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LED Aquarium Lighting: What’s The Pay Off?

LED Aquarium Lighting: What’s The Pay Off?

Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura were recently awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their invention of the blue light-emitting diode (LED). The blue LED combined with the already exciting red and green LEDs gave us the much more usable white light. This miraculous breakthrough has thankfully benefited us in the aquarium lighting world in many ways.

No Lamp Replacement Cost

The average LED is rated from 30-50K hrs. Running the light for 12 hrs. a day, it would take 7 yrs. to hit the conservative estimate of 30K hrs. and 11 yrs. to hit 50K hrs. You can find 24” T5 lamps for as low as $20 each, but most HIDs lamps are $45 or more. Paying that expense every 9-12 months adds up over the course of 7 or 11 yrs.

Savings on Utility Bills

With today’s LED aquarium ligting it is very common to achieve the same PAR values with less wattage than that used by HIDs or even T5 HOs. The reduction in power consumption translates to less heat being generated. With less heat over your tank you may be able to reduce or eliminate the use of a chiller. With these two factors combined over the 7 to 11 year life span of the LED, you could be looking at some considerable savings. Reduction in heat also means less water evaporation. With less water evaporating from your tank you will need to produce less top off water. This could not only save on your water bill, but also mean that you may be able to go much longer before changing filters on your RO Junior or RO Buddie.

Buy 1 Get Several for FREE

The third financially benefit is one that you may not have considered, the ability to alter the lighting to benefit your future tanks.

Let’s say you are starting a FOWLR tank and purchase an Edge or Edge Reef LED. You get it home and dial in the intensity and color that looks great. The new light makes your fish pop and you love the same shimmer you used to get with your HID. Your tank runs for a year or so and you decide you would like to make the next step and introduce corals. With older lighting technologies you would most likely need to purchase replacement or supplemental fixtures to support that brain coral you had your eye on, but since you have a customizable LED fixture you can alter the settings of your fixture.

The amount of money you saved by not having to purchase another T5 HO fixture combined with the savings you have already experienced by in lower electricity bills and lamp replacements has more than justified the initial cost of the fixture.

With all of the above factors in mind it is not hard to see why the blue LED was deemed “an invention of greatest benefit to mankind”.

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