For almost 10 years LED lights have been gaining in popularity in the marine and reef aquarium world, and the technology has increased as well. So much so, that LED light mostly dominate reef aquariums. But in the freshwater world, there has not been much attention given to them. Here's a few things to consider when deciding to switch to LED lighting for freshwater tanks.
LED lights may cost more up front than fluorescent lights, however, two factors make LED's actually cost less in the long run. The first factor to consider is that LED's last considerably longer (sometimes up to 10 years or more), than convention fluorescent bulbs. The cost savings in bulbs adds up over time and you will enjoy not having to change your bulbs every year. Another factor that saves you money in the long run, is that LED's use far less electricity than fluorescent bulbs, thus saving you more on your electrical bill. Over 10 years or more, the cost of ownership really pays off with LED lights.
Another positive factor with LED lights is that most of them now come with some level of control build in. Thanks to the pioneering work on LED's to suit reef aquariums, freshwater tanks can reap the benefits of having dimmers and timers built right into the unit, thus eliminating the need for external timers.
Most freshwater LED fixtures are fine for low light plants and fish. However if you have a planted freshwater aquarium with plants that require intense sunlight type lighting, then you will want to consider a more expensive LED light such as the Kessil A160W Tuna Sun Freshwater LED pendant. It is controllable using external controllers, and provides more than sufficient lighting for even the most demanding freshwater aquatic plants.