Found your website googling for info on LED freshwater aquarium products. Not wanting to troubleshoot again my VHO fluorescent ballast, I thought of LEDs and you've been way ahead of me. What is the state of this industry? Seems like an untapped niche market exists for the pet shops, where customers pay $50/tube, often every year, for exotic spectra on their tanks. LEDs could also save them a fortune on chillers.
The LED lighting industry is very young, and still has its share of problems that need to be worked out. Contrary to popular belief, LEDs do produce heat, and in some cases, lots of it! This means that extra money has to be invested into special methods of thermal management. In addition to this, LEDs require special electronic drive circuity, and sometimes special optics to control the light. LEDs are very expensive to begin with, but these extra features really start to add up. Aquarium lighting generally requires significant amounts of light to serve its purpose. Arrays of LEDs placed into aquarium hoods can do the job well, but at a cost. A well designed system will rely on energy efficiency as a main marketing point. To accomplish this, all the extra features required for modern LED lighting systems have to be accounted for. I am talking about the previous points; thermal, electrical, and optical management. Some designers like to cheat, by driving LEDs hard and hot. The result is a pretty light but not very energy efficient. And don't expect these LEDs to last eleven years as many claims state! Today a typical high power LED life extends to about fifty-thousand hours. I have seen a few good looking LED aquarium hoods on the market, but they are still very expensive, as they should be. Most likely these prices will start looking more reasonable within the next few years.