Nathan Hill checks out Aqua One's programmable LED lighting unit.
Aqua One has often done things its own way, taking different approaches to filtration and tank design.
The Radiance marks an entry into LED lighting and the 90 is a smart unit that throws out an impressive welt of high PAR 11,000K, mixed with a short wavelength 465nm blue.
Interestingly, Aqua One has opted for strip lights laced with numerous diodes, rather than a 'rigid' fixture many competitors favour. This means that instead of having just a few high output LEDs running close to one watt each, there’s 576 each pumping out 0.22w.
The lifespan of this unit could be quite lengthy, given the way the energy demand is spread so finely.
The usual 50,000 hours of running time is claimed, but if LEDs break or eventually degrade, an entire tube can be replaced — giving this kit longevity over many others on the market.
Going for sheer numbers over lensing means the spread of light is consistent and acceptable PAR readings at surface gently trail off to lower figures at depth, with no 'dead spots' between diodes.
This unit is programmable in many ways. A sunrise and sunset mode can be employed and, with six automatic changes possible over a 24-hour period, the light can follow a natural daily cycle.
A moonlight feature enables any aquarist to have a day/night routine. Realistic cloud cover can also be simulated.
Manually, both white and blue lighting can be programmed at between one and 100% illumination in 1% increments.
The unit comes with either brackets for direct mounting to the aquarium, or with cables, but it has no ceiling mounting kit.
The presence of two fans assures that the unit will run cool, increasing lifespan and efficiency, and both are quiet enough.
On the downside, take particular care when maintaining the aquarium as any hole in the canopy is a potential ingress point for water.
The unit is up against stiff competition and I’m wary of the £1,200+ price tag. Given the 130w of energy consumption, the gain over three 39w T5 lights would need to be considerable to justify this price — or indeed over three four Arcadia AquaLED or TMC units.
Admittedly it has the programmability and the 'all in oneness' over these other options, but my reservations remain.
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