Modern Aquarium Supplies Marketing; My Aquarium Box, etc.

Modern Aquarium Supplies Marketing; My Aquarium Box, etc.

In speaking with others in this industry, especially those I admire and trust who have mentored me to where I am today, it seems we have entered a new era in this hobby & industry where listening to those with more experience, trusting those who have paved the way, and promoting honest products is no longer what matters.

I will list a few points and let readers decide for themselves:

  • Mentoring. This is how I learned and continue to learn. Yes, I gain a lot of experience from my aquarium service route, but I still ask questions and read, often well beyond the 3 minute Youtube video or 4 paragraph copy/paste aquarium blog.

    Mentoring, Freshwater Aquatics Marine & Ecosystems, Northfin, Rachel O'leary

    However of late, this seems to not be the case with how many get their information.
    You see popular Youtube channels with otherwise knowledgeable aquarium keepers promoting products such as Poly Pads that are excellent when used properly, but ignoring the proven affect these products have on aquarium redox. Yet this information is easily found if they just try and expand outside of their circles of friends!!

    You have a Facebook group [F.A.M.E.] that one mentor shared with me, that invited him in, only to edit anything he brought into the group to expand their understandings such as again aquarium redox, and prevention of common aquarium diseases. This group even attacked him when he corrected their misunderstandings about fish foods and a certain brand in particular.

    Further Reading:
    Redox in Aquariums

  • Deep Blue Sponge Patent Infringement, My Aquarium Box, Kens Fish

  • Patents/Copyrights I have seen patents copied, mostly with products coming from China, where they brazenly copied modular designs of products such as the AAP/ATI Hydro Sponge Filter. One notable example here is the Deep Blue Sponge Filter. The Deep Blue along with the Aquarium Solutions filters are infringing upon the patent rights of ATI (originally Lustar), so when you purchase these filters, you are in fact receiving stolen goods!!
    Worse, is you have marketing ideas such as “My Aquarium Box” that promote this product. What in the end is this going to this hobby/industry if no one can develop a product without the fear their time is wasted by someone in China copying their design and then promoted those with popular marketing ideas, but clearly no interest in the future of the hobby/industry and reliable content!

    In fact speaking of content and “My Aquarium Box”, I know in speaking with a friend/mentor in this industry that when it comes to fish food, they most definitely are all about the marketing and not at all about the facts in that they spewed back incorrect information about Paradigm, all the while showing no class in how they backed out of a deal to market a truly science driven food developed by fish food guru Clay Neighbors that utilized my friends years of experience too. My jaw dropped when he shared his communications with this marketing company. In my thinking, this shows their character and that they are NOT about good information driving good products.

    Resource:
    What is an aquarium sponge filter?

  • Inexperience Posing as Experienced You have websites and Youtube channels where persons who have been in the hobby and industry sometimes only a few months and often just a year or so posing as experts in everything. For experienced aquarium keepers, these persons are easy to spot, but for the undiscerning or inexperienced, these people are sharks!

    A good example is NorthFin USA where the owner also has a Youtube channel [Jay Wilson] and poses as a fish food and fish medication expert.
    He simply reads labels of fish medications like this is going to solve everyone’s problem when in fact if you looked at most API Antibiotic treatments such as Triple Sulfa and Furan 2 you would see that everyone of these matches the next! So what kind of information is this??

    You need to first look at causes and parameters, then symptoms, then finally what to treat with, which may also include changing how you feed, house, filter, etc. your aquarium.
    No wonder this guy pushes a fish food with energy levels that long term are not all that healthy for fish!

    A good place to start for REAL information in fish medications/treatments:
    Fish Diseases | How to Treat Sick Fish
    My Fish are Sick, What do I do?

Why Aquaray LED Light Fixtures, Review?

Revised June 22, 2016

Why Aquaray LED Light Fixtures, Review?

As readers already know, I clearly have a bias toward the TMC-AAP Aquaray LED lights.

For a little background, most of my aquarium service customer contract with me AFTER purchasing their equipment elsewhere, so I get to use many different products from many different manufacturers. This pattern has been prevalent since I started in about 1986, at first working for another.
In the end, some products are so bad that I cannot do my job well and I have to tell the service customer that they will need to change this product or I cannot continue or even start a new contract.

Why Aquaray LED Light Fixtures, Review, by TMC AAPWhen it comes to lighting, I probably have at least some experience now with about 70% of the popular LED brands now available. Some others I have not but I have listened to others I respect and have applied common sense and have not recommended those 30% I have yet to use.

Nonetheless, most of the lights that I do have at least some experience with work well and these lights do the job they were intended for such as keeping a reef, planted or just plain fish tank. A couple of exceptions include the Marineland Double Bright, Aquatop, and a few others.
So my experience is not that there are not many capable LED lights, as the majority are more than capable!!

My practical experience as well as common sense has eventually brought me to my favorite when it has come to LED lighting.
This without a doubt is the Aquaray line of LED lights, so let me list off why I feel this way. Readers may not always agree, nonetheless, much of these reasons I list are based on factual reasons, not just simple subjective opinions.

  1. The highest water-resistant rating of any major LED (IP67).
    This means your electronic lighting device that is placed in a wet aquatic environment has a chance of lasting more than a couple years.
    From Aquarium LED Lights, Lighting:
    “LED fixtures are NOT aquarium lights in the traditional sense, even the emitters are not a “bulb” as many people think. They are computer chips making micro-explosions, emitting photons in frequencies of waves. Some of these waves, we know as light.”
  2. The longest and best warranty of 5 years for the fixture. This warranty is also for full replacement, not what can be a weeks long repair, nor are there exceptions as with many others requiring a certain percentage of emitters be out before a warranty can be utilized.
  3. Highest output light energy per input energy, in other words the electrical input required to produce both the quantity and quality of light needed to keep reef or planted aquariums in particular.
  4. Similar to the above, the highest PUR using patented designs and licensed emitters that provide optimum light energy with less need to mix emitters to achieve this.
    The result is a light that has an optimal man-made light energy, not a CRI that might look better or brighter to the user.

