With all the great choices available for marine LED aquarium lighting, you may have a hard time choosing the right lighting system for you. The following is a side-by-side comparison of two aquarium LED systems.
Basic principles of Hydra LEDs from AquaIllumination
AquaIllumination (AI) Hydra LED Aquarium Lighting System takes advantage of 80 degree lenses for uniform color and light presentation. You can opt for a 50 degree lens if your tank requires more penetration. The Hydra includes two Edison Opto 400nm UV LEDs, two OSRAM OSRON Deep Red bulbs, four Cree XT-E Cool White bulbs, two Cree XP-E Green bulbs, four Cree XP-E royal blue bulbs, and two SemiLED bulbs. 415 nm Violet and four OSRAM OSLON bulbs Very Deep Blue. The total combination pushes the spectrum towards the blue side, which works very well for cold-light spectrum corals, such as Lobophyllia and Chalice corals.
In addition, the AI Hydra lighting system has a proven optical efficiency of 90%. When it is turned on at full power, the Hydra AI requires 95 watts to operate. The AI Hydra is cooled by air by a fan. This lighting system is configured for wireless control, using one of the AI family wireless controllers, sold separately. In fact, you need an AI wireless controller to use the Hydra LED system.
What motivates Ecotech marine radions?
You can buy a Radion Marine Ecotech LED installation in a standard model (the XR30w) or professional, called XR30w Pro. Both use 80-degree lenses for light distribution. The XR30w includes four SemiLED for UV protection, eight Cree XT-E for cool white, four SemiLED for indigo spectrum, six OSLAM Square OSLAM bulbs for deep blue, four OSLON SSL OSRAM for hyper red spectrum, eight Cree XP-E for the blue color and four Cree XP-E Green to provide the green color. The Pro model is distinguished from the XR30w by four additional LED bulbs, including two yellow OSRAM OSLON SSL bulbs and two additional OSRAM OSLON square bulbs for an even darker color.
The XR30w uses 150 watts of power with variable usage, while the larger size of the XR30w Pro brings the wattage to 170 watts with varying use. Both models come with a waterproof fan that helps dissipate the heat generated by the LEDs. To control lighting, both types of radions make use of the Ecotech cloud application, called ReefLink, available from EcoSmart Live. This application gives you total control over your lighting and any other Ecotech equipment you own, through the use of your laptop, smartphone or tablet.
What to consider if choosing between the two systems
As with all purchases, you should consider your own aquarium and your situation before purchasing the LED configuration best suited to your situation. If price is your main concern, the AI Hydra LED system is at least $ 100 cheaper than any Marine Ecotech radion. In addition, as noted above, the Ecotech Radion lamp series uses more electricity. As a result, the total operating cost of these LEDs is higher than that of an AI Hydra LED system.
Sometimes your biggest concern is how much you can control your lights. With AI Hydra, you have seven control channels, which allow you to create a wide variety of color combinations. You can also program AI Hydra to simulate rainy days and thunderstorms, the movement of the full moon or clouds on your reef, controlled by a sweeping effect on multiple lamps. Ecotech Radion has six control channels, which allows you to present your aquarium with sunrise, sunset, clouds, rainy skies, storm effects and moon phases.
The size and depth of your aquarium can also help you determine the type of LED system you want. AI Hydra works great for shallow aquariums, but light bulbs are not bright enough if you need to brighten your aquarium to a great depth. Ecotech radions are more intense and are therefore ideal for deep aquariums.