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

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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

 

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


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

Purchasing Aquarium & Pond Equipment via Amazon

Purchasing Aquarium & Pond Equipment via AmazonRevised 3/23/19

Amazon is sometimes NOT an honest place to purchase aquarium equipment from or at the very least a not a good place to purchase aquarium equipment and expect to support those in the hobby/industry dedicated to good research, information, and cutting edge products.
At the very least your purchase via Amazon does NOT support small to medium size businesses and expect them to be there in the future to help you or provide innovation!!

Here are just a few reasons before I go into more detail:

  • Amazon sells equipment from the same manufacturers as more knowledgeable aquarium supply outlets, HOWEVER they often sell stripped down versions that often render the product useless for what it is deigned for.

    Examples include the SunSun Submersible UV Sterilizers that have NOT been adjusted for the CORRECT flow rate for level 1 sterilization. None of these include the important pre-filter to lower turbidity inside the UV, making more efficient UV sterilization.

    Another product is the SunSun Canister filters (303B, 304B, etc.) which are NOT sold by Amazon with the necessary filter media or retrofits of the connecting pieces which prevent a leaking filter later down the road.
    As well the UV lamps often supplied are not HO low pressure UV lamps, rather just 7-14% UVC medium pressure lamps, which are much less costly

    This filter is one I have clearly seen the differences and why it should ONLY be purchased from reputable professional dealers.

    This could be said for many other products sold on Amazon.

    Then of course, there are many high end premium product manufacturers that do not allow their products to be sold on Amazon, so when you shop Amazon, you are not going to find these products. Examples include manufacturers of the best aquarium/pond UV Sterilizers, FSB filters/Reactors, RO filter systems & much more

  • When you get your information from a brick & mortar store, or some of the few top notch aquarium information web sites such as “Aquarium/Pond Answers”, then purchase on Amazon, you not only are hurting small business, but you are stifling the growth of innovation, good service & information.

    Many of the better products for your aquariums come out of small business research since these guys/gals are generally much more involved in the hobby in a hands on and research sort of way.
    Products line such as TMC AquaRay & FSB Filter, AAP Wonder Shells, and Clay Neighbor’s Custom Fish Foods are all good examples of lines of top quality and/or innovative products that would not exist if all your purchases for aquarium products were made via Amazon.

  • Amazon sells products that clearly are not what they are meant for.

    Example here would be the Green Killing Machine. It’s sold as UV Sterilizer when in reality it CANNOT maintain level 1 sterilization and thus is ONLY a UV clarifier.

    Often so called UV Sterilizers are sold with the same model number but are missing critical parts such as the pre-filter sponge resulting in high water turbidity, resulting in low UVC exposure.
    Also many of the Amazon UV Sterilizers are sold with medium pressure UV bulbs instead of of low pressure UV bulbs, which cost considerably less, but also have only a fraction of the UVC output for true level one sterilization.
    Frankly only a fool would purchase a UV Sterilizer via Amazon, as odds such a person would likely get a UV clarifier at best and often it is a piece of equipment with a short lifespan too!

    References:
    UV Sterilizer Use, Sterilization Basics
    Actual UV-C Emission from a UV Bulb; Aquarium or Pond

  • Amazon will use whatever listing is first made to represent all future sales of a given product.

    This means, no matter how inaccurate, misleading, or simply lacking proper information to better educate the future buyer, the information WILL NOT BE CHANGED!

    A good example is the Wonder Shell made by Weco. The information published by the manufacturer is incorrect as per use resulting in those following this information using this product incorrectly and/or for the wrong reason (such as for alkalinity)

  • Most manufacturers of “high end” aquarium LED fixtures will not even sell on Amazon!
    YET, by reading reviews of low end LED fixtures sold on Amazon such as the Fluval LED and Current Satellite one might think these were great lights, which even remedial investigation shows these lights are NOT as their PUR is poor at best.

