Fluorescent lights have been the fish keeper’s top choice for lighting the aquarium. In addition, for more specific needs, VHO lighting (Very High Output Lighting) equipment for plants are used, and metal halides as well as power compacts for the reef tank.
In recent years the Light Emitting Diode (LED) has become available and is gaining in popularity.
LEDs are available as basic strip lights for freshwater, as well as elaborate and programmable units specifically designed for the needs of reef and planted tanks. With LEDs, sunrise/sunset or day/night settings are easily programmed and simulated. LED colors can be specifically arranged to target any plant or coral requirement there is.
Save Money, Reduce Operating Noise, Reduce Water Evaporation
LEDs have nowhere near the heat output of metal halides, VHOs, or power compacts. Less heat = less wasted energy (also see ‘The aquarium and energy consumption‘). The need to cool the light source is also eliminated resulting in additional energy savings by eliminating the cooling fan. No fan also results in quiet operation. Lastly, water temperatures remain stable and less evaporation occurs.
LED lights last for years and do not need to be replaced every 6 – 9 months as is recommended for the traditional fluorescent bulbs. The lifespan of fluorescent is approximately 6 – 9 months compared to 13 years (about 50k hrs at 10 hrs/day) for the LED.
Generally, LEDs are more expensive when compared to other lights. The cost however, is quickly recovered through energy savings as well as the longevity of LEDs.
Advantages in summary:
- Energy savings between 50-70%
- Long lasting (13 Years)
- Less heat and noise
- No flickering light
- More natural and life-like light
- Space saving
- Environmentally safe