The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
528 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok so me and my boyfriend have been looking at LED lighting. He really wants to buy one but can't find enough benefits of LED to justify spending so much money. So our question is what are the pros and cons of LED lighting?

Edit: Just want to clarify this would be for a freshwater tank
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,994 Posts
Now that I have them over one tank I won't go back to T5 tubes.

However, I would advise you take a critical look at the size tank and decide what your commitment is to that size. If you have a 20L but, know you want to go to a 70gl.... wait. There is little benefit getting a LED fixture that will last 5-7years if you don't plan to keep that size tank that long. Used aquarium equipment is basically worthless.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
215 Posts
LED's
Pros
- On a properly made LED light, they should last 5+ years vs needing to replace every 6 months like T5HO
- Use less power
- Less heat generation

Cons
- There's no standard on converting watts into lumens, so you need to google a bit to find out what brand of LED light is giving you the level of output you are looking for
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
LED's
Pros
- On a properly made LED light, they should last 5+ years vs needing to replace every 6 months like T5HO
- Use less power
- Less heat generation

Cons
- There's no standard on converting watts into lumens, so you need to google a bit to find out what brand of LED light is giving you the level of output you are looking for
Agree, 100%.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,317 Posts
As said above, mostly greater efficiency, lower heat generation, and longer bulb life.

Plus, you don't need a reflector.

As to the bulb life, amazon has fugeray listed at ~40,000 hours. thats something like over 4 years, constantly on.

A typical light cycle will probably extend that to something in the range of 8-12 years useful lifetime, but a lot of that depends on how well the led's are cooled, and whether they are under or overpowered, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,691 Posts
Led
Pros...
Thin and sexy profile
Lower power consumption
Depending on the model, medium to high light now possible with the RayII
Runs cooler than t5ho, ESP in summer.
Now available in 6500-7000 Kelvin spectrum.

Cons...
Slightly higher price than t5ho lamp.
Tall tanks may require a second fixture to achieve the same par rating as t5ho lamp.
Limited stock but plenty of vendor options.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
Another con: some people (like me) just don't like how the light they produce looks aesthetically, so before you fork over the big bucks spend some time seriously looking at high-end LED lit tanks vs. high-end non LED lit tanks to make sure you're happy with the LED look.

Unless you run a ridiculous number of lights you shouldn't base your decision on power savings, since LED's will produce negligible savings (in financial terms) over an efficient non-LED system. But as for the coolness factor, LEDs kick everything else's butt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
285 Posts
T5 fluorescents generally dont need replacing every 6, 9 or 12 months. They need replacing when they fail.

Plants adapt well enough.

I use T5 and Led on different tanks. Youve got to get the right led unit, dont opt for cheapo makes. One of the downsides of leds can be colour rendition vs T5s.

There are mid range units comparable in price to good T5 units.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,994 Posts
....Unless you run a ridiculous number of lights you shouldn't base your decision on power savings, since LED's will produce negligible savings (in financial terms) over an efficient non-LED ....
I don't agree, 40,000 to 50,000 hours is a long time even if you are running one 1 duel T5 fixture. Even it if that isn't sufficient, the replacement cost of T5 tubes along justifies the LED initial cost. Even more true as LEDs become more popular and prices continue to drop
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
I don't agree, 40,000 to 50,000 hours is a long time even if you are running one 1 duel T5 fixture. Even it if that isn't sufficient, the replacement cost of T5 tubes along justifies the LED initial cost. Even more true as LEDs become more popular and prices continue to drop
Last time I did the math for converting my large fixtures to LED (two years ago), the power savings was small enough that it would have taken over a decade to offset the added expense. I don't doubt that LEDs have continued to get more efficient and cheaper, and I don't deny that the savings can eventually add up to offset the higher initial expense when replacement costs are taken into account, I just think the savings angle gets over-hyped.

The actual reduction in the power bill an average hobbyist can expect is probably still pretty negligible - you'd probably get as much or more savings by just cutting the power to all your electronics when you're not using them (the stupid "stand by" setting everything is made with these days is not the same as being "off").

As to replacement costs - I guess that depends on what you're using. I don't know anything about T5s, but I use power compacts and they can be run until they die (mine average 5-6 years) and then replaced for around $30 (for 96W).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
I am noob here, so take what I write with a grain of salt.

I was really having a hard time figuring out which type of light to buy for my 55g. I knew I wanted plants, so I needed at least moderate power. One of the things that sold me on the LED fixtures was the lack of heat (or less heat anyway). You don't need fans, you don't need to worry about placement so much. The shimmer effect looked awesome too.

After buying a LED fixture (moderately priced one), it still does throw off a good bit of heat, but it's manageable without fans and nothing will burn. Also, 36watts of LED is more than sufficient lighting for most things in my 55g long tank...it's high light for sure. And I don't have to worry about those bulbs that can break and need to be replaced. I like that there is no glass, and the low profile of the light is very easy to work with.

I am at the point now that I wouldn't do anything but LEDs on my tanks, and my new 10gallon is testament to this. This is using cheap LEDs for a low light low tech betta tank, and it's really working great.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,994 Posts
As to replacement costs - I guess that depends on what you're using. I don't know anything about T5s, but I use power compacts and they can be run until they die (mine average 5-6 years) and then replaced for around $30 (for 96W).
Jules I can provide a more Par with 36W of LED than I can with 78W of T5 florescent .You can dismiss that as negligible but old math /new math, American math/ Canadian math it's still and always will be 50% less electricity providing more light.

I am unaware of any florescent Compact or standard tube that is not losing substantial quality light levels after 6mos. Will it run for 5 years maybe, will it provided Par needed to grow plants? ... just not going to happen.

That's why just about every Aquarium and Hydroponic site recommends swapping out fluorescents at 6mos.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
I am unaware of any florescent Compact or standard tube that is not losing substantial quality light levels after 6mos. Will it run for 5 years maybe, will it provided Par needed to grow plants? ... just not going to happen.
I'm familiar with the theory behind swapping out bulbs - but I quit doing it ages ago since I don't see any difference in the fullness, growth, colour or health of my plants when I do put a new bulb in. (I did back in the day when I was running old-style tubes, but not with compacts.)

I don't measure PAR and I don't worry about the spectrum - I just watch my plants, I figure they'll let me know pretty fast if there's a problem. My current bulb is going on year five (8 hour photo-period) and my plants are still growing beautifully with lots of nice red highlights. The tank is in a dark corner, so gets no natural light at all. But I don't grow anything all that tricky - Ludwegia, Hygro, some crypts.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,041 Posts
What specific "look" do you mean? The shimmer effect? Color temperature? Something else?

I'm honestly interested in what you mean specifically because it's easy to have LED fixtures that produce lighting that looks the same as any other.

Another con: some people (like me) just don't like how the light they produce looks aesthetically, so before you fork over the big bucks spend some time seriously looking at high-end LED lit tanks vs. high-end non LED lit tanks to make sure you're happy with the LED look.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,994 Posts
Jules - As long as you are happy with your light choice, that is really all that matters as you are the one that looks at the tank.

Personal ascetic observations just are not debatable. :smile:

My comments were not intended to be competetive, merely to provide the newer members with accurate info to help make an informed choice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Coming from the reef side of lighting, LEDs produce a narrow spectrum and therefore have a lack of color where T5 bulbs a wider spectrum. Mixing of emitters can widen the spectrum but still have sharp drops in color.
That being said I will only run LEDs as the pros out way cons by far.
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top