No matter what kind of aquarium you have, modern LED aquarium light fixtures are the way to go. We’ll explore all the benefits LED aquarium lighting offers and review the best LED aquarium light fixtures for freshwater and marine aquariums.
LED Aquarium Lighting
Aquarium lighting has come a long way from the early days when we used incandescent light bulbs. Those bulbs didn’t last long, added a lot of heat to the aquarium water and didn’t do much for making the aquarium look beautiful. The incandescent bulbs were fitted inside stainless-steel lighting fixtures that could reach a temperature over 180°F.
Many aquarist’s suffered burns while working inside their tanks. Fluorescent bulbs eliminated the high temperatures and provided more aquarium-friendly lighting fixtures tailored to freshwater and marine aquarium needs. Today the popular trend in aquarium lighting today is LED-powered lighting systems.
There are a lot of features to like about these new LED aquarium lights. But let’s first look at why aquarium lighting is so important for making your tank look great but also how it affects your fish, plants and invertebrates, especially live corals.
The Importance of Aquarium Lighting
A well-lit aquarium gives the feeling of three-dimensional depth, making your aquarium seem larger and more lifelike. Good aquarium lighting also enhances the natural colors of your fish. If you’ve got a reef aquarium, you know the importance of light intensity and proper color spectrum for keeping live corals and other invertebrates.
Live corals contain symbiotic photosynthetic algae inside their tissue. The algae provide essential nutritional elements to the corals and are responsible for the vibrant colors seen under blue reef lighting.
The corals depend on us to provide the proper light intensity and spectrum to keep the algae alive and corals healthy and growing. Reef enthusiasts aren’t the only ones concerned with light quality.
If you keep live aquarium plants you know that proper lighting is essential for thriving swords, crypts and other aquatic plants. If you’re looking to start up a new aquarium or upgrade an existing tank, your two choices are fluorescent and LED lighting. Let’s compare the two technologies then take a close look at a new LED aquarium light we’re really excited about.
Fluorescent vs. LED Aquarium Lights
For many years fluorescent aquarium lighting was considered the pinnacle of lighting technology. The tubes ran much cooler than old-fashioned incandescent bulbs and provided more even coverage across the aquarium.
Manufacturers designed a variety of specialty tubes intended to enhance freshwater fish colors, stimulate freshwater plant growth and provide the proper spectrum for live corals. The major downside of fluorescent tubes is their steady decline in spectral quality and output.
As soon as a new tube is turned on, the aging process begins. Over a period of six to nine months the light intensity and quality of the light produced declines significantly. This is especially important when keeping live plants. If the plants aren’t actively growing, algae can take over, coating the plants and causing a mess in the aquarium.
Reef aquarium hobbyists often have to use large banks of tubes to get the coverage and light intensity required to keep corals thriving. This adds extra heat to the water and consumes a lot of electricity to run the banks of lights. Plus, its expensive to replace all those bulbs twice a year.
Modern light emitting diodes, LED for short, are electronic chips that light up when current is passed through them. LED are very energy-efficient, costing pennies to run. This technology has been adopted by many aquarium light manufacturers. The level of features and sophistication of new aquarium LED lighting technology ranges from basic to complete automation.
The entry-level LED fixtures use the minimum number of LED’s to light up the aquarium. This is perfectly adequate for a ten to thirty-gallon freshwater community aquarium. At the other extreme are the high-end LED light fixtures designed for the lighting requirements of reef tanks containing sensitive live corals and planted aquariums.
These fixtures can be programmed to duplicate periods sunrise, sunset, full sun, cloudy days and even tropical moonlit nights. Often, you’ll be able to incorporate the fixtures into an advanced wireless automation system that controls lighting, water pumps and other aquarium functions. All of these features come with a high price tag.
The good news is some of these advanced features aren’t needed by many aquarist’s. You don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to enjoy the many benefits of LED technology in your aquarium. That’s why we really like the Koval LED aquarium lights. They are in between the bare-bones fixtures and the high-end reef lighting systems. Let’s take a closer look.
Koval LED Aquarium Light Fixtures
The Koval aquarium fixtures offer real value to aquarist’s looking to upgrade to energy-efficient LED lighting. The light fixture has a slim, attractive profile that does not call attention away from your aquarium.
The aluminum-alloy fixture won’t rust, is lightweight and acts as a heat sink, dissipating heat away from the aquarium water. The unit sits across the top of the aquarium, supported by extendable metal, powder-coated legs. The legs slide in and out of the housing allowing for a perfect, stable fit.
Three models are available; 24-30”, 36-43” and 45-50”. The Koval fixture has no programming features and no integrated timer. A simple on/off switch controls the light. You can easily use a remote timer to automatically turn the light on and off. But there’s more to like about this light.
Rather than skimp on LED’s, the Koval LED aquarium light is packed with an array of multi-colored LED’s. This means the light is brighter than other budget LED fixtures and will evenly illuminate your tank. The fixtures use a blend of blue, pink, white, red and green LED’s to create a full spectrum of light suitable for freshwater and marine aquariums.
Koval included a blue moonlight setting that uses the blue LED’s. You can switch between full spectrum or moonlight with a flip of a switch. Here is the breakdown of all the features found in the Koval LED aquarium light.
- Slim low-profile design
- Low energy consumption
- Adjustable mounting LEDs for easy fitment
- Dense array of multi-color LEDs
- Lightweight, easy to remove for aquarium cleaning
- LEDs will last over 70,000 hours
- No bulbs to change
- No buzz or hum like fluorescent fixtures
- Simple set-up, no programming necessary
While the Koval LED aquarium fixtures are intended to be an economical aquarium light, there are a couple of areas that this light may fall short, depending on your tank’s needs and what you want in an aquarium light fixture.
- Does not come with an integrated timer
- Can’t blend the colors to create more blue light for corals
- The fixture does not fully cover a 55-gallon aquarium (best for 50 gallon tank)
- Has no dawn and dusk diming feature
Final Recommendations On Koval LED Aquarium Lighting
The Koval LED aquarium light fixture is best suited for freshwater and marine fish-only aquariums up to about 55 gallons. The light works well for illuminating community, goldfish and African Cichlid aquariums.
If you’re growing low-light aquariums plants you’ll be happy with this light. However, because the LED’s are instant on, some sensitive fish, like discus, can be startled by the bright light. Reef aquarist’s need more control over the color properties for coral growth.
The Koval fixture allows either mostly white light or all blue moonlight. Ideally the fixture could blend both colors to be more suitable for reef aquariums but that would require a greater array of multi-color LED’s, advanced circuitry and a control panel. All of this would increase the price point.
If you want to enjoy the basic benefits of modern LED aquarium lighting and don’t need advanced control features, the Koval LED aquarium light is sure to please!
This light is worth the money and worth checking out. I will post a link here so you can go check it out on Amazon KOVAL LED AQUARIUM LIGHTS as well here is a link to my RECOMMENDED AQUARIUM LIGHTING PAGE .
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