Lighting help - 450 Cube

Champ1981

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Moving over from salt to fresh. Been running a reef tank for 5 years, but a house move meant selling up and restarting. I've a new tank ready to start the project, a 450 cube.

Reading many articles and reviews, I'm unsure which way to go regarding the light. I don't want to be restricted in anyway in terms of what I can plant, so ideally I want a light capable of dealing with all plants, ideally controllable so I can slowly ramp up my schedule. I will add co2 from the off. Budget can probably stretch to £250.

Any advice and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I think I would prefer a strip type LED across the full width of the tank, but should a pendent style be more appropriate then of course that is the route I would take.

edit:
Short list drawn up so far today:
Twinstar 450SA
Kessil A160
ADA Aquasky 451
AI Prime 16HD Freshwater (like the control features)

Thanks in advance
 
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Atters

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Welcome aboard having joined this smashing community.

Although I have been a member for several years, I have simply used it as a learning resource. now is the correct time for me to give something back. I worked as an architectural lighting salesman for 30 odd years. Ending in a marked that had been revolutionised by LED's,

I was in the market some 5 years back to purchase and stayed with fluorescent over LED because colour rendering (full spectrum) was still an issue. But back 10 years ago it was already very obvious that LED was the future. Good news, your budget is ample to work with in fact your in play at the top end. But so should everyone be, as the lighting is a huge influence on how you and others perceive your aquascape.

There are two ways to go, with an intense point source which interacts and dances with surface movement causing a shimmering effect. This I think personally is at home with reef keeping, so I suspect you have already had more exposure than I.

The other style which I think your after is as follows.

But first, what do aquatic plants and humans require from a light fixture. Plants first, think as the amount we give them as an accelerator in growth terms. To little can lead to nutrient deficiency, stunted growth and bolting. Find the sweet spot and your plants will reward you with lush vibrant growth. Over accelerate and you will be punished, So it is critical to have controllability over your lighting output. But with a simple electronic 8 setting controller giving you everything thing you need, for circa £20, job done. They don't care about colour rendering or even which part of the visible spectrum it's from. It could be orange with purple spots.

From our perspective we want to provide sufficient light to promote healthy growth, in combination with good practice with nutrient supply, CO2 prevision or not, along with a good maintenance routine. A quality LED allows this with room to spare. Colour rendition is however is critical, we want to see as close a replication as possible to natural light (the sun) Don't get to hung up on colour temperature, I should touch on efficacy (efficiency) it already knocks spots off alternative sources with further gains still to be made. Finally suspending a rectangular light source over a 450mm cube will allow you to achieve good uniformity

My personal recommendation from experience is the Twinstar S Line.
https://twinstareu.com/s-line/

You can see them in action on this video where they are used on many setups.

Don't push to hard on that accelerator, mine above a current "Low Tech" really makes all colours pop and is suspended 30cm above water level. Produces a great effect with no algae in sight is programmed at a maximum output of 20%. i am in the process of turning the tank into a "High Tech" set up I shall start at 40% and gradually increase from there.

Lighting is very subjective and there is not such a thing as a British Standard eye, but you wont be far away with a Twinstar S-Line.

All the best and I look forward to seeing some pics.
 

alto

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Short list drawn up so far today:
Twinstar 450SA
Kessil A160
ADA Aquasky 451
AI Prime 16HD Freshwater (like the control features)
Any of these lights will grow anything you might want in a 45cm cube :)

Look at Filipe Oliveira YouTube channel for aquariums using AI lighting, including the newest and previous generations

Riverwood Aquatics has a rather nice slow tank with KessilA80 (newer reflector tech) and a larger tank with KessilA160
Unfortunately Kessil doesn’t offer much support of their FW line, so you won’t find manufacturer supported display tanks for their A360X “new improved spectrum”
(and there’s something odd with the red LED controls in their software as well, though I can’t recall the details - it’s mentioned here somewhere)
 

alto

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My personal opinion (worth the paper it’s written upon ;))

I love the shimmer lines of the Kessils - the tank looks so alive with enhanced depth perception
(can’t recall how well the AI Prime did this - local shop had a planted display tank with an older generation model where I disliked the spectrum)

