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Old 09-28-2010, 10:45 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Hawk013 View Post
I am tired of everyone talking about how much energy you can save by switching to LED lighting. LED output is well below most long fluorescent tubes is efficiency, and is typically 5 to 10 times the cost. By watt of electricity used, LEDs vary from 15-20 lumens (typical white LED), to 50-60 lumens (most expensive premium LED), which is barely the same as a cheap compact fluorescent bulb. The other side of the story not often told is that high power LEDs generate a lot of heat, and tend to lose efficiency and much of their lifespan by being driven at their rated output. So no, your new overpriced fixture will not save you money over fluorescent lighting, and it will not last for 10 years with no loss of brightness or color shift. LEDs do age, and can vary their color based on output. High pressure sodium is the most efficient lighting generally available (up to 140 lumens/watt), followed by metal halide units (80-120 lumens /watt). A 21 watt t5 tube can have an output as high as 90-95 lumens/watt, much more economical than a 100$ LED fixture with 12 watts at 30 lumens/watt output.
LEDs have several advantages, mostly their package size, durability, and efficiency at LOW power. Most LED fixtures can claim to use much less electricity than your typical 400w halide + 4 55w power compact setups, but they also only put out a tiny fraction of the light.
Summary - If you want a little light to see your fish by, a cheap LED fixture is a great way to go. If you want to grow corals, the high lighting intensity needed means halides or T5 tubes are the best value and still the most efficient. LED technology is still not advanced enough to compete outside of a laboratory.
You are right on a couple points here. LED's are not a superior alternative for your larger and deeper reef, and I think anyone out there will admit that. For what it would cost you to emulate a 400w bulb with the same penetration, it probably wouldn't be worth it. What they are great for is smaller and shallower builds where the heat of a MH or the availability of small size T5 tubes will not work. LED's do put off a fair amount of heat, but when used with a heatsink and even basic cooling, will not put any heat into your tank. Metal halides put so much heat into your tank because they emit UV light which warms the water quicker.

Lumens are a fairly antiquated way of thinking about lighting. Through several studies what matters more is the PAR values which high power 3w LED's do have a lot of. I really wish I had a PAR meter to back this with some numbers, but you can look at this article with some better data, and its from 2007. There have been huge strides in LED technology since then.
Product Review: Aqua llumination's LED Lighting System: An 88-watt Sun for Your Reef Tank | Advanced Aquarist's Online Magazine

I would easily compare my LED's to a 150w MH over my 12 having kept a Crocea clam and about every different type of SPS out there. I'm not sure how you can say that LED's do not save you energy when I am getting a very close result at less then 1/4 the power consumption. Even if I run them at 100% with half the lifetime, the money saved not having to buy 5-8 MH bulbs and the extra utilities bill makes them life savers in my book.
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Old 10-05-2010, 06:06 PM   #12
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First of all, a product review is not a scientific study, and this one is clearly biased towards LED's. The halide tested against (20k) is a horrible color temperature for growing corals and is a lower efficiency color in general, and will only give poor results when compared against a lower color (6.8-7.2k especially) light of any sort. Also, the plot of the halides light output is on a different scale, giving the impression of it being much worse than it was. Second, heat is radiated as IR, not UV; and most good halide fixtures have UV filtering glass lenses built into them. Third, a halide fixtures efficiency is greatly affected by the quality of its reflector, something your LED review apparently doesn't take into consideration.
If you are getting the same results with 1/4 the wattage LED's, which even at their best are no more efficient per watt (show me a LED fixture outputting over 80 lumens/watt), as you did with a halide lamp, then either your halide fixture or bulb was wrong for your needs, or maybe you had 4 times more light than you needed? Having the right lamp for your coral type and depth is much more efficient than throwing just any high powered fixture over your tank.
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Old 10-05-2010, 07:15 PM   #13
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First of all, a product review is not a scientific study, and this one is clearly biased towards LED's. The halide tested against (20k) is a horrible color temperature for growing corals and is a lower efficiency color in general, and will only give poor results when compared against a lower color (6.8-7.2k especially) light of any sort. Also, the plot of the halides light output is on a different scale, giving the impression of it being much worse than it was. Second, heat is radiated as IR, not UV; and most good halide fixtures have UV filtering glass lenses built into them. Third, a halide fixtures efficiency is greatly affected by the quality of its reflector, something your LED review apparently doesn't take into consideration.
If you are getting the same results with 1/4 the wattage LED's, which even at their best are no more efficient per watt (show me a LED fixture outputting over 80 lumens/watt), as you did with a halide lamp, then either your halide fixture or bulb was wrong for your needs, or maybe you had 4 times more light than you needed? Having the right lamp for your coral type and depth is much more efficient than throwing just any high powered fixture over your tank.
While they are expensive, the par of a LED connot be denied. here is a graph of the par output on a aqua illumination led fixture. It blows a 250W MH out of the water. the one I saw was against a 20k radium bulb, lumen bright pendant and a lumentek balast. the cost of the MH setup is around $360-400 and the aqua illumination is around 600. 200 more but it does ALOT more stuff (moon lights, storms, cloud cover, sunrise, etc) once you add in the moon lights and the supplemental actinic t-5's to the MH fixture the cost is nearly the same. The price of the LED's are on the way down. Soon MH's and T-5's will go the way of VHO's

Check out this thread - Aqua Illumnation and Profilux....OMG!!!!!!
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Old 10-05-2010, 10:38 PM   #14
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Ok, so in confused. Is there any reason to put LEDs in a fw? Besides cost, energy efficacy , life of the bulb, looks, etc. Like actual reasons, that don't have anything to do with cost energy used or looks, life, etc? Is it beneficial to plants or the fish or good bacteria or something, or maybe changes algae growth for the better or worse? I've been looking at the marineland LEDs.
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:18 PM   #15
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... Is there any reason to put LEDs in a fw? Besides cost, energy efficacy , life of the bulb, looks, etc. Like actual reasons, that don't have anything to do with cost energy used or looks, life, etc? ...
If you rule out all those things, then no... in my opinion, there's no reason to use LEDs... regardless of what type of tank it is.
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