I have a small LED
strip on my 10 gallon and it lights up the tank nice. This is my first tank so I know next to nothing about aquarium lighting.
I'm setting up a 29 gallon bowfront that a friend gave me but It came with no lighting or filter. So I thought I'd get an bigger LED
strip seeing as I like the way the 10 gallon looks with LEDs.
So I go to the local family owned fish shop. After meeting the owner and telling him what I was looking at, he guided me toward a lighting setup called a T5 for 65 dollars. I looked at it for a moment but thought "I really want an LED
Then the owners son who's around my age comes over and starts talking to me about lighting. There were a row of about 8 very large 150+ gallon tanks against the back wall. One of them was lit up so nice. Very bright and clear. The others were kind of dull and not so bright.
He explained to me the one that looked so great and bright was actually a T5 setup and the dull ones were LEDs. The LED
ones he told me the price range was either 350 or 550 dollars, I forget now, but It was definitely shocking to me.
So what he tells me is this. The technology isn't there yet. If you want good LEDs that will last many years and really brighten up a tank, the only ones he trusts are the ones that cost thousands of dollars. The 550 dollar ones he had there were having issues and he said all the ones under that price point he either has issues with one thing or another or just don't light the tank as well as the T5's. They don't last long for the price, being as when something goes wrong with them you have to replace the whole unit instead of just a bulb. And they were pulling waaay more watts than the T5s. He had some there that were 2, 3 or 5 watts per LED
and some that only had a half watt but many more LEDs. And when added up and adding in the capacitors they were pulling way more power and were even hotter to the touch.
Plus the nicest looking tank in that place that I thought was lit by LEDs was the one that wasn't lit by LEDs. All of this kind of disillusioned me, especially since I was planning on buying an LED
strip that was about 50-75 bux. And at that price I'm sure they would be less than stellar just as that guys 550 dollar ones were.
What do you guys think of this? Are there some LEDs under 100 dollars that maybe this guy doesn't know about that are actually quality and better than a comparable priced T5 setup? He grew up in this shop that's been open for 29 years and installs professional aquariums so as of now I'm following his advice and forgetting about the LED
strip for this particular setup.