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Old 05-08-2020, 01:24 AM
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Talking Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

I have been planning a large display build for the past 6 years. By large I specifically mean 12' long, 8' tall, 2.5' wide. Lighting this beast has been proven to be a massive obstacle for a heavily planted build. And expensive. To make things even more complicated, my design also includes 2 55 gallon aquariums that will also be planted, so light will need to reach those as well. This is exactly why I haven't started this build. Between the obvious lighting issues this rather ambitious build presents, it also brings the issue of heat into play.

For the love of Pete, does anybody have any solutions to this dilemma?
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Old 05-08-2020, 01:31 AM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

I’ve been struggling for the past few months trying to figure out led lighting for my 3 foot build. I can’t even imagine what you’re going though.

Where is this going? Please say your living room.
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Old 05-08-2020, 01:36 AM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

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Where is this going? Please say your living room.

Yes. It will take up the entirety of the one windowless wall in my living room. The build will look built in, floor to ceiling.
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Old 05-08-2020, 01:39 AM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

Look into Kessil a360x Tuna sun lights. Fully controllable intensity and spectrum.

It's gonna cost a lot for a 12 foot long tank but you should be fine lighting an 8 foot tall tank.

Attached is a picture of my 5 foot tall tank (28x28x60 actual dimensions). It's growing everything quite well. I do have the narrow reflector installed that brings the angle down to 55 degrees apposed to 90 degrees without the added narrow reflector.

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Old 05-08-2020, 01:44 AM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

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Originally Posted by Jon_Shaw_PHX View Post
Look into Kessil a360x Tuna sun lights. Fully controllable intensity and spectrum.
Do you think I will need additional light(s) for the aquarium portions of this build?
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Old 05-08-2020, 01:45 AM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

Where exactly are the aquariums going to be? I had a hard time picturing what you were talking about with them.

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Old 05-08-2020, 01:51 AM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

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Originally Posted by Jon_Shaw_PHX View Post
Where exactly are the aquariums going to be?
They will be on opposite ends of the build, essentially resting on the floor, minus some reinforcements. Irrelevant to this specific thread, but they will be connected via a PVC water bridge.
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Old 05-08-2020, 01:53 AM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

If your wanting to grow plants in the aquariums I would say yes on needing separate lights. If not, then you could probably get a way without having separate lights. You wouldn't need the Kessil's for the 55g aquariums though.

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Old 05-08-2020, 01:59 AM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

Lighting from 8 feet up......... Unless you are not planting the floor you should reconsider this build. You are seriously looking at thousands in custom lighting and then hundreds in monthly upkeep in electricity. Here is a YouTube video of a tour of a large planted aquarium with similar height and length but deeper. Look at the crazy amount of light they have. The inverse square law means you need insane lighting high up to have a chance of growing anything down low.

https://youtu.be/zTepiyh2p5o

Ok so all that said if you are still really going to go for it you are in the realm of custom lighting either something you build yourself or pay someone else for. Lenses will be your friend. 25 degrees at the widest certainly.
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Old 05-08-2020, 02:01 AM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

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Originally Posted by Jon_Shaw_PHX View Post
If your wanting to grow plants in the aquariums I would say yes on needing separate lights.
This is where I've run into the most problems. The aquariums will be planted rather heavily as well. The issue keeps coming back to light and heat. I've been back and forth on dropping the tanks strictly because of this. If I can figure out a way to adequately light the watered parts AND negate the resulting heat build up from those lights, that would streamline the whole thing.

The only thing I've come up with is a DIY LED build encased in PVC on 3 sides...think PVC gutter upturned...and venting the heat with computer fans.
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Old 05-08-2020, 02:05 AM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

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Lighting from 8 feet up......... Unless you are not planting the floor you should reconsider this build. You are seriously looking at thousands in custom lighting and then hundreds in monthly upkeep in electricity.
This is my pain exactly. I wonder if my ambition is bigger than my wallet.
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Old 05-08-2020, 02:15 AM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

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This is where I've run into the most problems. The aquariums will be planted rather heavily as well. The issue keeps coming back to light and heat. I've been back and forth on dropping the tanks strictly because of this. If I can figure out a way to adequately light the watered parts AND negate the resulting heat build up from those lights, that would streamline the whole thing.