    Ref: PUR, PAS, PAR in Aquarium Reef/Planted Lighting

  5. Most options for light spread and more; Large and small tiles, strips, patented mounting system also optionally available.
  6. History; the Aquaray line of aquarium LED lights has been around since 2007 and has locked in some of the best patent designs, licensing agreements. Many of the new fixture while quite nice still has to operate around these designs which includes using multiple emitters to achieve what Aquaray can do with one or a few due to patent and licensing rights. Those who in 2015 & beyond who have never heard of this brand show that they have had their head up their a## in some forum that clearly spews out the same garbage over and over.
    Part of this reason too in my opinion, is many of these persons live on the Internet where the same information is passed back and forth, so they never see what the down and dirty professionals are using.
    The FACTS are the Aquaray line has always been marketed to the professionals, not forum sponsorships, so this results in a brand that is well known among many in professional circles and many brick & mortar retailers, but less well known among forum readers [with a few exceptions]

The above reasons are quite self explanatory and frankly hard to argue with.

In the end, while even the better economy brands such as Finnex or Fluval can keep your planted aquarium going nicely, any up-front savings is lost quickly as per my list of reasons and I have already witnessed early failures of these lights, in particular the Finnex.
When one of the brands I “inherit” with customer who purchased their aquarium set up elsewhere go belly up, this is often when I replace the light with an Aquaray.
I have already replaced lights for customers for total failures. Often moisture damage is a reason, although failed fans have killed a few LED fixtures too.

Another issue I have found is less than optimal emitter combinations, both for marine and freshwater applications.

An example is a freshwater BML LED strip fixture with three blue emitters. The amount of blue has a higher tendency to grow more algae.
This is nothing new either as both I and the person I purchased my aquarium service company from have used actinic blue fluorescent lights in combinations over the years and this almost always resulted more algae growth versus the use of a good pure 6500K trichromatic or Triton lamp.
Changing out to a pure noontime tropical sun 6500k emitter LED such as the Grobeam improved the algae issue. More subjectively I think the more natural daylight color looks better too.

Ditto some of use of amber emitters to make up desired light kelvin colors. This gets close to optimal light wavelengths for cyanobacteria, something warm white fluorescent lamps years back also had more issues with. In the end, changing lights improved cyanobacteria issues too.

Below are a couple of examples to make my point. Please note these are generic aquariums as my contracts protect privacy of my customers aquariums which I cannot use publicly.

This first pic is from a BML showing the too high blue color for most planted aquariums.
Please note that BML is now out of business as per aquarium LEDs. Be wary if purchasing one of these lights used, as they have issues due to heat causing silicone to separate from the fixture since these fixture often produce to much excess heat.
Build My LED Freshwater Light with blue tint

This pic shows GroBeam 600 strips over an aquarium and the more natural color
GroBeam LED lights with more natural daylight color

Lighting a Planted or Reef Tank: Understanding PAR & PUR

The subject of PUR in particular has become rather controversial of late when it comes to lighting a high light requiring planted aquarium or reef aquariums.
Regrettably, this controversy is not well deserved when one looks at this from a scientific point of view.

This in part stems from persons who attempt to use scientific terms and knowledge, but overlook some of the most basic tenants of what PUR is and what we know about it.

We have NickMach007 in his YouTube video from Science Alliance making what I would call snarky, but totally incorrect statements about PUR. All the while, vainly attempting to appear scientific:

What you want to know for aquarium leds
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THuDHw7BLhI

In this video NickMach007 makes some incorrect assertions about PUR, which I will address in this article. This is not to pick on this person, as I am not attempting to judge his intentions, rather his lack of using any real science and proven references to back up his claims put forth.
Making snarky comments such as “folks, PUR is simply not going to replace PAR” is a good example of how he deals with science that he for some reason, does not seem to grasp, or maybe refuses to grasp as it might make some of his lighting choices look bad?
No one who understands the science of lighting or at the very least has investigated it, is stating that PUR is going to replace PAR, only that one should and MUST consider this parameter, since it’s possible to have a light high in PAR, but actually have (0) PUR [example, an all green LED Light-making up PAR, but not PUR].

What’s interesting, is that in one of his video resources, the article clearly disputes what he is saying, so it’s obvious he’s not even reading what he recommends or cherry picks through the information.

  • “We do not know what each plant [or coral] needs as per PUR, therefore it is useless as a parameter”

    Planted reef lighting PAR PUR

    Yes, we do know. Specifically for every “sweet spot” of a photosynthetic organism maybe no, but generally a most emphatic YES!

    There are many aspects of science both past and present where the basics were/are known, but the mechanisms behind this knowledge were not known. We know the photosynthetic responses of plants and corals.
    As an example, by the end of the 1800s we knew a lot more about diseases, which we simply did not know just a 100 years earlier and some things we still don’t know 100 years later.