    The problem is since there is no comparison to LEDs that reflect optimum known science in aquarium lighting as well as the anecdotal natural of most Amazon reviews, one cannot get a real scientific assessment of what is best to get if in the market for LED aquarium lights.

    Here area couple of sources that better explain why the two lights I referenced are not at all a quality build, from daisy chaining of emitters to poor PUR and more:
    Current Satellite LED Review
    Fluval LED Review

  • Amazon provides poor product support for correct directions. Since Amazon relies on community driven reviews and no true knowledge of the product. Often products are sold with customers purchasing the wrong unit for their aquarium.
  • Amazon uses unfair trade practices including not paying the hidden fees that all small business pay when shipping including paying carbon taxes.

    In fact as of 2017 via a UPS representative of a friend who ships via his small business, UPS has greatly increased dimensional weight (often doubling some larger box costs to small to medium shippers).
    What has this to do with Amazon?
    The facts are Amazon has set agreements with the only two shippers of note [FedEx/UPS] where they pay a flat fee so that Amazon can ship as efficiently as possible utilizing often over sized boxes filled with air pillows and not pay any extra for dimensions, etc.

    This has resulted in losses for UPS/FedEx which have recently decided to pass this on to their small to medium shippers.
    The result is every time one of these shippers ship a box of much dimension at all they are subsidizing Amazon so that Amazon can provide low or free shipping.

    I ask any person with integrity; HOW IS THIS FAIR??

    So any time you purchase ANYTHING via Amazon, some other non related business is subsidizing your purchase.
    If this does not bother you at all, well I guess you have no morals whatsoever!!!

  • As well Amazon allegedly violates monopoly laws and the DMCA laws in use of copyrighted material. Amazon also uses Black Hat SEO methods to further push out small business.
    Reference: Amazon & Google in Bed, Black Hat SEO; Search & Adwords Dishonesty

  • In the end, regardless of price, everything you purchase from Amazon something you could have purchased from a professional seller, you are further eroding innovation, true knowledgeable customer service, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, you are insuring that on products that can compete in a discount environment will all that will be left such as junk sponge filters instead of 4-5 times the bio load Sponge Filters such as the AAP Hydro Sponge.
    As per the Hydro Sponge Filter, these are NOT authorized for sale on Amazon and as from feedback from others in the industry, most of these sold via Amazon are clearance and sometimes missing parts. As well most models such as the excellent professionally recommended Hydro Sponge Combos are not available at all via Amazon.

    Casualties already include Aquatronics, the leading innovator of aquarium and pond fish treatments that to this date no company has come close to this companies products leaving many holes in good fish treatment products.
    THINK ABOUT THIS NEXT TIME YOU ATTEMPT TO SAVE A FEW BUCKS BY PURCHASING FROM AMAZON!!

While the title of this article is about why one should not use Amazon for their aquarium/pond supplies.
Even worse though, is to not use their community generated reviews which are horribly inaccurate.
The reviews are often based on a one time use of the product, often incorrectly based on lack of time, lack of controlled testing, or incomplete parts. As well science such as PUR in lighting is never even mentioned.
My observation is based on continued use, often in controlled comparisons, correct installation, and suggestions from other professionals in the aquarium keeping field.

I should note that the reason for this post came from an email thread that was forwarded to me by another pro in this industry.

This began when a ‘friend of a friend’ and I were astounded at the person who sent the emails. They had lack of logical thinking or integrity in his thinly veiled compliments that were in reality attacks on the person receiving the email.

I was so taken a back by this email thread that I quickly asked for and received permission to comment publicly on this email thread.

Frankly after reading the entire thread a couple of times I wanted to vomit as to the senders total bully BS and more.

The person writing; James W, starts off with disguised compliments, then questions the review of the AquaClear by author who wrote in the thread, with words such as “perplexing”. He based his opinions on his use of ONE Aqua Clear.

Since I know of the author and I too have used dozens of these filters as well, I can vouch that this filter does have a higher than average problem with the impeller. Which James was perplexed why the authors noted there of its higher than normal failure rate. The author who brought this to my attention was making additional suggestion, which James also didn’t like.