The only thing I've come up with is a DIY LED build encased in PVC on 3 sides...think PVC gutter upturned...and venting the heat with computer fans.
I don't see heat being an issue on the aquariums if your using LED lights, even T5's.

I have a 90x12x16 tank that I used to have as a high tech FW planted aquarium. I ran 4x 96w T5 lights above this tank for a 7 hour photo period. The light was 12" above the tank (open air hung from the ceiling not in a canopy). I never had any issues with heat on this tank and I live in PHX and kept my house at 78 during the summer months.

If for some reason the aquariums get to hot to your liking a fan that blows across the surface of the water is an easy fix.

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Old 05-08-2020, 02:19 AM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

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Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Lighting from 8 feet up......... Unless you are not planting the floor you should reconsider this build. You are seriously looking at thousands in custom lighting and then hundreds in monthly upkeep in electricity. Here is a YouTube video of a tour of a large planted aquarium with similar height and length but deeper. Look at the crazy amount of light they have. The inverse square law means you need insane lighting high up to have a chance of growing anything down low.



https://youtu.be/zTepiyh2p5o



Ok so all that said if you are still really going to go for it you are in the realm of custom lighting either something you build yourself or pay someone else for. Lenses will be your friend. 25 degrees at the widest certainly.
I agree....I've had to turn down the intensity on my Kessil for now. The broms love it but there are some plants I have kinda high up in my tank that don't like the high intensity light. Once the broms grow more and create more shadowing I should be fine.

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Old 05-08-2020, 02:20 AM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

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I don't see heat being an issue on the aquariums if your using LED lights, even T5's.
I think I must have explained this poorly. The tanks will be INSIDE the enclosure, so those lights will essentially be at ground level for the rest of the build. I don't know if my vision for this is coming across clearly at all...but heat from those lights will definitely need to be vented out of the build somehow.
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Old 05-08-2020, 02:30 AM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

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I think I must have explained this poorly. The tanks will be INSIDE the enclosure, so those lights will essentially be at ground level for the rest of the build. I don't know if my vision for this is coming across clearly at all...but heat from those lights will definitely need to be vented out of the build somehow.
I understand what your trying to do now. I think your gonna have a hard time growing any thing other than low light plants in the aquariums.

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Old 05-08-2020, 02:41 AM
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I understand what your trying to do now. I think your gonna have a hard time growing any thing other than low light plants in the aquariums.
That's precisely what I'm trying to overcome. Without overheating the rest of the build. It's proving to be a ball-buster.
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Old 05-08-2020, 04:20 AM
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Could you use one of these?

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Old 05-08-2020, 04:43 AM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

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Could you use one of these?


If modifying the existing structure possible that may be your best option, you should be able to call up some construction company and get quotes. There have been several reef aquarium lit by this means so you be able to find some info if you google sky light reef aquarium. If modifying existing structure not possible, I would run large COB led diodes probably 30-50 watt(ea). I have some experience in building them so i can explain further/link reference material if you are interested. Agreed it would need to be vented, I believe there’s some issue with pvc and build up static electricity when used as ducts. COB light fixture I doubt you’ll be able to build for any less than 2k.


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Old 05-08-2020, 10:59 AM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

I think a LOT (all?) of your problems could be solved by halving the height of your build. I get that you want a whole wall to be frogs and plants but if you create bookshelf that covers that whole wall and in the middle of that shelf has a 4 foot high display you basically solve everything. The water features can be lit by the same lights you use for everything else and if you sink them into the shelf a bit can be level with the floor of the rest of the display (or not as you choose). I don't think I've even seen zoos that have displays this tall and are growing medium or high light plants at the floor.

