Are your fish room lights draining your wallet?

By Kyle May
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Kyle May
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Are your fish room lights draining your wallet?

Post by Kyle May » Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:18 pm

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Kyle May
Ohio Cichlid Association
Northern Ohio, USA

dogofwar
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Re: Are your fish room lights draining your wallet?

Post by dogofwar » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:08 am

Good post!

Heat and light can be a big chunk of the electricity consumption in a fishroom.

I use the long (Christmas-style) LED strings above some of my tanks...and use overhead fluorescent bulbs...all on timers.

Matt

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slimbolen99
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Re: Are your fish room lights draining your wallet?

Post by slimbolen99 » Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:22 pm

Am I missing where the article references the brand / style of LED lights you're using?

Really digging the information though. Good job.

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Kyle May
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Re: Are your fish room lights draining your wallet?

Post by Kyle May » Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:43 pm

Hey Slim,

I didn't reference the manufacturers originally due to the international component of this site.
I am not sure that home centers in the UK, or Central Am would carry the same manufacturer's
product, but to that end, I guess I'm forgetting the impact of the net...so maybe someone
could order directly....so thanks for getting me to re-think adding the manufacturers to the article.

Both Models are distributed by LG Sourcing in N. Wilkesboro, N. Carolina, 28659, USA
They are sold under brand name: Utilitech Pro. Both types of these lights are ETL tested.
ETL and UL are two companies who test and certify that electrical components meet a minimum safety standard.
I think that the Eurpean market using CE markings for certification.

Five Light LED bar: is Model #: GU0924-5LBKI This fixture is listed as a 5 watt fixture.
Link to Lowes product page: http://www.lowes.com/pd_366089-1390-GU0 ... facetInfo=
5 led light bar: $54.98 USD

Puck Lights: Model# Model #: WFL701A-306-3W-D These come in a three pack and each puck light has its own 5' cord and 6 - .5 watt LEDs.
Link: http://www.lowes.com/pd_71487-43768-WFL ... facetInfo=
Puck Lights: $29.98 USD

I had been using the light bars, but will switch to the puck lights now because they are more versatile.
For example I can use two of the three puck lights from a pack on one tank and then use a single light on another tank.
This allows me to maximize my money, light more tanks and increase the amount of energy I save.
The pro to the light bar is that it is dimmable and is easier to install in an old strip light as it has a removable cord.
The puck lights do not have a removable cord so I'll have to get cut and rewire a couple of these together.
This is no big deal as I'll use heat seal tubes after making the connections to insure that they are protected from humidity.

Using the puck lights, I'll be able to light a 6ft long tank using only 24 watts of electricity and get 510 Lumens of light.
Using the Light Bar, I could reduce that to closer to 10 watts for a 6ft long tank but it is dimmer than the puck lights as it produces
only 345 lumens of light or 70% as bright as the puck lights.

Lumens are the measurement of the total amount of visible light that a light source produces.
Radiant Flux refers to the total amount of light emitted by a light source including wavelengths that the eye cannot see.

You'll notice that I've not compared older and new fixtures by lumen output. This is simply because the lighting I've created is sufficient
for my needs. I can see my fish clearly and they seem to be able to see well too, but I'll do some Lumen comparisons between
LED's, compact florescent, and regular florescent bulbs in a future post. It'll be interesting to see how LED's stack up against more traditional
fixtures. I'll also try to compare Radiant Flux, but I'll bet this info will be harder to find.

Someday, (not today), I'll delve into some comparisons between the Radiant Flux of the sun and the various light sources that we all use in our fish rooms.
Cichlids have wildly differing amounts of exposure to the wavelengths that the sun produces for example, Amazonian fish and Centrals, compared to cichlids that live in deeper dwellers such as frontosa.

