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Hi all,

I’m looking for a good led illumination for my terrarium, the measures are 100x45x35 cm (140 liters).

I would be interested to know which brands, which colors and  wattage; will be placed various species of plants, nepenthes, cephalotus, drosera but also sarracenia seedlings.

The terrarium will be only used as winter shelter or for debilitated plants, but if I see that the light is good, I could keep tropical plants all year.

I saw a solution like this:   http://www.hydroponics.eu/sonlight-apollo-led-4-130w~10022.html

but I would prefer lower cost and a lower wattage, 130 Watt for that little terrarium seem too many imho

 

Thank you 

-Dan

 

 
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Hi Marcel,

Thank you for your reply, I see is a full spectrum Leds, i guess there is no need of other colors, right?

and do you use only one bulb for which plants? only one is enough for the terrarium?

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Yes it is full spectrum at 6800 K so basically it looks almost white to the naked eye (more pleasant than all those strange colors) but does have a blue spectrum accent so it is optimal for plant growth.

I have one over my heli's and two smaller ones over my petiolaris.

Basically it is a bar containing a lot of leds mounted on a cooling mechanism, fully watertight. Underside cool, cooling ribs on backside get rather warm.

It can be hung in the tank but also rest on top. It comes with options for both and adapters to fit it into excisting T5 or T8 mounts (disonnect the power to those mounts!).

 

No heavy adapter and even an on/off switch on the power cord.

 

How many you need depends on planttype and size of the tank. I use two for the petiolaris because they want it bright, but for the size you give and regular plants I guess you can do with 1. They state that 1 unit replaces 2 T5 tubes and the light covers a 120 degree arc.

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Very clear, thank you for the info, I'll think about it!

Yes I have see some pictures with red and blue LEDs, but visually they are really ugly, maybe you can use it if you need to enlighten some seedling or vitro cultivations (as does A.Wistuba), but the human eye wants its part! 

 

 

Someone else with his 'led experience'?

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I have slightly smaller 'terrarium' (fish tank) and use 50W which seems plenty.

 

If you are a 'DIY' sort of individual then my lighting is made up of ...

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/60CM-Aquarium-Plant-Reef-Heatsink-Refector-DIY-42W-LED-Kits-Kit-3W-5W-10W-/321630949771?hash=item4ae2b2d18b

 

(3 x) http://www.dx.com/p/18w-3200k-1890lm-warm-white-light-cob-led-rectangle-strip-yellow-dc-12-14v-213301

(I have found the 'warm white' to be just fine)

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/DC-DC-600W-10-60V-to-12-80V-Boost-Converter-Step-up-Module-Car-Power-Supply-HS-/111709633783?hash=item1a0269bcf7

 

and ...

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/19V-AC-Adapter-Charger-Power-Supply-Cord-for-ASUS-Eee-PC-Netbook-Mini-Laptop-PSU-/291306452904?hash=item43d337b7a8

(all example items - I'm not recomending any particular vendor)

 

It can all be put together with fairly basic equipment and skills.

 

OR you could just get a twin tube (2 x 25W?) T5 unit and be done with it.

 

A word or two of warning ...

 

Although the eg Heli's will like a lot of light, the problem I have found is in creating shade areas for plants that don't like a lot of light.

 

Don't forget that Dionea and Sarracenia, for example, need a Winter rest and will quickly deteriorate if they don't get one. I nearly lost a bunch of VFT's making that mistake.

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I have slightly smaller 'terrarium' (fish tank) and use 50W which seems plenty.

 

If you are a 'DIY' sort of individual then my lighting is made up of ...

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/60CM-Aquarium-Plant-Reef-Heatsink-Refector-DIY-42W-LED-Kits-Kit-3W-5W-10W-/321630949771?hash=item4ae2b2d18b

 

(3 x) http://www.dx.com/p/18w-3200k-1890lm-warm-white-light-cob-led-rectangle-strip-yellow-dc-12-14v-213301

(I have found the 'warm white' to be just fine)

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/DC-DC-600W-10-60V-to-12-80V-Boost-Converter-Step-up-Module-Car-Power-Supply-HS-/111709633783?hash=item1a0269bcf7

 

and ...

