View Full Version : Part 6 LED Lighting System

12-31-2015, 10:48 AM
Part 6 LED Lighting System

What I Like About My Lighting System--What I like the most is how the system brings out the colors of the fish, it is truly spectacular. I can sit in my easy chair and adjust the color and intensity which adds allot of variation and interest. Different settings accentuate the colors and patterns of the individual fish. I particularly enjoy the Silver Pigeons because they change color over a wide range of settings. The Fire Reds shine like neon lights and the full affect is too dramatic to capture with the camera. I've been considering getting a couple of Dark Angels from Hans because he tells me that they are even more dramatic than the Silver Pigeons.

The second thing that I like is how the lighting system illuminates the bottom of the tank and creates the beautiful reflections. Normally a bare bottom tank looks awful (at least I think so). With the LEDs, crystal clear water, choice of decor, and the filtration system that always keeps the tank bottom pristine clean, my tank bottom is absolutely beautiful. In fact, I like it better than a sand substrate and it is healthier for the fish.

6-1 Tank Picture Showing Reflections at Bottom:

The other thing that I enjoy are the colors that can be achieved with the internal background. It's called Holey Rock and I obtained from Universal Rock. Here's a link:


Select "Holey Rock" and then "Backgrounds".

I purchased the 22 H by 72 W size. Then I cut it into two pieces so that it fits in the bow tank and then modified it with additional holes to permit water circulation, especially along the bottom. The background is off-white and it changes color with different settings. While the main lighting fixture mostly controls the color of the fish, the two LED strips pressed against the bow front primarily controls the color of the background and also produces the pretty reflections on the tank bottom.

What really lets the lighting system shine and do its job is the pristine water clarity. I've had many different aquariums in the last 60 years, and this one is by far the most spectacular and rewarding.

Why I Chose to Build My Own Lighting System-- There are lots of LED lighting fixtures available for aquariums and I spent considerable time reviewing the options. I finally decided to build my own system by purchasing the component parts. This afforded the following advantages:

1) Better light distribution due to the tank shape.
2) Large number of super bright LEDs allows better penetration of the glass top.
3) Two independent channels, one lights the fish, and the other lights the background and the tank bottom.
4) Repair and replacement of parts in the event of malfunction.
5) Allows for future modifications if desired.

Design and Build of the System-- Almost all of the parts were purchased from Super Bright LEDs. Here's a link:


Their site has loads of technical data and information that assists in the design process. They also helped greatly by answering questions. I would estimate that I spent about $450 in materials.

Control Panel and Remotes

6-2 Power Control Panel and Remotes:

The picture above shows the power and control panel with two remotes. There are two separate lighting systems, each of which has a separate receiver with LED controller, and remote. Each remote permits separate control of white and color intensity along with a complete range of the color spectrum. There is also a selection of preprogrammed lighting patterns. The panel is hung vertically in the lower cabinet. Not shown is a power switch that turns the lights on and off at preprogrammed times.

6-3 Main Lighting Panel:

The picture above shows the main lighting fixture. Note the curvature that permits placing some of the LEDs close to the front of the glass bow. This, along with the wide width, allows for good light distribution. The tank has a glass top with a circular hole that aligns with the cut out in the lighting fixture. This permits feeding the fish without having to remove the fixture or glass top. All of the LEDs in the main lighting fixture are controlled by one of the two remotes. About 30% of the LEDs are white, and the rest are color. These are separately controlled by the remote. The tank has a glass top to reduce water evaporation into the home and to eliminate condensation on the lighting fixture.

6-4 Lighting Panel Close Up Showing LEDs:

This picture is a close up of the main lighting fixture illustrating the individual LEDs. There are 370 high intensity LEDs on the fixture. This produces a huge amount of light, enough to penetrate not only the glass top, but also all the way to the tank bottom.

6-5 Lighting Fixture Mounted in Upper Cabinet:

This picture shows how the main lighting fixture fits into the upper cabinet of the aquarium when the upper door is open. Note that it is supported with plastic chain which allows for easy removal for access to the glass top. Also note that the upper door is hinged and that there is a strip of LEDs mounted at the top of the door. When the door is closed, this strip is positioned below the water level and is pressed up against the bow front. There is another strip of LEDs pressed against the bow front located two inches above the tank bottom. These are hidden by a skirt around the lower cabinet. The upper and lower LED strips are connected in parallel and controlled by the second remote. The two strips together have an additional 80 LEDs and produce most of the lighting for the internal background.

01-10-2016, 03:15 AM
That is pretty cool. Like the way you've been able to incorporate the bow front into you led design and the fact that you've taken the time and effort to have a go yourself. Me and electrics are not friends lol.

01-13-2016, 10:47 PM
That is pretty cool. Like the way you've been able to incorporate the bow front into you led design and the fact that you've taken the time and effort to have a go yourself. Me and electrics are not friends lol.

Thanks for your kind remarks. What I like most about my LED system is how it makes the fish stand out. What a huge difference than any lighting system I've had before.