    Using this as an example/analogy, should we have abandoned Louis Pasteur (discoveries of vaccination) knowledge to this point just because we did not understand the mechanism? Many lives were saved by his investigative research long before we knew more of the specifics!! In the same why, should we abandon the known science of plants and corals?

    aquarium lighting plants and corals
    Picture Reference

    What we do know, is that plants and corals in general use specific energy wave lengths (nm), WHICH HAS BEEN PROVEN! This is one of the reasons plants are the color they are.
    So to utilize lighting, which has much more emphasis in the UNWANTED middle spectrums of light (not the photo response A or B), whether it be most fluorescent lights or LEDs with green, amber, yellow, warm white, and even cool white emitters is simply folly and BAD science.

    lighitng spectrum poor science LED

    Reference:
    PUR vs PAR in Aquarium Lighting (LED); Fresh & Saltwater (Reef)

  • The above reference/link totally explodes NickMach007 points with cited facts [he would do well to read this, yet one of his one cited resources gives a multiple references to this article, so he really has no excuse].
    We already have horticultural businesses [aka vertical farming] following this PUR curve, which he shows in his video, one such business is cited in the above reference article.
    By doing this, these businesses are also running a more efficient operation.

    Here is a resource citing vertical farming and specific LED light wave length, with wavelength being another way to state PUR which is “Photosynthetically Useful Radiation”:
    Vertical Farming’s Forefront at Green Sense

    Here is another respected source/reference:
    Captive Aquatics; PUR and Reef Aquarium Lighting: What is PUR?
    QUOTE: “PUR is a much more useful way to compare LED lighting than any other method. Most LEDs emit excellent PAR, but often only ~50% of the PAR is PUR. The higher the PUR:PAR ratio (check the spectrograph!) the more effective the LED will be for lighting photosynthetic reef invertebrates. “

  • “Quoting Tom Barr who simply disagrees with the premise of PUR”

    Tom Barr Aquarium LED Lighting

    While Tom Barr is considered a guru by some [including himself], he does not give any good evidence to dispute his disagreement with the science behind PUR. In fact while Tom Barr may have an excellent record of designing aesthetically pleasing planted aquariums, he also has a record or refusing to acknowledge new science and learning from others [I would call this being a narcissist].

    Tom Barr’s idea of PUR, which Nick quoted in his video states, is that PUR is not a useful measurement, because we would have to know the useful energy per each organism. Since there are so many plants and corals out there, we just cannot possible know the PUR of everything. While, this has a small amount of truth, Tom leaves out the important science we do know, which is the photosynthetic responses of all plants or corals. This can be measured.

    This is all coming from a man, who has a popular reputation, but has attacked the newer science behind both aquarium Redox balance and UV Sterilization use. Often in inflammatory words too, so I give this many very little credit when he makes any statement when it pertains to science.

    Further Resources:
    #UV STERILIZATION; UVC Irradiation for Pond, Aquarium
    #REDOX IN AQUARIUMS

  • Here is just one of Tom Barr’s comment about the observations into Redox, which has much of it coming out of human studies too:
    “the part about “water ionization” is frigging rubbish. That’s quackery marketing.”

    Apparently investigative research that he may not agree with is “quackery marketing” despite THE FACT Tissue redox activity has been shown as a hallmark of carcinogenesis: from early to terminal stages of cancer.

  • “Likely plants [corals] will adapt to the PAR light provided anyway”

    Plant or coral adapting to light, PAR PUR

    Where is his proof here? Any such evolution is certainly not going to take place in our lifetime unless he is planning to live several millenia.
    In fact, we already have an organism that has adapted to these middle less efficient light spectrums for plants and corals; they are called Cyanobacteria (Yellow light spectrum).

    Is this what his goal is? I doubt it, but his lack of understanding of the basics of science allows him to make such absurd statements as this.

    Reference:
    Cyanobacteria; Blue Green/Red Slime Algae in Aquariums & Ponds

  • “Measuring PAR”

    Here he gets his facts correct as stated, however he suffers here from the omission of information.
    What he omits is that PAR measuring devices tend toward the middle of the PAR scale. Thus these devices miss some of the most essential spikes of PUR and thus any measurement that compares a light that has emphasis in these areas of light spectrum will be inaccurate.

    defined quantum response of PAR verus PUR, aquarium lighting

    Even when comparing apples to apples such as the TMC 12 Watt Fiji Blue LED fixture versus the TMC 12 watt Marine White LED; the Fiji Blue has a PAR of 38 at 400mm while the Marine White LED has a PAR of 50 at 400mm!!
    Both these lights has exactly the same input energy, and the same circuitry, and are both well within the defined quantum response of PAR, YET there is a 20% + drop in measured PAR!

  • This means different light can add up to different PAR, so caution needs to be taken when one PAR from one fixture to another PAR. Higher PAR does not mean a better reading for growth.

  • “We are in a hobby where we would expect to spend more money”

    Again he makes a half right assertion.
    Yes, we certainly should not go on the cheap, but when it comes to lighting that would mean using lights with better circuitry, PWM, and ones that do not require fans that can and do fail, often due to moisture or over heating.

    Using the logic he implies, why not go back to using six 40 watt T12 Fluorescent light tubes over a 60 gallon aquarium as my mentor has pointed out, which he did for some of his planted aquarium customers in the 1970s. This is simply a shot gun approach to lighting, NOT ADAPTATION as he would have you believe.

    We have evolved in this hobby/industry where more efficient lights have allowed us to better target our light sensitive aquarium specimens.
    Whether is be SHO lights, T5 light, or the even more efficient, but often ignored by the ignorance of many in the hobby; T2 lights.
    This of course should also include LED lights such as the AquaRay, which employ the most efficient technologies. To say this is going cheap is absurd and frankly ignorant of the science of lighting.

    More Resources:

    AQUARIUM LIGHTING BASICS; Parameters, Lights Technology
    PUR or RQE, YouTube Video Fail- Guide to lighting a planted tank

AquaRay Aquarium LED; Reef Central

Reef Central is a popular forum with many marine fish keepers.
As readers of my “Aquarium Opinions” posts will notice that I also call this forum out for a lot of incorrect information, such as in my last post for making ludicrous statements that certain UV Sterilizers did not even exist that do IN FACT exist as well as ludicrous statements about UV Sterilizer customer service.

