Jump to content
Pod Your Reef

First Post. Question/Idea


Recommended Posts

I have been working at a pet store for almost 14 years now and have had a multitude of tanks over the years. Last year the wife and I were laid off so I took down all my tanks to save on the electricity. Working at the store again i've got the itch for another tank. I've never had a tank lit with LED so i figured I would give it a shot this time


The other day I ended up with a 5gallon tank and a couple new filters for free and figured i would start a little nano tank on the kitchen counter. :) I built a nice canopy and custom trim ring for the bottom for it last night to make it mesh with the cabinets a little better.


I had a ton of BLUE LED sitting around from a project i did in my car and figured I would throw those on there for kicks to use as lighting. I have 5 BLue (420nm) powered by a 10v sega genisis a/c adapter (lol ghetto .. I know) I used a sheet of acrylic to mount all the leds on (drilled holes and fed the terminals through the sheet and soldered and sealed everything up with clear caulking to water proof it. They look great but i think i want a want a little more brightness as i want to throw some zoos and possibly a couple SPS in there :)


I was reading a ton on this site the other day at work and figured i would try my hand at making a custom setup with the cree q5 lights.


Here is my question..(finally)


Looking on ebay I can order 230lumen Flashlights with the Cree Q5 bulbs and such for about $5 shipped.


this will include the nice outer housing, bulb and reflector (this model has the Q4 (230lumen max) in it)



I plan to then take it apart.. use the bell housing end with reflector and make a custom bracket. being that it runs off of about 3.6v or so I can easily find another gaming system a/c adapter to power and run the LEDs. as long as the ma rating can keep up :) and it will have a little driver already included for each bulb :)


I am attracted to the idea of using the flashlight bell housing.. i think it could look really nice when its all fabricated.


any cautions or ideas?

Link to comment

Sounds like a lot of work for an unknown return, honestly.


I would order one of those flashlights and see what you are really getting into first. The beam pattern is what I would look at first to gauge what degree you are dealing with.


Secondly, the blue LED you already have might not be anything but accent lighting. Would you mind posting what you have already built?

Link to comment
Sounds like a lot of work for an unknown return, honestly.


I would order one of those flashlights and see what you are really getting into first. The beam pattern is what I would look at first to gauge what degree you are dealing with.


Secondly, the blue LED you already have might not be anything but accent lighting. Would you mind posting what you have already built?



sure I will grab the camera and snap some pix.


right now the tank is empty. once i have it all built i will just bring a 5gallon bucket to the store and snag the water, live sand and a rockfrom our display tank :) i like insta-tank setups :)


its certainly not all that bright right now .. probably should grab a 12v a/c adapter so i will be throwing all 3v into the 4 led that i have rather than starting with 10 and under driving them

Link to comment

Yeah those are accent LED's nothing beneficial just good for color accents.


great to use as Moon lights though:)

Link to comment

in the last one that i posted (300lumen) would 4 of them be too much? 1200lumens (I am thinking 2xwhite and 2xblue)

Link to comment

the problem with using flashlight drivers is sometimes they dont have a driver at all, they might just direct drive off of the battery, especially if they have modes, low mode will be regulated but the high mode might just feed right to the led, there are little drivers built for flashlights on dealextreme, and that is what i used for a small build that i did, the problem is finding a low voltage power supply, i ended up using a power supply for a router or something i think. dlink possibly.


i used this one



if you cut the track in the right spot you can seperate the driver into two 700ma drivers or you can just pop the little black boxes off as each supplies 350ma. you can buy the 20 pack and ill take the rest off of you for cost as i only have a couple left.


ive driven a total of 8 leds with these guys so far, and have been thus far reliable, problem here is that they are non dimmable


flashlight leds might also be a little warmer than you may like, plus if you do it this way you can also add high power blues to the mix.


here is my build


Link to comment

Here is what i have decided to try:

4 @ $3 shipped ($12 total)



2@$9 shipped ($18 total)








