After visiting the Backer show this last weekend the interesting topic has come up a few times about the recent growth of LED usage in aquariums and whether it is a worthy investment.
LED’s are cool – really – they emit almost no heat, never shift spectrum and cost about a 1/4 to operate in energy costs. On top of that it gives the cool ‘shimmer’ effect that everyone loves but have only been able to get with metal halides until LED’s came along. Sounds to good to be true? Well for reefers it is – the problem comes in with the fact that LED’s are so precision they don’t emit enough of the other colors in the nearby spectrum that corals have been proven to need – mostly the reds/ambers right now are the problem. Not having these colors has been proven in tests to cause corals to either grow very slowly or not at all.
So to keep this little tidbit short they look great on a marine tank but if you want your corals to grow – we would say stick with the T5 HO or halides for now but keep an eye on the technology as it has been improving exponentially in the last few years.