Lets Talk LED

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Hi Guys

Ok, so I am sure this has been debated to death by now, but I have a couple of questions/observations.

This came after seeing the thread about the Black Box by @leslie hempel.

So, help me understand. Lets take the black box as an example.

It is a 165W light, that provides a spread of 60cm. So if I am correct, that unit pulls 165W per hour. Now, to do a 1.2 metre tank with those lights, you would need 2 of them, which would amount to 330W.

If you were to use 1.2m long T5 tubes, it would be 54W per tube, and I believe 4 of them would be more than enough, so you are looking at 216W.

Breakdown, LEDS do a spread of 3.6CM per Watt.
T5 do a spread of 5.5CM per Watt.

Now, the question. If I take my home, which mainly runs on LEDS, I get much more light, and bigger spread, for much less wattage, vs old school technology. So, please educate me, why are LEDS for marine tanks still so power hungry? Shouldn't the technology allow for better power consumption?

Zetlight ZS-7300 200W, 90 * 60 CM, so thats a bit closer, but still more than a T5, at 4.5W per CM.
Zetlight ZT6800, 230W, 101.6 CM, so still more, at 4.4W.

Ok, I am only going on length here, did not take width into consideration, or depth, as I do not easily find info on T5 Spread.

DISCLAIMER: I do not know much about LEDS, and I only have LPS and Softies, I am not trying to diss LEDS at all, I am really just curious.
 
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You need to keep in mind that T5's draw a constant 54w per bulb (if it is a 54w bulb) and that is it. My zetlight runs at about 70% intensity so the consumption of power is reduced, it uses about 60% of the total wattage that the unit can do. Wattage and LED's, unless the unit is undimmable, will be different in all tanks.
 
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You need to keep in mind that T5's draw a constant 54w per bulb (if it is a 54w bulb) and that is it. My zetlight runs at about 70% intensity so the consumption of power is reduced, it uses about 60% of the total wattage that the unit can do. Wattage and LED's, unless the unit is undimmable, will be different in all tanks.
Ok, I'll try to understand, but then, you are probably not running at max spread for a reason. If you were to dim the two lights in example, would it still cover an area of 1.2m, or would it reduce the spread area? Again, I am talking in Ignorance, so trying to understand. They way I see things, in order to cover the max spread area, you would need to set the light at its max output?

Further to that, if you take the black box lights, at 70%, it still uses more power, at 231W, and at 60%, it uses 198W, which is just just less than the T5's
 
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The Zetlight I am running has 2x50W white chips (i think, I have not looked at the units specs in years), those are the power hungry ones and if I run them lower than 80% the power is greatly reduced.

I run them lower because I do not want a white tank. I do not run green and cyan during the daytime channel as well. It is personal preference. No need to overheat your led and wear you fans out just because you can.
 

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There is an LED for every size tank, that said it doesnt mean the black box is the elidgable candidate for a 1.2 for EG, personally i would look at a light sich as the ZS7300 for this kind of application if multiple black boxes were needed and the prices exceeded that of a single ZS7300,

Also we need to fully undertsand what you want to achieve with your system, i often had people annoyed with me for not putting prices on my adverts when i useto retail but my main reason was so that we could engage and propperly discuss the requirement of the system, gain a better understanding of what the aquarists wanted to achieve and could recieve propper guidance knowing the pros and cons of their decisions.

So to get to the led vs T5 topic

LED is not ususally run at 100% whereas a T5 would be (unless using pacific sun or ATI type units which are controllable and employ dimming).

LED have a longer lifespan vs T5 but lets be careful here as heat dispersion and fans are a must IMO for a propper longlasting LED unit, even T5 benefit from "active" (fan cooling), and PAR is far more stable as the buls dont prematurley brittle or yellow out.

Spin off benefits are no chiller needed in most cases with LED but this is very hit and miss as tank positioning is to be considered. (tanks in more north facing rooms will attract more heat due to ambient temps and sun exposure)

So in short black box is not for everyone, id personally say id use it for smaller systems under 80cm (ideally 60cm) and preferrably shallower (50cm), or refuguims

They are suitable for spfties and LPS mostly, very hardy sps have been seen happy with them used (montipora) but i personally feel we put so much pressure on lights for results and lack looking at the holistic needs of chemistyr, filtration and flow which all also play an important part.
 
