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Old 09-25-2010, 07:18 PM   #1
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Led or fluorescent lighting?

I have a 50 gallon freshwater aquarium with 9 goldfish successfully saved from an old pond. This is my first experience, so I really owe my success to the wonderful support from members of this forum. The tank came with 2 hoods and fluorescent lights, (standard I believe), from Petsmart. Now the lights have gone out from one of the hoods and I'm wondering if I should just replace them or move to LED lighting. Would be happy for any advice as I really don't know a thing about lighting. I know LED will be more expensive but it's worth it if it's better for the fish? I've had them nearly a year!
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Old 09-25-2010, 07:27 PM   #2
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just stick with what you've got.. led technology is still young (meaning really expensive) and light does not matter unless you've got plants anyways...
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Old 09-25-2010, 08:44 PM   #3
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I agee with MF, LED tecnology is mainly for reef tanks and very high light requirements. You would be best to stick with the setup that you have now.
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Old 09-25-2010, 10:15 PM   #4
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I don't see a need for LEDs, for a freshwater I can only see one reason you would get some, for looks. They are primarily for reefs.
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Old 09-25-2010, 11:29 PM   #5
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I am a big proprietor of LED's, I would say your best option would be those new tubes that are full of LED's but fit in a standard florescent fixture. They are initially more costly but will run forever and save you energy. I would only get them if you are sure you aren't going to upgrade your lighting anytime soon.

but again, my opinion is super biased :p i love LED's
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Old 09-26-2010, 12:02 AM   #6
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LED's are a wonderful investment, but in the future. As another stated, the technology is a bit early in development and from I have heard from a very reliable source, there are only 2 specific fixtures even worth their while.
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Old 09-27-2010, 12:45 AM   #7
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Thank you all very much. I do appreciate and have learned something I did not know. I guess I would all the same be interested in Jimbo7's suggestion because they save energy and do not heat (I've head also), if I can find them. My fish like cool water. And perhaps too: looks
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Old 09-27-2010, 12:57 AM   #8
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Great, but Im confused about why LEDs in freshwater? Besides looking cool what do they do in a fw? I thought they were for saltwater mainly? I'm glad you decided LEDs but I'm wondering if they have any advantages in fw besides looking cool. I agree they are pretty amazing, I got to see a bio cube led hqi it was great lighting.
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Old 09-28-2010, 01:18 AM   #9
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Well there are a bunch of different types of LED's. The ones you see on reef tanks are usually a high power 3w+ LED and are meant to duplicate the power of the sun or other lighting systems.

The ones you see over freshwater are usually a smaller wattage (besides planted tanks) and are meant to take advantage of the energy saving and long life aspects of the diode. There is a huge decrease of energy usage along with a 10+ year span in life without spectrum shift.
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Old 09-28-2010, 06:56 PM   #10
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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.
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