He started to make other complaints, but was confused based on Amazon reviews.

The author was clear with the information he used to back up his claim, but James never did look at the references provided.

This is just one case where reviews from Amazon got the best of people.

Another issue with Amazon user reviews
As a user and wholesale purchaser of the Rena Smart Filter, I can also state categorically that the reviews over at Amazon are totally off base, but then Amazon irresponsibly sells these filters without the proper knowledge and parts that is required.

See also my comments about TaoTronics Aquarium LEDs, often purchased at Amazon due to less than accurate information and reviews at Amazon:
TaoTronics LED Light Reviews

The email sender goes on about the costs of purchase. Well, since I and a number of other persons know the costs not only to the retailer, but to the wholesalers such as Central Pet. The facts are that Amazon is selling below cost and more importantly below MAP pricing (manufacturer agreed pricing), which tells you a little about Amazon’s honesty.

Then, reading how the Amazon CEO treats his employees provides, anyone with any morals, can even more have a snap-shot of why this is not the company to purchase your aquarium/pond supplies from.

More importantly, which went right over Jame’s head is, Amazon is 100% community driven, with no expertise at all in what they sell.

I know from the numbers that many high end retailers could cut their staff by 75% and still sell, but then not provide any of the free information and intense product support that they do.

This is why sellers such as Tropic Marine Centre prohibits their retailers from selling through Amazon. No real support.

This James fellow (email sender) has the audacity to get offended by the email recipient for calling him out for his many purchases of products such as SeaChem Matrix based on his free advice through Amazon rather returning the favor via his website.

The sender also seems to think the recipient is too stupid to figure out if he spends his valuable time answering questions he already addresses in his articles that he will then finally purchase a filter he claims is already sold at too high a price via the high end aquarium supply retailer.

REALLY??? Everyone I have already spoken with who have read this email thread were quite taken aback by this guys at first disguised and then blatant rudeness and moral cluelessness.

The FACTS ARE Amazon does not sell this product (Rena Smart Filter) with the correct equipment to work properly, so how can you expect an accurate review.
Yet, James seems to think he is entitled to very thorough personal explanation on filters, so he can likely then go back to Amazon and purchase!!!!
This guy is a real piece of work!!

As the email recipient correctly pointed out, if everyone behaved as this guy does, their will be no accurate, science based information in the future. In the end, every thing will be community driven with no real knowledge.

The analogy used in the forum thread was analogous to reading all your medical information at Amazon or Yahoo Answers and then purchasing at Amazon for your medical needs (including your surgeons/doctors).

God forbid if this bully/clueless individual every had cancer in such a world where Amazon & their terrible community reviews is where he would have to get his cancer treatment.

Unfortunately though, with people thinking and purchasing as this person does, this is the world we are coming too.

The email senders final comment: “So, it is ok for you to be condescending, but when someone takes offense you don’t like it. And still a refusal to answer questions directly I truly wished I’d never wasted my time. Another keyboard tough guy” is really out of line.

First the email recipient was never condescending, and second his article clearly answered his questions, which he was vague on up until the second to last email.

As for a “keyboard tough guy”;
REALLY???

So it is OK for him to take from the email recipients basket of eggs for his family, but not OK for the recipient to defend his time and expertise? Wow, frankly what a selfish jerk!!!!

BTW, here is a quote from the recipients web page (Aquarium Filtration Information) about the product which clearly answers the email senders questions, he just felt even though he never made a purchase that he was somehow entitled to and expanded response and that the email recipients time was not valuable:

QUOTE: “What is sad, is the uninformed anecdotal reviews (such as at Amazon) that permeate the Internet condemning this filter for what is actually a positive. As noted earlier this filter is so efficient, that it can clog easily; this is NOT a flaw, rather users simply should be aware of this and maintain this filter accordingly and add a pre-filter as recommended by aquarium professionals!

