LED Aquarium Lighting

LED aquarium lighting is revolutionizing reefkeeping.  They produce less heat, are more economical to run than both metal halide lights and T5s, and have an effective bulb life of 50,000 hours.

led aquarium lighting

Maxspect Mazarra LED Lights

LED aquarium lighting maintains the correct color spectrum throughout its lifetime, which is important for the health of photosynthetic corals. Aging metal halide and T5 bulbs are known to shift in their light spectrum after 6 to 9 months, causing outbreaks of unwanted, nuisance algae.

The initial investment you make in quality LED aquarium lights, while pricey, will save you a lot of money in the long run.  You will never have to do expensive bulb changes every 8 to 12 months as is necessary for T5s and metal halides.

LED Aquarium Lights Provide Shimmer!

When T5 fluorescents became popular, aquarium hobbyists noticed that they were missing out on one thing — the ‘shimmer’ that metal halide lighting provided!  High output T5 lighting, while perfectly adequate for keeping photosynthetic SPS and LPS corals, provided bright but very ‘flat’ lighting.

led aquarium lighting

Ecoxotic Stunner LED Strip 445nm

Switching to LED aquarium lighting surprised many aquarists who had previously used T5s.  Suddenly their tanks took on a whole new dimension with the shimmer that LEDs provided, much like the mid-day sun over a coral reef.

Dusk And Dawn Effects Are Now Possible With LED Aquarium Lighting!

LED lights can be made to turn on and turn off in gradual increments, creating a dusk and dawn effect.  This useful feature ensures that fish are not startled by aquarium lights suddenly turning on or off at the start or end of each lighting cycle.  It should be mentioned that LED aquarium fixtures with dimming features cost considerably more due to the programmable onboard microcomputer. But I foresee that soon, all LED lighting fixtures will have this feature.

LED Aquarium Lighting | You Get What You Pay For

Unfortunately, there is a proliferation of junk LED aquarium light fixtures out there, making it difficult to make an informed purchase.

Cheap OEM fixtures with inferior components are re-branded and widely distributed.  Of course they put out nowhere near the amount of light output or PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation) needed for coral growth, despite their many claims to the contrary.  No wonder even experienced hobbyists who started out with with T5s or metal halides are often left scratching their heads when it comes to the new LED technology.

Earlier generations of low-quality LED aquarium lights became dim or failed completely after mere months of use.  This was due not to the LED bulbs themselves, but rather, a failure of the LED driver unit that was powering them.

The driver is the most expensive cost factor in any LED lighting assembly.  Cost-cutting to make the LED driver unit more economical usually results in premature driver failure in less than a year, with the frustrated owner having to throw away the entire light fixture.

Not All LED Aquarium Lights Are Created Equal!

Reputable LED aquarium light manufacturers will state outright if their product will support coral growth or if it is just supplemental lighting.  It should be noted that the total output in watts that an LED fixture can produce is not the sole indicator that it can support photosynthetic corals.  A more important consideration would be the type of LED bulbs used, and the number of bulbs in a fixture.  High output SemiLED or CREE LEDs are highly regarded.

Will Prices Of LED Aquarium Lights Come Down?

The answer to this question is a definite ‘YES’!

With their low maintenance cost and smaller carbon footprint, LED aquarium lighting is becoming the choice for many saltwater aquarium owners.  And almost every month, a new high quality LED aquarium lighting manufacturer joins the fray for what is becoming an extremely competitive niche.

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