TwinstarS - choose this if you want reds to pop (and don’t mind that the greens will have a yellow tint) ... except I don’t even like the reds under this lighting as they appear somewhat odd toned & the fish colors are too red biased (obviously most people love this light)

ADA Aquasky 451 - I have older generation and the new “G series”
I’d rather have the choice of the non-G :rolleyes:
I’ve an ADA Aquasky RGB arriving soon ... at least in theory
(sadly no Black available for several months now, despite initial release seeming to include quite a lot of Black - but ADA site now even mentions that Black is a Limited Edition Color (or some such hindsight wisdomosity)

My favorite light at present - ONF Flat Nano + (I have this on a 30 cm cube)
grows great plants and Red Root Floater is as good as any photos I’ve seen
(there seems to be older and newer generation ONF lights, but no idea if/when they will have a 45cm version)
 

Atters

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Hi,

I have attached a link to a George Farmer video offering a direct comparison between a pair of 3 year old Kessil lights and a year old Twinstar S-Line. I'm sure you will find interesting.


A couple of quick point's, I have just turned my Twinstar S-Line up to 100% output and I saw no sign of yellowing of the green leaves. I'm also happy with the way reds are seen within my set up. The answer to which may lie in the next two points.

There is no such thing as a British Standard eye (I jumped the gun here, I should have said European Norm eye) Our sight differs and our colour perception differs.

A year let alone three is currently a long time in Light Emitting Diode development. With Fixture suppliers regularly switching between Diode generations, in fact it was common to skip a generation and move two. There are still improvements to be made, however the cost of certain developments are becoming prohibitive. Which is now slowing development.

In the video I admit the argument is strong for the Kessil fixtures, further supported by the majority of comments on the page Add to that, Kessils have had three not one years extra development time.

Alto also makes some very good points and seems to be in the Kessil corner. Does this mean I will run out and buy a Kessil, absolutely NOT.

Altos point about visiting a showroom to help in your decision making process is very valid.

Good Luck
 

alto

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Does this mean I will run out and buy a Kessil, absolutely NOT.
If you like Twinstar S Series color renditions , then buying a Kessil would be crazy :lol:

It’s a shame GF didn’t include a comparison of Kessil A360X (as I recall he did have some on hand when they were released in UK) - AquaOwner has an LED ranking page, also video including Kessil A360X

Note the A360X would be far excessive light for a 45cm cube (and at that unit price needs to be more realistic/include wireless technology and app)
 
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Wookii

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FWIW I’ve tested the Kessil A360X at home, and I have a number of lights including the AI Prime, Twinstar S, Fluval Plant and a couple of the Chihiros RGB based lights.

I wouldn’t go near a Kessil light to be honest, if you want a small for factor pendant style light that produces shimmer, the AI Primes are far far better. Their colour rendition is miles better (the A360X is just p#ss yellow), the output is greater, they’re quieter, the software is better, and they are substantially lower profile.

That said none of the lights mentioned can compete, in colour rendition terms, with the RGB based lights. I don’t know if you have any RGB LED based lights currently @alto, but if you don‘t I think you’re going to love that Aquasky RGB when it arrives.

To the OP, if you want shimmer get the AI Prime, but be prepared to turn it down “a lot”. (They’re very powerful). If shimmer isn’t an objective, get one of the RGB LED based lights from Chihiros.
 

alto

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currently @alto, but if you don‘t I think you’re going to love that Aquasky RGB when it arrives.
:eek::eek::eek:
I misread this as I won’t love that Aquasky RGB
:lol:

Glad you joined this discussion I couldn’t recall who had picked up the A360X and then found it terribly disappointing :banghead:
 

Wookii

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:eek::eek::eek:
I misread this as I won’t love that Aquasky RGB
:lol:

:D Probably my poor grammar!

Glad you joined this discussion I couldn’t recall who had picked up the A360X and then found it terribly disappointing :banghead:

Yes, I had massively high hopes for the A360X, that’s why I was so shocked about how poor it was.

I think the main issue was it relies heavily on warm white LED’s which made it so darn yellow. You could turn them off so only the cool white LED’s were left on, but that reduced the output so far it’d barely be usable for a low tech set up.

