In this post we will share some aquarium tips and information about lighting your tank with LED lights, and share the benefits of using LED lighting for your aquarium. A few years ago the initial sticker shock of buying a new LED system for your aquarium lighting was just too much. There also weren’t LED systems available that could produce enough light for some species of coral and plants. Technology has advanced a little over the last several years, more companies have dove into the LED lighting realm, and supply and competition has lowered the price of the LED lighting system for your tank. So, lets look at some of the benefits of the LED lighting system for your aquarium.
First, LED aquarium lighting is cost-effective. In a quick search of prices we have found that you can get an LED lighting system for your aquarium for the same price, if not lower, than a metal halide or t5 fluorescent system for your tank. They are also cheaper on the electricity bills because they produce about 7 to 8 times more light per watt of energy used. This is like replacing a 250 watt metal halide with a 30 watt LED. Most LED manufacturers also rate their lights for 30,000 to 50,000 hours. Therefore, those lights rated at 30,000 hours won’t have to be replaced for 7 years if you ran your lights 12 hours a day. Compare that to replacing a metal halide or T5 bulb every 9-12 months. While T5 Hight Output (HO) bulbs can be found fairly inexpensively at $18, I haven’t found a metal halide bulb for less than $45.
Second, LED lighting generates less heat. This is not to say that LED lights produce no heat at all, but the heat is all right around the bulb. There is little to no radiant heat impact on the aquarium itself. Therefore, you may be able to get away without running a chiller, and cutting back on your power bill even more. Still, you should always use a thermostat and always monitor your water temperature.
Third, LED lights can be excellent for coral and plant life. You can find LED lights that deliver 8,000K to 10,000K of lighting which is enough to promote growth for a wide variety of live aquarium plants and keep your corals happy too!
Fourth, LED lights are compact and can be adjusted easily. Compact means that you can place them around your tank in such ways that allow you to have easy access to your tank for routine maintenance and water changes. Some manufacturers are even offering waterproof LED systems that can be hidden around the rim of the aquarium. Manufacturers are also offering expandable, and interchangeable LED systems that will allow you to add more lights, put different colored lights in different places, and even remove lights if so desired. LED lights are also dimmable, making it easy to adjust between any light output setting you wish. You can reproduce a bright sunny day, dim the lights to produce a storm cloud simulation, and even simulate moonlight and moon fazes.
Fifth, it is said that the visual effects that you can get from an LED lighting system are amazing. Many LED lighting systems have a shimmering effect and all of the different colors that you can use with an LED system can really bring out some beautiful colors of your fish, plants, and coral.
Finally, LED lights are safer than metal halide and T5 fluorescent lights. There are no metal filaments or noxious gasses contained inside an LED light. Many manufacturers are also making their LED systems water resistant!
This is not to say that LED lighting is the only way to go. Maybe you already have a metal halide or T5 fluorescent set up that is perfect for your fish, plants, and coral. You may have a fish only tank that only requires normal fluorescent lighting and you don’t need to spend the money on any of the high output lighting options. Know what you’re keeping and what the lighting requirements are for everything in your aquarium and then make your own decision on the type of lighting you use.
What kind of lighting do you use? Leave a comment and let us know! Also, sign up for our weekly updates and newsletter to get more aquarium tips, tricks, and tutorials.