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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

September 9, 2010

LED Lighting

By David Lass


Having been in the energy-efficient lighting business for a number of years, I am always interested in seeing how improvements in the commercial lighting business eventually make their way into the aquarium industry.

Over the past years, we have gone from T12s (the “fat” fluorescent lamps) to T8s (the skinnier ones) to T5s (the current state-of-the-art fluorescents). The number after the T denotes the diameter of the lamp in eighths of an inch. The latest improvements becoming available are with LED (light-emitting diode) technology.

LEDs have been used for years for exit signs and traffic lights—the LEDs have incredibly long life, at least 50,000 hours. The newest ones have managed to pack a tremendous amount of light into a small lamp, and they come in different colors and keep those colors for the life of the lamp. I’ve been testing and using different LED fixtures for aquariums for a little more than three years now. The fixtures I started with three years ago, which I still use, were very large and very heavy—and very expensive. I believe the 72-watt LED fixture from then retailed for about $800 or so. The latest LED fixture I just finished testing is the thinnest aquarium light I have ever used, is 12 watts and drives light to the bottom of a 29-gallon tank, weighs virtually nothing and retails for about $125.

The improvements in LED lighting for aquariums are continuing at a furious pace. In Europe, where the aquarium hobby is typically two years ahead of us here in the U.S., they have many different LED lighting systems available, some of which are in use for marine tanks with corals and other photosynthetic animals; these work for all but the most light-hungry corals, and for clams. Keep your eyes on this sector of the industry, as there will be great technical advances and great price decreases.

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Reader Comments
Hi Everyone, I represent 21st Century LED Light Co. in Ft Collins, Co. We are one of those manufacturers working hard to "get it right" Our first offering will be for fresh water tanks that will be ready sometime after labor day.
Arnie, Ft. collins, CO
Posted: 8/2/2012 2:15:43 PM
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