The Primes have warm and cool white LED’s too, but you can turn the warm white LED’s off completely, and still have far too much output on the cool white LED’s - literally on a 40cm deep tank I have to turn them down to 60%. The individual red, green and blue LED’s on the Prime are also much more powerful than those on the Kessil, and help tweak the colour rendition more easily.

As I say though the combination single diode RGB LED’s used in the ADA and Chihiros lights rule all when it comes to colour rendition. If AI could produce a Prime that used them, it’d probably be the only light I’d consider buying (as I love the shimmer).
 

alto

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The Primes have warm and cool white LED’s too, but you can turn the warm white LED’s off completely, and still have far too much output on the cool white LED’s - literally on a 40cm deep tank I have to turn them down to 60%. The individual red, green and blue LED’s on the Prime are also much more powerful than those on the Kessil, and help tweak the colour rendition more easily.
Yes the new generation Primes receive much better reviews (they really improved the reflectors and drivers and LEDs) ... it’s bizarre that Kessil went such an odd route with the A360X Tuna Sun
 

Champ1981

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Thanks all for the input and links placed in the the responses. I would love to visit a showroom near to me, but I don't seem to be able to find anywhere who stock these lights locally for a viewing (Based in oxford). From what I've understood so far, the Kessil has been rules out. I think its now a decision between the new AI prime and the Twinstar. I originally referenced the S-series of Twinstar, but now see there is also a C and E series. I'm assuming these are just lower powered versions of the S - Series and as such could limit my planting options later down the line.

Wookii you mention the AI being very powerful, but surely that's a good thing as these can always be ramped down? Also, it sounds like the AI app allows fine tuning of the colours to meet my lighting preferences. Coupled with the shimmer effect, I feel like this is a more suitable choice. Are you using the new 16 LED version?

However, the Twinstar has very favorable reviews and feedback all over the place. I don't like the fact an additional dimmer is required and the colours can't be adjusted.

Thanks to all who took the time to help in the discussion.
 

Wookii

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Thanks all for the input and links placed in the the responses. I would love to visit a showroom near to me, but I don't seem to be able to find anywhere who stock these lights locally for a viewing (Based in oxford). From what I've understood so far, the Kessil has been rules out. I think its now a decision between the new AI prime and the Twinstar. I originally referenced the S-series of Twinstar, but now see there is also a C and E series. I'm assuming these are just lower powered versions of the S - Series and as such could limit my planting options later down the line.

You'll get better colour rendition from the Twinstar - they are good lights, but you won't get the shimmer or app control you get with the Prime, so you need to weigh up the different aspects. Personally I'd get one of the Chihiros RGB units (e.g. WRGB II) over the Twinstar, then you get the best colour rendition and app control.

Wookii you mention the AI being very powerful, but surely that's a good thing as these can always be ramped down? Also, it sounds like the AI app allows fine tuning of the colours to meet my lighting preferences. Coupled with the shimmer effect, I feel like this is a more suitable choice. Are you using the new 16 LED version?

The AI Prime is very powerful, and yes that is a good thing as you have plenty of headroom. I just mentioned it, as it came as a bit of a surprise to me for such a small form factor unit, so you just have to be careful you don't 'over illuminate' and end up with algae issues.

However, the Twinstar has very favorable reviews and feedback all over the place. I don't like the fact an additional dimmer is required and the colours can't be adjusted.

Thanks to all who took the time to help in the discussion.

The Twinstars are excellent lights, but you have to bear in mind they are now a little long in the tooth, and newer tech (namely single diode RGB lights) have superseded them. Without wishing to beat the same drum too hard, the Chihiros RGB lights give you complete control via their app.
 

Champ1981

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The Twinstars are excellent lights, but you have to bear in mind they are now a little long in the tooth, and newer tech (namely single diode RGB lights) have superseded them. Without wishing to beat the same drum too hard, the Chihiros RGB lights give you complete control via their app.
Some good recommendation there. Have managed to find some European retailers for the WRGBII45 light in black. Thanks for pointing out the app, may have pushed my in this direction now.
 
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im running Radion on mine as have done similar and turned salt to planted, all dependant it seems on the look you want as there are people on here with stunning results from a cheap and cheerful desk lamp from Ikea for instance, so I think mines massive overkill, but its what I had all ready, so reusing it.
 

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