Category Archives: LEDs

More New LEDs hit the market

It’s always exciting for me when new LEDs appear – they get more powerful and generally cheaper which is a nice combo.

Introducing TMC AquaBar – super slimline and affordable lights that are designed to be placed inside hoods etc. If you are familiar with their MMS rails, well these lights are about the same in size. 2 sizes available, 50 and 100cm and they’re pretty nice. After opening the box and trying them out, there’s not as bright as their AquaGro range but you wouldn’t really expect that for the price. A lot more LEDs on these strips. But I do really like how slim they are.

So if you have a tank with a hood and you’re thinking that you want extra lighting, then this could be ideal for you. Affordable, and small – it’s going to tick a lot of boxes for hobbyists. Find the 50cm here and 100cm here

tmc-aquabar-500 tmc-aquabar-500

The most powerful LEDs for a planted aquarium…

Don’t take my word for it though – you need to listen to an independent review from PFK regarding the Classica OTL-LEDs. And I quote:

To give you an example I compared a 62cm/24.4″ freshwater unit to a 150w metal halide with a freshwater bulb, and I had to dim the OTL down by two thirds to match the PAR output of the halide! I took the halide off a planted tank to swap it for the now dimmed down OTL, and within 15 seconds of putting it on the plants started pearling. So there is definitely something in those freshwater LEDs, in terms of spectrum, that the plants loved.

Now it’s these sort of comparisons that are worth their weight in gold. It’s all about PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation) output and it absolutely whooped the metal halides. People, you need to take note of this. Metal Halides have had their day and there’s a new chief in town that is cheaper and more effective and lasts 5 times as long.

Classica OTL LED luminaire

It’s true that LEDs have had a rocks road to begin with but now things are different. I would recommend these LEDs for those of you who want complete control over their lighting, run a pressurised CO2 system and are serious about their planted aquarium. Is this you?

If you want to read the full review, click here.

If you are interested in purchasing one of these amazing lighting units, click here.

Fighting climate change from home

Here’s a guest post from IllustraLighting. I’m all for LEDs and saving the planet and the article has some good tips (and promotion if you live in the USA :))

Fighting climate change from home

Climate change is a fact, and whether the cause is man-made or natural, something needs to be done to address it.Environmental concerns have become a very important issue in recent years. All over the world, there have been more devastating natural disasters in just a few years than the previous decades combined. From massive floods and tsunamis, raging storms and hurricanes, to earthquakes and volcano eruptions, it has indeed become undeniable that there are significant changes to weather and geological activities. Add to this, the seemingly unresolvable problem of pollution in the air, the seas and
oceans, and in cities.

As responsible parents, we have the obligation to do our share in helping address climate change not just for our current families but for future generation as well.

What we, as a family, can do to help As a family, the area where we could do the most impact is in regulating our energy consumption. Energy use is the leading cause of pollution and environmental destruction all over the world. Power plants, especially coal-fired ones, emit tons of toxic gases into the atmosphere daily. As well, raw
materials needed, such as oil and other gases, require extraction that almost always destroys the environment and habitats for animals.

We can help reduce energy production by reducing our own consumption at home. In a 2009 survey of a typical single family home in the US, the annual energy bill can be broken down into:

  • Heating – 29%
  • Water heating – 14%
  • Cooling – 17%
  • Appliances – 13%
  • Lighting – 12%
  • Electronics – 4%
  • Other – 11%

In addition, the Energy Information Administration has reported that an average US household in 2012 spent nearly 4% of their pre-tax income on gasoline, amounting to $2,912 per year.

Every action counts While energy consumption varies from house to house, there are several generic techniques we could take to cut down our energy consumption.

  • Ask for an audit from your power company. This enables you to have a clearer picture of
    every power-using device in your home.
  • Reduce heating and cooling usage to a bare minimum.
  • Switch to power-saving appliances. Look for those with Energy Star ratings, the more stars it
    has the better.
  • Switch all your lighting to LED. While the initial expense seems a lot, its exceptional durability ensures that you won’t have to keep replacing them. It is also 90% more efficient than the conventional ones. And, more importantly, it doesn’t have adverse health risks. Compact fluorescent lighting (CFLs) not only contains mercury that is harmful when released but they also emit significant levels of radiation
    that has been known to cause migraines, fatigue, and sleep abnormalities.
  • Reduce water usage. This is often overlooked in a typical home but has a big impact when practiced. Wastewater contributes to rising water levels during the storm season that could affect flooding. Instruct your family to turn off taps when not in use. In addition, check all plumbing and taps for leaks and have them fixed.
  • Recycle. This cannot be emphasised enough. The advantages of recycling have been deemed important enough that governments have enacted policies ordering manufacturers to use only recyclable materials. You can help out by dropping your recyclable wastes at recycling stations.
  • Regulate appliance use. Make sure to check on every appliance that it is turned off when not in use. This includes computers, fans, and all other devices that are plugged in to a socket.

