Looking to purchase LED lighting for your reef or nature aquarium during the holidays? Before you do, ensure that the manufacturer provides the spectrograph for the unit you are about to purchase. PAR measurements are virtually useless for comparing LED lighting, one can only compare using PUR.
Whenever a new lighting technology comes along, hobbyists tend to attempt to compare it to a previous and more familiar technology. This time around, LEDs are getting compared to metal halide lighting a lot, but it just doesn't work.
We all know we don't exactly use the scientific method in our hobby. Terms such as watts per gallon, intensity, and brightness get thrown around all of the time, even though they mean absolutely nothing useful to us or our coral. So, what's to be done?
Orphek's diode - arguably the best aquarium LED on the market?
One of the heavy hitters of the mass-produced LED world, Phillips, has increased the power of their Luxeon Rebel LED series, which are now "50% more efficient", according to a Phillips spokesperson. While this is good news, it isn't that big of a deal, as power and efficiency ratios are only going to continue to increase as LED lighting technology matures.
What is a big deal (to us aquarists, admittedly only a fraction of a percent of LED consumers) is broad spectrum output. Unfortunately, Cree and Luxeon are still failing to produce an LED, or even a combination of LEDs, that yields a truly workable, full spectrum option for reef aquarium lighting.
LED aquarium lighting is an emerging technology in our hobby, but success is already being had. Take a look at these pictures of SPS coral (and others) after two months under the Orphek PR-156 I've been testing!
Today I received an email from SolarMax that simply contained this flier (click for full size) about a product that is apparently new, and called "Aqua LED", and uses "Special developed SMD-LED chips".
If my sarcasm isn't apparent, I'll say it straight: manufacturers need to give us more information than what's in this flier if they expect anyone to purchase their product, as most of us like to make informed decisions (from information written in gramnatically correct English, I might add).
This issue of a lack of information applies to more than just SolarMax, and has created a false environment where only a few diodes are taken seriously by hobbyists - and this shouldn't be the case.
CRI, or Color Rendering Index, is a somewhat dated term used to describe how accurately a given light will protray colors when compared to a reference light of the same color temperature. While not typically used or measured for aquarium lights, this term has gained renewed interest due to the recent explosion in popularity of LED aquarium lighting.
PUR stands for Photosynthetically Useable Radiation. PUR differs from PAR because the basic definition of PAR is any light in a specific frequency range. PUR is the usable portion of PAR, and different photosynthetic species will have a different PUR range to which they respond.
We don't post a whole lot of pre-release product info here on the CA blog (how many products do you really need to keep an aquarium, anyway?), but we will for aquarium LED lighting products. A few new pics have been posted of the Skimz iBox (yes, that's the actual name...) nano aquarium and LED light and moonlight, so I thought I'd share.
CoralSky's new SL II LED reef aquarium lighting retrofit kits are out, and the latest SL II version features a wide-angle version without the spotlight optics of the original SL and intial configuration of the SL II. Jeff at CoralSky was nice enough to send over two review units, and I've had both kits sitting in my review pile for a few weeks now. My day job of installing aquarium hardware is keeping me from reviewing it! However, I've finally gotten around to taking some pics and videos of these (incredibly bright) aquarium LED lighting retrofits.