Review of Ocean Revive & Evergrow LED Lights for Reef Aquariums


Revised 7/7/16

In this article, I will interview a couple of lessor known, but growing in popularity Aquarium LED light fixtures due to a Northwest aquarium forums promotion of these Chinese fixtures. These are all made in the same Chinese factory with simply different names.

[1] The Ocean Revive/Evergrow utilize better drivers than many Chinese made LEDs and are also reef capable, but at nearly 2-3 times the energy wattage input as required by a top aquarium LED (120 watts versus 30 watts for the same PUR).

What is interesting, is the owner of Ocean Revive claims: “the prototypes were built in the garage and tested on our own tanks”.
HOWEVER the Ocean Revive and Evergrow are the same LED; don’t believe me, give them a close up look!!
Quote Source: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2428081

The draw back to these LEDs is that they utilize current reduction technology, which can alter spectrum. This alteration produces much more excess heat than the better, but more expensive PWM technology.

Hence the need for cooling fans. All Aquarium LEDs that utilize ‘current reduction’ will require a fan.

The straightforward scientific FACT is that this excess heat represents energy that is not being used as light energy for your photosynthetic life.

Back to spectrum, as I know that there are doubters that current reduction can alter spectrum, I can offer this way of looking at it:
Take an ordinary incandescent light bulb and place it in a socket with a common dimmer (which would be current reduction), then to slowly dim the bulb. As it dims it is quite obvious with the human eye the that color spectrum changes.
While I will admit my experiment has flaws, we do know that LED emitters are designed to run at specific voltages for the light output they were designed to produce, so it is not too much of a reach to draw some conclusions from this experiment.

[2] Another issue with the Ocean Revive and Evergrow Aquarium LEDs is their use and choice of emitters by Bridgelux. These are inferior to many of the patented emitters from Cree and Osram Olson, used in higher grade units.

Common Bridgelux emitter bins use by Ocean Revive & Evergrow:

(2) Red 660nm
(2) Green 520nm
(20) Blue 460nm
(7) Royal Blue 450nm
(4) Violet 420nm
(8) Cool White 12000K
(6) Neutral White 7500K
(6) Warm White 3500K

Now let’s look at a graph that plots some of these same emitters along with currently scientific known needs of an Acropora coral.
this can be clicked on to enlarge

Once one realizes according to scientific facts, it is obvious that the light spectrums miss the ballpark of spikes required by photosynthetic life within PAR.

In other words the VASTLY more important PUR.

Unfortunately many LEDs including the Ocean Revive/Evergrow, will produce great PAR measurements, however it is not rocket science to realize that a PAR meter ONLY measures light energy within the 400 to 700 nanometer range. So, while one light might measure a higher PAR mmol reading, another light might be still superior due to the more important PUR output.

These spikes fall around the 410-500nm and 630-670nm, which you can see from the above graph are considerably missed by the emitters used in these LEDs.

THIS REPRESENTS WASTED ENERGY! Your PAR meter might measure this light energy, but your photosynthetic life will NOT!!

Further MUST READ Reference:
PUR Versus PAR in Aquarium Lighting

[3] Now let’s look at the warranty of the Ocean Revive & Evergrow Aquarium LED Light. These are only warranted for ONE YEAR.
Compare this to the industry leader that is for 5 years for the fixture.

Why is this extreme difference?
Well, this is where I will venture from scientific fact and offer an opinion. The Industry leader, TMC AquaRay, utilizes the vastly superior driver technology, which produces much less heat.
This heat is destructive to LED units and frankly, breakdowns of cooling fans is a known issue with most brands that utilize cooling fans.

Here are current issues with the Ocean Revive LED Lights:
“Problems with the Ocean Revive/Evergrow include issues with “burnt diodes”. The problem is primarily with those in the range of 450nm & 420nm. Since these are a generic diode made in the same Chinese factory that builds many popular, but lower cost LEDs, this problem may be more widespread than we know.
Heat problems also exist and may be what contribute to the diode issues. These fixtures seem to be especially problematic when placed in a canopy or close to water.”

Here are two previous articles I wrote on these subjects:
Aquarium LED Warranties; Reef or Planted
Aquarium LED Lights, PWM & Current Reduction

[4] Finally; one forum in particular has promoted the Ocean Revive, with claims that for an inexpensive LED, it grows SPS corals well. Well this is true and the results certainly speak for themselves.
However they do it at a higher than needed electrical cost and for a fixture that does not have an IP-67 waterproof rating along with a very short warranty.

