Jaco Schoeman

LED's explained + review

  • Okey, I must just note that I wrote an entire 30 minutes on this thread, then got the "page can not be displayd" error when I clicked on submit... Also, I have just learned that my wife thought it will to put an Opel badge onto the back of another car... :(

    So, with that wind out of my sails, I will just write a much shorter version of what I was trying to say;)

    Alot of unanswered questions are making the rounds on MASA about whether LED's are better or even just close the the likes of MH or T5's. The pricetag on LED does not make anyone willing to put LED's to the test, for if we fail, we lose many many $$$...

    I, fortunately / unfortunately had no other choice than LED with my latest PICO tank, so let me be one of the first to review it.

    Just before I give my experience with LED, I would like to take a moment to explain one or two things about LED's, and hopefully answer the hanging question; "LED's vs. MH / T5's - which are best..."

    The answer in fact is quite a simple one: It cannot be compared at all. Not the answer you hoped for huh? Well, comparing LED's to MH on paper, based on Lumen per Watt, PAR, LUX etc. is like comparing Oranges to Apples. Both are fruit, both are good for us, both taste nice, but which is better? Do you see my point?

    This is now a good time to give my backing behind this statement, and it comes from an article that NEO has posted to me. ALL CREDIT TO NEO FOR THIS - THANKS DUDE!!!!:thumbup:

    Here is the link, and please, if you really want to understand all the terminology of PAR, PUR, CRI, LUX, LUMENS etc. read the ENTIRE article, not just parts of it. It is a long read, but will blow your mind into millions of pieces, but you will understand lighting better.

    Link: Aquarium Lighting; Kelvin, Nanometers, PAR, Bulb, Watt, MH, LED, Light Basics.

    Now, based on this link, you might have picked up that the answer I have given on the LED vs. MH question is partly correct, as the actual answer is that LED has surpassed MH on growth in studies made. This however is again too broad of a definite answer, and that is why I rather say "YES and NO". When looking at lighting, we have to look at MANY different aspects, and in a nutshell each aqaurium is unique, so again that brings out the ruling that what works for me wouldn't always work for you. We NEED TO MAKE IT work, in order for it to work.

    Anyway, some of us know the basic advantages of LED's, but I have stumbled, in the article, across two advantages that I never knew existed:

    1) LED's produce more "specificc" light compared to other lighting forms. This is due to LED's not emitting useless light wavelengths (yellow/green) that other lights produce. Quote: "In fact this lack of production of yellow/green light in most all high end emitters used by various LED Kelvin lights (whether 6500K or 14000K) often makes the LED look less bright to the human eye, when in fact the opposite is true as per useful light energy"

    2) The other AMAZING fact, is that LED's prevent Cyano Bacteria from growing!!! Bull**** you say??? Well, read the article. According to the writer, he is not certain of the exact reason for this, but it has been proven. He says that he recons is because of this exact reason stated in point 1, that the yellow/green spectrum is not emmited; wavelength needed by Cyano to live from.

    Other advantages include low heat, high lifespan, small size, low power consumption etc. Then if you look at these advantages and the above stated ones, you can start anwering that "allmighty" question yourself.

    BUT, we also know that LED's are VERY expensive still. Aparantly the industry promises lower costs soon.

    Another thing that I think we need to take note from, is that you get LED's and you get LED's. A Toyota Tazz is a car and a Bugatti Veyron is also a car. If you wanna drive at 407km/h, you would not buy a Tazz, but if you dont want fuel consumption of 3litres per kilometer, you would not buy a Veyron.

    My point is, that torch LED as an example, cannot sustain our complex aquarium life, and one needs specific LED's for that purpose. The most common / best industry name LED's are the CREE XR-E LED's, and even within this name, you get LED's and LED's. The major difference comes in with the correct wavelength output / Kelvin temperature.

    Cree is / has produced a XP-G LED, that aparantly aims at a broader beam of light compared to the XR-E narrow beam. This will allow even better use in aquariums, as it will illuminate over greater surfaces.

    In any case, LED's is the way to go, maybe not now, but soon even the largest of tanks will use this technology. Eskom has been granted their three 25% increases so my condolenses to reefers like Schuan that has 6x 250W MH ;)

    I will now post my review of the LED unit that I stumbled across in the next post...