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Lights - NeoPixel/WS2812/...
#1
Hi there! Total beginner here.  Smile 

I had some questions about lighting. Kessil lights look very good but are a bit expensive. I am looking for alternatives. Is it possible to drive a NeoPixel led strip/matrix using Robo-Tank/reef-pi? There are libraries like rpi_ws281x that allow you to control these, but I don't know if it can be used directly. Would I need to write a driver for it? I'm a go developer and I saw that reef-pi is developed in go, so that could be an option (there is a Go wrapper for the library).

Alternatively, some lights are sold with brackets that would make it easy to put them on an aquarium, but I don't really see how to control the light color programmatically.

My goal would be have a day/night cycle. I'm "building" a small Walstad shrimp aquarium, so my light requirements are probably less critical than for a reef tank.

I haven't got a Robo-Tank yet (should arrive in a few weeks), but for now I have managed to connect a temperature sensor to a rpi zero 2 and have reef-pi draw a graph (yay!). I can do some soldering if needed.

Any ideas/hardware suggestions?
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#2
Hi Jmgr, welcome to the forum and I hope the controller arrives soon.

I agree those Kessil's are rather pricy and you need to stick with their older models if you want to control, their new lights they removed the 0-10v input which is unfortunate. Most lights don't have an input for external controllers by design so it can be difficult, I know some people use these but can't speak to how well they work. Note the 30w version doesn't have the input socket.

https://amzn.to/3Hy8jgH

I'm not sure about the light you linked, if that library controls it there needs to be a link somehow, maybe you need to hack the light to add a socket or it has wifi built in but doesn't appear to. I just see a few buttons on it where it looks like you setup the modes.

Nice to see another Walstad fan, when I setup my tank I wanted no maintenance and love the idea of all natural so I tried it and the results were better than I could have ever expected. It's literally been nearly no maintenance and the tank looked amazing the first 2 years and slow decline from there. Today it's quite sad looking as there's only a few plants left, I'm waiting on all the fish to pass before redoing it, there's 3 remaining plus a shrimp.

During the first year I did about 25% water changes every 10-20 days which the plants loved but I didn't like how the fish would react so I started doing less water changes and just topped up. The last 2 years I think I've only pulled water out a handful of times, always just adding. Sounds mad but my water is perfect, I have an Amano shrimp that is almost 7 years old, don't ask how, all his mates died years ago.

This was it in it's prime, just light and soil. You can basically see all the livestock that was in the tank so you can see it was never crowded. 

My lights are only 2700k and I believe 5600k LEDs, I did a DIY for it, very basic.

   
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#3
Thanks!

Ah that's unfortunate. All the lights that have a 0-10V control cable seem to be on the expensive side. Also they are designed for reef aquariums, wouldn't that be not ideal for a planted freshwater one?

Also googling for "0-10V aquarium light" doesn't give great results, so alternatives are hard to find.

I'm also not sure what those aquarium lights have compared to a generic LED matrix. Would plant growth be good with one of those, if I choose the right color temperature? Seems to be a complicated topic.

Ah that's great! That will be my first aquarium though, so any experience is good to have. I'm more used to grow ant colonies. I'm a bit surprised that you still did water changes with a Walstad aquarium. Did you need to remove something from the water?



Quote:I have an Amano shrimp that is almost 7 years old, don't ask how, all his mates died years ago
That's impressive. Maybe it's a Highlander shrimp, so there can be only one? Wink


Very nice photo, looks like a big aquarium though. Do you use a filter?
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#4
Oh sorry, I don't know why I posted that light, as it's for reefs it's probably not ideal.

Yeah when you get into lights it is complicated, I went crazy trying to figure out what to do then I took the advice of don't over complicate it, just need daylight LEDs so that's what I went with, 5700k. I added some 2700k for the yellow tint, I start the fade with those lights and slowly bring in the whites which slightly resembles sunset/rise. My plants didn't seem to have any issues with the light.

Another option is you can connect LED's that are 12v such as LED strips and simple bars like this one. It's 12v and only 14w, you could run two of those on the DC ports. You would be able to dim them as the voltage will drop on the DC port. You can run about 40w max between all the DC ports.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/hygger-Aquarium...Y2s9dHJ1ZQ==

I started with water changes as everyone said even with Walstad method I should still do them, I was new to it all so just did them. I also probably ran the lights brighter than needed, might have been better to lower intensity giving slower growth and soil maybe then would have lasted longer. The tall grass grew at a crazy pace, probably ate up all the nutrients.

I run 2 medium sized cannister filters so yeah overall I wasn't following the method exactly but that's what I was basing it on.

This is the shrimp, this picture was taken March 29, 2015 and I had them for a couple months plus they were full grown went I got them. I think I got 6, first tried cherry shrimp but they disappeared in 48 hours so I got these as they were bigger. So either they made some babies or he's old. It feels like the other shrimp died maybe 3 years ago, every time I look for this guy I get a big smile on my face when I see him still going strong. 

   
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#5
Quote:Another option is you can connect LED's that are 12v such as LED strips and simple bars like this one. It's 12v and only 14w, you could run two of those on the DC ports. You would be able to dim them as the voltage will drop on the DC port. You can run about 40w max between all the DC ports.
Ah good idea, I will try that, thanks. I just have to find the right male adaptor for this particular LED strip.



Quote:This is the shrimp, this picture was taken March 29, 2015 and I had them for a couple months plus they were full grown went I got them. I think I got 6, first tried cherry shrimp but they disappeared in 48 hours so I got these as they were bigger. So either they made some babies or he's old. It feels like the other shrimp died maybe 3 years ago, every time I look for this guy I get a big smile on my face when I see him still going strong.
Nice. I see you have snails too. I might add a few at some point, I'm just a bit worried about population control.
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#6
The snails came with the plants, a couple months after setting up I had a pile of them. At one point it was too many so I got an Assassin snail which I think did it's job because they all nearly disappeared. For the last couple years the population has been perfect. So yeah maybe wait a while to see if you get any with the plants, apparently that's common.
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Current time: 12-09-2021, 01:50 AM