Introduction: DIY Rigid LED Strip Aquarium Light

I was looking for a cheap LED light for my shrimp tank (54 liter/15 gallons). I decided to start a very simple DIY project to save money and to share it on instructables.

Stuff you need:

  • 1 or more waterproof rigid LED strips; you'll find them all over the internet. I bought 2 of them at banggood (9$). The 12V rigid LED strips consume 9W each.
  • I do not trust the description which states 1400 lumen. Therefore, I bought 2 of them to be on the safe side. If the strips provide half the lumen as stated in the description, I will get around 25lumen per liter. I chose cold white (5500-6500K) which improves the green color of the plants.
  • 1x Glue to waterproof the ends of the strips. I used UHU.
  • 1x LED driver. In order to save money I used an old 12V RGB LED controller. You can use any 12V LED driver which is capable of providing 18W.
  • 2x wooden/aluminum bars and 4x screws to install the light on top of the tank. I used small wooden bars and screws which I had at home. Aluminum bars are better, as the will help to give off heat from the LED strips.

So the overall costs of my project were only 9$. However, I didn't have to buy a LED driver.

Step 1: Waterproof the Ends of the Rigid LED Strips

Picture of Waterproof the Ends of the Rigid LED Strips

  1. Remove the end cap
  2. Put glue on the end of the rigid strip
  3. Put the end cap back on the strip

You have to this on both ends!

Step 2: Connect the LED Controller

Picture of Connect the LED Controller
4. take a 12V LED controller and check polarity of the 4pin connector
5. solder the led strips correctly to the pins of the connector
You can use any LED driver capable of providing the wattage needed!

Step 3: Build a Mount

Picture of Build a Mount

6. Screw the LED strip on both ends on the middle of a wooden or aluminum bar

7. Put the mount on top of the tank as shown in the picture

Step 4: Finished!

Picture of Finished!

You are now finished. Here is a comparison to my old 15W T8 fluorescent lamp.

  • The picture with the yellow light is the old fluorescent lamp. You can hardly see the shrimps on the dark soil.
  • The picture with the colder blue light is with the new 2x 9W LED strips. You can clearly see the the red shrimps on the dark soil.

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