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/19V-AC-Adapter-Charger-Power-Supply-Cord-for-ASUS-Eee-PC-Netbook-Mini-Laptop-PSU-/291306452904?hash=item43d337b7a8

(all example items - I'm not recomending any particular vendor)

 

It can all be put together with fairly basic equipment and skills.

 

OR you could just get a twin tube (2 x 25W?) T5 unit and be done with it.

 

 

Thank you, interesting alternative DIY! 

 

Anyway, I have an “emergency” terrarium with 3 T5 tubes, where previously were cultivated some nepenthes, but I've never been convinced of the light and especially some plants struggled quite a bit to growing and color well ..

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A word or two of warning ...

 

Although the eg Heli's will like a lot of light, the problem I have found is in creating shade areas for plants that don't like a lot of light.

 

Don't forget that Dionea and Sarracenia, for example, need a Winter rest and will quickly deteriorate if they don't get one. I nearly lost a bunch of VFT's making that mistake.

 

Yes, I usually skip the winter rest only for young seedlings, the rest is all out in the cold!

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Thank you, interesting alternative DIY!

 

It's not really that alternative. Just a PSU, a constant current/constant voltage 'driver' and some stuff to mount the LED's and dissipate some heat.

 

Anyway, I have an “emergency” terrarium with 3 T5 tubes, where previously were cultivated some nepenthes, but I've never been convinced of the light and especially some plants struggled quite a bit to growing and color well ..

 

Haven't found this to be a problem. I know that LED colour often triggers some heated debates on forums but my 'warm white' seems to work just fine.

 

Happy Heli ...

 

heli.jpg

 

 

Nice Nep ...

 

nep.jpg

 

Some shade for D. prolifera and (orchid) Phal 'another mini hybrid with white flowers' ...

 

shade.jpg

 

 

Not directly relevant to this thread ... Astute viewers of these pictures will have noticed that the same leaf appears in all three pictures. This is U. longifolia. Do not (unless that is what you want) let this plant out of its cage. It has taken over the entire 'set-up' from a tiny portion in a 3" pot. It is now even chasing D. adelae around the tank. No mean feat I can promise you. You have been warned!

 

One other note is that some may have noticed that the 'sundews' don't look particularly healthy. This is simply because they were sprayed yesterday and it takes them a day or two to 're-dew'.

 

Yes I have see some pictures with red and blue LEDs, but visually they are really ugly

 

Warm white has the advanatge of 'blending in' with your living space (if that is where you are using the 'tank').

 

Yes, I usually skip the winter rest only for young seedlings, the rest is all out in the cold!

 

I'm sorry if I came across as 'teaching grandma to suck eggs' but the problem with an anonymous forum is that one can never know what another idividual does or doesn't know. I could make a reasonable guess that someone here with 6000 posts and lots of photos has experience (probably far exceeding mine) but beyond that I find it safer to assume that they may want as much relevent info as possible. Don't forget that, for sure, there will be complete 'novices' reading any particular thread (perhaps ten years from now) and any information may help.

 

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I can't see the pictures, 

 

 

 

I'm sorry if I came across as 'teaching grandma to suck eggs' but the problem with an anonymous forum is that one can never know what another idividual does or doesn't know. I could make a reasonable guess that someone here with 6000 posts and lots of photos has experience (probably far exceeding mine) but beyond that I find it safer to assume that they may want as much relevent info as possible. Don't forget that, for sure, there will be complete 'novices' reading any particular thread (perhaps ten years from now) and any information may help.

You are absolutely right about it ! 

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I have slightly smaller 'terrarium' (fish tank) and use 50W which seems plenty.

 

If you are a 'DIY' sort of individual then my lighting is made up of ...

