This post will look at just a few types of aquarium lights/lighting, but is not meant as an exhaustive list.
These lights are primarily cutting edge, so if the reader is not familiar with these, it is partly due to the fact that the aquarium industry (as per lighting) is generally quite behind in technology (sometimes as much as a decade).
The LED can use as little as .6 watt per gallon a for a high light planted aquarium, while the T2 requires about 1.25 watts fr gallon (in correct placement) for planted freshwater aquariums.
However it is noteworthy that with LEDs, there are many that utilize analog controllers versus PWM (thus wasting energy as heat), as well as standard emitter bins. The result are LED fixtures that require 3-4 times the energy and thus the .6 watt per gallon can quickly change with these fixture (such as the Finnex) to over 2 watts per gallon for high light planted aquariums.
LED Comparison Chart
T2 Aquarium Lights are another newer innovation, although not of the high tech level of the TMC LED Lights, the T2 Lights present a more affordable option over LEDS and even the older T5 lights. In fact lumen per watt and useful light energy is better than the often much more pricey T5 light.
These T2 lights are easily linkable for extra lighting or larger aquariums, with a very useful rotating lens for focusing light energy, unique to these lights.
The T2 has among the highest useful energy outputs of ANY fluorescent aquarium light and with the very unique rotating reflector/lens feature, very little wattage is needed in relation to light output (this also results in very little heat output too).
In fact here is just one comment (of many) I have received in feedback from a friend in the business of these T2 lights:
“T-2 lamps are amazing!!!!! They absolutely have to be the best kept secret in aquatics, I simply can’t exaggerate this point. I have spent hundreds of dollars experimenting with different strategies and lighting combinations, I sooooo wish I’d discovered your product long ago. I cannot believe how much freak’n light these things put out. I’m going to go on every aquatics forum and announce how amazing these lamps are. These Lights have exceeded my expectation 10 fold. If you were to demo these lamps at aquatics shows and exhibitions, you will quickly sell out. Both performance and value are immediately obvious. Wow!!!!!!”
(from Steven, Yorba Linda CA.)
T2 Light Reference: T2 Nano Aquarium Light, Superior to T5
The negative is lack of variations when compared to T5, as well the more fragile nature makes these lights more delicate & workmanship is not to the high end level of the TMC AquaRay LED Lights (but then the price more than makes up for this)
LED Aquarium Lights have come a long ways in technology in just a few years, from previously being added lighting decoration (highlighting) or extremely pricey for mixed results as per high light need applications such as reef aquarium.
That said, some of LED Aquarium Lights on the market are still not reef or planted aquarium capable such as the Marine Double Bright or Ecoxotic Stunner. These two lights might work as supplemental lighting or even low light plant lighting, but not high light planted aquariums or reef marine aquarium.
The Maxspect, EcoTech, Aqua Illuminations and other LED Lights are more capable, however these lights are still not using PWM technology or the emitter bin specifications of the LED emitters used by Tropic Marine Center AquaRay LED Lights, which are so precise that TMC has exclusive supply of these LED emitters and they are not available on the general market.
For these reasons the AquaRay AquaBeam LED lights have a more precise nanometer light output with a much higher output of useful light energy per watt than other premium LED Aquarium Lights as much less energy is wasted as heat or poor spectrum.
Reference: Current Reduction Versus PWM Technology
The picture above is a RSM 250 65 gallon aquarium with Reef White 600
Also see this article for an LED Aquarium Light Review:
LED Aquarium Lights, Lighting
Or this article from this website about purchasing LED Lights:
Aquarium LED Lights, Lighting; What to Know for Reef/Planted
SHO Aquarium/Hydroponics Lights are an excellent cross over light, that only recently (the last couple of years) have some tech savvy planted freshwater (& some marine) fish keepers began to use.
This light has been used extensively by medical and hydroponics interests due to its simple self ballasted base, low cost in proportion to light output, and of coarse high PAR which is important in both Hydroponics and many medical studies that show better immune function, mental health, and more with high PAR High output lights, for which along with cost effectiveness have made these SHO lights quite popular in these commercial applications.
For aquariums, especially when used in a reflector or with Mylar in a hood, these aquariums can produce copious plant growth due to the high PAR energy produced per watt of energy consumed. In fact the 105 Watt SHO produces 6300 lumens, the equivalent of a standard 525 watt bulb.
For much more in-depth information on the subject of lighting, please read this article:
For this website’s UV Light Replacement reference guide:
UV Bulbs; Reference Guide