O, the lights that I have known and the latest to grace my reef tank is the AquaticLife 48 inch HID/T5 fixture.
AquaticLife has put together a lot of nice features for this reef lighting system with two 10K directional (swivel left & right) 150 watt metal halide HID (High Intensity Discharge – 700+ nm) lamp fixtures, two actinic bulbs (your choice of power compact or T5 420/460 nm ) and four directional lunar LED’s all working from one power cord on a built in digital timer system.
My Pros and Cons since owning the system compared to a previous Metal Halide/Power Compact set up.
The biggest plus is having the built in timer that easily controls the HID, actinic and lunar lights with separate settings. Instead of having 3 power cords to plug into 3 different lamp timers, I only have one simple cord.
Being able to skew the angle of the halides makes it possible to highlight my clams that were not sitting directly under the light domes to begin with. I also like adjusting the lunar lights to shed more light toward the front of the tank instead of being blocked by rocks for most of the open areas.
Because of the design, it does not require a fan motor, so not only do I have a lighter system weight wise, I have a quieter system too. Who wouldn’t miss the constant whirling and buzzing of a fan?
The last little detail that really sold me was the mounting legs to position it on the aquarium. While it did offer suspension brackets, most of us probably use the direct mounts and with my last system they took an all metal, heavy duty housing case and set it on top of four toothpicks to hold it on the aquarium edge. Man, I hated those. It made getting into the tank and changing bulbs a dreadful task and one that required two people. With the “sled” style one piece leg mounts of AquaticLife, I can slide my lights back and forth as needed, without help and not worry about it anymore. They are very sturdy and are built to glide.
How long will this timer last and are they easily replaceable !?
Yet to be known but I’ll keep you posted. Initially when I turned this unit on, it was not as bright as I had been used to. For one, the HID bulbs are positioned on their ends instead of being mounted sideways like double ended metal halides bulbs are. It truly has a “spotlight” effect that does spread out further down in the tank but not like the side mounts do.
Secondly, the tank color is a lot “bluer” than before. It’s like having 20K bulbs compared to 10K. I don’t mind a more blue look but I did have to get used to it. My coral on the other hand seem to love it and responded very well to the new spectrums so who cares what I think as long as the corals are happy. The last little con is not being able to swivel the HID casings front to back. That would have been a simple addition and if you are going to make them adjustable left to right, why not the other way too?
All in all, I am ultra happy with my new lighting system. I like the design and function better than anything I’ve used yet. I’m just waiting for the price of LED’s to come down and then I can give my reviews starting from VHO’s all the way through!
Currently we have the 36″ Power Compact model in stock and can order whatever you want, just come see us.