What is worse about this forums promotion of the Ocean Revive is their lack of honesty in comparing to the higher end TMC AquaRay.
Stating a 30 Watt Reef White NP 2000 is under powered when compared to an Ocean Revive at 120 watts is a no duh!! The larger Ocean Revive has a larger footprint and many more watts input energy. Try comparing four of the 30 Watt Reef White NP 2000s and you will quickly have much more light energy and a larger footprint for a fixture that is VASTLY more durable and safe in a wet aquarium environment. Of course not this many AquaRay fixtures is needed to make a comparison, as two AquaRay will generally compare to the Ocean Revive.

The other false piece of information [based on feed back from a friend in the industry] coming out of this forum that is clearly promoting the Ocean Revive [the seller is a popular member there too], is that the TMC AquaRay has no proof growing out sps corals.
This is either ignorant misinformation or a blatant lie. Either way the AquaRay has been around years before the Ocean Revive with many updates since. The AquaRay was growing sps corals for years before the Ocean Revive was on the market. This includes the largest seller of quality fish & invertebrates in North America and Europe, SO DO NOT FALL FOR THIS CRAP!!!

Here is my outline as to while I support the LEDs I do in my aquarium service business:
Why Aquaray LED Light Fixtures, Review?

In Summary;
It is quite obvious that the Ocean Revive and Evergrow are far from the best when science is applied, not marketing.

This does not mean these cannot keep marine life, as I know for a fact these LEDs can. However, why spend less now to require as much as 3 times the electricity over the life of the LED to run these LEDs, where is the energy savings over a Metal Halide?

As well, when you consider these light may not last more than 2 years or even less, before requiring repairs or even replacement. Your so-called savings is not just out the window, it has circled the globe a few times.

In the end, you can choose to believe the many lemmings in some forums that would have you believe that the Earth is flat, or you can look at the science.

Recommended Further References:

Related Resources I find interesting/helpful:


Since I originally wrote this post, based on a clients suggestion, I stumbled upon a recent thread (as of January 2014) in a reef keeping society forum that was troubling.
In this thread, many, including what appeared to be moderators were dogging what I assume was one of the sponsors of this forum and asking for proof of a track record of the Aquaray versus lights such as the Ocean Revive!
All I can say is REALLY??
This is both dishonest and insulting since so many professionals such as myself have used Aquarays for many years now and it is the Ocean Revive/Evergrow, that is the new Chinese based brand on the market with much less track record other than heavy reef forum and club sponsorship, in other words buying club members off IMO.

One person even dissed Quality Marine USA who is a livestock supplier I know well and buy from.
In “Quality Marine” you have arguably the premier livestock wholesaler in North America, that also uses many different pieces of aquarium equipment to keep livestock alive in long term display tanks to prove their quality over many of the wholesalers (that will go un-named) who sell primarily to retail stores where price is more important than quality. Why would they use equipment, including lights that will not do the job of keeping up their primary business (livestock)??
The lack of logic, from simple to scientific in this forum was utterly baffling to me.

I only bring me up to point out that the amount of miss-information on the Internet is staggering, and to caution readers to apply scientific logic and simple common sense, and to especially be careful with the forum threads that attempt to pass off as authoritative information, when the opposite is true


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Aquarium LED Warranties & Problems/Reviews; Reef or Planted

Revised May 16, 2017

Aquarium LED Light WarrantyAquarium LED Warranties;this is a something I have heard a lot of lately.

I believe this idea of warranties is called into question is because of the plethora of Aquarium LEDs sold that utilize poor drivers and cooling fans. This is all due to poor design that are now breaking down.

Ref. my earlier post on the subject: Aquarium LED Lights, Controllers; What is Best

This break downs cause issues. I know someone in the business who have had fires when their cooling fan malfunctions (TaoTronics and EverGrow are a couple that have been noted). For me, it has just been the cooling fans breaking down. EcoTech Radion broke down after just a year or so of use.

This is important because so many persons bragged to me or friends about their great price on many Chinese LEDs, but they never factor in that it takes usually twice the electrical wattage to produce the same output in useful light energy. They never question why these LEDs have a fan.

Many of these LEDs, such as the Evergrow and Taotronics, utilize 120 watts to produce the same PUR light energy (not to be confused with PAR) as the 30 watt top notch European models I now mostly utilize.

When you have high PUR/PAS [useful light, photosynthetic action spectrum] emitting diodes, you don’t need a fan because there is no extra energy that is converted into heat. No hot heat, no fan needed.

Cited Reference: Aquarium LED Lighting, What to Know; PUR

Now let me look at each brand for there current warranty:

Readers, please take note that many of these lights are sold under different brands and therefore are lumped together.

  • Finnex Aquarium LED:
    WARRANTY: 180 DAYS
  • This warranty says a lot about this product!