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Old 05-08-2020, 04:06 PM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

Any chance you could use a Kessil or two on the outside of the edges of the main tank, but not all the way up at 8' and aimed specifically at the tanks? You could also light some of the areas lower in the tank this way, too. It won't be ideal for how the plants would grow (toward the side light more than up, in some cases, I am guessing), but it is a way to get some added light into the tank instead of from overhead.

Here is a crappy diagram of what I am thinking

Mark

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Old 05-08-2020, 05:09 PM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

I looked a little more into this posted by @DPfarr:



They are called light tubes or light tunnels or circular skylights. They are actually very affordable (around 200-400 dollars for the skylight, 4 feet of shiny tube, and the part in the inside. One website said 500 to 1000 dollars for professional installation (presumably per skylight).

Depending on how much light you can get through one of these... it really could work. You would be modifying the house of course to put in at least 3 of these (maybe more), but the upkeep is zero after installation.

To find out how much par these things let in you should checkout some reef forums if there are people there running them. I did a quick search and couldn't find a reference to par/ppfd.
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Old 05-08-2020, 07:34 PM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

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I looked a little more into this posted by @DPfarr:







They are called light tubes or light tunnels or circular skylights. They are actually very affordable (around 200-400 dollars for the skylight, 4 feet of shiny tube, and the part in the inside. One website said 500 to 1000 dollars for professional installation (presumably per skylight).



Depending on how much light you can get through one of these... it really could work. You would be modifying the house of course to put in at least 3 of these (maybe more), but the upkeep is zero after installation.



To find out how much par these things let in you should checkout some reef forums if there are people there running them. I did a quick search and couldn't find a reference to par/ppfd.
I have a friend who has one of these in their house, it lets in a great deal of light, even on fairly cloudy days. Worth checking out, as mentioned, because it'll be almost no cost after it's going.
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:03 PM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

I had those installed in my CA house. The light is decent but I don’t think they will penetrate to that level while still providing adequate lighting through the water column. I would personally ditch the tanks with a custom build like that due to the pain if it doesn’t pan out. I did custom design and installation through college for aquariums/ponds I think for water a stream would be more esthetically pleasing and the sound with a waterfall would be super nice. In a tank that size you would have the room to do it nicely


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Old 05-09-2020, 07:32 AM
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A friend of mine is using 5500k security lights (cannot remember how many) and a bunch of T5's. They are extremely bright and had to be angled back to try and remove some of the blinding glare. In nature not a great deal of light reaches the rain forest floor hence there is little growth and what does grow shoots up as fast as it can to reach the canopy. With a large build like this you will not be able to achieve a standard dart frog set up ie lots of plants all planted on the floor. A couple of large builds i've seen concentrate mainly on the upper regions of the tank and then on the floor is a small stream with shade loving plants.
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Old 05-09-2020, 12:21 PM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

I assume you've seen these threads from @kimcmich, but if not:

https://www.dendroboard.com/forum/me...-vivarium.html

https://www.dendroboard.com/forum/me...5-x-2-5-a.html

There aren't any comprehensive answers in those threads, but I take the facts that the first viv was taken off line after not a long run, and the second lit by MH lamps (possibly with regular blood sacrifices to the air conditioning gods ), to be very instructive.

Many of us with very small vivs are happy to replicate rainforest habitats' specific feature of having virtually no ground level vegetation (light under the canopy is ~1% of full daylight) -- makes lighting easy, since penetration isn't an issue. Same with some fish keepers (discus, I'm thinking of) -- brown water with branch/root structures as the predominant environmental element is easy to light. I assume neither of these fit your vision, though.
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Old 05-09-2020, 04:55 PM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

Greetings,

I wondered why my ears were burning ;-)

Both my original 7' tall viv and my current 5' used three 150W metal halides for light. In the 7 ft tall viv, that was enough to grow moss and ferns at the bottom but they could have used brighter light (and the light cones of all 3 lights overlapped almost completely at the bottom). The substrate of the current viv, at 4.5 ft below the lights, is a little too intense in the brightest spots where the light cones overlap: Mosses and ferns there get bleached a bit.