Base type: E27


Shell material: High strength glass


Heat sink material: Aluminum, zinc metal alloy


Input voltage: AC 110V / 230V with reversed polarity protect


Output power: 3.0W


Dimensions: 56 x 50mm (Length & Diameter)


Reflector efficiency: 90%


Light source: 3 x 1W high power LED


LED input current: 300mA


Body temperature: <60°C


LED working temperature: <65°C


Color temperature: 6000-7000K (Cool White)


Source life: > 50,000 hours


Safety assurance: CE & RoHS


Low heat, no UV or IR light radiation


Color: Blue



2@9 shipped ($18 total)







So I should have about 1200lumens of light (about 300lm each) for about 12watts of usage I plan to screw the bulbs into the 2 prong plugs and plug those into a small strip. This would be all concealed in the hood I also plan to throw a fan on either the top of the canopy or maybe put on one each side of the canopy to wick the warm air out of the tank space.


so total I plan to have about $48 into the setup :)



I just grabbed my rock,sand and water from the shop today :)

Link to comment

Here are some pictures of the tank all stained up and ready for the new lights to arrive.


for now i am using the 4 blue LED that i had from a previous car related project and a sealed halogen light from an 8 gallon bioOrb that i have here at the house.


I had to stack the wood on the top of the tank to make room for the huge light from the BioOrb. but it should be around 3" shorter


Over all I am digging it so far.. can't wait to get all those LED on there :) I might grab some oak at somepoint and redo the trim and canopy to better match the cabinets. I used pine i had from some trim work i did on a house project.







Link to comment

nice find on the bulb, where did you find it?

i thought of doing something similar with an mr16 bulb but i was weary of desoldering emitters and resoldering them without a star

Link to comment

good ol ebay.




2 white 3w (3 bulb) lights for 17 shipped


then the same seller has the same in blue




for about the same shipped.


I am most likely going to go with him..


he has these too... but i think they will be too close to make the light spread enough:




i think with those and being close to the water it would be hard to do a blue and a white and make the light looked balanced.


but the two types i showed at the begining of this post should be something i might purchase tonight..


the guy said they are only about 130 lumens each.. but other bulbs online with the same led chips in them are rated for higher.. like 230.. so i wonder if his are just under rated but put out the 230 or the other ones are over rating what they have..

Link to comment

i will probably just go to the local lighting supply store and grab 4 of these



then just wire them in normally and save some space :)


the ones i showed last say 700ma current so being that there are 3 of them it probably is about 130 lumens each. there were a few bulbs like the ones i just showed that did say cree leds were in them.. but they were a little bit more and i couldnt find a seller that had both colors i needed to save on shipping .. i will keep hunting though.. i think this setup would not only be super easy but cost effective too :)

Link to comment

i just asked the seller if he has any screw in type bulbs made with the Cree q5 leds .. he does sell the cree Q5 leds.. so it might be possible :)





this seller has identical lights and rates them at 230 lumens each.. they look exactly the same..


i think either way at 230x4 i will have a freaking bright tank.

Link to comment

you could get this



get 6 leds also from dealextreme and you can do this for 40 bucks plus a heatsink, then the color blending will be better too. ive never gotten blues from dealextreme but they do have them on there.


actually at that current you probably wont even need a heatsink, an aluminum plate even without a fan should do fine.

Link to comment

i bet that little ballast is in all of those screw in LED bulbs.. since the specs all sa 85v~265v... i don think thats coincidental



hmm lol to be able to throw in some sps i probably should have about 1000+ lumens in the 5 gallon tank right?

Link to comment

lumens is not the measurement to get caught up on.


for some reason i thought you were lighting a 2.5, if you get two of that driver and 8 leds total, run the drivers in parallel and you will get a ton of light. the currents will add up so you will get like 600ma, that will actually be a lot of light, over time if you find that its too much light you can just remove one of them to get back to 300ma

Link to comment


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recommended Discussions

  • Create New...