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The Light-Fight : LED -VS- Fluorescent

Discussion in 'General Aquascaping and Planted Tank Discussions' started by Ohly, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. Shadow

    Shadow Moderator Staff Member

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    There goes my hope :cry:
     
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  2. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    My 30c uses the aquasky and it has been tough to match with t5s although I suspect more intensity/wattage is needed than with leds for similar response. Also all leds are not equal there is a large range in performance/output whereas t5s tend to all perform similarly
     
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  3. niko

    niko New Member

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    PAR? Isn't that the most amazing measurement of... what? What the plants like for sure. It's like lubricating oil for their molecules to do their photowhatever thing they do. PAR makes a lot of sense. And it does not.

    1. Compare LED to the worst of the worst - incandescents.
    Buy 20 different LED fixtures. "Aquarium", "hydroponic", parking lot floods, diy by some all-knowing nerd, design them yourself with funy internet software that allows you to drag colorful circles and create an astonishing diy LED light with Marsian wavelengths.
    Make sure they are all the same wattage.
    Compare them with a light made of a bread pan with incandescents bulbs screwed inside it with big ugly bolts.
    Make sure it is the same wattage as the LEDs.

    The results will be sad for the space age LED. The plants will grow either way. Ok, maybe the LED will make the plants grow 300% better. I mean 30. A very exciting find.

    2. Setup the tank properly.
    You will find that you need way, way less light than all of us love to use. 2 wpg will replace 5 wpg and there will be no difference.
    What is "a proper setup"? We do not want to go into that. It is not fun or interesting for 99.9% of planted tank enthusiasts on the net.

    3. Setup a shallow tank (no more than 8 inches deep (20 cm)).
    Find the cheapest, crapiest LED strips you can find. As yellow and dim and Made in China as you can find.
    Use AquaSoil, pump CO2, good water flow.
    Wow. The plants grow like crazy. HC, Rotala.

    4. Setup a 2 ft. deep tank.
    After much experimentation, frustration and switching LEDs, MH, fluorescents and incadescents (if you can find them) you will find that the PAR is as meaningful as Watts. 400 watts of LED will do what 480 watts of fluorescents do.
    Hm. That's not fun.

    5. Use LEDs to save electricity?
    Saving electricity is a great thing for the environment of course. LED will allow you to use less power. If the entire world did that we can really impact the environment in a positive way.
    I'm sure that is why every single planted tank enthusiast is interested in LEDs.
    I'm not going to ask how CO2 is made to fit tight in a 5 lb. bottle, how silicone is made, what do folk do with the 3 parts of water that their RO system throws away when making 1 part uber-pure water for their LED lit tank. Those things are not fun, hip, or cool. Higher PAR and sleek profile are. Plants love that. And we are saving electricity.

    What is my point here?
    People will do what they want. Not what they can or can not.
     
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  4. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    They save a lot because of their lifetime and using less watts. They cost much more to buy but electricity in the UK + buying tubes at UK retail is expensive business. My estimate is that I would get back the difference just in electricity saving as buying the first replacement fluorescent bulb. My first unit has been running now since 2008 with no failures. I would be on my 3rd set of fluorescents by now.


    Niko, most of what you say is what I have been saying for the last 6 years. Look at Barrreport from 2007 onwards. I agree with you and Tom. Low light is the way. The days of 'this plant needs 4WPG' should already be over because it was never true in the first place and those ADA MH units with poor PAR for the watts showed it back then when they were selling high wattage units to please the wattage followers whilst making them very inefficient to tie in with Amano's own belief of lower light.

    That is why LED is so good. because you can then achieve that high PAR without using so much electricity. Save yourself money and use less energy at the same time. Yes it looks cool. Yes it can be a bit of a pose item but still it has those benefits. It's outlay is consistent with it's 'bling' appeal but over it's lifetime it achieves what the rest of us want. To get the same light from less watts, spending less on electricity (which in UK is very high now) and at the same time using less energy if you are into the green thing.

    When I say energy is high in the UK. At the moment my 2 bedroom house costs £1500 per year in Gas & Electrcity. We don't have the TV on all day, we don't use energy non stop but that is the price for a 2 bed house!!! That is $2350 a year!!!! expensive stuff and well worth investing a little more now to save in the future because it is rising at silly rates.

    Indeed you can do a Walstad tank and use natural sunlight. Is that what we are after in aquascaping? Maybe for some but for most they want fast growth. Yes incandescent will grow under that bread pan but W for W? Would be silly to suggest that 40W of incandescent will compete with 40W of flourescent let alone LED.

    Like I said above. I have said this for 6 or more years. Tom Barr says this. Amano says this (off record) but many don't want to hear it. I won't argue with you here. I use LED so that I can use 1WPG to get my planted aquariums to grow :) Works for me and saves me electricity.

    LED strips are not good for this. I have tested them :) They are good for backlighting or illuminating behind your TV or giving an ambient glow around the base of your kitchen cabinets but not for main lighting. They are not high power LED and not very efficient either.