    Problems with the Finnex include the “Planted+ 24/7 IR sensor” which has gone out for many users of this product.

    Other problems include the Finnex Planted+ over heating and condensation failures are quite common.

    As well, Finnex will void the warranty if it appears the light was not placed ON some type of cover and was directly over the water!. Unfortunately for many aquarium keepers, this is how they mount their lights.

    The bottom line is despite many forum recommendations, this is a nice looking planted aquarium capable light that is not built to last and should only be considered if “cheap” is all that matters to you.

  • Current Satellite Aquarium LED:
    WARRANTY: 1 Year

    Problems with the Current Satellite includes moisture builds up inside of the light, which eventually causes failure. Unfortunately most reports of this occur after a year, thus after the one year warranty.
    This moisture is generally from very minimal “splashing”, due to air bubbles coming out of the water. Since these fixtures are only water resistant at best (no IP67 water resistance rating)

  • Aqua Illuminations Aquarium LED:
    WARRANTY: 1 Year
  • Ocean Revive/Evergrow Aquarium LED:
    WARRANTY: 1 Year

    Problems with the Ocean Revive/Evergrow include issues with “burnt diodes”. The problem is primarily with those in the range of 450nm & 420nm. Since these are a generic diode made in the same Chinese factory that builds many popular, but lower cost LEDs, this problem may be more widespread than we know.
    Heat problems also exist and may be what contribute to the diode issues. These fixtures seem to be especially problematic when placed in a canopy or close to water.

    As well these and their knock off cousins [such as the SB Reef below] utilize low efficiency warm white emitters and employ energy wasting fans that lead to very inefficient LED lights requiring more input energy per useful output energy produces. In the end, they do not stand up long term in our humid aquarium environments

  • Orphek Aquarium LED:
    WARRANTY: 1 Year
  • EcoTech Aquarium LED:
    WARRANTY: 1 Year
    The LED Clusters have a two year warranty for replacement, but this means the owner must wait for repairs and any a possible labor charges.
    Please see this pdf Download: EcoTech Instructions Booklet

    While I have not sent in an EcoTech LED under warranty, I know of other aquarium service persons and store owners I trust who have. While warranty issues are rare, time to wait for repairs can be long.
    This said, I know of EcoTech working with an owner over issues outside of warranty too.

  • Maxspect Aquarium LED:
    WARRANTY: 18 months
  • TaoTronics/Blue Moon LED Aquarium LED:
    WARRANTY: 2 Years
  • SB Reef Lights LED:
    WARRANTY: 2 Years

    Basically a re-branded Evergrow with upgraded heat sink & more powerful emitters/optics including UVA as well as a better warranty (compare to Evergrow D2120 LED).
    The same heat issues [even with improved heat sink] and lower quality emitter issues exist too. Still VERY LOW efficiency. Even more questionable is simply the amount of heat these over driven LED lights produce making these comparable to many Metal Halides in potentially requiring a chiller during warmer months.

    Back to efficiency, this is also major question mark as per this very low quality Chinese fixture, as the SB Reef Light LED has one of the lowest efficiencies of ANY aquarium LED light fixture requiring .41 watt of input energy per 1 point of PAR. Compare this even to other low cost/quality LEDs such as the Finnex which is .24 watt of input energy per 1 point of PAR.

    Source/Further Reading: PUR, PAS, PAR in Aquarium Reef/Planted Lighting

    Although well marketed to a gullible non-reading social media market that lives & dies by the meme, these Chinese LEDs are nothing special and are probably worse than most long term because of the eventual heat damage.

    Quoting a professional friend in the industry; “the marketing and sudden popularity of the Chinese made SB Reef Light would make PT Barnum proud” [“There’s a sucker born every minute”]. These are a laughable aquarium LED when one just uses common sense and when one thinks about why LEDs became a popular alternative in the first place to MH and other lights.

    Even with the better warranty, not a recommended LED light for those looking for efficiency and quality of build that will last, but nice looking for color, crazy high power, and cheap up front purchase.

  • Fluval Aquarium LED:
    WARRANTY: 3 Years, however failure of less than 5% of emitters is not considered a defect which can cause spectral quality failure due to poor voltage over other working emitters.
    Replacement or repair at company discretion.

