Lighting for a blackwater aquarium

Oscar Demonio

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Hi guys, first post.

I'm currently in the first stages of planning my next aquarium. I'm thinking of going for an aquarium of unusual dimensions : 1 meter long, 90 cm wide and 60 cm high (100x90x60) to fit under my mezzanine bed.

The idea is that wider tanks with a large footprint are a better replica of natural environments than narrow and tall tanks. My plan is to build a blackwater aquarium replicating a flooded forest floor, with leaf litter, sticks, one main piece of wood, and minimal planting, if not for a large lily and floating plants. Water will be stained by tannins, giving it an amber colour.

Do you have any suggestions for a LED fixture I could use to light my aquarium? Given the setup I am considering, I don't need a particularly strong or high end light, but I would like to be able to repurpose it, in case plans change or I move it to another aquarium. I've heard a lot of good things about the Kessil brand, but they're way out of the budget and not necessarily what I need, given how powerful they are.
What other brands do you suggest I look at?
 

mort

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Hi, are you planning to light the whole tank uniformly or have a beam of light like sun rays breaking through the trees to highlight a smaller area? I have seen some really nice black water tanks that use a point source light like a kessil but set at an angle to leave areas of brightness and darkness.

I'm not up on lighting but hopefully someone else will give you some modern ideas but I know people who have used asta leds for similar tanks as they are similar to kessil but I'm sure there are many more new options.
 

Edvet

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A LED floodlight should do, 20-50 wat.
61HhtKY7nfL._SY355_.jpg
 

Oscar Demonio

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No, I don't want it lighted uniformly, which is why i'm avoiding led racks like I'm using on other aquariums. On the other hand, I also don't want an area of the aquarium to be completely shaded and another too bright. A middle ground would be good, and I like the idea of angling a led light. I've looked at TMC's GroBeam 150. Is it any good? What spectrum do you use to light your aquarium @mort ? I'm concerned anything over 6000K might give the aquarium a washed-out look instead of accenting the tannins.

The LED floodlight sounds like a practical solution. I'll look into it, thanks.
 

alto

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Kessil alternatives

Aquamedic Qube freshwater
AI Prime freshwater - wifi control/adjustability
(Filipe Oliveira has several videos on his YouTube channel with these lights)

Watch the Swap Forum for some great deals on Kessils, as people buy the X series you should see some A360’s for decent resale prices
 

mort

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What spectrum do you use to light your aquarium @mort

I only have a single tmc 6500k led strip but the tank is only 60x30x30cm and the emergent growth provides the shading. I've always liked this tank https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads...flooded-forest-fringe-shallow-riparium.40131/ it has similar dimensions to what you are proposing but following a different theme. It's the lighting that might be worth looking at as it's easy to copy and you can simply add more or take away depending on what you need, plus they can be controlled so you can get the mix of light and shade you like.
 

zozo

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No, I don't want it lighted uniformly, which is why i'm avoiding led racks like I'm using on other aquariums. On the other hand, I also don't want an area of the aquarium to be completely shaded and another too bright. A middle ground would be good, and I like the idea of angling a led light. I've looked at TMC's GroBeam 150. Is it any good? What spectrum do you use to light your aquarium @mort ? I'm concerned anything over 6000K might give the aquarium a washed-out look instead of accenting the tannins.

The LED floodlight sounds like a practical solution. I'll look into it, thanks.

I guess, having some fun with floaters and a lily? Than its going to be open top? And tannin stained water rather tall tank with a lily that you like to float will require a decent light for it. :)

Than if you don't like it uniformly lit and like to give it a biotope appearance.. I definitively would go with dimmable floodlight setup.

Something like this.
https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/new-flood-light-project-commin-up.57756/

You could create something realy stunning with it giving the tank an even more natural appearance. And i know how it looks and how it works because i did it before.

Take the 5 channel programmable dimmer or take 5 seperate timer switches and take 5 floodlights.. Search for teh CN101A timer switch, affordable and durable for the non dimmable approach.

Arch the lights above the tank like this

Naamloos.jpg


I did it with a tank that actualy stand east west orientated, but if it doesn't just imagine it is. light 5 is east light 1 is west.

Start with switching on light 5 first folowed an hour later with light 4 and so on.. It takes 4 hours for all lights are on. Take a mid day periode with all lights on, say for example 3 hours. Than start switching off the lights again starting with light 5 off first and hour later light 4 off and so on. It will take you 4 hours again to switch off light 1.

With this scheme you will have 11 hour dynamic light cycle starting east moving to west and gradualy decline again from east to west. It will also cast a very natural dymanic shadow.. In case of using a programmable dimmer is can be made absolute gradualy. But i also tried it with simple timer switches with switching each light directly to 100%. It still looks cool.

Other thing is without the use of a programmable dimmer you can choose to use different wattage for example 20watt x 30 watt x 50 watt x 30 watt x 20 watt.

The idea is and will look like this.. To never mind i made a program error the first light on is wrong. Skip first 41 seconds. :rolleyes:


It can't get any more non uniformly.. :thumbup:
 

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