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/60CM-Aquarium-Plant-Reef-Heatsink-Refector-DIY-42W-LED-Kits-Kit-3W-5W-10W-/321630949771?hash=item4ae2b2d18b

 

(3 x) http://www.dx.com/p/18w-3200k-1890lm-warm-white-light-cob-led-rectangle-strip-yellow-dc-12-14v-213301

(I have found the 'warm white' to be just fine)

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/DC-DC-600W-10-60V-to-12-80V-Boost-Converter-Step-up-Module-Car-Power-Supply-HS-/111709633783?hash=item1a0269bcf7

 

and ...

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/19V-AC-Adapter-Charger-Power-Supply-Cord-for-ASUS-Eee-PC-Netbook-Mini-Laptop-PSU-/291306452904?hash=item43d337b7a8

(all example items - I'm not recomending any particular vendor)

 

It can all be put together with fairly basic equipment and skills.

 

OR you could just get a twin tube (2 x 25W?) T5 unit and be done with it.

 

A word or two of warning ...

 

Although the eg Heli's will like a lot of light, the problem I have found is in creating shade areas for plants that don't like a lot of light.

 

Don't forget that Dionea and Sarracenia, for example, need a Winter rest and will quickly deteriorate if they don't get one. I nearly lost a bunch of VFT's making that mistake.

 

Sounds very interesting. Any chance of some pics please showing how its all fixed together?

Particularly interested in how you secured the leds and the power supply.

Edited by MarkB

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I opt for white lights too, pleasing on the eyes and photographing. I use a mix of warm and white.  At the height of 35cm, I would advise a minimum of 3watt per diode. They give out heat so take note.

 

My reference on the 3watt diode led setup near the end of thread.
http://www.cpukforum.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=54092&view=findpost&p=376161

Edited by tish

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I was using red/blue leds in my Nep tanksbut recently I decided to try instead an only white lamp. It feels a lot better and my plants are thriving with them. the lamp I'm using has a combination of cold white 6400K and 4400K Led diodes.

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I'm using a 10£ 40W warm white LED corn bulb plugged into an old envirolite LED reflector. The bright white one i tried caused sunburn on the nep leaves, maybe it was too close, growth seems better under warm white.

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Thank you all for posting your experiences regarding Leds, in my opinion are the best value for money in the long run, because a lot of people are afraid of change to led, and this involves that do not have many reliable/better results,or simply the results are not known.

 

In the end, having no time to design a system from scratch (also because I'm not able!) I opted for two LED for aquariums lighting :

• Easy Universal LED Aquatlantis Freshwater (28w).

• Sera LED X-Change Tube plantcolor sunrise (16w) 

 

One is full spectrum and the other has a lot of red (though, thankfully, the light is light pink).

 

During the winter I will post photos of the results, thank you all for now!

Edited by Aidan

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Now i see the pics, very good results!!

Thank you, interesting alternative DIY!

 

It's not really that alternative. Just a PSU, a constant current/constant voltage 'driver' and some stuff to mount the LED's and dissipate some heat.

 

Anyway, I have an “emergency” terrarium with 3 T5 tubes, where previously were cultivated some nepenthes, but I've never been convinced of the light and especially some plants struggled quite a bit to growing and color well ..

 

Haven't found this to be a problem. I know that LED colour often triggers some heated debates on forums but my 'warm white' seems to work just fine.

 

Happy Heli ...

 

heli.jpg

 

 

Nice Nep ...

 

nep.jpg

 

Some shade for D. prolifera and (orchid) Phal 'another mini hybrid with white flowers' ...

 

shade.jpg

 

 

Not directly relevant to this thread ... Astute viewers of these pictures will have noticed that the same leaf appears in all three pictures. This is U. longifolia. Do not (unless that is what you want) let this plant out of its cage. It has taken over the entire 'set-up' from a tiny portion in a 3" pot. It is now even chasing D. adelae around the tank. No mean feat I can promise you. You have been warned!

