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I have just bought a 3ft X 18 X 18 tank that I intend to use as a well-planted community tank. I have decided to make my own light structure using LED floodlights from eBay like these http://m.ebay.com.au/itm/2X-50W-LED-SMD-AU-Plug-220V-240V-Flood-Light-Outdoor-Floodlight-Cool-White-IP65-/221939847231?nav=SEARCH

and just make a basic stand from wood to go on top of the tank to hang them from.

I can't afford a CO2 canister setup, but apart from that I'm willing to do a fair bit to get the tank well planted and looking nice. I've calculated that I need about 100-130w of light for decent plant growth in my tank

My question is, for a tank of my size is it better for plant growth for me to buy 4 X 30w led floodlights, 2 X 50w led floodlights, or a different combination? The prices are all pretty similar.

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You're forking out $62 for 2? LED downlights, pulling 50W (is that each, or combined?), punching somewhere between 5800-6200k...with probably more than 5000 hours of conceivable use (maybe a typo on eBay, & should read 50,000 as per the usual LED spiel?)?

I'd especially be checking on the hours of use, given it's listed at >5000 hours - even cheap LED's that rank around the $60-$70 mark for 3ft list their usage at anywhere between 25,000-50,000 hours. If you're going to be up for another $62 every 9 months (~5000 hours), then I'd give this one a massive miss...especially if they're both pulling 50W together, let alone 50W each?

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I was just planning on getting a mix of "cool white" and "warm white" leds that added up to 100-130w as that's what I had read I would need. Is this incorrect? I wasn't aware there were specific "plant growing" LEDs.

The $62 is for 2 X 50w lights. I see what you mean about the hours, but after looking at other listings by that seller I think you are right that it is a typo. They should say 50 000 hours. I was thinking of either getting these two or 4 X 30w LEDs, as I still can't find a light that produces that much wattage that cheap.

Am I missing something? Is wattage not the important thing? This is my first DIY tank project.

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Plant specific leds will have 6000-7500k, any higher than that and you will grow more algae than plants.

Seeing as you're not going to run c02 you will be looking at hardier plants that usually don't need high wattage light to grow so basically any led light with the right Kelvin rating will work.

Cheers mick

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I don't know anything about LED as tank lights I have 2 LED down lights in our living room and I would have to check but I think they are only 15 w each so 50 Watts from LEDs is a huge amount of light.

They used to use 2 fluro tubes shorter than the tank one normal and one UV from memory they would have been as small as 20 watt each.

A fish tank is not a tennis court. (grin)

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Household lights list wattage as if it directly correlates to lumens, the brightness our eyes percieve if you like. For normal low tech and hardy plants, we dont necessarily meed high visible lumens or brightness, more a moderate amount of light at certain spectrums, similar but different to kelvin ratings.

If i was on a computer and not my phone i would try to find a plant light for newbies website, but..

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Well today I went to a local aquarium sale and bought a 3ft Beamswork LED slightly secondhand for cheap. I know that it won't be enough for good plant growth, so what kind of supplementary light should I buy? I will go for another LED. The guy had a 2ft version of the Beamswork, would running both work well for plant growth? Thanks for the advice

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A 3ft Beamswork LED (as long as 6500k) should provide adequate light to sustain a planted tank, depending on what plants you're looking at keeping? Some plants are very hardy with lower light requirements...while some require much more lighting?

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A 3ft Beamswork LED (as long as 6500k) should provide adequate light to sustain a planted tank, depending on what plants you're looking at keeping? Some plants are very hardy with lower light requirements...while some require much more lighting?

I have 2 3' beamswork ( and 2 4' ) they are 8000k and barely grow Java moss on an 18 inch deep tank .

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I have 2 3' beamswork ( and 2 4' ) they are 8000k and barely grow Java moss on an 18 inch deep tank .

I have a single Beamswork 3ft suspended 9 inches above a partitioned 36x15x12 native breeding tank, & haven't had any issues with plant growth so far - including native fissidens & java moss-equivalents. The rack is away from the window as well, so can't take credit for ambient sunlight supplementing the tank, either.

Have learnt from experience, though, that once you venture above the 7500k zone (i.e. approaching marine tank lighting up to 10,000k), plants don't fare so well...but the algae certainly does!

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