About the Author:
Cassandra Allen
Marketing Director of IllustraLighting
Cassandra is a marketing professional with over 15 years of extensive experience leading corporate marketing and internal communications for multi-national companies in diverse industries.

Who’s using LED lighting?

It’s pretty established now and fair to say that it’s certainly not going away. I’m a big fan of LED lighting, not only because it’s powerful but because it’s economical too which is a big plus for me. There’s nothing worse that knowing your aquarium lighting is chomping through your electricity, costing you more money than necessary.

So it got me thinking I wonder how many of you guys are actually using LEDs? Are you using Chinese imports, or maybe Arcadia LEDs – what about TMC (my fave). Of course as the market develops we will start to see a lot more LEDs enter the market and some will be better than others.

There’s one thing for sure, the market for metal halides will disappear (not quite yet) but in the near future as LEDs become more powerful than ever.

TMC Grobeam 600

Lighting In A Planted Aquarium

With the vast choice in lighting, it can be difficult to know exactly what sort of lighting you should choose. This section explains all and sifts through any confusion.
It is generally accepted that T8 and T5 tubes are the most standard type of lighting in aquariums at the moment.  T8 indicates the tube diameter which in this case is one inch. If you use T5 lights, the diameter is 5/12”. The most popular brands are Arcadia and Interpet. If you buy a Juwel tank for example, the chances are you have 2 x T5 tubes and you’re able to swap these lights over should you wish.

But what are the key points to look out for with lighting? The first point is make sure it is suitable for planted aquariums – this will be apparent from the description on the packaging. Quite often manufacturers will have wonderful graphics on the packaging which should catch your eye. But the next question is which one should you buy?
Before I explain more about which lighting to choose, it’s important to understand more about lighting. All light has colour and the colour temperature of light is measured in Kelvin, so when you see a description which states it has a particular K value (kelvin) it is referring to the colour of the light output. A low K rating would be 2500 and a high would be 18000. It is recommended that you aim for about 8000 K as this provides a pleasant colour output. But this is not to say that the lower K and higher K won’t grow your plants (on the contrary), it’s simply their light output is less desirable aesthetically to humans. A low K value is orange/yellow in colour – this tends to not do a great deal for the fish or plants in terms of how they look. At the opposite end of the spectrum, are 18000K which is a very bright white. This light output will grow your plants just as well as lower K tubes but it can give the appearance of your tank looking washed out. So this is why if you aim for lights with a K of about 8000k -  you will achieve a colour that is just about in the middle and normally the most pleasing to the eye. You can mix and match lights without any problems too so don’t rule that out.

There can be a temptation to purchase more powerful lights such as metal halides but this is not something that is recommended when you’re beginning. Higher lighting means everything in your aquarium needs to step up a level. By that we mean that your fertilising regime needs increasing, which in turn means you will be maintaining your tank more. In addition higher lighting requires the use of CO2.

Lighting Duration. An average tank needs approximately eight hours of light per day. Having your lights on longer than this is not necessary and it will help to keep most algae at bay. It’s worth putting your lights on a timer and have them come on when you’re at home to make the most out of it. When your tank is very new and plants are settling in, I recommend to only have six to seven hours of illumination for the first month or so and any changes need to be done slowly (perhaps half an hour extra per week).

The image below displays an Arcadia luminaire which is a great way to illuminate an aquarium. Also consider TMC Aquabeam LEDs which are small and economical LED lighting units which have become very popular recently – running costs are a mere £7 per year.

TMC AquaRay MultiControl 8 Output Dimming Controller

Finally the wait is over for all TMC fans who use their LEDs. In the past their controllers only ever operated 1 light per controller. As many hobbyists were using multiple lights above their tanks (particularly marine hobbysists) it meant purchasing lots of controllers which was costly.

Now the TMC AquaRay MultiControl 8 Output Dimming Controller fixes all those issues. With 8 sockets you can control 8 different units and all controlled by just one plug!

You can visit our range of TMC lighting here.