LED vs traditional lighting
Since it looks like it will be another month before I can get my 55 gallon aquarium :cry: I thought I would do some more research on what kind of tank and accessories I want. I like the idea of LED lights but it looks like if you want to get a really good LED light for your aquarium you would need to spend some serious cash. Is there any benefit to LED lighting vs traditional lighting? I eventually want to try my hand at live plants as well.
Sorry if there is already a thread on this, I'm new here. Any input will be appreciated.
If it helps
I have only had small tanks, but with my 5 gallon aquarium I used traditional lighting, and i was relatively happy, until i put in GLOfish. LED lights exemplify the color of the fish, especially bright fish. My little sister's tank used LED lights, and once I put the glofish in there, they looked amazing
Also, i believe traditional lighting works best for live plants.
Yeah, everything I've seen on LED lights seemed outrageously expensive. I wouldn't say they're worth it yet, unless you can DIY it. The LEDs will use less electricity, probably run cooler, give the water a pretty shimmer effect, and the fixtures can be very streamlined. One of the main problems I found with LED lighting is that there are very limited low-medium light fixtures available.. there were lights that some people said could grow low lights, while others said it could barely grow moss.. and there were plenty of high light options, that were two-three times the cost, plus you would need CO2 and the additional fertilizer.
If you're going with fish only, the marineland double bright led lights aren't too expensive and they may be able to grow anubias and mosses. It'd be a very nice fixture for a fish only tank. Marineland also sells an LED fixture for planted tanks, but again, I feel like it's probably suited for a high tech set up
t all depends on what sort of plants you're planning. I like keeping my tank low tech so I don't get anything brighter than medium lighting. I use Deep Blue's light fixture for planted tanks which holds two normal output t5 bulbs and also has a row of blue LED 'moonlights' which are pretty useless if you keep the light on a timer (the light isn't programmable, so on a timer it's pretty much all or nothing), but I did notice it adds a bit of shimmer to my tank. I've been happy with the light, and Deep Blue sells replacement bulbs so I don't need to worry about finding compatible replacement bulbs.
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I got an LED fixture for my 55 on ebay for like $70, and it's great. The tank is not planted though. There are plant friendly LEDs now, but I don't know how much they run.
The advantages of LEDs are minimal. They consume less power, so the cost of running them will be slightly lower. Due to their lower power usage, they'll also produce less heat but that's only a problem if your home is kept mid to high 70's. An aquarium will always be warmer than the air temperature due to the lights, sunlight, and even the filter adds some.
Aside from that though, they are the same as other options but far more expensive to get the same color spectrum. Single wavelength or a handful of wavelengths isn't too expensive but you can't grow plants with those ones. LED fixtures with actual daylight spectrums (5000K to 7000K) will be far more expensive that traditional fluorescent lights.
I actually built my own daylight LED fixture for a 20 gallon tall tank to save some cost, but even so it was $50 to build.
I used a $20.00 LED strip that uses a 12v wall transformer to supplement the tube in a "potential bodily injury" Metaframe lid on a thirty gallon. I have those LED strips on some ten gallons and low light plants and a sword are doing well.
The fish look bright, and the shimmer effect is nice. I suspect they would not do well alone in deeper tanks.
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