 

One other note is that some may have noticed that the 'sundews' don't look particularly healthy. This is simply because they were sprayed yesterday and it takes them a day or two to 're-dew'.

 

Yes I have see some pictures with red and blue LEDs, but visually they are really ugly

 

Warm white has the advanatge of 'blending in' with your living space (if that is where you are using the 'tank').

 

Yes, I usually skip the winter rest only for young seedlings, the rest is all out in the cold!

 

I'm sorry if I came across as 'teaching grandma to suck eggs' but the problem with an anonymous forum is that one can never know what another idividual does or doesn't know. I could make a reasonable guess that someone here with 6000 posts and lots of photos has experience (probably far exceeding mine) but beyond that I find it safer to assume that they may want as much relevent info as possible. Don't forget that, for sure, there will be complete 'novices' reading any particular thread (perhaps ten years from now) and any information may help.

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I saw a solution like this:   http://www.hydroponics.eu/sonlight-apollo-led-4-130w~10022.html

but I would prefer lower cost and a lower wattage, 130 Watt for that little terrarium seem too many imho

 

 

For easy LED lighting solutions to grow some plants I simply use white LED floodlights in IP65 casings.

 

For lighting a 100x45cm growing area perhaps 3* 20W floodlight, light color "cold white", such like eBay 311428311155

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I'm having a go at the DIY method Hud357 posted earlier in the thread. I already had a soldering iron, solder and wire etc so i went ahead and ordered the bits and i have everything here with me now. Only thing i forgot is some thermal adhesive compound, i have the arctic silver stuff but its not the adhesive type so i'm just waiting on that now. I almost glued them with epoxy but figured its best to wait for the proper stuff to get here.

 

One question i have for those that have built these DIY lights what do you do with your drivers? I bought one of the exposed open type (not enclosed in a case) so its open to everything and i'm a little worried it might get broken, set on fire or something horrible. I'm thinking about mounting it on top of my heatsink in some sort of plastic tub but will drilling holes affect performance of the heatsink?

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I'm having a go at the DIY method Hud357 posted earlier in the thread. I already had a soldering iron, solder and wire etc so i went ahead and ordered the bits and i have everything here with me now. Only thing i forgot is some thermal adhesive compound, i have the arctic silver stuff but its not the adhesive type so i'm just waiting on that now. I almost glued them with epoxy but figured its best to wait for the proper stuff to get here.

 

 

 

If you are having to purchase all of the equipment from scratch then it might turn out a little expensive. I had it all to hand.

 

For mounting the LED's I used pop rivets. Laying the LED's out and marking up the holes then drilling 3mm holes and using pop rivets. Don't forget to wire them up before final mounting and you will need some silicone sealant to encase the electrical points (where you have soldered the LED's and the inlet connector)

 

Don't forget that, although you are only using a 12V PSU, all exposed metal work eg the tank hood should be still earthed.

 

 

One question i have for those that have built these DIY lights what do you do with your drivers? I bought one of the exposed open type (not enclosed in a case) so its open to everything and i'm a little worried it might get broken, set on fire or something horrible. I'm thinking about mounting it on top of my heatsink in some sort of plastic tub but will drilling holes affect performance of the heatsink?

 

 

 

I have to admit that mine is still 'loose' though tucked away. I was just looking at enclosing it when I came across your comment.

 

You may be able to mount it by just replacing the four corner screws on the PCB side with (35mm+ on mine) spacers and then screwing them to the base of your enclosure. The heatsink would be facing up, components down, with four 'legs' slightly longer than the tallest component on the PCB  - I hope that makes sense because I have no spacers to try it and photograph it for you.

 

But I can do a (very) rough and ready drawing ...

 

mount.jpg

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I had most of the required equipment to hand just had to purchase the LEDs, heatsink and the driver unit so it hasnt cost a lot. Under £50 which isnt too bad at all.