It is noteworthy that there is NO PROBLEM with the leveling feet, rather it is the lack of use of a pre-filter as previously noted that can cause this filter to leak out the back due to clogging.

Unfortunately Amazon has “no skin in the game”, provides no service or scientific knowledge to the products they sell and most importantly since they have no knowledge of how the Rena Smart Filter should be properly set up, do NOT sell this product with the correct pre-filter. Resulting in the irresponsible and incorrect reviews.

Reading reviews on Amazon and then purchasing many aquarium products there is akin to doing the same for your medical needs!”

Please note, my friend who forwarded this email has asked me not to link to the email recipients web page or name.

The bottom line is:
One;
you should not be purchasing from Amazon or any of the disguised aquarium/pond supply retailers such as My Fish Place, Pet Mountain, etc.

Two; you cannot believe the reviews from said places such as Amazon where by the filters were not sold with the complete products to even set up correctly (also in part why the lower price).
This is analogous to purchasing a Ford without a transmission and then stating their cars/trucks do not work correctly. Unfortunately many Amazon Aquarium products reviews do JUST THIS such as with the Smart Filter!

Recommended Reading:

*Fish Beginner
*For information about a company that truly supports the aquarium hobby;
Tropic Marine Centre
*Another company that supports the aquarium industry and monitors their MAP pricing to places such as Amazon:
ATI Sponge and Pre-Filters
*An interesting blog about alleged dishonest Amazon business practices, I found this an EXCELLENT MUST READ!!
Ford Offers Amazon Gift Card

AquaBeam Ultima 1500 NP; Review Correction

AquaBeam, AquaRay Ocean Blue NP Ultima 1500Revised 7/29/14

While I generally find “Reef Builders” aquarium lighting reviews educational or at least somewhat helpful, they unfortunately really blew it with this one, Although after reading their curiously inaccurate “LED showdown“, I should not be surprised either;

http://reefbuilders.com/2013/01/23/aquabeam-ultima-1500-np-strikes-modern-ratio-blues-whites/

The author seems to show certain biases that get in the way of the truths about this product, which I personally have found to be the BEST LED fixture I have used to date.

However before I come off and seem to attack the author, which would be wrong, let me address the points he makes and the errors there in.

Quote:
“The Ultima 1500 NP LED tile includes Cree’s latest and greatest XT-E chips with 6 diodes spread across four cool white (which TMC calls ‘Ocean White’) and two royal blue (which TMC calls ‘Fiji Blue’) But perhaps the most notable addition to the AquaBeam Ultima 1500 NP is the use of the very well received Osram Oslon Deep Blue LEDs which TMC also has a made-up name for – “Nature Perfect”.”

CORRECTIONS:

*First TMC has patent rights with Cree and whether or not TMC added this name of “Ocean White”, I cannot say, but what I do know is this is NOT a cool white emitter. In fact it is not from the same emitter bins since TMC has patent rights to specific tweaks if you will with emitter bins such as the XT-E used here.
This is nothing new, as companies that hold patents have done this for eons.

*He is also incorrect as per the Royal Blue, as TMC has been using a Royal Blue emitter for a few years, while the Fiji Blue is different with a lower nanometer range and lower peak nanometer of 450nm, unlike the royal blue at 465.
This is well published, so I am not sure how he can make such a statement

*Finally, the “Nature Perfect” Osram Oslon emitter is the name simply given by this new specifically reef developed emitter.
It is NOT even a deep blue emitter rather a full spectrum blue developed specifically for reef aquariums.

Here is the spectrum, DOES THIS LOOK LIKE A DEEP BLUE TO YOU??
Osram Olson PUR Full Spectrogram, not deep blue

SUMMARY

Hopefully reef keepers looking for one of the best LEDs on the market, especially when price is considered will look at the facts first, as this clearly is one of the best, if not THE best LED fixtures available as of 2013.

