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Reef Mag » Aquarium LED Lighting

Aquarium LED Lighting

I’m a big fan of LEDs. I’ve done quite a lot of research into the technology with the aim of creating my own aquarium lighting hood. Below are links to some pages covering my LED DIY builds and some general thoughts and ideas on the subject.

DIY Projects

High Power LED Lighting Hood

This is now pretty much finished as far as the electrical side is concerned.

The build is documented in several parts:

  1. Why DIY An Aquarium LED Light?
  2. Requirements and Aims
  3. The Hardware
  4. The Latest DIY Update

Thoughts for the Current Commercial Crop

I’m not blown away by the current commercial crop of LED fixtures. They are getting better but many are not up to par and don’t have the controllability that should come as standard with LED technology.

So, what would I say to the commercial manufacturers if I could ask them to build me a perfect fixture?

  1. Use fewer, higher power LEDs. This must keep the build costs down and increases the shimmer effect so beloved by aquarists. Run them at full chat, make the most of them.
  2. Use discreet, user swappable LED units. If one LED blows (an admittedly unlikely occurrence) at least make it easily replaceable. With this could come with some flexibility. Perhaps a user could swap out whites for more blues or vice versa.
  3. Direct-able light, or swappable lenses. Not every tank is exactly a number of feet by a number of feet.
  4. Dimmable by automated controller.
  5. Quiet fans. We all hate noise. There are plenty of available fans in all sizes that are almost silent.

Innovation for the Future

LED fixtures as a heat source

LEDs produce heat. Why not make use of it. It is a common counter in discussions about the benefits of LED lighting that one drawback to the cool light is increased heater running times.

Well, I think there is a solution. Run small bore piping around or through the LED heat sinks.

Where a block style heat sink is used for many LEDs to be mounted on this should be quite easy to achieve. A path of piping could be channelled through the heat sink in a similar way to the underfloor heating systems:

Underfloor heating grid could be used as a template for channelling water through heat sinks

This could be the first line of attack when the temperature starts to fall in the aquarium. Set it to run on a timer with the lighting. The backup would to run a standard heater if the temperature falls even further (i.e. if the LED heat was not enough or the lights were off).

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