• Looking to buy a cephalopod? Check out Tomh's Cephs Forum, and this post in particular shares important info about our policies as it relates to responsible ceph-keeping.

New LED Aquarium Lighting


Blue Ring
Jun 5, 2005
I am doing research with LED lighting for Aquarium use. I am new to aquariums and cephalopods but am loving it. I am also an electrical engineer and it occured to me to try to build an LED lighting arrangement for my Bimac tank. As I understand it Octos have no light requirement so I figured that I had room to play. I am posting a picture of my aquarium lighted with White LED's that consume less than 10 watts. I wanted to reduce electric use and reduce heat introduced into the system and to increase the useful lifetime of aquarium lighting. Would anyone be interested in having an LED lighting system?


  • conv_302250.jpg
    205 KB · Views: 104
Hi pilotinho,

First of all, octos need low light (I used a 30W fluorescent) and you'll need this light to keep your coralline algae growing and maybe some other things in your tank.

It's interesting what you're doing with LEDs. LEDs are being sold as moonlights - I have blue LEDs built into my lighting system that serve as moonlights. You might want instead red LEDs so that you could see a noctural octo but he couldn't see the light.

I think we need to know how LEDs compare to other aquarium lights - the low temperature is attractive. I have a 10,000K lamp, for instance. How do LEDs compare with that?

There are several people working on this from time to time. If you do a search on some of the reefing sites, you'll see whats been done so you don't have to reinvent the wheel - unless of course you have already. In that case I slink away....

Other than that, I would totally be interested in a LED system for my cephs. Cost would be the first factor, and total output would be the second. :biggrin2:
If it were my tank I would include some blue lights in with all of your white ones to help bring out the colors in the tank and you octo.
One problem you may come up with is some types of algea and bacteria (red slime) will grow in special sectrums of light.
I wouldn't worrie about it too much but if you start haveing trouble with the algea then you may want to change the lights.
Keep us informed
Response to some questions

The spectral response of White LED's are typically heavy in the blue with a red spike and weak in the green. The blue helps grow coral which octo owners don't really care about but might be good for expanding the idea. I have a Bimac and they are intertidal guys who , if they get stuck in a tide pool, can handle full sunlight. As for reef octos they tend to be nocturnal. My problem has been getting enough together to make even lighting. I think I have done this now but it is not suitable for reef tanks. I calculated the light output of 100 white LED's to be about 1100 Lumens. For a point of comparison my 65 watt actinics produce about 6000 I think. My setup is about equivalent to Nancy's 35 watt flurescent I will check out what people have done on the reef sites. Thanks for the heads up.

One More thing

I was really excited about the idea because of the ability to simulate ocean life more accurately. You can computer control the lights to dim gradually. You can have blue LED's come on at night, and when the sun would be rising or setting you can kick in more red. The owners could balance red green and blue to suit their tastes with varying levels of intensity. There is a lot of fun work to do in this field I think.

just a quick update... You can now purchase 5Watt LEDS!!!!! for those who are interested with developing lighting using leds... the technology is evolving fast!
LED light bulbs?

Hi everyone,

For those people who don't want to solder, but parts etc like in the last link...
I just started a website selling LED lightbulbs: www.eternaleds.com

From what I've read in other forums these would be pretty suitable for aquariums since they:
Use much less energy - about 3W compared to typically 50W
Generate less heat - less algae?
Focused light - Give the tank depth/ambiance
Lasts WAY longer than both fluorescent and incandescent - average 100,000 hours compared to about 4000 hours - Aquarium lights are typically on 24 hours/day right?

Do any of you guys have experience with these? Also I can import colored LED light bulbs as well - i.e. Red, green, blue, yellow. Would any of you be interested in these?
For our ceph tank we used a set of 5 commercially available sealed led dome lights placed on a wooden bar across the top of the tank with one power supply (DIY on the power supply attachment). Each dome light has 24 LEDs. To aid with color, we used two blue and three white. Additionally, we have a "loose" (quite literally) red dome light that is on all the time but is the only light on at night. The red detracts from the tank color in the daytime and I occassionally move it for esthetics but put it back in the evening when I feed (too much trouble to turn it off but ANOTHER timer or one with opposite on/off plugs would work).

The tank has absolutely no cyno or green algae and almost no brown (established August 2006). Of all my tanks, this is a million times easier to keep clean. I DO have coraline algae that has not died and keep low light sponges thriving. I am experimenting with a low light gorgonian that is polyping and some red mushrooms that should live but will not take on the bright red that they do in full light (I know they should live as I have another that fell to a viewable but not reachable dark hole in my reef).

There is a new system out that runs about $2,000 to die for. It is supposed to compete with halides (if you want it to) and is fully adjustable and programable so that one light does it all. My understanding is that you can do full daytime, seasonal and moon programming (for the price you should be able to get a tan as well!). It would be nice if a less expensive version would become available (or I could win the lottery :roll: )
dwhatley;91110 said:
Each dome light has 24 LEDs. To aid with color, we used two blue and three white.

The tank has absolutely no cyno or green algae and almost no brown (established August 2006). Of all my tanks, this is a million times easier to keep clean.

So dwhatley - For the white - is it a more of a bluish white or warm white? Does the color temperature affect algae growth?

Also so it IS true that LED lights reduce/eliminate algae...Is this because of the lower heat output that LED lights give off?
Sponsor Banner
please support our sponsor
advertise on TONMO

Shop Amazon

Shop Amazon
Shop Amazon; support TONMO!
Shop Amazon
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.