Tragically, when it comes to Aquarium LED Lighting, much of what is passed around as facts nowadays is anything but.
As well many companies such as Reef Central are sponsored (bribed if you will), yet will attack me or others on a personal level when facts are presented stating my recommendations do not count as I or others might have a bias, which the obvious response is YES!

However, these others who actually promote inferior LEDs at least when it comes to energy consumed per PUR light output such as the EcoTech clearly have a bias, and one based on promoting their sponsors.

So in the end, whether you take my word or others in my profession whose careers and livelyhood is based on using what truly works or not, I certainly can understand “why not” with all the confusion and often conflicting information.
WHAT READERS SHOULD DO, is actually look at the facts, as I presented here and in many other posts, not the hype, not PAR readings when PUR is more important.

The answers do not take a rocket scientist to decipher, so if you open your mind and look past the many reef forums and websites that do not use known science to prove their points, rather often attack others who provide facts with comments such as “they are not credible as they use or sell this product”, you will find that the answers for the best LEDs to use is actually quite easy.

Here is a website demonstrating the Ocean Blue 1500 and even newer Reef White 2000 LED in a reef aquarium with many corals:
Howard’s Reef; New light over the Shallow Reef

Reef Aquarium with Aquaray Aquabeam NP 1500 & 2000

Also please reference these excellent articles, including the first that deals with the subject of PUR versus PAR and how so many persons are often stuck on their LEDs with green emitters and other energy wasters that often require higher energy wattage to do the job of lighting a reef tank:

*PUR vs PAR in Aquarium Lighting
*TMC Ocean Blue NP Ultima Reef LED Light
*Aquarium LED Lights & Lighting

Aquarium LED Lights, Controllers, PWM; What is Best

Reef Aquarium with best LED lightI will look at three important facts of LED Aquarium Lighting:
(1)Pulse Width Modulation versus Current Reduction
(2)RGB Features
(3)Emitter Technology, Cool White Emitter Use and More

Revised 12/14/16

OVERVIEW

———-

Important update (1-14-15) about EcoTech lack of disclosure about spectrum control over their LED fixtures. See end of article

Rather than review actual equipment, I am going to look at the science behind what goes into Aquarium LED Lighting, in particular for reef or high light planted freshwater aquariums.

To be blunt, my reason is simple, it’s to hopefully stem the tide of misinformation that many forums in particular seem to be spreading, whereby otherwise intelligent people will recommend clearly inferior light despite facts of known science.

Then, rather than discuss the facts, many will resort to “Straw Man” personal attacks on persons counting myself arguing that I or others are biased.
To this argument, the simple answer back is, “OF COURSE I’M BIASED”!! If both the science and results say something is better, why would I use the inferior equipment in my clients aquariums?
The one forum that really stands out is “Reef Central” where a comment I read elsewhere on the internet backs up my own observations and that is, if you disagree with EcoTech LEDs, this will bring out the “ban hammer” for RC faster than you can turn your head!

Now to the facts!!

Pulse Width Modulation versus Current Reduction:

There are two major approaches to dimming/controlling LEDs: PWM and Current Reduction [aka linear or analog, reduction of electrical current over distance].

PWM dimming greatly reduces color spectrum changes in the LED with varying brightness levels or ramping up or down.
Since the LED utilizing PWM essentially runs at a constant current when it’s on and at no current when it is off. However, PWM comes at the additional expense/cost to create the PWM waveforms.

While LEDs are complex semiconductors that convert an electrical current into light, one of the advantages are that LED emitters can be modulated (turned off and on) at high speeds without degradation, which thus favors PWM.
Reference: Light-emitting Diode (LED)

One potential negative of PWM is some switching “noise” can be produced, but this is easily filtered with an inductor and a capacitor, the result is any noise is very minimal and normally drowned out by water of the aquarium.
More importantly, this very minor potential negative is often exploited by less than honest internet articles or especially forums as a way to distract from the facts that the use of linear or analog dimming employed by the vast majority of aquarium fixtures is vastly inferior, wasting a considerably amount of PUR spectrum and light energy as heat!!!!
Any almost inaudible noise from LEDs controlled via PWM is going to pale in comparison to the fan noise due to the heat LEDs create by using “reduction of current” dimming, which produces more excess heat!

