Category Archives: Aquarium Maintenance

TMC Ocean Blue NP Ultima Reef LED Light

Last Revised 1/8/2019

The “TMC Ocean Blue NP Ultima” is one of the newer offerings from Tropic Marine Centre of the UK.
See Authorized Product Link: TMC Ocean Blue NP 1500
This is the retailer in North America I recommend to purchase this product from, with the most experience in selling this product, along with the best customer service and free information to back up the product (beware of a parasite retailer selling clearance product out of a home with an official looking name & website)!

This new LED features the newest patented Cree XT-E emitters in the Ocean White, Fiji Blue as well as the incredible Osram Oslon (patent pending) “NP Blue” emitter.

This is a non-lensed LED fixture and therefore even with the deep blue “Fiji Blue” emitters, I would not recommend it for aquarium depth penetration beyond 22 inches of water.

What is incredible about this new LED fixture, and what sets it apart, is that it includes the new NP Blue emitters from Osram Oslon. I should note that Osram Oslon is a lesser known company located in Sunnyvale California, but also has German designers in their location in Regensburg, Germany.

Back to the NP Blue, AKA the “Nature Blue” emitter, it is a very unique blue WITH A FULL SPECTRUM PAR that also includes some red and other colors besides the complete 410-500 nanometer blue range.
The appearance is somewhat of a “sky blue” because of this, the light “Color” may fool some who are not familiar with the science of photosynthetic reef life lighting who only go by what they see.
But more what is important, despite the popularity of many deep blue emitters, this is a very natural PAR/PUR light that is exactly what photosynthetic marine life needs, not what appeals to our senses.

The picture below shows how the four NP Blue emitters actually produce a full spectrum Reef PUR light, not the more blue that may appear to our eyes!!
Aquarium LED Lighting Review, TMC AquaBeam Ocean Blue 1500 NP

I expect, if only for this emitter, that this LED becomes one of the most popular LED fixtures on the market. Even if only among my professional aquarium design and maintenance friends!!

Another aspect of the fixture and the NP Blue emitter that I really like is the fact that one channel has a mix of only NP & Fiji Blues and this make a MUCH more accurate channel to dim for moon lighting effects due to the fact that moon light is not actually blue, and with the NP blues, one can obtain a more accurate moon light spectrum while still maintaining a nice blue light that is more pleasing to us as humans for our moon lighting.

 

Below is a graph showing the wave length output of this new Osram Oslon emitter.
It would be misleading to give a peak wavelength for this product as it is not a narrow bandwidth. This LED has a little phosphor on there to enable it to emit light across the whole visible spectrum. It’s spectrum actually looks like the below (the dotted line is the human eye response curve).
What this means is that the effect of the LED is not only a more natural looking moonlight, but also a more natural overall spectrum.
Osram Oslon NP Blue Wave Length Graph

Here are a few specifics for the “TMC Ocean Light NP Ultima Reef LED Light”:

  • Contains these emitters;
    • 2 x Cree Patented XT-E Fiji Blue
    • 4 x Cree Patented XT-E Ocean White
    • 4 x Osram Oslon NP Blue
  • Beam Angle 120 degrees
  • Overall Color Temperature 20000 K
  • PAR @ 400 mm in Air 142 µEinsteins/sec/m2
  • Total Luminous Flux 1965 lumens
  • Total Power Consumption 30 watts @ 700 mA
  • Efficiency 66 lm/W

Keep in mind that this LED fixture uses the same exact emitters as the TMC Reef White NP 2000, YET has a lower PAR rating at 400mm.
WHY is this?
This is why comparing PAR between different lights, even from the same manufacturer is like comparing apples to oranges.
The TMC Reef White NP 2000 as very focused emitters that allow very high PAR ratings much deeper, BUT this does not necessarily make this the better LED light for all applications.
For instance a standard 70 gallon that is 48 inches long by 18 wide, by 18 deep (high) is would be better served by the TMC Ocean Blue with its wide foot print, but less depth penetration since this i not a deep tank.

Please reference my other article:
TMC AquaBeam 2000 HD Ultima NP Review

PAR vs PUR AquaRay Readings

VIDEO


TMC Ocean Blue NP Ultima Premium LED Fixture

See this picture for more, including some custom spectrograms of this Reef Aquarium LED Light.
(Picture enlarges when clicked on)

In Summary;

As more hard core use of Ocean Blue NP Ultima Reef LED Light comes forward, I will add to this article, as I do with the majority of my articles.

Based on my tests as well as feedback from many I trust who maintain aquariums and sell reef inhabitants for a living, what I can say is are these points:

  • This is an excellent Reef LED for ANY Reef or even Marine Fish only aquarium under 22 inches of depth penetration.
  • Generally not for freshwater use
  • The foot print is approximately 24 x 24 inches
  • For deeper tanks, this awesome LED light can still be practical, however with tanks in the 24-32 inch depth range I would suggest a mix of 50/50 with the TMC Reef White NP 2000 Ultima.
    Another suggestion for deeper tanks is mix of 2 Reef White 2000s with 1 Ocean Blue Ultima, and 1 Reef Blue 600.

