Originally Posted by BBradbury
Probably stating the obvious, but the florescents are so much less expensive. I keep several 55 G tanks and if I'm pretty careful, the florescents are about half the cost of setups that include T5 bulbs and LEDs. Not sure I'm sold on them, the price seems a bit high for what you get.
Granted, I keep only the plants that require subdued lighting, so the lamps I pick up at the local hardware store work fine.
This is so true that it is not even funny.
The only thing that justifies the cost of a good LED
unit is longevity. For roughly ten years there is no need to replace a bulb. On a dual bulb unit, even if you buy expensive bulbs, the savings is not really there. Two bulbs at $40 for ten years equals $400, not a huge savings. And power consumption is not a huge factor either, talking pennies here. It doesn't start to add up until you get into four bulb fixtures.
The other big plus for LEDs is heat, but again, a two bulb fixture does not produce that much heat.
If all you are looking for is low to medium light then go with a cheap dual bulb T8 or T5 fixture and you can pick up GE Starfire bulbs all day for about six bucks each. Most people tend to over light their aquariums anyway. I have one T8 bulb over a 75 gallon and it grows low light plants very well.