It'll be interesting to see how close, (or how distant), we are from mimicking actual real world lighting conditions.
Just as we need sun to for our bodies to produce essential vitamins and to control sleep cycles,
fish also have need for sunlight and many of them use differing wavelengths due to the depths in which they live.
Some wavelengths cannot penetrate the many meters of water to have much of an affect on those who inhabit the darker regions of the rift lakes for example.

Thanks for participating in the discussion,
Last edited by Kyle May on Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Kyle May
Ohio Cichlid Association
Northern Ohio, USA

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Re: Are your fish room lights draining your wallet?

Post by slimbolen99 » Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:53 pm

Wow. Thanks a ton Kyle.
Brian

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Kyle May
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Re: Are your fish room lights draining your wallet?

Post by Kyle May » Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:43 am

Using the puck lights, I'll be able to light a 6ft long tank using only 24 watts of electricity and get 510 Lumens of light.
Using the Light Bar, I could reduce that to closer to 10 watts for a 6ft long tank but it is dimmer than the puck lights as it produces
only 345 lumens of light or 70% as bright as the puck lights.
Sorry. There is an error here. Each Puck light has 6 - .5 watt leds for a total of three watts and 170 Lumens of light.
Three puck lights in a pack produce 510 Lumens of light total.
Three puck lights will adequately light a 6' long tank for a total of 9 watts consumed, not 24.

To light a 6' tank using the light bars, you would need two for a total energy use of 10 watts
*per the manufacturers rating, but for the one extra watt you'd get 690 Lumens of light, which is 280 Lumens
more than using three puck lights. However, the cost increase is dramatic for the light bar.
Two light bars will set you back around $110 USD while the puck lights cost $30.
While it's true that the light bars will produce 280 Lumens more light while using just one extra watt than three puck lights,
they also cost $80 more. Is the extra 280 Lumens produced worth the extra $80? Not for me.

The entire point here is three fold:
1) Adequately light your tanks
2) Save energy/reduce excess heat
3) Save money on energy and money replacing burnt out bulbs, starters, etc.

Kyle

*Lowe's site specs indicates that this light bar uses 5 watts.
The package from this light indicates that this fixture uses 8 watts.
In testing, I metered this light and found that it actually uses 7 watts.
(wattage test performed in a 75 degree room and after fixture had been running for 5 minutes)
Kyle May
Ohio Cichlid Association
Northern Ohio, USA

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Re: Are your fish room lights draining your wallet?

Post by slimbolen99 » Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:15 pm

Kyle, I think for the purposes of your article, it might be useful to include PAR readings. Do you have, or have access to, a PAR meter? I think this would help some folks understand the intensity of light at certain depths of water / height of light fixture? Just something additional to think of. Thank you very much for putting this together.

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Re: Are your fish room lights draining your wallet?

Post by Kyle May » Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:10 pm

A PAR Meter is a great idea.
PAR = Photosynthetic Active Radiation

A par meter would give you a good measure of the quality and quantity of light
in an aquarium. You could take different measurements at different depths and this
would be a good way to compare light sources. All of the specs I've given so far
have been at the fixture, meaning lumens are being measured point blank.
Measuring light penetration in a aquarium situation would provide some interesting insight.

Of course height of fixture as well as depth of tank all affect the quality and quanitity of light
in an aquarium. I've not included par for a couple of reasons. First a good par meter will
set you back around $175 and secondly, to this point in my fish room, I've not given any consideration
to growing algae or corals, so I've not worried about the quality of light reaching the tanks bottom.
On the surface this probably seems reasonable as the fish are getting most of what they would
consume as far as vegetable material through the balanced diet I provide. However, fish, as well as humans,
need sunlight for a variety of reasons, (vitamin production, sleep cycle), and it's probably a good thing to provide
this as a necessary part of good husbandry. (I know that rats will die within two weeks if kept awake.)

If the opportunity arises to borrow or get a really good deal on a par meter, I'll do the research and provide the data
for the most common tanks depths. I think it's a really interesting question and am thankful that you suggested it.

Kyle
Kyle May
Ohio Cichlid Association
Northern Ohio, USA

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