    You need to give proof on this. If this were the case why would people have ever switched from incandescents or halogen to move to fluoro in the first place. Fluoro is much better than incandescent or halogen W for W. LED is better than fluorescent but I can't say with proof it is better overall as ther may be other things scientific that plants prefer that one type of light gives and another doesn't but for the wattage you do get much more usable light. LED also gives the advantage of much less UV and unusable light.

    Indeed if people want to champion environmental issues whilst banging CO2 into their tank then it's doubtful to say the least. Most people just want to save money whilst having a small warm glow about using less energy. It's a false feeling but it's something at least. After all they had CO2 before and used 300W, they still have Co2 but now have 200W. They can feel good about that surely.

    So we are on the same page in the main. The only difference is that I use LED because it means I can reduce my wattage even more that fluorescent. With fluorescent I would be on 2WPg . With LED I only use in the region of 1.2WPG and that is with cheap chinese knock off copy (high power)LEDs. I could maybe use even less if I went for branded latest gen LEDs. You can't however use the old fashioned style LED emitters. The 'modern' high power LEDs are compeltely different to those old LEDs we remember

    I don't mess about trying to blend colours. I used solely 6500K fluorescent lights. I now use solely 6500K LED lights. To me the colouration of the LEDs is a little cooler, the fluoros a little more to the 'warm' side. I like that. Seems crisper although some may say less welcoming. The shimmer is a great novelty but when you are breeding shrimp and looking at tanks a lot it can be annoying. Always the first thing anyone will notice with LEDs though. It is a WOW factor from the start but can become tiring. Growth wise I see faster growth than I did with higher W fluoros even when the LEDs are much higher but I cannot prove that. Just an observation. Red Plants??? No idea, if you look at my tanks you'll see I'm into everything green so I cannot comment on this question.
     
  5. ghostmonk

    ghostmonk Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Is this eternal truth that god personally shared with you or is it just your opinion that you are trying to shove in our throat?
     
  6. Ohly

    Ohly Aspiring Aquascaper

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    please, i dont want hate in this threat,

    i dont want people to argue each other about who's right or not,

    Share and comment, dont attack others!
    ___________________________________________________________

    i'm seriously looking to buy a LED fixture to fit on top of my next tank, a 25gal (30-32 inches)
    i need advices about : choosing the led fixture company -- whats the led i should have ? ( i want a balanced but good for plants and fish light) -- and maybe the wattage?

    and i admit I'm really confused when you all talk about PAR , i understand Watts (i had my electricity class)... but PAR ??? in french the word : par mean : by ....

    i'm actually looking to Buildmyled.com they seems to build nice fixture, also with customisable led selection, the price seems affortable, at least lower than many other brand,

    what are your suggestions and advices

    thanks
    Ohly
     
  7. Shadow

    Shadow Moderator Staff Member

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    PAR = Photosynthetically Active Radiation, basically measuring light spectrum intensity that plant use for photosynthesis. You need special equipment to measure like Apogee PAR meter. Lux meter on the other hand, measure the whole spectrum that human see which not exactly what plant use for photosynthesis.

    If not mistaken the most efficient LED currently produce by CREE, 140 lm/watt whereas other brand roughly around 100 lm/w, but its not cheap :p

    I'm not completely agree with "low light is the way". I would say choose your light according to your need. I wanted to say according to your scape but not all of us are aquascaper :D . What I mean is if you just want to grow fern, anubias, hairgrass and many other plants, you don't really need a lots of light. However, if you want to grow denser plant or red plants or want to turn Blyxa japonica to pink, you will need lots of light. Use light as part of your scaping tools ;).
     
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  8. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    +1 for Robert. Yes many plants will need higher light and also plants will grow differently under higher light than lower. Some will have longer spaces between leaves. Some will grow longer or smaller leaves. So it is a trade off. I think Robert would have a much smaller list of plants that are suitable to low light than me but that's by the by. For instance one of my 1WPG tanks has HC thriving in it and carpeting although it is only a 12"/30cm deep tank.

    Ohly, we weren't hating, just debating really. The statements on LED being no better than Fluoro is like saying that Gold is no better than silver when you look at the facts of the matter.

    When you get to the suggestions of which brand or model is best that is where you get hate coming in because people have differing views on different brands and some people will aggressively defend their favourites. That's where the pose/bling factor comes in.

    I DIY my units but I do quite like the Beamswork latest generation units on ebay. The older ones have high LED numbers and low W usage. Silly like 400 LEDs, 12W for 3ft tanks. The newer ones are pretty similar to one of my DIYs although better housing of course and use numerous 3W LEDs @ 6500K. Can't see any of these on ebay at the moment though as they are all Reef ones on there.

    They are very good value and where the original ones used smaller LEDs and tended to have numerous faults I find that the latest generation using higher power LEDs are good quality. Like most techy things though No-one will know if they are good in terms of longevity until they are 6-7 years old but the catch22 with LEDs is that they are moving on so fast that by the time someone has had their unit for the years it should last it is way out of date. Not like fluoro units that are pretty much the same now as 20 years ago, just small improvements made over that time. Tried and tested if you like :)
     

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