LED lighting, if you still have doubts, is very quickly outpacing other aquarium lighting sources…even the seemingly timeless metal halides. Halide setups have been around for decades, and many people still senselessly cling to these energy hogs to illuminate their reef tanks. But as the video above shows, LEDs are taking over the formerly metal halide illuminated aquariums of even the most hardcore aquarium hobbyists. And not only are these hobbyists seeing reductions in tank temperatures, electrical consumption, and operating costs, but these hobbyists are also seeing positive responses from their corals.
The aquarium above was previously lit by two 400watt metal halide fixtures with twelve 54watt T5HO bulbs for supplemental lighting. Doing some quick math, that’s over 1400 watts! The owner of the tank replaced half of the lighting scheme with a trio of Orphek PR-156 LED fixtures as part of an experiment and a fairly slow transition away from metal halides. The three Orphek fixtures total about 360 watts of electricity, dropping the total on this tank down to a little over 1000 watts. That’s not a huge reduction in electrical usage, but keep in mind that half of the tank is still being lit by one 400watt halide and several T5HO lamps. Once all of the original lighting equipment is replaced by LED fixtures, the total will be down around 720watts, which is around half of the original consumption. Now that’s a huge number.
Judging from the results this reef keepers is seeing from switching to LED fixtures, it looks like the rest of the metal halides and T5HO lamps will be replaced by Orphek LEDs shortly. The hobbyist experienced several significant benefits to using LED lighting a mere two weeks into the transition/experiment. These benefits include a significant drop in water temperature, increased polyp extension, increased coral growth, no browning or dulling of coral coloration, and a reduced amount of algae growing on the front glass. LEDs are here folks. It’s no longer a doubt that these fixtures can provide for all of your corals’ photosynthetic needs.