Running a reef tank doesn't have to be expensive, says Jason Scott.
If your tank is already set up and running there is little you can do without investing in new equipment. However, if setting up or upgrading, there’s plenty of opportunity to cut running costs.
When looking for new equipment compare the watts consumed, as claimed by various manufacturers. These details are not always stated on the packaging, but should be printed on the product.
While the most energy-efficient products may initially be more expensive, they could save you several hundreds of pounds over their lifetime.
Work out running costs
At the new capped rate of £0.34 kW/h, a 50W device costs £2.86 a week to run. A typical 120cm tank with a 300W heater, running 2x27W lights, and 1x30W external canister filter, where the heater is on around 12 minutes per hour (in a room with moderate room temperature), will cost £5.78 a week or £25.06 a month — under the government assured price cap.
See the light!
The biggest reduction in energy use can be obtained by changing lighting to LED, especially if currently using old T8 lighting with magnetic ballasts. Although their initial cost seems high they will consume around half the power of other types of lighting used for a similar output.
With the latest generation of ultra-bright LEDs there is now a real alternative to fluorescent tubes and power-hungry halides.
Equipment that uses less power will also generate less heat, so will reduce the chances of overheating in warm weather — and reduce energy costs even further if you are using a chiller.