When Will the Argument End?

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Reef Aquarium LED Lighting

LEDs hit the reef aquarium industry years ago, and since their debut hopes have been high for them, but when will the debate over their true worth end? LEDs have now been developed and imported by more companies than nearly any other piece of equipment in the trade and yet we still don’t have a tried and true badge for them yet. It’s true that people tend to resist what’s new for what they already know, when it lasts this long, I believe it is more of a marketing problem than a product problem. At least some of the LEDs on the market certainly must be capable of producing as good, if not better, light than metal halides or companies would not still be dumping money on them. So why all the consumer hesitation? Perhaps it’s the fact that actual specs on light output are hard to find. LED manufacturers could go a long way by simply providing the hard data on just how much their lights put out. I for one would be quick to buy from the company with numbers out in the open, and I would also shy away from the company next door who did not advertise numbers. For the first few trend setting companies, it could really be a competitive edge. I’m sure it could be argued that the general public wouldn’t understand PAR readings or even know a halide benchmark to compare them to, so then why not educate us? The reef community is built on the sharing of information and any company that builds themselves on this, gains major ground in my mind. The LED revolution could really make a huge leap forward if the right companies are willing to put themselves out there and present the facts in an easy to understand format for everyone. This, in my opinion, is the only way forward from here.

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  • I think the lack of empirical data that you mentioned is a big part of the “argument”.  Metal halides have been around for a long time.  You can probably find charts for about every bulb out there showing PAR drop off over time, spectral shift and estimated bulb life.  Since LEDs are so new that information just isn’t out there.  Most people seem to be getting their information about LED lights via forums and by asking people who already have them.  When a manufacturer says their LED bulbs will last ten years thats great, but I would be willing to bet they aren’t putting out the same amount of PAR after 10years.  With out the data to show information like that there will be arguments..

  • Metal halide manufacturers didn’t provide this data either.  It wasn’t until Sanjay started publishing light articles in AA when PAR became a household hobbyist terminology and we better understood metal halide lighting.  He did a few LED tests for AA, but not nearly enough.  If you see Sanjay, tell him you want to see more tests! 🙂  We’re always eager to purchase and publish his test articles.