The benefits of LED lighting for plants are well established. They use less energy, produce far less heat, and are cheaper to operate than traditional grow lights. But what about aquarium plants? Can you use led lights for aquarium plants in a freshwater or saltwater tank? Let’s find out!
You can use led lights for virtually all types of aquarium plants if their Kelvin ratings are between 6500K to 7000K. Led lights produce low heat, uses less energy, and offer the best coverage for both large and small aquarium spaces.
If your aquarium plants have higher light needs, you might have to consider other led lighting options such as T-12, T-18, or other compact fluorescent bulbs. These are the best options for plants that require more light output than a standard LED bulb.
To learn more about this topic keep reading this article. We are going to start by first exploring the whole idea of using led lights for your aquarium plants.
What Is An LED Light?
Led lights are a type of lighting technology that uses semiconductors as a source for light. LEDs are more efficient than both incandescent and fluorescent sources, meaning they produce much less heat and use far less energy to operate. More on this later!
An LED aquarium lamp has two parts: the diodes themselves (the actual “LED” lights) and an external driver box. The diode is as simple and sturdy as a light bulb, but some aquarium lamps have the driver box built into the body of the lamp.
The LED lights themselves are very small units, usually about 0.04 inches thick and with two wires protruding from each end (positive/negative). These diodes can be arranged in different patterns, but the simplest is in a circle to produce an omnidirectional light source.
LED lights have limited wattage that cannot be changed as traditional aquarium lamps can. However, this does not mean they are less powerful overall – LEDs have ’emerging power’ which means they use far less energy than other sources and will actually provide more light because of it.
Can You Use Led Lights For Aquarium Plants – Details
Now that you know the basics, let’s answer our original question! Can LEDs be used for aquarium plants?
1. Led Lights Are Cheaper To Operate Than Traditional Grow Lights
One of the first reasons why you can use led lights for aquarium plants is that they are cheaper to operate when compared to other traditional grow lights. Usually, the cost will be a major factor when you are trying to decide on which grow lights to invest in.
The led light presents a super energy-efficient option when it comes to lighting up the tank. This is because they operate at a lower wattage than most other types of grow lights, which makes them very economical and inexpensive as well.
They come in a wide range of prices that you will be able to definitely find one that is within your budget. This also means that they are more affordable than other types of grow lights, which makes them a good option for beginners on a tight budget who want to experience growing plants in their aquariums.
In addition, these led aquarium plant lights are generally cool in temperature meaning that you do not have to worry about your plants getting overheated while being under these lights.
2. Led Lights Use Less Energy Than Other Grow Light Options
Another reason why you can use led lights for aquarium plants is that LED grows lights use less energy than other types of grow lights, such as HID or CFL.
Indeed LED lighting is more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent or fluorescent because they produce less heat and use a fraction of the electricity (about 85% less).
The energy led LED lights to use is usually less than other grow lights because they are more efficient at converting electricity into light. This means that you will be able to save energy and money by using led grow lights for your aquarium plants.
This is important if you are concerned about the cost to run your aquarium plants and want them to be a little bit more affordable in terms of electricity consumption. The best part is that this is the case even if you are using more powerful LED grow lights.
In addition, LED lighting is a great option if you want to “go green” or take care of the environment in general because it does not emit greenhouse gases such as CO² and H²O.
This makes a whole lot of difference if you are trying to reduce your carbon footprint by using less electricity or heat in general.
This is one of the main reasons why you can use led lights for aquarium plants as they will have a positive impact on the environment and contribute towards reducing greenhouse gases such as CO² and H²O compared to traditional grow lights.
3. Led Lights Produce Less Heat Which Is Good For Plants And Fish
Aside from using less energy, led lights also produce less heat than other grow lights. This reduces the risk of overheating in your plants and fish, which is great for aquariums with sensitive invertebrates or small aquatic organisms such as shrimps and guppies.
The led lights produce less heat than conventional bulbs because they are more efficient at converting electricity into light. As a result, you will be able to save energy and money by using led grow lights for your aquarium plants as they are not only more efficient in terms of electricity consumption, but also produce less heat.
This is important if you are concerned about the cost to run your aquarium plants and want them to be a little bit more affordable in terms of expenses. The best part is that this is the case even if you are using more powerful LED grow lights.
In other words, there will be almost no increase in heating expenses when switching from HID to led aquarium plant lighting solutions. So whatever the heat requirement is with led lights, you will not be exceeded when it comes to using led lights than other types of grow lights.
4. Led Lights Have A Long Lifespan
In addition, these led bulbs also have a long lifespan which means that they do not need to be replaced as often compared to traditional incandescent or fluorescent lights.
This is an important aspect to keep in mind because it will help you save money and time when replacing your grow lamps for aquarium plants as they do not need to be replaced often.
