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Recommendations for Sub £100(ish) high output light for 75X35x31CM tank. Planning to go CO2+EI

xxBarneyxx

Seedling
Joined
13 Sep 2021
Messages
1
Location
Kent UK
So coming back to the hobby after a long time away and LED lighting has gone from something that was only available if you was willing to build it yourself to having hundreds of different units available.

I have a 75X35X31cm tank that I was planning to run with EI+ADA Substrate+CO2. I picked up a "Nicrew Planted LED Aquarium" but I got one that is not wide enough as I was going by the "max size" listed and the light spread is terrible. Drops to less than a quarter of the output when comparing the middle to the edges or front of the tank.

I don't have a ton of money to spend but could go up to around £100 (maybe a little more). I have spent ages looking at different lights but with so little actual information on spread and output available it seems like a gamble.

Any recommendations on what to look for? Would it be better/cheaper/viable buying another cheap Nicrew light (the correct width) and running both of them together? I don't current have plans for any real high demand plants to be honest but I wanted to have a bit of future proofing as I already have the CO2 kit and EI stuff and will probably switch out plants as I go.

Back when I was last doing this life was a lot simpler with a rough "Watt per gallon" based on T5's. Everything is new and confusing now (must be getting old :) ).
 

Zeus.

Fertz Calc Meister
Joined
1 Oct 2016
Messages
4,590
Location
Yorkshire,UK
Hi and welcome to the forum :),

CHIHIROS do quite a range in LED lighting for tanks which if the colour output suits do offer a great value for output for cost, plus very easy to control with TC420, you can pick both up on E-bay or even Ali express. I have a couple of the old A series which have been great, they are nothing fancy but work well IMO. Had to get mine imported as many others have also.

ADA | WASMAS | ZETLIGHT | TWINSTAR | CHIHIROS | LED PAR DATA [The power of light] well worth a read even though its a little dated ;)
 

PARAGUAY

Member
Joined
13 Nov 2013
Messages
2,679
Location
Lancashire
Welcome xxBarney think I have the same light and find it does well with my low energy aquarium and easy plants. Depends on your set up really if you intend to have demanding plants and CO2 a look at the journals may help
 

Zeus.

Fertz Calc Meister
Joined
1 Oct 2016
Messages
4,590
Location
Yorkshire,UK
Welcome xxBarney think I have the same light and find it does well with my low energy aquarium and easy plants. Depends on your set up really if you intend to have demanding plants and CO2 a look at the journals may help
Which is often the best way - learn from others experiences, successes and mistakes we tend to learn more from mistakes I find 😬
 

oreo57

Member
Joined
19 Jun 2020
Messages
346
Location
USA
Soo 30x 12x 12..Relatively shallow and narrow tank.
30" is the issue since most lights cheat on this size a bit. Like 24" panels.
Now one thing to mention is you aren't stuck with the height
Your nicrew if raised higher than standard height will cover the tank much better.
Risers are fairly easy to build or buy.
You can still, roughly use wpg.
A 20w led should be plenty but always best to get more and dimming capability.

The Finnex line (are they available here?) has some well designed 30" lights.
Amazon product
Unfortunately all bar lights have, due to diode light spread, the issue of brighter centers vs corners. The front back issue is similar.
Both issues are sort of
mitigated by mounting height.
T5's have similar issues on the ends of the tubes but not quite as extreme as leds can be.
So this and the more directional light from an led create a different "look".

Amazon product
I m going to assume your Nicrew panel is very short i.e. about 50cm?
Your nicrew needs to be about 7 cm off the water surface to give better coverage. Of course your new height creates light intensity loss overall.
Your effective height us now about 17" vs 12".
Light to substrate.

Using white paper with an outline of the tank surface area and visually noting the light intensity is an easy way to check spread.
The key, in my opinion, is getting the most light into the tank at the surface. Reflections and refraction will do the rest.
It's simpler than it sounds.

Obviously a better fitting light is much simpler.
I can't guarantee the Finnex will not have some of the same issue but most if it should be mitigated by design.
Nicrew sky is a better fit as well.
Amazon product
74-92cm version
 
Last edited:

oreo57

Member
Joined
19 Jun 2020
Messages
346
Location
USA
Sorry, had some posting issues
Consider above a rough draft subject to some minor errors
 
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