I don't think Kessil lights will be enough for your 8ft tall tank if you also want bright enough light for a planted tank. You could get away with aquaria planted in low-light plants like java fern and anubias. If you are hoping for a "nature aquarium" style planted tank at the bottom of an 8 foot viv nothing short of the sun (or an array of high-intensity fixtures producing a similar amount of heat) is going to work for you.

I have not been able to find a full spectrum LED fixture that could produce comparable lumens to my metal halides that used significantly less power. Those that come close are much more expensive than metal halide fixtures. Technology-wise, I assume it's only a matter of time until an LED fixture can out-perform MH lights at lower wattage and a reasonable price - I just haven't seen one yet. Also, my MH fixtures are over 10 years old - LED fixtures do not yet last anywhere near that long in my experience (though again, the technology itself should eventually achieve this).

As Socratic Monologue mentioned, metal halides produce alot of heat. Luckily I live in almost-always-chilly Berkeley and my old house has 10' ceilings so this extra heat is not usually a problem...
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Old 05-09-2020, 05:15 PM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

8' is a lot of penetration necessary, and you'll be doing serious battle with the inverse square law here. I agree you'll need high intensity lights, but I think HPS or metal halide are going result in far too much heat to have to exhaust. However that's the right scale if you have any chance of success.

I suspect that Valoya RX series with their NS-1 spectrum will be the best way to pull this off. I liked their NS-12, but they no longer produce that. These lights are tested for hort production with little to no diminished output for 10 years of standard hort use. The trouble with these lights, that I've found is that if you get plants too close to them, even things like tomatoes, they can't process the amount of light. That would mean if you have taller elements, you'll want to position the lights for the full brunt of the photosn aren't hitting those sections. Be aware that the upfront cost for this route is fairly steep, but of you need to actively cool the waste heat or consider bulb changes, you'll come out a head over time.

I work with lighting for plants, but I have no connection to this company, nor would I stand to profit if you went with these or not. Just trying to offer experience as someone who has dealt with a lot of plant lights in a professional setting. If you want any more information, please feel free to PM me.
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Old 05-10-2020, 12:11 AM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

I’d opt for the solar tubes if at all possible. If not, I’d suggest a mix of ufo leds and strip lighting. 4 ufos and 4 strips would do it. If you are looking for floor lighting build a shelf that you can hide so,e strips into as well.. if you build out a hollow cavern under the ledge the light would be hidden from direct view and light up the ground level pretty well. There are plenty of waterproof options out there to do this. LED should keep heat down. With the ufo lights up top I would get them up above the viv as high as possible and blow fans over them to keep heat down as well.
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Old 05-15-2020, 07:56 PM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

I used to build professional displays. You have probably three options. One is to have a custom LED made by a company that does large exhibits for zoos and private residences. Any high end local in house aquarium specialist can get you those.

You can also just buy the cheap UFO lights that are RGB, or a group of high power 5500K spotlights on amazon. They are very bright and would prob do fine and be inexpensive.

I just did a 5 foot tall tank with 2 feet of water. I built my own lights. I can only run them at 75% bc they are too powerful. It would definitely be enought for 8 feet of penetration. The tank has 100 xml series 2 lights and an exotic supplement with red for emerson shift and flowering. These are the most efficient LEDs on the market in terms of lumens/watt. I have 40 degree lenses on some them. There are chip boards that have 10 lights on each board so you only have to wire the one board for every 10.
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Old 05-15-2020, 10:22 PM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

