TMC AquaRay Flexi LED light review


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Seeing a lot of media coverage about LED lighting? Worried that you're being left behind with ageing T8 bulbs and tired illumination? Concerned about the costs of taking the LED plunge? Here's the chance to find out what the fuss is all about, says Nathan Hill.

The Aqua Blue strip isn’t going to revolutionise what we know about lighting, but it’s got a role. The model I have is blue, and blue alone, and as a standalone light is pretty redundant.

However, this light isn’t designed to be something that runs all on its own. It’s designed as a supplement to other lighting, and here is where it really comes into its own.

At a total consumption of three watts this isn’t going to cripple you with energy bills, but then it’s not going to burn people’s shadows into the wall either. Running it gives a really pleasing soft light and, combined with fluorescents, it gives the first tease of the rippling effect that LEDers often rave about.

To see it at its best, you need to turn off the main tank lights and have it running as a night-time, moonlight affair. The familiar layout of your aquarium takes on a mellow, haunting tone and you enter a world of relaxation as you peer into the almost electric glow.

The major strength of the light is ease of use. There are no rails or braces to rig up, no wires to hang from ceilings, and no cumbersome end caps. The light comes in strip form, 45cm/18” long, and is as flexible along one axis as a piece of stiff string.

'Go anywhere'
How does it attach? Well, it has a self-adhesive backing, just like a  strip of plaster. This makes it the 'go anywhere' light that can be rigged up inside hoods or strategically placed behind tank trim, or even inside the kitchen sink, if you so wished.

I’ve seen these put to excellent use in Fluval Edge aquaria, where they’re placed inside the lid for the most remarkable effect, but nano owners in general are being resourceful and putting them to all sorts of uses.

On the downside, it does mean that once in position it’s there for life, although as a tweak why not consider buying some Velcro-style strips and making your own adhesive mounting? That way you can use it over and over in a variety of tanks.

The light itself is waterproof, although the power supply is not, therefore you’ll want to stick a drip loop somewhere along the power supply, as with other aquatic electricals.

Being LED format, lifespan should be tens of thousands of hours, but at worst the unit comes with a two-year warranty.

This is a product that doesn’t claim to be anything it’s not. It’s an attractive light that helps to bring out the colours of corals and other inverts nicely, creates a superb mood effect in your tank, and doesn’t break the bank in the process.

...And it stands to reason that the first thing you need to do when taking it out of the box is plug it in and spend several minutes doing 'Tron' impressions. That much is obligatory…

Price: RRP £29.99

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