LED lighting is one of the most confusing aspects of setting up a fish tank. Most people at this point want LED lighting rather than older methods. They have proven themselves to grow corals well and have the ability to penetrate the water and get down to the deep areas of a tank. They also produce little heat, draw little electricity, and last for a very long time. They come in mixed colors so that you can easily get the right tone for your tank and you can even include an set of ultraviolet LEDs to emulate natural sunlight even more.
However, LED fixtures made for the hobby are very expensive. I spent about $1400 on the lights for my 210 gallon tank and that is cheap compared to what I could have. Because of that many people still buy older lighting and struggle with the natural hassles that come with high output florescent or metal halide lights: like replacement costs, fading, and heat output.
I came across the below article form Tested. That’s the group run by Adam Savage of Myth Busters fame. One of the main thing it is dedicated to is do it yourself projects and people they call “makers”. I’m not much of a maker myself. My wife is the maker in our house. However, I will say I could pull off this project. It’s a DIY LED light. They create one for a simple desk lamp but the process they demonstrate could easily be adapted for the fish hobby.
Just as it stands, the model they make, could be used for sump light or even for a planted fish tank. If you wanted to adapt it for the reef you simply have to exchange some of the all white LEDs for colors like blue or purple. You can create several of them and easily affix a computer fan or heat sink to help with the heat they do put out.
While it is true that they won’t be able to do some of the things a fully controlled light can they still could be put on a simple timer for off at night on during the day use. My own lights (from Aqua Illumination) can have lighting storms, dimming, moon light, or be matched with the course of the sun anywhere in the world. That’s cool but not required to grow corals.
If you give this a try please let me know!
Terry shows you how to make a simple work lamp out of LED light strips and foamboard.