Superior Life Spectra 50W 2'x4' LED Flat Panel, Color Adjustable from 3000K to 5000K, Dimmable - $107 x 3 = $321

https://www.bulbs.com/product/LSP-50...4aAvuUEALw_wcB
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Old 05-16-2020, 01:33 AM
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Superior Life Spectra 50W 2'x4' LED Flat Panel, Color Adjustable from 3000K to 5000K, Dimmable - $107 x 3 = $321

https://www.bulbs.com/product/LSP-50...4aAvuUEALw_wcB
I'm highly skeptical of this recommendation. The SD panel I run over three adjacent 12 x 12 x 18 ExoTerras is ~70W, run at about 70% power. I'm lighting three square feet down to 12" away from the light; OP is lighting ten times the footprint at 8 times greater distance -- with less than 3 times the wattage?
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Old 05-16-2020, 02:19 AM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

It's not about wattage, it is about lumens.
Also, it is just a suggestion.
There are many LED lighting solutions out there.

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Old 05-16-2020, 12:27 PM
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It's not about wattage, it is about lumens.
Also, it is just a suggestion.
There are many LED lighting solutions out there.
Well, it is about lumens per area of illuminated surface at a given distance (well, actually it is about PAR, but...). The distance the OP wants to light is 8X farther away than in an example viv, and ten times the area. That means if we want to illuminate their viv the same as some typical viv, we would need 640 times the lumens (just assuming this is a point source light, no reflection, etc). Since we don't have any idea about the LPW of the various options, or of lensing options, or even of some minimal necessary illumination level, wattage can stand in for a proxy, at least enough to show that this viv will need lighting that is literally a couple hundred times more intense.

That's all I was trying to point out, more for future readers who are just trying to get oriented to this sort of problem than for the owner of the present build, who has certainly got a handle on the magnitude of the challenge here. I don't want to dissuade suggestions, of course.

There seem to be very, very few LED options that will suit this build.
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Old 05-18-2020, 12:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mille981 View Post
I used to build professional displays. You have probably three options. One is to have a custom LED made by a company that does large exhibits for zoos and private residences. Any high end local in house aquarium specialist can get you those.

You can also just buy the cheap UFO lights that are RGB, or a group of high power 5500K spotlights on amazon. They are very bright and would prob do fine and be inexpensive.

I just did a 5 foot tall tank with 2 feet of water. I built my own lights. I can only run them at 75% bc they are too powerful. It would definitely be enought for 8 feet of penetration. The tank has 100 xml series 2 lights and an exotic supplement with red for emerson shift and flowering. These are the most efficient LEDs on the market in terms of lumens/watt. I have 40 degree lenses on some them. There are chip boards that have 10 lights on each board so you only have to wire the one board for every 10.
Any build threads on that display ? Looks awesome.
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Old 05-18-2020, 02:15 PM
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Default Re: Massive Display Build Lighting Issues

Here is another option.
Lithonia produces several different lengths of strip light that would work well. The plastic diffuser has a groove that the metal LED slides into. The LED lights are mounted on a metal strip that slides into a grove on the plastic diffuser. This along with the end caps can be installed in the corner using only the LED and diffuser without the metal case, which can be installed along the top front and down the sides at the front of the tank, mounted in the corner of the vertically. This brings the light down to the bottom of the tank.

Take the light apart, and mount this in the front corners of the tank in a vertical orientation. The drivers for the light are sized and wired into the fixture and can be easily re-wired to make this work. I have begun playing with drilling and installing these in various ways. The end caps and diffuser can easily be siliconed in the corner to make it waterproof. Mount the driver out side of the tank.




They also make this is an 8 foot, 4 foot and a 2 foot fixture.


4 foot 5000K light fixture at Home Depot


New dual 8 foot light fixture. 9300 lumens 5000K

That would enable you to run an 8 foot light the entire length of the enclosure on each corner.

NOTE: ONLY DO THIS IF YOU ARE COMFORTABLE / COMPETENT IN SAFELY RE-WIRING FIXTURES.
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Last edited by davecalk; 05-18-2020 at 02:22 PM.
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