides. there are 10 royal blue crees on the heatsink without active cooling I get to about 110 on the heat sink measured with an arduino, with the fans on (two small computer fans super cheap) at 9 volts they are silent but can cool the heatsink down to a balmy 84 without any problems and thats sitting right next to my halide reflector which can boil water.

Water cooling with tank water could be an issue too I would suspect that the temp swing after the light went out wouldnt be all that fun for your fish.

It sounds like a great idea if you could implement it I would love to see. Do you have glass on top of the tank? I didnt see a splash gaurd on the emmiters.
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Old 02-17-2011, 01:48 PM   #13
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I would run a heater in conjunction with the LED water cooling. When the LEDs shut off, the heater should be able to pick up the slack. I just figure that I'm making heat so I may as well use it.

I've got a glass canopy on the tank. I don't really like the idea of an open tank. I'm afraid I'd have jumpers.
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Old 02-26-2011, 08:47 AM   #14
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Fort sent me some Glossostigma Elatinoides and Rotala Wallichii which I finally got planted yesterday. These, along with a few surviving sprigs of Asian Ambulia, are my only high-light plants and will be a true test of the capability of this light fixture.

I did a 50% PWC last night (got distracted while draining) and dosed maybe 2/3 of a capful of Flourish. This morning the plants were actually pearling! I thought the rotala might have just caught a few bubbles when I was refilling the tank, but the water sprite and even the glosso were pearling also. I wish I had had time to get a picture, but I had to go to work. Gotta pay for a new rear axle and four wheels for my wife's Jeep.

I ordered some dry ferts last night so I can start dosing the tank the right way. I think I'm going to try the PPS Pro method.
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Old 02-26-2011, 01:48 PM   #15
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Very nice design! I would like to make a fixture similar to yours for my 180 gallon. I'm looking for low to medium light so i think I would space mine similar to yours and run two rows. I'm guessing I would need 3 drivers for 3x as many LEDs? or would I be better off getting a larger driver? I'm trying to spend as little as possible and I'm not really good at picking out the quality products on DX lol. Any help would be aprreciated. thanks!
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Old 02-26-2011, 02:32 PM   #16
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If I were aiming for low to medium light on a large tank, I would look at 1W LEDs instead of the 3W diodes I used. You'll get better coverage for the same wattage.

You'd have to do the electrical calculations to figure out what driver would work best for you. I picked the driver I did because it would allow me to run my fixture with two parallel legs of five LEDs in series. Running more LEDs in series would require more voltage, but the same amperage. Adding another leg of five LEDs would require another amp of power at the same voltage. If you're not familiar with basic electronics, do some reading before you attempt something like this. Getting shocked (or worse) isn't any fun.
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Old 02-26-2011, 02:51 PM   #17
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I ordered some dry ferts last night so I can start dosing the tank the right way. I think I'm going to try the PPS Pro method.
I am switching from EI to PPS Pro so I can use an autodoser. I am currently pricing out the components and using neilan's plans (DIY Auto Dosing Solution).

I had good luck with EI but I get swamped at work in the summer and take long vacations so I figured something automatic would be good to start thinking about.

I am probably going to start a build thread once I get the components picked out. I can shoot you a PM when I get it posted, if you are interested.
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Old 02-26-2011, 04:46 PM   #18
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I built some autodosers using those plans with only a couple of slight modifications. So far it is working out great.
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Old 02-28-2011, 02:44 AM   #19
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Interested. I have a friend that owns a mh cooling campany and he says leds cant grow plants long term. I believe that anything is possible. So following just to bust his nay saying butt.
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Old 02-28-2011, 09:37 AM   #20
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The autodoser plans look good. I've seen a few ideas including one that uses a syringe, two check valves, and a lamp timer to mechanically drive the syringe. I may try the autodoser eventually.

I've seen people use the same LEDs I used on reef tanks with good results over a year. Corals are much more demanding than plants when it comes to light. I've also seen planted tanks using LEDs that have been running for a year and they're healthy too. I think ultimately LEDs will replace filament bulbs in most applications. LEDs are ideal for aquariums because they're directional sources, so you don't have to use reflectors to get the light into the tank.
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