Since TMC and their AquaRay lighting seems to be one of their favorite kicking boys, likely due to the fact they do not pay the big bucks in sponsorships as other LED manufacturers who spend much more on marketing and hype, I will be standing in for their defense.
In this post, I will look at several points made by Reef Central members and comment on them.
I will note that some very well thought out comments were also made in Reef Central threads

I shall also note that as per my Home Page mission statement, I am simply a professional aquarium service and design person, and as well, do not link to any sellers of said equipment.
I simply do not like to see bullsh## information being put forth as fact and yes my observations has shown the TMC AquaRay (as well as UV Sterilizers to be among the best, if not THE BEST)

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

SO HERE WE GO:

  1. COMMENT:
    By Reef Central member; “If there is not a Cree data sheet that shows these magic emitters nor a publicly available patent then these claims are not true. 10 LED fixture with no controls for $290? No thanks.”
    Ref:
    http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2181083

    MY RESPONSE:
    An unfortunately typical argument attacking facts using hyperbole.
    No dude, there are no magic emitters. Only emitters that AquaRay has paid to Cree and others for specific licensing, nothing magic about this and quite a regular practice in the manufacturing industry too.

    As well, the facts/science of PUR are applied in selection of emitters used, not what just looks good such as green emitters.
    In fact, a CBS news report about indoor farms backed up the facts that PUR is what is important and that there is nothing magical about using specific PUR emitters rather that hitting the whole PAR spectrum as most Aquarium LEDs market their lights to [such as Ocean Revive, EcoTech, etc.] with the help of either misinformed, clueless, or maybe even deceptive graphs that only measure PAR and thus give higher ratings to lights that put out high PAR, but with much of it in spectrums that might look good to us, but is useless for plant or symbiotic zooxanthellae required by corals.
    This farm used ONLY the spectrums required for growth, in other words PUR which means “photosynthetically useful radiation”. this in the end wastes much less electricity and requires a lower measurable PAR do do the job over lights employing green, yellow, & cool white emitters.

    These are both observable facts that such garbage posts like this one at Reef Central ignore.

    Aquarium LED PAR, Green emitter Zero PUR

    References:
    #Cree Licensing Programs
    #LED Aquarium Lights, Lighting; How they work
    #PUR vs PAR in Aquarium Lighting (LED)
    #CBS News; Vertical Farms

  2. COMMENT:
    By Reef Central member; “I still cringe any time anyone uses the term PUR in marketing lights. The bottom line ia we have seen beautiful tanks running LED fixtures such as AI, Ecotech, Kessil, Maxspect, ect… They have proven that they can continue to produce great results over the years. The EcoRay products have been out for years yet there are very few if any tanks out there using them much less showing off their success.”

    Another well thought out comment answered this:
    By Reef Central member; “They’re a household name in Europe. As far as I know, there’s only 1 distributor here in the states.

    PUR is a completely appropriate topic though when it comes to lights. It’s still another measurement that means something. It’s not just a fancy word like AI, Radion, Kessil, Maxspect would like you to believe.
    You might think PUR is unnecessary or the brand isn’t well known, I see the opposite of this.

    Why does nobody use the balling lite system, or even the Triton method? I don’t see a lot on the Triton method, that doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant. That’s why I enjoy my time on the European forums more than the US forums. Any way you slice it, the Europeans and other countries have been keeping fish much longer than the United States folks. I surely won’t dismiss anyones methods etc, but I think the bottom line is they have more participation in the fishkeeping hobby. (by several hundreds years at least)

    Over in the European forums you see these crazy tanks running for years with no water changes yet doing just fine supplementing additives.
    In the USA, people say additives are the devil and I see the majority of people asking how to keep some of the basic chemistry in check.

    I won’t make any assumptions on who’s right, but I see a lot of bickering on the US forums as compared to legitimate progress between multiple people in the Euro forums. It’s definitely something to think about.”
    From:
    http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2391677

    RESPONSE:
    As this member at Reef Central stated, PUR IS IMPORTANT, and despite awesome marketing by AI & Ecotech along with their minions, PUR is necessary

    Again I reference this article:
    #PUR vs PAR in Aquarium Lighting (LED)

    I will also point out just how much time and effort goes into marketing EcoTech here at Reef Central alone.
    Look at proof of just how active the “EcoTech” sponsor is in “Reef Central”
    Reference:
    http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2428081

    4798 as of this blog post.
    This is an incredible number as I know a friend who sponsors a forum and has been very active since 2006 in this forum visiting it every day and answering question after question and he is at about 6800 post, so for these people to hit these kinds of number so quickly shows a lot of where their marketing is and why they are so well known to member of Reef Central.

    This certainly does not prove the EcoTech is inferior [or better], but certainly shows that marketing is their main strategy of selling this product

  3. COMMENT:
    By Reef Central member; “I’m looking into getting some Aquaray Aquabeam 2000 & 1500. Underdogs with less marketing are more compelling to me.”
    From:
    http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2391677

    RESPONSE:
    I agree as to less hype and marketing tells me where their emphasis is.

    In truth, as another honest Reef Central member noted, the AquaRay brand is well known in Europe where they are often more advanced and are not driven so much by marketing.
    If one has been into automobiles for some time as I have, all I have to think about is the Pontiac Aztec that was heavily marketed. Does this make it a better vehicle than a Mercedes Benz that I do not see as much advertising for?

