Build My LED - Full Spectrum LED Strip Review Options

JonnyJ

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Manhattan Reefs
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Location
New York
I wanted to write a review about my new Build My LED full spectrum 24" Strip. I'm not a blogger or a writer but a review wasn't available for me and i believe the product & company does in fact warrant a positive review and i thought this would be fun.

A little about me:
I have been in this hobby since '05 and have continuously changed aquariums and equipment along the way. I have ran MH,T5,& LED. I started using LEDS around 4 years ago. I have a very close local group of reefing friends and we all tend to spend a lot of money on equipment, so i have had the luxury of owning or visually seeing just about all the LEDS on the market.

PFO Solaris
PFO I5 Solaris
Chinese standard bridglux LEDs/CREE
PAR 38's Both 50/50, 20k, and full spectrum Versions
Ecotech Radion
Kessil
Aqua Illuminations
Maxspect [old and new RAZOR]
Vertex..
Phantom
etc - the list goes on and on

I run a predominately SPS reef and recently i upgraded to an ELOS 70 and decided it was time to go back to T5, My corals just weren't coloring up correctly under LEDS and i felt it was time to revert back to good ol T5.

This fixture is great to add to anything, T5, MH, and even some of the current LED fixtures lacking full spectrum.

I bought an ATI 6 BULB Fixture and immediately loved the color but missed the shimmer and some of the pop that led offers. I started searching around for some sort of LED strip. I wanted to avoid DIY because i really like clean finished products.

I wanted to sway away from the normal white,blue, or 50/50 strips that are widely offered across the hobby. ie reefbrites, vertex, corvue, tru lumen,...and the closest thing offered was Stunner strips. I tried them and was right back at square one. I'll admit they are good for a nano but for a mid range tank they just couldn't do the job beside and ATI.

Review
I ended up coming across a Reef builders post for Build My LED. Scoped them out and called them. Researched a little about spectrum and ordered! [Nick is a great guy, very patient and was willing to explain anything and everything i asked,] These guys specialize in lighting first, reefing second. Which to me is important when buying a fixture.

I really wanted a combination of the shimmer, full spectrum, and pop.

I ended up settling for a 24" full spectrum strip. Nick gave me a "projected" ship date and unfortunately they missed it... so they ended up over-nighting it to me. [whats better than that, the ship date wasnt even promised ;)] They respond to emails and phone calls promptly.



The strip is 24" and has 30 LEDS.
14 6500k
8 Royal Blue 450nm
4 Blue 470nm
2 RED 660m
2 Green 525nm

They offer any led combination you can dream of. But after researching and coming up with a design I noticed they had something very similar available.

They offer a few different optic options but offered me a 75 degree lenses which atm need to be requested.



Here is a diagram of the layout


Along with a photo with JUST the strip on. It actually covers my entire tank
Width: 29.5 in
Height: 19.7 in
Depth: 22.4in]


If your wondering, its a great blend with absolutely no disco ball effect present.

Now that i have received my strip i don't think their photos actually do this fixture justice. I was afraid it was going to be a bit bulky and toyish looking compared to what it is. Its Sleek and Slim and my anal self is very happy. The only thing i would change are the end caps.

The build quality is great, best of all its made in AMERICA.

It's very easy to mount with a few different available options. The fixture comes with 2 small mounting brackets. [they also offer a different mounting option which does cost additional money]

These brackets which come stock are all you need if your planning to mount on the side of a fixture.

Mounting was simple, I used the supplied hardware and the stock screws of the ATI. This way i didn't have to drill any unwanted holes or any modifications to the light itself.

There was two things i did have to buy to mount the strip the way i did that totaled $1.50

Purchase 2 small washers &
Purchase longer screws [if you drill your own holes, this is completely unnecessary]
They come with what appears to be 8x32 x 1/4" and i replaced them with 8-32 X 1" and i believe you could get away with something a little shorter.



A Photo of the strip on



After 6 hours of running it's barely warm to the touch.

The fixture itself comes with a quick connect driver box which is equipped with a dongle to attach a dimmer. They sell a dimmer, or you have the option to hook up to your apex/rk/etc via cable.



One of my ballast blew on my ATI [ugh] so two of my bulbs are temporarily off. I am waiting for a replacement.

Heres a photo with 4 of my 6 bulbs and the strip running
[blue + [X2] / KZ pink / 6500k daylight ]


and heres one with my t5 daylight replaced with a blue plus
[blue + X3 / KZ pink]



For those that enjoy a bluer spectrum, i would suggest replacing some of the 6500k with additional royal blues. Either way, im happy as can be!

- Jonny
 
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JonnyJ

Member
Manhattan Reefs
Rating - 100%
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Location
New York
Well, My growth with t5/led and color couldnt be better. My only problem would be Zoo's - with additional blue they would pop better.

the truth is the bulbs will cover the full spectrum. I just felt that more white would cause better shimmer and figured full spectrum sounds better and more marketable if i decided to sell. Something like this would be perfect for someone running a standard White/blue chinese led or a ai sol blue etc.. If i was to do it over i would replace with a little less white for some additional blue for additional Lps/zoo shimmer and swap out another t5 for another growth.

The key is those 6500k t5 bulbs.
 

ReefMonkey13

Member
Manhattan Reefs
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Location
Queens
Wow the light looks great . . color is awesome.

Question for you, do you have a series of frag racks to get your frags to be tiered like that?
 

tunicata

Tunicate Tamer
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Location
Brooklyn, NY
Oh, wow, this is pretty cool! Thanks for showing me your review.
Also, the pics that show how I can use the existing screws was extremely helpful. I would have been worried about making a major mod in my pretty fixture!

Now, I'll have to figure out what colors....

I think blue and purple would be awesome. Don't really need full spectrum since i mainly want the pop.

thanks again!
 

JonnyJ

Member
Manhattan Reefs
Rating - 100%
87   0   0
Location
New York
I am still running the buildmyled strips and still very happy with them.

Great product, great customer service and constantly making their product better. Just got a hold of their xb and it's worth the upgrade if you like brightness!
 

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JonnyJ

Member
Manhattan Reefs
Rating - 100%
87   0   0
Location
New York
Also would like to add that I am working on a project with them for a future nano tank I am in the process of designing.
 
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