It has occurred to me lately that LED lighting has a complete lack of UV light. some UV is necessary for correct coral Growth. have you heard anything on this? it is still early in the game for long term exposure studies, but they seem to work fine for me and everybody else. just I need to know.

Now, sps near the surface in nature obviously get some UV. The Zooxanthellae (Chlorophyll A peaks in the 410-420nm spectrum which helps feed the algae) can get this needed UV via 420 nm light (Chlorophyll A peaks in the 410-420nm spectrum which helps feed the algae). Blue LED is typically 450 nm +- a few, not near enough to UV for some Zooxanthellae to thrive. Granted it doesn't affect many corals in general, but there are several SPS than need the UV light to thrive. Growth rates also can be slower over time with some sps without any of the "damaging" UV at all. Go down few more feet to another reef zone and UV doesn't play such a role.

There hasn't really been a lot of time to study this in the long run I feel, and I am not affected personally right now as I don't think I have anything affected by lack of UV. All the same, this seems like a hot topic.
There have been reports of some pigment loss and morphing of certain SPS under LED only. Several (most) manufacturers are now including UV chips to their LED systems, I wondered why and think I understand. I don't have any sps corals that grow out of the tank seeking more light right now, but some people have some exotic stuff out there!

Does anyone have any observational experience with this, or any input for us here here? Please comment here.



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Comment by Greg Watkins on February 2, 2013 at 4:36pm
Although I have not had any comments here on MeetReef on my blog, I thought I would share a comment from a read of my regular blog site on this topic:

"Hi Greg,

I don’t normally make to many comments but after reading your article last night I thought I would share my experience with the LED lights. I have been doing salt water aquariums as a hobby for the last 25 years so it was hard to make the switch to LED lighting from metal halides. I finally decided to put LED’s one my 180 reef knowing that LED’s did not omit UV. I ran the LED’s for about a month and half without any UV’s lighting and noticed that my corals were not as “happy” as they once were. I went to the LFS and obtain 6 UV stunner strips and attached them to my LED’s. Within 2-3 days there was a noticeable difference in my corals, they were now “very happy” and growing at a rapid pace.

I currently have 7 additional tanks mainly frags and a few colonies. I have a 90 gallon set up and I run half metal halide w/blue actinics and the other half with LED’s with UV stunner. I get the same response from my corals out of each side except I have noticed that LED’s creates a lot more algae.

I have a 30 gal frag tank set up with only LED’s and no UV stunners. I certainly love the colors that LEDs produce with my corals but I am not happy with the growth of my frags in this tank. I have had a few of my frags even colonies start to receed and I will have to pull them and put them back into a metal halide tank to recover. All my tanks parameters are the same and are tested daily so the only thing left is lack of UV. I am a firm believer that UV promotes good health and growth. I tell my son that corals are like humans without sunlight we become depressed and so do corals and with sunlight humans love to be outside absorbing the suns rays and the corals love the rays as well.

I certainly will continue to run LED’s on my tank but I will also make sure that everyone of them have UV stunners to promote good health and growth. This is just my thoughts and experience.


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