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Hi @leslie hempel

Thanks for that. I was actually just using the black box as an example. I suppose there are many factors to factor in, but I am a bit surprised that a person would need such a high wattage unit to have a successful reef tank.

Lets take your kitchen lights as an example. A LED tube, same size as fluorescent tube, will be more than 50% lighter on power consumption, with a much better light spread and penetration throughout the room.

Now, I am not even getting into the costs of them, or any other factors, as like you stated, they are variable. I am merely surprised that the units can't give better power consumption.

As per the other response, the Zetlight comes with one or two 50W led's, now if you look at your spotlight outside, a 10W is way more than sufficient to light up a massive area in you yard. Why would it have to be a 50W led vs the outdoor 10W?

Again, its more about me trying to understand why there is such a difference in power consumption in these marine led lights, vs old tech outside of our hobby and new tech outside of our hobby.

BTW, I like both LED and T5, and I think a combo would be fantastic, but still need to get there.
 
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I run my ZT6600 with a dual ATI bulb T5 combo and personally, I think I will always have a hybrid. Best of both worlds.

I am in the market for a sollution to my coral growout tank, I am only looking at passive cooled LED units or T5's. Passively cooler units have fewer parts that can fail and longer LED life due to a constant and stable temp created by the overkill heat sinks.
 
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leslie hempel

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As per the other response, the Zetlight comes with one or two 50W led's, now if you look at your spotlight outside, a 10W is way more than sufficient to light up a massive area in you yard. Why would it have to be a 50W led vs the outdoor 10W?
no prob, yes just love a good led light topic myself, i feel its probably the fastest progression in the hobby right now, on the black box we realise its "not all time" wasnt trying to defend just offering thoughts :)

but refferrung to the quoted extract in this post you would most deffinatley think we could have better effieciencies but my only guess is that it could be hight wattage because iof the vast array of diodes used in order to try give as close to a full spectrum as possible, we already know that LED light frequesncy is supposed to be stronger that T% and hailide so the idea was that the whites and brighness of the lights was always for our astetic viewing pleasure?

the technology is so rapid im not even sure if that statement still stands? lol
 
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You need to keep in mind that T5's draw a constant 54w per bulb (if it is a 54w bulb) and that is it. My zetlight runs at about 70% intensity so the consumption of power is reduced, it uses about 60% of the total wattage that the unit can do. Wattage and LED's, unless the unit is undimmable, will be different in all tanks.
You Should Turn that baby to Full Throttle :tt2:
 
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no prob, yes just love a good led light topic myself, i feel its probably the fastest progression in the hobby right now, on the black box we realise its "not all time" wasnt trying to defend just offering thoughts :)

but refferrung to the quoted extract in this post you would most deffinatley think we could have better effieciencies but my only guess is that it could be hight wattage because iof the vast array of diodes used in order to try give as close to a full spectrum as possible, we already know that LED light frequesncy is supposed to be stronger that T% and hailide so the idea was that the whites and brighness of the lights was always for our astetic viewing pleasure?

the technology is so rapid im not even sure if that statement still stands? lol
Maybe it'd be easier if a proper analysis could be done. Would be interesting to see if you take away aesthetics, and purely go on coral growth per say, which would win wattage wise, or whether a led could lower usage by 50%.

Would be nice if they can lower that usage even more substantially.

However, on the coral growth, I often wonder about these LED's with their full spectrum. I have seen immense growth of softies under very white/yellow light compared to what a LED would provide in terms of color. Then again, there are so many factors, and all corals are different, some softies are just like weeds(grows in almost any environment), and might like a yellow-ish light like algae seems to like.
 
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I can vouch for the difference between full spectrum LED's and lower standard LED's. The difference is unreal in colour and growth which I could not achieve with lower spec LED's alone, in combo with T5's and medium spec LED's alone and in combo with T5's. I got growth with the lower spec lights but not comparable to the full spectrum lights. Corals did not colour up that much and not in the bottom half of the tank. Now I get good growth and colour and even on the sand bed.

This is my view and experience with LED's
 
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a further benefit with full spectrum LED's is that I had SPS change colour. I had a green acro that is actually a yellow acro under the full spectrum lights. Another greenish one is now a blue/turquois colour, a pale cream coloured SPS is now pink. Under the full spectrum lights you can now see that the tips of some acros are a different colour than the body of the coral which was not visible under the low or medium spec LED's.

