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MH and T-5's vs. LEDs
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art_of_war
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Joined: 17 Nov 2006

PostPosted: 2008.10.24(Fri)10:31    Post subject: MH and T-5's vs. LEDs Reply with quote

The other day I was over one of my many SALTWATER colleagues (note: saltwater not fresh) and he's the type who believes that everything stems from basics which I agree but new ideas and fresh (so to speak) minds can contribute to an ever changing hobby (Saltwater). One of the LFS's in our area had been dabbling into the realm of LEDs (something that works for Freshwater since it's easier) but only rare and conservatively experimented in Marine or Reef systems.

Now, in order to understand how lighting works, it's necessary to understand PAR numbers and not just the intensity and what they mean. (yes, there's physics involved; lucky someone). Using the meter, the PAR and light intensity of the MH was what it should be and expected. However, the meter reading for the LED fixture presented a rather interesting phenomena, despite putting out less heat, the PAR value was quite comparable. The only difference was colour and penetration. The solution? Place several LED tubes together in order to get same effect. Turns out, it works! 3 to 4 T-8 tubes (holding multiple LEDs) does in fact provide the same photo-output as a single MH bulb but most importantly, the LED T-8 tubes only use only a fraction of the wattage and the heat generated from usage was virtually cool enough to handle even during use.

What does all this mean? Well, LEDs probably won't replace MH anytime soon BUT it's definitely a step in the right direction. Chillers may become a thing of the past and with the vast diversity of lighting available through LEDs, comparable lighting effect can now be achieved at less operating cost. Yes, even lazy Freshwater hobbyists can benefit from the minds of Engineers.
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