    While my analogy is certainly flawed, my point is marketing costs money that could be going into product build.
    Why for instance do EcoTech Radions need fans?
    The response is so simple and is easily answered by Middle School science in that this excess heat that requires fans equals energy that is not going into light energy!!

  4. COMMENT:
    By Reef Central member; “I’ve got the 2000’s on a 75 gallon.
    I have them 1″ above the water, in the water just under surface is 1100-1200 par, about 12″ under the surface they give off 500-600 par, at the sand (around 17″ under) they give about 100-150 par.

    On a side note, my firestorm monti grows like a weed under these compared to miniscule growth under a 150w MH. (ya, it surprised me)

    They’re well worth it for cost savings, PWM makes the difference. But their controller is as generic as an outlet timer. (you can only do ramp on/off and levels and thunderstorm mode)

    I will not go into details as to scientific evidence, that is often very basic, that is often ignored in so many forum articles about Aquarium LED lighting, rather I will cite further reading references.”

    From:
    http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2391677

    MY RESPONSE:
    This should come as no surprise to anyone who has pulled their head out of their a## and looked past Reef Central, checked out the more science based information online, and cracked open a Middle School level science book

  5. COMMENT:
    By Reef Central member; “Any company that creates a comparison chart for marketing purposes and use “poor warranty” under cons for Kessil and Ecotech Radion is selling snake oil. Sorry but that is just ridiculous and couldn’t be further from the truth. At least for US based customers. Both Ecotech and Kessil have some of the best support in the industry and back their warranties like no other. Further that, TMC doesn’t even offer contact info on their US website so even with their 5 year warranty, who is one supposed to contact? TMC/Tropical Marine Centre makes decent products but they are based in the UK. I used their commercial UV filters for many years before switching to AquaUV.

    That said, unless you are in Europe, forget about support. Quality Marine is said to be a wholesaler and doesn’t provide end user support so god forbid you have an issue, you are going to be having a good time getting decent support let alone warranty service.

    As for their light output. The truth is in the PAR numbers and from what I can see, these are better suited as Nano lights. “

    From:
    http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2391677

    MY RESPONSE:
    I have already dealt with this persons rather rude comments that make no sense in a post about UV Sterilizers.
    This guy made up information in the UV thread and now has the gall to make up more facts as he sees them:

    My response from:
    https://aquariumopinions.com/2014/11/05/aqua-ultraviolet-versus-tmc-uv-sterilizers-reef-central/

    Sorry dude, TMC support is superior just because it is retailer based.
    Let me ask readers what would rather have as a return policy using a laptop computer as an example:
    You have a choice between two laptops of similar value, with one it can be brought back to the store for an exchange or parts replacement, or the other you have to send away to the manufacturer and wait several weeks to get your laptop back?
    I think most would take the first quicker option; sorry dude!

    I would add to this previous analogy that if you bought your automobile in Los Angeles, would you rather send it to where it was put together or the local dealership you purchased at?
    Again this guys logic is extremely flawed.
    ion.
    It is an outright lie that you will not get warranty service from TMC, as I already noted it is done through the dealers including the largest North American seller, who I will not mention since the policy of this blog is to not plug retailers or their website. Turn around is within one business day and includes a new fixture. I know that just in 2014 I had a fixture have one emitter out and I got a newer updated fixture to replace it immediately, no sending in for repairs.

    How is a warranty that is much shorter snake oil, whose Kool Aid has he been drinking? This is the kind of Kool Aid logic I would expect from Putins or Obamas, NOT what should be a fact driven responsible aquarium forum!!

    This high post count Reef Central character loves to make up information or downright lies as he goes along whether it be UV Sterilizers or Reef Lighting, and he is just one good reason Reef Central has little credibility for good information.

    He still clearly does not get that a light using a higher percentage of green emitters is WASTING energy input as light energy that is USELESS to photosynthetic life, while still making great PAR numbers.

    He needs to check out the CBS news story where only the essential PUR lighting spikes have been proven to be all that is needed for photosynthetic life.
    He also clearly does not understand the simple fact that energy wasted as heat is energy NOT going to lighting.

    Lastly, what this person seems to not grasp is no one I know that is reputable is saying the EcoTech or Kessil does not keep reef life, ONLY that it takes less input wattage for an AquaRay to do the same job.

    Am I or others saying that a 30 watt AquaRay Reef White NP 2000 [with a PAR 380 uEinsteins/sec/m2 @15 inches] has a higher useful light output than a 90 watt Kessil?
    NO, but 30 watts of this premium AquaRay LED is likely equal to the output of 50-60 watts of a Kessil or EcoTech

  6. COMMENT:
    By Reef Central member; “Another measurement? How can you say that. Every brand you just mentioned produces more PUR than the Aquaray. And the reason I can say that is because my measurement is as accurate as anyone else’s regarding PUR. All the fixtures you mentioned produce more than enough PAR for photosynthesis of our animals. The only difference is that there are several examples out there with long term results using those other fixtures. Show us the results of those using the Aquaray. I want to see before and after shots with the Aquaray. Maybe a year or so of progress. Not just pics of some tank that pulled off the MH or T5, put up the Aquaray and took photos.”

    From:
    http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2391677

    MY RESPONSE:
    REALLY? When they use green, amber, or cool white emitters?
    Does he really understand PUR???
    As for PAR, watt per watt, the useful PUR is higher with an AquaRay!

    What this guy misses is the AquaRay has been around longer than these others, they have simply not marketed to gullible aquarium forums!
    There are many places using the AquaRay for more than just Nano Applications, such as the “Oceanography Centre in London” and my NON nano reef tank clients.

    Below is a reef aquarium I was given permission to share utilizing ONLY AquaRay NP 1500 & 2000 tiles that has been running over a year with AquaRay from the beginning .