For mounting the LEDs i've purchased some thermal adhesive cement, i'm hoping that will be enough to hold them in place. I dont have a rivet gun so if the adhesive isnt enough i may have to use nuts and bolts with washers so i can easily remove them if necessary.

I do have some silicon sealent to hand so i'll use that to encase the electrics. Never even considered that.

For earth i'm using a 3 wire UK plug so presumably that will be enough?

I've found a plastic tupperware box this morning which fits the driver unit snuggly so im hoping to use that. I do have some standoff screws (spacers) but unfortunately they are too short so i'll have to come up with something else. Great drawing though and this gives me a lot of ideas. I'm now considering glueing some wooden spacers to the flat sides of the heatsink so i can screw into them and suspend the unit in the plastic case so i'll let you know how that goes.

 

Thanks for all the helpful tips and info much appreciated.

Oh and btw those LEDs are really bright :D. I just wired a couple up for testing purposes and i was blinded momentarily. Cant wait to see how my plants do under them.

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So i'm at a stage where all my LEDs are now secured to the heatsink and everything is wired up and working. Its holding very well so far but i'm not sure if its a permanent solution so i may have to drill holes yet but we will see how it goes. I'm running them with a 12v power supply and they seem to handle that fine consuming roughly 20W. I've had them on for several hours with no heat issues but 20W is pretty low so my next step is to kick the power up and see how that goes. I have a 19V laptop power supply but it outputs at 3.42Amps which i think is roughly 65W so it might be a little high do you think? I see you run yours with a 19V supply at 2.1A which is much lower around 40W. I dont want to burn them up so any advice welcome.

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Don't want to hijack this topic (well, not too much anyway), but am I right in thinking that all of this comes down to using any old lighting that has the right spectrum, ie 6400K? I'm really green at this (like my plants, which is why I'm asking), but would like to get some lighting over my CPs. The commercial grow lights seem to be very expensive, whereas if I understand correctly, you can just use ordinary bulbs (LEDs, tubes, compact fluorescent, etc) as long as they have at least 6400K.

 

Is this right? If someone could clarify it in simple terms (ie yes or no!) I would be very grateful.

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So i'm at a stage where all my LEDs are now secured to the heatsink and everything is wired up and working. Its holding very well so far but i'm not sure if its a permanent solution so i may have to drill holes yet but we will see how it goes. I'm running them with a 12v power supply and they seem to handle that fine consuming roughly 20W. I've had them on for several hours with no heat issues but 20W is pretty low so my next step is to kick the power up and see how that goes. I have a 19V laptop power supply but it outputs at 3.42Amps which i think is roughly 65W so it might be a little high do you think? I see you run yours with a 19V supply at 2.1A which is much lower around 40W. I dont want to burn them up so any advice welcome.

 

Surely you run the leds with a constant current power source? Because without one you will burn the leds and also doesn't matter how much the power supply can handle more than the leds take.

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I'm not using a constant current but the laptop adapter will only output 3.42A max so should be fine for the 3 leds in the circuit. I think thats right but i'm kind of a novice at this so please correct me if i'm wrong. I believe the driver unit also regulates voltage and current (i have them turned down to min) so i'm assuming the leds wont take more than is regulated but if i was to go to far with those limiters (too much current) then it might blow something.

Edit: so I braved the laptop adapter and we are still alive. It output a lot more light but the heatsink gets considerably hot, i'm guessing around 70c since i couldnt touch it. I'm not really feeling safe about running it that hot so until i can find a lower ampage power supply i'm back running it on the 12v adapter at 1A, roughly 20W.

Also I'm noticing my first led in the circuit is much brighter than the others is this normal?

Edited by MarkB

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That sounds a bit weird. If you're using a driver unit then it should regulate the current but then if the lower amperage power supply results in dimmer leds then the psu is inadequate. Are the led's all the same type? Are the leds connected in series or in parallel? That could happen if they are not the same type and/or connected in parallel. Most drivers have the best efficiency if the leds are in series.

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