This also means that these led lights are a great option if the replacements of traditional bulbs are expensive or difficult, such as high-pressure sodium or metal halide bulbs.
The lifespan of led lights varies depending on the type and manufacturer, but they are usually rated to last between 50,000 hours (which is about 11 years) up to 100,000 hours (about 22 years).
The higher-end lamps can typically replace a 175-watt HPS light that may cost around $175, or a 400-watt metal halide that could cost about $400. And the savings can be huge as these led lights do not need to be replaced every year like traditional bulbs.
In other words, they will last up to 22 years – which is great for saving electricity and money in general when it comes to running your aquarium plants without having to worry about replacing the led grow lights every year or so.
In addition, these bulbs are also easy to find and usually have a long warranty – such as an 18-month warranty for example which is quite good compared to other types of lamps out there that may only last around 12 months before they need replacement.
5. LED Light Colors Can Be Adjusted
Also, led light colors can be adjusted to meet the needs of your plant’s growth phase. In other words, you will be able to adjust the color spectrum and intensity of your led grow lights according to the needs of your aquarium plants.
This is a great way to reduce energy costs as it means that you can set them so they are more intense when needed for examples – such as during flowering stages or vegetative growth phases.
This is not an option with the traditional HID or fluorescent grow lights, and you will need to get multiple bulbs for each phase of your plant’s growth if you’re using those traditional grow lights.
In other words, these led lights are very versatile as they can be moved from one height to another depending on the needs of plants without having to worry about changing LED light bulbs regularly.
6. Led Lights Offer Great Coverage For Aquariums
Lastly, you can use led lights for your aquariums because of the amount of coverage you get for the price.
In other words, these lights are great if you want to cover a large area and get maximum coverage as led light are arrayed in strips so they are able to cover a larger area which means lower prices per unit.
In addition, you can also use these led lights in smaller and tight spaces as well. This is because led lights are not just for large aquariums or rooms.
You can also use them in smaller setups with your aquarium plants as well without any difficulty or without compromising their efficiency.
How To Use LED Lights With Aquarium Plants
Using led lights for your aquarium plants is not difficult and you can follow the same steps as with other grow lights. These led bulbs are easy to use and they come with a mounting system that is very easy to set up.
But here are a few tips to take note of when using led lights with aquarium plants.
- You will want to place your bulbs at a distance of around 12 inches from the tops of aquarium plants. You can do this by suspending them with chains or using adjustable mounting systems.
- You will want to keep in mind that the intensity of led lights decreases as the distance from plants increases, so you will want to place the bulbs closer if you need a stronger light.
- You will also want to use timers and an electrical outlet timer when setting up your led grow lights to ensure that they don’t use too much electricity.
- Make sure you know the wattage of each bulb so that you don’t accidentally exceed the maximum wattage of your electrical outlet.
- You should also keep in mind that led lights are best used for vegetative growth, while HID or fluorescent grow lights are better for flowering.
- These led lamps also come with a cooling system so that you do not need to worry about them overheating.
- To choose the right type of light for your led lights for your aquarium plants, check the plants you want to grow.
- In most cases when it comes to choosing the right color of light for your aquarium plants, light colors like red and blue are best for aquarium plants.
- In addition, these lights also have a spectrum that can be adjusted between red and blue which is good for plants as it mimics the sun.
- When you are using led lights that have a spectrum adjustment, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- In addition, you will want to choose lights that are capable of emitting wavelengths in the 400 – 700 nanometer range for aquarium plants.
- You will also need a way of measuring your pH levels and EC as well as keeping an eye on the temperature of your water with led lights.
- When using led grow lights, you will want to avoid placing them too close to plants as they may burn them.
When Can You Use Led Lights For Aquarium Plants?
Now that we have learned more about why you can use led lights for aquarium plants, the next question is when do they work best? In general, LED grow lights will be most useful if your tank has low-medium light requirements and you are looking for a low-cost alternative to traditional growing.
In addition, led grow lights are best used for the vegetative stage of growth as they are more intense than fluorescent or HID lights. You should also keep in mind that these led lamps come with a cooling system so you don’t need to worry about them overheating.
For most aquarium plants, led lights can be used at a distance of around 12 inches from the top of the aquarium plants. However, you will want to keep in mind that the intensity of light decreases as the distance from plants increases so you may need more bulbs or closer placement.
If you’re looking for a low-cost alternative to traditional grow lights, led lamps are a perfect choice. These lamps come with cooling systems and different color spectrums that can be adjusted depending on your aquarium plant needs.
You’ll also want to make sure you know how far away these lights should be from your plants so they don’t burn them or place them so far they have no effect on the growth of your aquarium plants.
LED grow lights are best used during the vegetative stage of growth as they emit more intense light than other types like fluorescent or HID. So all in all, you can tell not only can you use led lights for your aquarium plants but also its important benefits.