    Acropora Reef Aquarium running AquaRay AquaBeam LED Lights, Lighting

  7. COMMENT:
    By Reef Central member (the same character that makes up bs all over the place about uv sterilizers and LED lights); “FWIW, that Fish-as-pets site link you posted happens to be owned by the distributor American Aquarium Products. That is marketing fluff being promoted by the distributor. Certainly not an objective comparison. “

    I see in this thread that they went after the author of the Fish as Pets article comparing the EcoTech to an AquaRay cited by another member who dared to mess with the RC Reef Police, YET, there was nothing mysterious about who this author is.
    WHAT!?
    The author clearly says who he is at the end and CLEARLY explains his reasons in scientific terms why he went with the AquaRay, why should he not sell this brand. Further investigation of the author of this article by reading “Business Bio”, it is clear he has been at this for 4 decades with a lot of time, research, 1000s of hours of hands on experience, and effort put forth.
    Furthermore, this is ludicrous reasoning!! Should someone whose research leads him to believe that an Apple lap top is better than a Windows not then recommend the Apple? Does this discredit him or her? Of course not!!!

    Moreover, considering the authors time in the hobby and business which I easily found with remedial “detective” work, this dude’s comments are rather disrespectful, but hell, that is the generation we live in where insulting others is the norm.

  8. COMMENT:
    By Reef Central member; “Shilling is still shilling, no matter how you wish to spin it. Shilling gets you removed from this forum, and you brought that on yourself so when you continue to badmouth RC on your blogs, remember you are the one who chose to ignore the rules. It is as simple as that. You will not be missed and this thread will remain for all to see in perpetuity. You will be your own worse enemy. “

    From:
    http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2391677

    In my 1/15/15 revision to this post, I find this personal attack rather interesting.
    First this dude does not even know the definition of a shill

    Here is is for those who do not:
    “A shill, also called a plant or a stooge, is a person who publicly helps a person or organization without disclosing that they have a close relationship with the person or organization.

    “Shill” typically refers to someone who purposely gives onlookers the impression that they are an enthusiastic independent customer of a seller (or marketer of ideas) for whom they are secretly working”

    Reference:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shill

    I do not think this person person fits this definition unless they have had one too many liberal Kool Aids.
    Never once did this person attempt to sell a product or pose as a customer that I can see, only defend lies put forth as facts!

    More importantly, I could NOT find attacks on RC by this person that everyone seems to decided to dishonestly pile on, either here or any any blogs.

  9. What it comes down to, is Reef Central loses any credibility with its inability to moderate, as the thread noted is not a debate as one RC member would have you believe, it is about spreading lies as facts, making those who disagree with the company line that AquaRays are junk to feel two inches tall, and basically talking out of one’s ass with personal attacks and name calling rather than the facts.

    In the end, the best thing RC can do is leave this thread up as it shows the nastiness of many who reside on this forum.
    I am sure some forum lurkers will agree with this dishonest member who makes up definitions on the fly, but frankly such persons with bully attitudes are not the type of person any honest person would want to deal with, unless your name is maybe Vladimir Putin.
    I think honest/moral persons will see how rude persons are at RC and not believe a word they say.

    My advice to person attacked here and the other honest RC member is the same I give to my service customers; avoid this forum like the plague.

    Further Resources:
    #PUR vs PAR in Aquarium Lighting (LED); Fresh & Saltwater (Reef)
    #LED Aquarium Lights, Lighting; How they work, DIY
    #St. Marys Marine Biology LED Experiments
    #This shallow reef tank makes up in vibrant life what it lacks in height
    #EcoTech Radion Versus TMC Aqua Ray HO LED Aquarium Lights

    Gregg – 2015

Aqua Ultraviolet versus TMC UV Sterilizers, Reef Central

I was forwarded a recent thread from Reef Central where by moderators & forum members went on another of their misinformation binges.


RELATED ARTICLE:
Aquarium & Pond UV Sterilizer Review; Vecton, Advantage


From:
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2449440

In this binge, a Reef Central member made one of the more laughable misinformation statements I have ever read online.

QUOTE: “While AquaUV is not the cheapest UV on the market, like the link you provided say, they are quality units with great dwell time. What they fail to mention is their great support. Same can be said about Emperor Aquatics. Something that is non existent with Tropical Marine Centre who is over seas and depends exclusively on retailers for support.”

Sorry dude, TMC support is superior just because it is retailer based.
Let me ask readers what would rather have as a return policy using a laptop computer as an example:
You have a choice between two laptops of similar value, with one it can be brought back to the store for an exchange or parts replacement, or the other you have to send away to the manufacturer and wait several weeks to get your laptop back?
I think most would take the first quicker option; sorry dude.

Do not believe me, here’s a link to their warrant returns page:
http://www.aquaultraviolet.com/sites/default/files/instructions/Instructions%20Classic%20and%20Twist%20Series%20UV%2005-19-09.pdf

Let me address a few more comments from this terrible thread of misinformation.

  • This same character, makes more misinformation statements.
    “That said, the units mentioned in your links are cheap units meant to appeal the masses. Not necessarily quality units and they don’t have the same kind of dwell time as the higher end units from AquaUV or Emperor.”

    While admittedly the Aqua Ultraviolet and Emperor are excellent (I have used these too), the TMC is NOT a cheap unit meant to appeal to the masses, a quick peak on eBay or Amazon will find plenty of these cheap units often for under $50 such as the AquaTop, Killing Machine, and many others. These are cheap.
    The facts are the dwell time is the highest of any UV with the TMC Vecton, in fact higher than some of Emperors Smart UVs which use very short lamps and short exposure times.