In depth reading about this subject for naysayers (this means you Reef Central & Other Forums!):
How to Dim an LED Without Compromising Light Quality

“Current Reduction” or aka “reduction of current” or “analog” dimming can use a simpler and thus less expensive circuit, but the variable current supplied to the LED means that the regulator supplying the current to the LED must absorb any power not supplied to the LED.
This additional power arises from the difference between the raw supply voltage powering the LED/regulator subsystem and the voltage across the LED. This results in wasted heat energy that then often requires cooling fans.
This wasted heat equals wasted energy and is why ANY LED driven by “Current Reduction” WILL REQUIRE a higher wattage of energy input to provide equal PUR output, thus partly defeating the purpose of purchasing an LED to save energy.
As well many have reported break downs or even fires with these cooling fans.

JUST AS IMPORTANTLY, “current reduction” (analog) dimming may be inappropriate for applications such as aquarium reef or planted aquariums that require a constant color temperature. An LED emitters color WILL change depending on the current driven through the device.

Notwithstanding, many of the most popular aquarium reef LED lights utilize Current Reduction; this includes the Current Satellite LED, EcoTech Radion, Aqua Illumination, TaoTronics, Ocean Revive, among others.

Also notwithstanding, some controllers utilize modified PWM similar to how some A/C to D/C Inverters use modified sine wave conversion versus true since wave conversion.
The Current Controller is one such example (the price often tells the story here).

Further Reading:
Aquarium LED Reviews; EcoTech
Review of Ocean Revive & Evergrow LED Lights for Reef Aquariums

OK, ready readers for my bias?
The aquarium LED light that utilizes PWM is the AAP/TMC AquaRay, which has enjoyed considerable popularity in Europe and in fact has been around longer than many of the popular LEDs, but thanks to excellent marketing by EcoTech, Evergrow, Ocean Revive, and others, as well as a public fed by this marketing and forum posts that refuses to read any science based information, it is not as well known in North America.

Currently, the STILL industry leading AquaRay is the ONLY aquarium LED on the market to fully utilize PWM, with the only other opinion being DIY. NONE OF THE POPULAR BRANDS DO!
This is part of the reason the AquaRay LEDs do NOT need fans that break down regularly for heat control!

This is not to say that these before mentioned LEDs cannot keep a reef aquarium, as to say so would immediately disqualify anything I have stated since many advanced aquarium keepers have done quite well with these other fixtures, I am only stating that these are not maybe the best and that anyone looking into a new reef aquarium LED fixture needs to do more homework than just reading forum posts.

See the graph below for a better visual understanding:

PWM versus Current Reduction in Aquarium LED Lights, Lighting

Please also reference:
*Aquarium Lights, Lighting Information
*Aquarium Lights, Which are best?
And my post dealing with the wide difference in LED warranties and how manufacturers handle these:
*Aquarium LED Warranties; Reef or Planted

RGB Features versus PUR:

This is another popular feature, that is nice from the human prospective, but has no bearing on reef marine aquarium life or planted freshwater aquariums.

Controlling your Red, Green, Blue emitters and thus the term RGB has no bearing on exacting nanometer spikes essential to light sensitive aquatic life.

The misinformation here arises from the over use of PAR meters which will NOT tell the difference in an aquarium LED light using RGB features and one utilizing more exacting LED emitters.
What is important is PUR (aka Photosynthetically Useful Radiation, Useful light), not as much PAR.
This of course can vary from plant to plant and coral to coral, depending upon the natural strata of water these aquatic life forms are found in.

The Finnex Ray 2 is a popular LED in some planted aquarium forums, but again by using cheap Chinese made Epistar emitters in large quantities, it achieves excellent PAR readings, but totally misses the boat when it comes to the all important PUR.
Why else do you only see PAR noted for these LEDs and not PUR?

