There is a new LED lighting system which is said to equal the power of some metal halides. If that is the case then that lighting is going to be very interesting to marine reef aquarists. Presumably the spectrum will be suitable.
Now I’ve led everyone up the garden path – I’m not writing about high power LED lighting, but just the opposite, very low power lighting. The lighting is designed to come on just before the main lights turn out.
When the main lights are out, the LED lights give a flickering moonlight effect to the reef tank. It is very decorative, and decorative is really all it is. I suppose advanced marine aquarists could experiment with moonlight effects on corals to see if they could be induced to spawn. For most however, they just look good.
The LED’s I have on my reef tank were given to me by my son Peter. When I was given them, I thought it was a very nice thing for him to do, but I wasn’t over enthusiastic about getting them fitted I must admit. My reef has been running for 5 years without them, so they’re not a necessity by any means.
Nevertheless, I obtained a timer and proceeded to fit the light. It is a very simple affair, being a very small (about 1″ diameter) tube, with 4 blue LED’s in it behind a glass screen. It is attached above water level to the top of the side glass by a sucker. I directed it over a surface water return as I thought this would enhance the flicker (it did).
Connecting to the power supply didn’t work – the cable was too short. Isn’t it always something like that? Anyway, the cable was extended, a plug fitted, and the timer fitted. The timer was set to come on just before the main actinic lights switched off.
I arrived at the aquarium before the LED’s came on. When they did switch on, without looking at the LED’s I couldn’t tell as the light output was overpowered by the actinics. The actinics switched off, and the effect of the LED’s was lovely. Beams of weak light slant down through the water, rippling on the corals and rock formations. Very attractive. As said, the light is very weak and doesn’t disturb the fish or corals.
These LED lights are quite common now and easily obtainable. They use very little power, as low as a watt or two, so the electricity cost is negligible. They haven’t any practical use on the reef tank apart from maybe as suggested above. What they do achieve is an extension of the visible attractiveness of the reef. They also mean a longer light ‘step-down’, that is, my white lights go off first, followed by the actinics, then the LED’s switch off.
So perhaps as well as being attractive they have a practical use after all.