    Has this guy even done a dwell time test?
    Has he even done his homework, such as reading the article he so conveniently bashes out of hand with ad hominem attacks on the author by him and others?

  • Here is another of this guys statements:
    “Here is the Tropical Marine Centre UV unit that I used to run on my tank. At the time, it was one of the only higher wattage units out there that used a crystal sleeve. These units are now relegated to Tropical Marine Centre’s commercial product line and not readily available in the states. The AquaUV’s equivalent (Classic Series) is better made, easier to service and backed by much better support. The comparable AquaUV is also much cheaper.”

    Incorrect again!!
    Does this guy do ANY HOMEWORK AT ALL? If so he gets an F.

    The TMC 110 UV is readily available in the USA for under $400 in some locations or websites.
    Since my commitment to readers of my website blog post is to not commercialize my results by posting links to resellers, I will simply state these are not difficult to find online.

    Reef Central, What should I do UV, Large TMC Sterilizer

    As for support, I have already addressed this falsehood, but will add that I have NEVER had an issue with parts or returns for ANY TMC product from lights, FSB filters, or their UV Sterilizers. This includes one rare instance of a hairline crack in the body for which I was given a brand new UV sterilizer, NO SHIPPING BACK FOR REPAIRS!!

  • This one is from a Reef Central Moderator:
    But does sell them, and is trying awfully hard to the make them out to the be best thing since sliced bread. While they can indeed be useful in some circumstances, they are not the wonder equipment with all the attributes he gives them.”

    This comment is not so bad IMO, since he is simply stating an opinion as an opinion.
    However I have read this article quoted and do not get the same thing at all out of the article or other articles published by the author.
    He clearly recommends “True” UV Sterilizers as he calls them as a useful tool, which includes other tools such as quarantine.
    As well we have another case of someone who appears to not research outside of Reef Central or even read an article in question or its cited references, otherwise he would never make such statements of “opinion”.

  • “Even so, the UV will have some impact on pods as well despite the high flow rates.”

    What are the “pods” doing in the water column?
    Has he heard of pre-filtration which is an essential ingredient for correct UV Sterilizer application?

    Sorry one again; WRONG!!

  • “Keep in mind, that article is written by a guy selling UV units.”

    A typical liberal ad hominem argument whereby you attack the person rather than the facts or cited resources.

    This has no bearing on the credibility of the article assuming the facts and references are sound.

    Using his own terminology: Keep in mind, that there is always a money trail anywhere, some are just less obvious or down right sneaky.
    Does this guy work for free, does he not expect the author to sell what he found to be a superior product?

    Back to following the money, Reef Central is supported by sponsorships; have you ever noticed that a member will get the “ban hammer” for speaking negatively against EcoTech, one of Reef Central’s major supporters?

I would say in the end, use common sense logic, actually do your homework, not give lip service like these members of Reef Central do.
Also do not depend upon Google for good search results when doing your research, since they too are beholden to deliver readers to their pals such as Amazon or others. Consider DuckDuckGo who does not spy on you and use your information to track your habits!

Further Reading/References:

#UV STERILIZATION; UVC Irradiation for Pond, Aquarium

Economy Planted Aquarium LED; Fluval Aqualife & TMC AquaBar

In this post, I will look at two LED lights marketed for planted or fish only freshwater aquariums, with price a consideration in both build and marketing
The “Fluval Aqualife & Plant LED Strip Light” is already well known since it is being sold in PetCo and other major online and brick and mortar retailers, as well it has the marketing power of its owner corporation, Rolf C Hagen behind it as well.
The AquaBar [now discontinued] is sold by TMC, which is also a well established company, but is more well known by aquarium professionals and then for “higher end” products, so this LED light is somewhat of a diversion for TMC in my opinion. Notwithstanding, TMC is also only sold by higher end brick & mortar and online retailers, NOT at PetCos, Amazon, etc.

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

 

REVIEWS;

Fluval Aqualife & Plant LED Light Review
Fluval Aqualife & Plant LED Strip Light

I will use the 25 watt Fluval Aqualife LED for comparison
This LED uses (312) 5500K LED 120 degree emitters daisy chained together in 61 cm LED strip

The emitters are non descript generic emitters of different colors to produce a 5500 Kelvin Color temperature, notwithstanding 5500K is not the best kelvin temperature for plant growth.

 

The picture below displays this these emitters in a reflection over the water of a planted freshwater aquarium:
Fluval Aqualife & Plant LED Strip Light Reflection Review

The Fluval Aqualife & Plant LED can clearly grow plants and displays fish colors reasonably well too, however there is little shimmer when compared to high end planted aquarium LEDs such as the GroBeam or TMC Mini 400.

Fluval Aqualife Plant LED Light emitters, review
A major negative is that since this LED uses so many low end emitters just to obtain a 25 wattage output, regulating voltage CANNOT be done correctly while keeping the price that these LEDs are sold for.
The more emitters, the more complex the circuitry to regulate the voltage over each emitter. Otherwise the alternative is simply daisy-chaining lights similar to Christmas lights, and this results in a voltage drop along this “chain” of lights. Since LED emitters are designed to run at specific voltages, life expectancy of emitters will be lower and color spectrums will not be the same. Think about a dimmed incandescent bulb, as it goes from full on to almost off, it gets less white.

 

Reference: LED Aquarium Lights, Lighting; Circuitry & Daisy Chained LEDs

The end result is a very poor PUR light spectrum with plant growth simply achieved via a shotgun approach, which with this poor light spectrum, the end result is higher algae growth; in particular Black Beard algae and cynobacteria.

