DIY LED Aquarium Light For Planted Tank

Last Updated on January 18, 2022 by Fabiola L.

Led lights are great and healthy, but a rather expensive accessory if purchased. Learn all about DIY LED aquarium light for a planted tank.

Good LED lighting can not only be healthy for your fish and plants but can also be a great decorative tool for your home. However, the biggest problem is their price tag. In contrast, you can save a considerable amount of money by using some of your skills and knowledge.

Wondering how? Continue reading to learn all about making DIY LED aquarium lights for a planted tank.

LED Light – What Exactly Is It?

In simplest terms, Light Emitting Diode (or LED for short) is a device that emits light when an electric current is passed through it. Light is created as a result of electricity passing through a tiny microchip, illuminating a small area and causing visible light.

Find more information about Aquarium Plant Problems Chart

Are They Good For Planted Aquariums?

YES! LED lights are very good (and desirable) for use in planted aquariums. Completely harmless and will not affect plants or fish in the aquarium. The most beneficial reason is that their presence doesn’t affect the temperature of the water tank. They are suitable for use in planted, saltwater reef tanks, as well as in terrariums.

Light Spectrum For Aquarium Plants

Photosynthesis is the process of using light as energy to digest carbon dioxide and minerals, all in water. To encourage and carry out this process, plants use a combination of colors from the visible spectrum.

It is interesting to note that green aquarium plants do not use green on the visible spectrum. Instead, they reflect that color back, which ultimately results in most plants being green! Finally, aquarium plants prefer blue, red, and yellow.

How Many LED Bulbs Is Enough?

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all option in this case. There are many things and variables to look out for, especially when making a DIY LED aquarium light for planted tank.

However, there are some basic rules that recommend that the length of the aquarium be the length of the LED strip. Or for example that to optimize the lighting power, it would be good to add an extra row of LEDs for every ten inches deep the lights will have to penetrate. Typically, between 1.5 and 5.0 watts of lighting for every 3 liters of space in the aquarium.

These are just some of the practices that have proven to be good at making DIY fish tank lights.

Do It Yourself Aquarium Led Lighting – How To Make It

Materials And Tools Needed:

  • LED Strip Kit
  • Duck Tape
  • Saran Wrap
  • Sheet Of Cardboard
  • Speaker Wire
  • Adhesive liquid
  • Soldering Iron
  • Measuring Tape
  • Wire cutters
  • Scissors

diy fish tank lights

DIY Fish Tank Lights – Step By Step Guide

There are many different ways to make DIY aquarium light. However, this time we will show you how to make the most affordable one. So, let’s go!

Step 1

Measure the length of the tank to calculate how long the strips should be on the LEDs. Then cut two strips of light. Also, make sure they are long enough to reach both ends of the aquarium tank.

Step 2

Measure the distance between where the LEDs will be placed and where you will connect the AC adapter. The result obtained will be the length of the speaker wire that will be used to power the LED strips.

Step 3

Cut out two strips of cardboard. Keep them the same length as the LED strips, making sure to leave half an inch thick on both sides of the LED strip.

Step 4

Take two pieces of cardboard and make a sandwich around the wire coat hanger. Finally, wrap everything with duct tape, preferably black.

Step 5

The next step is to apply the LEDs to one side of the strip and solder the wires according to the LED strips. After you do this, test the connection with the AC adapter to check and make sure that your DIY aquarium light is working. If the experiment is successful, feel free to turn it off. On the other side, if it ended unsuccessfully, i.e., your light doesn’t work, check the connection and check if the plus and minus are soldered correctly.

Step 6

Remember to seal the LEDs from moisture. The best way to do this is to cut a strip of plastic wrap out and glue it over the LEDs.

Step 7

Also, wrap the outer housing with one final layer of (black) duct tape.

Step 8

Once again, make sure everything is working properly. You can also use the remote to adjust the brightness to the level that best suits your aquarium and its inhabitants.

Find more information about Planted Aquarium Lighting Calculator

How Long Should The Lights Be On?

In terms of duration, it primarily depends on whether there will be live animals or not. Most fish and invertebrates prefer some type of day and night simulation. Therefore, it would be extremely bad to keep the lights on for 24 hours a day. If you plan to keep animals in your aquarium, let the simulation of daylight for a maximum of 16 hours a day.

Plants, on the other hand, adore light. Try to supply them with light for about 4-6 hours a day. Most plants prefer more than that, up to 10 to 12 hours a day. Try not to approach the lower limit, as live plants will find it difficult to digest the nutrients needed for their survival.

Remember, consistency is the key to success. It would be good to invest money in buying a simple outlet timer; it will allow you to be carefree as it will turn your lights on and off.

In Conclusion

LED lights are almost always welcome in aquarium tanks. They have many health benefits, but best of all, they can make your aquarium look amazing!

These were a few simple steps to make a DIY LED aquarium light for a planted tank. We hope you found this guide useful.

What are your experiences with do-it-yourself aquarium-led lighting? Let us know in the section below.

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