Why We Don’t Stock LED Lighting

UPDATE (2015): We now recommend ADA Aquasky range of LEDs which we have foudn to be far superior in performancs and design to all others on the market

UPDATE: We now stock LEDs! Click here to read the article explaining why…

The Arrival of LEDs

At The Green Machine we are always on the look out for new and innovative products, so when LEDs came to the market we were very excited at the prospect of a more economical lighting solution for the planted aquarium.  

LEDs were heralded as a miracle solution for aquarium hobbyists and have been marketed as a money saving device, despite being significantly more expensive than many other types of lighting.

Unfortunately, we have recently been inundated with customers who have purchased expensive LEDs and been extremely disappointed with the results, to the extent that they have had to buy a standard light to replace their LED.  The frustrations and disappointments of our customers have encouraged us to produce this brief summary of why we don’t stock LEDs at the present time.

Why We Don’t Stock LEDs

At the time of writing, we do not stock any LEDs.  This is because, despite our high hopes, no LED that we have used so far has satisfied our standards.  We remain hopeful that LEDs will continue to evolve, and we are actively searching for satisfactory LEDs for the planted tank enthusiast but unfortunately at the moment we have yet to come across any that are suitable for planted tank use – even though many are advertised in a way that implicitly suggests that they are!

Our Policy: Only products that work: Try it, Test it and Try it again!

At The Green Machine the quality and functionally of our products is very important to us, because your satisfaction is important to us.  Too many times we talk to people who have been sold a product that simply does not work.  We are not the same as other retailers: we refuse to sell inferior products.  

To make sure that all our products satisfy the TGM standard, we actively trial them – if it doesn’t pass our tests, it doesn’t get in to TGM!  We have trialled several different LEDs and so far we have not found a single one that satisfies our standards.

Our Independence

One of the benefits of our reviews is that, unlike magazines and other publications who rely almost entirely on advertising revenue to survive, we are entirely independent.  We test products for one reason and one reason only: to ensure that the quality, effectiveness and suitability of the product are good enough for our customers’ aquascapes and planted tanks.  


Whilst the principle of a more economical, ‘greener’ lighting system is very attractive to us we have decided, based on the results of our trials, not to stock any LEDs at all until they are further developed because we were not satisfied with their performance.  We hope that LEDs will continue to develop and eagerly await the day when they might become a sound investment for the planted tank enthusiast.  Until that day we will not stock any LEDs.  But rest assured… the moment we find one that we feel is good enough for our customers we will let you know!


  •  Whilst LEDs may be sufficient to light an unplanted aquarium we feel that they are not currently sufficient for serious plant growth.  Therefore if you want a beautiful planted tank with healthy plants, we would suggest that you do not use LEDs of any make at the moment.  
  •  There is a potential exception to this – LEDs may be suitable for use on very shallow aquariums, with low-light plants like mosses, although we feel that they are not likely to achieve exceptional results even in this case.
  •  T5s, T8s and metal halides all work very well and can grow plants successfully.  They are also a fraction of the price of LEDs, which can be very expensive.
  •  We remain hopeful that suitable LEDs will be developed in time, but our advice until then is to invest your money in things that actually work!  LEDs are very expensive because they are still being developed – so when you buy an LED you are basically paying a premium for imperfection/technology ‘in the rough’!
  • Beware of unscrupulous manufacturers and retailers who suggest that LEDs are a miracle solution for the planted aquarium!
  • We would love to find a suitable LED and we look forward with great excitement to the day that we do, so if any manufacturer would like us to trial an LED that they believe is suitable  for the planted tank then please contact us!

UPDATE: We now stock LEDs! Click here to read the article explaingin why…

UPDATE (2015): We now recommend ADA Aquasky range of LEDs which we have foudn to be far superior in performancs and design to all others on the market

Leave a Reply