The warranty is good, but deceptively limited since Hagen will only repair and even then only if more than 5% (16 or more) of the LED emitters cease to function. Repairs can leave you without a light for some time

In Conclusion; if you are looking for a cheap LED light, this is still better than the Finnex [with only a 180 day warranty], but this is certainly not even close to the level of the GroBeam or TMC Mini 400 as these LED lights at 12 watts each, can produce more useful light energy than this Fluval at 25 watts based on the science of PUR. Generally speaking
As an example; only one 12 watt GroBeam is required for a 20 gallon “high light” requiring planted aquarium versus a 25 Watt Fluval Aqualife LED for best results.
Interestingly, when one takes into consideration that the GroBeam 12 watt is less expensive than the Fluval 25 watt, has the highest PUR of any comparable LED, and is available with an unlimited 5 year warranty, what light to purchase should a no-brainer.

TMC AquaBar freshwater 500 LED mounted over aquarium, ReviewTMC AquaBar Freshwater

This is TMC’s foray into more economical lighting.
As an aquarium professional who has used many of TMC’s products for years, just because they were often the best of the best and built/designed with aquarium professionals in mind, I do not really agree with the reasoning here.

The TMC AquaBar model 500 for freshwater aquariums is a 12 watt 50cm (19.7″)LED light strip with (30) 6500k White Samsung LED emitters.
Whereas it is not PWM capable as with the TMC Grobeam, it is still run by advanced circuity similar to many other advanced aquarium LEDs that run similar numbers of emitters.

TMC AquaBar freshwater 500 LED side view, ReviewThe appearance in the water with the more blue heavy with little yellow light energy AquaBar Freshwater LED is more blue than many freshwater LEDs, including the GroBeam.

While definitely a step above the Fluval and especially the very unreliable Finnex LEDs, it is clearly a step below the high end GroBeam and Mini 500 LEDs that TMC offers for those seeking the best in planted aquarium lighting based on the science of PUR.

Below is the Spectrogram for the AquaBar.
Note that lack of yellow light which tends to make this LED appear more blue. This would be a plus since yellow in particular has a tendency to grow cyanobacteria [blue/green algae]. Yellow is much more pronounced in the Fluval LED.
Spectrogram courtesy of “Aquarium Article Digest”
TMC AquaBar LED Spectrogram, Review

Here is a video with a planted aquarium utilizing an AquaBar LED Light
New tmc aquabar 50 cm colour rendition

The TMC AquaBar does not have as much of the cool shimmer of the more advanced GroBeam

Further AquaBar Information:
Aquarium LED Light Review; TMC AquaBar

In Conclusion; early results shows this to be clearly the best of the economy LED lights, however for me, I would prefer to spend the 25% more to get the shimmer, more accurate PUR, and longer warranty of the GroBeam LED.
But for those who need to watch every penny, this is probably the next best freshwater LED with $30 -$35 savings per strip over the GroBeam.

Further reading, references:
# Cyanobacteria; Blue Green/Red Slime Algae in Aquariums & Ponds
# PUR vs PAR in Aquarium Lighting (LED); Spectrographs
# Purchase Aquarium LED Lighting; What to Know
#PUR or RQE, YouTube Video Fail- Guide to lighting a planted tank

Aquarium Silicone Review

Aquarium Safe SiliconesIn this post, I thought I would tackle a different subject than I have of late, as most of my posts have been dealing with the plethora of lighting questions my clients have had, especially pertaining to LED light use.

This time I will talk briefly about aquarium silicone, as a client recently asked me about which one to purchase and she told me that she was rather confused when searching on Google.
So I searched Google for “Aquarium Silicone” and was not impressed with what they served up, which seems to be the case with most Google searches that are more a search for Amazon, eHow and other often poor quality information websites.

Anyway, enough of the commentary about Google.
As many websites do get correct, that you need to use 100% PURE silicone Sealant, NOT a silicone with mold inhibitors or similar.
What most of these websites do NOT get correct is that you also should use one that is certified pure for use around containers used for human consumption.

Why is this important??
For one, your food is often only briefly exposed to this silicone, YET your fish are constantly in water that is in contact with the silicone.
Why would you expose your prize fish friends to a silicone that cannot even meet the USDA, Agricultre Canada, and FDA regulations?

The answer is obvious and the only ones that state this is Dow Corning (sold as Aqueon in the Aquarium Hobby) and the American Aquarium Products Brand (which is my preference based on quality AND Price).
I have not found these at Home Depot and other sources, not to say these do not exist, but I would not risk the purchase of your silicone at a home improvement store, even though it might say 100% silicone, these silicone may have additives if you do not look closely and even more likely is these will not be approved for use around human food preparation.

Once you have obtained the correct silicone you need to removed all old silicone and dry the surface thoroughly, and make sure no oils are present before re-applying new silicone.

Applying Aquarium SiliconeWhen you apply the silicone using as caulking gun, I recommend a .5cm (or smaller) bead in the inside edges. Then use your index finger to smooth all inside edge beads into a smooth surface, quickly wiping away excess silicone.

Tighten all outside corners with strong reinforced duct tape. For tanks over 75 gallons I recommend wooden clamps.

Allow 24 hours to dry for minor repairs and 48 hours to dry for major repairs, such as an entire seam top to bottom or the entire tank.

Should you need to replace a glass pane, or for a DIY aquarium build refer to the picture below for correct glass thickness:
Aquarium Glass Thickness Graph

Also while many aquariums are now built with tempered glass to save on costs, this is NOT you best choice, as Float Glass is the better choice since it is more flexible and less brittle than tempered glass.

The website below has excellent information about the use of aquarium silicone, proper application and resource links for purchase CORRECT Silicones for aquariums too.
As well I should note that I have used some of the content including pictures with permission from this website:

Aquarium Silicone, Tank Repair, Applications, DIY, How To Use