We recently upgraded another reef aquarium to newer LED technology. This is a 265 custom acrylic live reef that is about 7 years old. The original lighting was a metal halide and T5 combination fixture which worked great for growing the reef, but produces a significant amount of heat and is expensive to replace bulbs annually. With the decrease in costs of LEDs, we are seeing, on average, a 4 year return on investment for upgrading their systems vs continuing to replace bulbs. That doesn’t factor any electricity savings from decreased consumption from the light and the chillers required to cool metal halide systems. LED units should last for at least 5-7 years without the annual bulb replacement/upkeep, plus energy savings, making it an easier decision for many of our customers.
Our biggest apprehension to LEDs has always been their ability to sustain a thriving live reef aquarium and some of the more demanding inhabitants like SPS corals and tridacna clams. We have experienced good results to date and although placement and programming are important components of our success, we are confident in these systems for our reef customers in the long-run.
The added benefits of wireless control and programming are making these systems a staple in all our new installations and a popular choice for customers looking at expensive annual bulb replacements.