    A better warranty than many, however it still daisy chains many low power, no-name emitters together, resulting in very low efficiency.
    Like the Current Satellite, the Fluval LEDs tend to suffer with moisture build up that eventually causes failure.
    I inherited several Fluval LEDs with a couple new aquarium contracts, both had moisture related failures a few years into their original installation

  • Stark/eShine Aquarium LED:
    WARRANTY: Limited 3 year; 1 year complete and 3 years parts (labor & shipping extra)
  • BeamsWork Aquarium LED:
    WARRANTY: Limited 3 year; 1 year complete and 3 years parts (labor & shipping extra)

    Easily the worst aquarium LED you can purchase, with a watt to micro mol of PAR efficiency as low as 2.70 watts per micro mol of PAR. Compare this to most medium quality fall around .40 to .50 watt per MM of PAR. With the better models under .3 and the AquaRay line as efficient as .08 watt per mm of PAR.
    Source/Further Reading: PUR, PAS, PAR in Aquarium Reef/Planted Lighting

  • Build My LED:
    WARRANTY: Limited 3 year for free repair or replacement, however failure of less than 15% of emitters is not considered a defect.

    Currently BML is no longer manufacturing LED lights for aquarium use, however they still are honoring warranties. This includes for a common problem of silicone coming out from the sides of the fixture due to heat issues (which are unfortunately common with this fixture and its inefficiencies).

    In fact, as time is progressing, the BML seems to be showing some serious flaws in quality of build, so while no longer built, I would also not recommend a second hand BML from Ebay or elsewhere.
    The fact this company was never an aquarium supply company is showing if only due to failures since the BML never utilized an IP67 water resistance rating. This has allowed for premature failure of circuitry/drivers.
    It is the opinion of this author that this is a major reason for their sudden exiting from the manufacture of aquarium lights.

  • Kessil Aquarium LED:
    WARRANTY: 1 year for repair or replacement

    I speaking with others, while the warranty period is short for such an expensive aquarium LED, their customer service is great during this time.
    One down side is these need regular cleaning of the vents/fan otherwise over heating can be problematic, however these LEDs do have a power down feature if they over heat.
    The other problem the Kessils tend to experience is flickering or randomly not turning on. Kessil customer service is great about correcting the issue with a NEW LED. However you are out of luck if this starts happening only one year or later out.

  • AAP AquaRay Aquarium LED:
    WARRANTY: 5 Years fixture, 2 years power supply. Usually replaced with a newer generation LED Fixture, no waiting for repairs.

    The AquaRay has a water resistance rating of IP67, among the highest in the industry.
    Use of PWM also assures less where & tear when being ramped up & down with a controller.

    Highest efficiency as measured by input energy in wattage to micro mol of PAR by “light years” over all other aquarium LEDs with an efficiency as high as .08 watt per mm of PAR in the AAP Reef White NP 2000.

SUMMARY & COMMENTARY:

I can state from hands on use and observations with many different LEDs and knowledge from friends in the business, the LED fixture with by far the best warranty and fewest problems is the AquaRay.

I’ve personally had a couple of TMC AquaRay GroBeams loose an emitter after a couple of years, but the company replaced them no question asked with a NEW later version of the fixture!!!

This did not happen with others I’ve serviced. I’ve had to wait for repairs and a few times the damage was after the warranty period.

What is also interesting is that my supplier told me that most returns of the TMC had clear evidence of misuse, YET he told me that TMC authorized replacement with a new fixture anyways!

Then you have LEDs such as the “Fluval” which limit warranties to a certain percentage of emitters much be out before the warranty can be utilized. This is analogous to purchasing an automobile with an 8 cylinder engine that can only be serviced under warranty if 2 or more cylinders fail.

As of a revision in 2016, I have taken on a new client that already had a beautiful planted aquarium that was set up with Finnex Ray2 lights he purchased in late 2014.
Both lights did a nice job, although the colors were a bit off in my opinion, however shortly after taking over this contract this winter a couple of them failed and being the warranty was so poor, these were a total loss after just a little more than one year of ownership!!

Here is an interesting review of Finnex LEDs & exchange with Finnex, which echoes what I have heard from other aquarium service persons:

“LED burned out after 2 months and light started delivering electric shocks. Maybe it wasn’t soldered well, or shaken up during shipping, or I broke it. I bought it and put it on top of my tank though, not like I was doing anything harsh with it. Finnex claims that it was “water damage” – so I guess their light is not designed for the humidity that comes with sitting on top of an aquarium.”

My thoughts is that this comment by Finnex might be true, as besides the poor 6 month warranty, these poorly built lights have no real water proof rating.
In the end, you get what you pay for with a Finnex LED, a cheaply made LED that can most certainly grow plants as long as it lasts.

Suggested Further Resources:

*Aquarium LED Comparisons
The above resource has an incredible LED comparison chart that is REALLY worth checking out!
*Aquarium LED Lighting, What to Know for Reef or Planted
*LED Aquarium Lights, Lighting; How they work