If you are actually still considering a Finnex LED, you need to read this article that compares LED warranties; if this does not convince you as a reader that this is a LED that no one should purchase, I have some beach front property to sell you on the Arctic Coast of Alaska:
Aquarium LED Warranties, Including Finnex

Further References:
*LED Aquarium Lights, Lighting; RGB
*PUR Versus PAR in Aquarium Lighting THIS IS A MUST READ WEB ARTICLE!!!

Emitter Technology, Warm White, Cool White Emitter Use and More:

This is one of the more comical aspects of many who promote inferior LED Lights, and that is the use of Cool White and Warm White LED emitters.
This includes the EcoTech LED’s use of Cool White emitters and the Maxspect Mazarra LED’s use of Warm White emitters.

As I have read elsewhere, these same persons recommending these two LED before mentioned LED fixtures would NEVER recommend a T5, T8, CFL or any other aquarium light that is either “warm white or “cool white”, YET SOMEHOW THESE LEDS GET A PASS ON THIS POOR LOGIC???

While these before mentioned LEDs along with many others such as the TaoTronics have certainly proved themselves in aquarium lighting, they are doing it an expense of the best emitters, the best controllers/drivers, and gimmicky features that only lower light quality.
All at a higher electrical cost for results these LEDs do achieve as well as a lifespan as much as 1/4 of the better builds.

Many will attempt to use a PAR meter to prove their LED quality, but again this can be very misleading when one looks at the facts.
Please Again Reference:
*http://www.aquarium-pond-answers.com/2012/03/pur-vs-par-in-aquarium-lighting.html

The result is extra heat and a requirement for more electricity used for the same results.

THE FACTS ARE, an EcoTech Radion at 140 watts is going to product less usable light energy (PUR) Per Watt than a 30 Watt AquaRay Ocean Blue NP 1500

To say your EcoTech Radion at 140 watts produced better results is an apples to oranges comparison. When PER WATT, the numbers says otherwise.

In the end, the facts are inarguable, despite what many might say in forums that often result in attacking the authors of articles such as this or making up silly & inaccurate statements about noise from fixtures employing PWM such as one I read on Reef Central, then further resulting in others copy and pasting this BS all over the internet!!!!

Important Update

A another professional in the field sent me an interesting email about his interaction (or lack of) with EcoTech customer support and control over the spectrum (PWM) for their LEDs. This professional understands the importance of PWM and wanted to understand EcoTech “control”, because of his interest in obtaining new LEDs. The professional emailed EcoTech, and simply asked them how they control their spectrum of the LEDs. See the screen shot of the email sent to EcoTech:

EcoTech, AquaRay, LEDs, Controller, Spectrum, PWM, Shift in spectrum, customer support, opinion

Wanting to know how EcoTech controls spectrum of their LEDs.

So, from what I have gathered, this professional emailed EcoTech and from my understanding, STILL has not received a response back back to answer the question. First, WHERE IS ECOTECH SUPPORT? Moreover, WHY ARE THEY NOT ANSWERING THE QUESTION? AT LEAST MAKE SOMETHING GOOD UP ECOTECH! Anyone reading this article can take a guess. CAUSE THEY DON’T CONTROL SPECTRUM SHIFT IN THEIR LEDs!
HOW’S A PERSON TANK LIGHTING IS BEING AFFECTED??? No one knows, and that’s the point! People put so much effort into their reef tanks, why not provided them with the best, or is colored emitters and user gimmicks your game?

People can be getting far more USEFUL light energy with their aquarium LED lighting! Since this article is so popular already, I’m hoping people get the memo and EcoTech gets the hint. CONTROL YOUR SPECTRUM PEOPLE! Your reef and plants deserves it.

OTHER REFERENCES:

*http://fab.cba.mit.edu/classes/MIT/961.04/topics/pwm.pdf

*http://www.digikey.com/us/en/techzone/lighting/resources/articles/how-to-dim-an-led.html

*Wikipedia; Pulse-width modulation