Depends on what you want to achieve.
 
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a further benefit with full spectrum LED's is that I had SPS change colour. I had a green acro that is actually a yellow acro under the full spectrum lights. Another greenish one is now a blue/turquois colour, a pale cream coloured SPS is now pink. Under the full spectrum lights you can now see that the tips of some acros are a different colour than the body of the coral which was not visible under the low or medium spec LED's.

Depends on what you want to achieve.
Would this be achievable with T5's though?
 
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Would this be achievable with T5's though?
I had these acros that underwent the colour changes under T5's, LED's and combos of the two and I never got them to colour up as they are doing now. I'm not saying it is not possible, I could not achieve it.

I'm not an expert with T5's, I could never get the right combination of bulbs to get the desired colouration, maybe I was just stupid with these lights ;)
 
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Yes it is. Lights are just one piece of the puzzle in keeping corals happy and getting them to colour up
Thanks. I am rather new to SPS, only had the very hardy one's at one stage, IE birds nests and monti's. To be honest, I am not the biggest fan of SPS, more of an LPS and softy guy myself.

Anyway, thanks for all the input guys and girls
 
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I can vouch for the difference between full spectrum LED's and lower standard LED's. The difference is unreal in colour and growth which I could not achieve with lower spec LED's alone, in combo with T5's and medium spec LED's alone and in combo with T5's. I got growth with the lower spec lights but not comparable to the full spectrum lights. Corals did not colour up that much and not in the bottom half of the tank. Now I get good growth and colour and even on the sand bed.

This is my view and experience with LED's
I can vouch for this, I have seen @Joshua1 s tank under the Orphek's it is really unbelievable!
 

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Ok so this week past was another one which contended with the ever debatable LED debate, this is a subject I am pretty passionate about and I have invested a lot of time and effort into sorcing cost effective intermediate to top quality, to an extent controllable plug in and play units, one of these units is the Chinese Black box LED light bars I import, not to be confused with the Orphek LED light bars which we also sell and are really popular with aquarists,!


We have yet to have a disappointed customer but we have a lot of very contencious debate around what makes a good led

So I decided to give a little bit more of an explination of the Chinese black box LED light bars


Basically when I did my research I took the following into consideration:


· Price of DIY kits,

· lifespan of DIY kits and

· price of DIY kits, and I tried to find a light that would take away the hassel of having to build your own light unit through trial and error.

In our debates off forum I pointed out the following.

While DIY may seem cheaper it is not always and for may reasons, that statement can be squeezed a little further to say that depending on size of system DIY “could” be feasible to a point but I still firmly believe that there is a lot of trial and error in building your own units, and this can be a very important area of reefkeeping to make mistakes in.

Reefers very seldom properly factor their time in as an expense for assembling the unt, and when you take this into consideration whilst trying to produce a astetically pleasing controllable unit, costs will pretty much come up to the same as, or on par with a slightly better factory built unit.

Don’t agree?

Well show me to date a locally unit that can beat imported units (specifically our units in astetics and performance.

Its also very important to understand what you are comparing price of, and what delivery you are getting from the LEDs for the price paid. Anyone can slap a unit together but I think its important to compare apples with apples.

For EG: my question was posted on a local chat group, as to if I brought in a controllable version of our Chinese Black box LED light bar for under R3000 what was the feeling of support for that product, I immediately had guys comparing these brands which are 3w diodes to units with SMD chips, slating the price, this made me realise that whilst many talk LED talk very few UNDERSTAND led differences which prompted me to challenge everyones knowledge about lights! Lets not even get into PAR, but you simply cannot compare a 3w diode to an SMD chip. They simply do not do the same thing and are not capable of producing remotely similar light output!


Add to this a lense and we get either spread (120deg), narrow spread with a bit of punch (90 deg) or just pure depth penetration (60 deg),

Add to this that the Unit is sealed (ip67 rated) which means that the unit can actually withstand being momentarily submersed in water (this has become a standard test for LED to assist with lifespan and safety).

So I ask you, is it really cheaper to buy a DIY led anymore? Wouldent you take out the guesswork of spectrum and have a tried and tested unit?

I felt the region of R3000 was fair for a 1.2m 14k or actinic unit that is controllable and offers the goods? what do you think?
 
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