Going from HQi to Led … my reef aquarium available for a thorough test
As many of you know I’ve always been skeptical about using LEDs in marine aquarium, for a variety of reasons that I’m going to list in this article, but it is undeniable that today the LEDs are an important reality also for aquariology. Speaking with one of the many producers, that at this moment I prefer not to name, we decided to perform a thorough test on my own aquarium. We set ourselves at least 8-9 months to evaluate the goodness of their ceiling led, and to assess the quality of the LEDs. We believe that nine months is sufficient to be able to have reliable conclusions.
Above is my aquarium lit only by the blue LED of my previous ceiling. The double Elos E-Power with blue LED E-lite. Can not deny that I love this color in the aquarium.
The previous ceiling a double Elos E-Power with E-lite. For a total power of 500 watts HQI and about 65 watts Led.
The marine aquarium is mine, and, as you can see is really full of SPS corals, earning the nickname of “welcome to the jungle.” In truth comes from a time not too happy because I could not devote too much time and because the skimmer I’ve tried a few months ago has left many glitches to be resolved. Now with a whole new skimmer, which as you know is the LG850 single pump, things are recovering, but thanks also to my approximately 40 fish, there is always a lot of work.
The tank is set to a minimum temperature of 22.7 Celsius degrees to lower electricity costs for heating the aquarium, is the second year that I use such a low temperature, with no problems to the animals.
To make a before-after comparison, I set the camera on a tripod, I manually set the correct exposure on the tank lit with HQI, I calibrated the white balance using a reference scale with medium gray to 18%, so in your monitor, the picture may appear overly tending to be hot. Truly live the color appears much whiter.
With the same settings I then made the following picture after installing the LED lamp. So all the differences are related to the previous photo. What you need to look above is the difference in brightness, and the change of color temperature, since the photo has the same white balance.
As you can see the difference in brightness is evident, from the photographic point of view there is almost twice the brightness, ie a full stop of difference. The light is obviously much more widespread, almost as if it were a battery of T5, then with less contrast, as is evident from the photographs. Finally, the power consumption is less than half. Note that while the HQI was held about 22 cm above the water level in the aquarium, the ceiling light LED is temporarily held about 35 cm. Sadly, there is not the reflection of metal halide lamps, although for some this could be a big bonus, but for me it is not.
I measured the level of Lumen and Par with Seneye, and having the value measured with the lamp LED I intend to publish the findings so far ahead during the test.
Composing the two photos, the difference is even more abysmal, left the lamp HQI, right the LED lamp.
My concern has focused on the cost of purchasing and running, on the difference of temperature in the aquarium between a LED ceiling and HQi ceiling, and the less energy I have always thought that the LED ceiling had been compared to HQi ceiling and T5.
So what are the questions that I try to answer?
1) Is led technology mature enough to supplant the HQI (and T5)?
2) Are the costs of purchase and operation of a LED ceiling light comparable or smaller than a ceiling with same “result” in aquarium but with different technology?
3) Do the measured values of consumption and brightness remain constant over time?
Based on the responses I’ll get from the tank, according to my measurements put at the disposal of all, I will write my own conclusions.
Have you questions? Curiosity? I’m also available to change the test I have in mind to do if you want.