Please Read this excellent article too, I find it is updated often to keep current with very accurate Aquarium Lighting Information:
Complete Aquarium Light Information

Another Recommended Read:
PUR, PAS, PAR in Aquarium Reef/Planted Lighting

Copyright 2019
By Steve Allen

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New TMC AquaBeam 600 Ultima Aquarium LED Light

TMC has a newer series of 600 series LED Aquarium Lights;

The AAP AquaBeam 600 Ultima LED from TMC

Revised 1-8-19

A friend loaned me one for testing and while this article is based on preliminary results, I am now quite happy with the results as of the latest update.

Here is List of Specifications along with some editorial comment:

  • FOR THE REEF WHITE: (4) Blue 465nm and (4) Ocean White 10K patented Cree ML-E emitters
  • 18K overall color temperature
  • Approximate max PAR depth penetration for high light need specimens; 400mm (16 inches)
    Editorial: This LED fixture should be OK for 24 inch deep aquariums, however specimen placement for high light specimens should be 16 inches or less
  • 120 degree lens.
    Editorial: Similar Light spread to XP-E and XP-G Cree emitters, which also are not best past 24 inches of water)
  • Utilizes new Cree ML-E emitters rated at 1.6 watts per emitter. These emitters allow for more voltage variance with high energy output per watt used.
    Editorial: These new emitters seem to run even cooler than earlier emitters with a voltage variance that likely will be less sensitive to voltage spikes that moisture in an aquatic environment can cause.
    These may be the answer to the occasional failure of the first emitter in about 5% of previous versions of the #600
  • Utilizes standard TMC Mounting Options except for female Teflon screw/bolt receptacle.
    Editorial: While there are many TMC and DIY mounting options available, most without additional purchases of parts, I disagree with the elimination of this one option by TMC

Here is a simple picture that essentially show light energy penetration through two layers of white computer paper.

One shows the AquaBeam 600 XR-E Reef White with proven excellent results against the new AquaBeam 600 Ultra ML-E Reef White.
This is the exact color difference utilizing a Reef White 600 and a Reef White 600 Ultima; each wrapped with two layers of computer paper, then placed the maximum optimum PAR distance (400mm) over more computer paper.

AquaBeam 600 XR-E Reef White versus Ultima ML-E

What I find interesting & did not expect is the new “600 Ultra ML-E Reef White” produced slightly more brighter white light with a higher percentage of blue emitters than the previous model.

The new 600 Ultima ML-E series is different from the previous series.

*The Marine White now utilizes (2) Blue ML-E along with (6) 10K ML-E Daylight (Ocean White) to obtain the 14K the previous version produces with only 14K XR-E emitters.

*The new Marine Blue has only (2) 10K ML-E emitters with (6) Blue ML-E emitters to produce approximately 20K


See this picture to the left for TMC published Spectrographs and information (click to enlarge).

 
 
 

In Summary;
These are early test results, I will test these lights further and more importantly, continue to consult with aquarium maintenance professionals and their experiences with these new LED Lights, as I do for ALL my articles.
These results will be posted as time goes on via future updates.

For further in depth Aquarium Light Information:
Aquarium Lighting Information

For those interested in aquarium disease prevention, this is the best article on the subject of the use of Aquarium UV Sterilizers:
UV Sterilizer Use; Aquarium or Pond

Copyright 2019
By Steve Allen

TMC GroBeam 1000, & New 600/1500 Ultima Review

Revised 1/8/19

20 Gallon Planted Aquarium with one GroBeam LED and one T2 Light20 Gallon Planted Aquarium with one GroBeam LED Light
The above is a couple of 20 gallon planted aquariums that the pictures were forwarded to me that has been using ONLY ONE American Aquarium GroBeam and ONE T2 Aquarium Light.
She told my friend this about these aquariums with a GroBeam LED this:
“The plant production out of these two small tanks has been amazing. I trim about every 2 weeks and sell the excess at my LFS.”
This pictures can be enlarged by clicking on (photos by Patricia Grice).

Product References:
American Aquarium GroBeam LED Lighting
American Aquarium T2 Lighting

Section 1; Customer Review
This is a consumer review sent to me (by a friend of a friend).
The output is similar to the GroBeam 500/600 since the emitters are identical (although there are differences in the drivers), so those looking into a GroBeam 500/600 can certainly find this review useful as well.

GroBeam 1000 LED Planted Aquarium Lighting“1. – Extremely well packaged and arrived in perfect condition. I’m only using one light for the next two weeks until I get my big tank set up.

2. – VERY WELL MADE lamps from the water resistant covers to the sockets. These are very sturdy lights. You get what you pay for.

3. – I LOVE these Gro-Beam 1000 lights! I may have been using an old 175w metal halide bulb, but these lights are every bit as bright and concentrated as metal halide. I love the “beam” effect it has when punching through the water. The color is beautiful, and it truly looks like my tank is in the sun.

4. – NO light pollution – the light goes where it is directed. I had light going everywhere with my metal halide. It is a more calming light. When I’m on my couch starting at the aquarium, I don’t feel like I am looking into stage lights.

5. – Have you done a PUR study on these? My plants have NEVER pearled as much under halide as they do with this light. It’s kind of like looking through a weak glass of 7-up. Outstanding! So, I know my plants are loving it if they pearl within and hour and oxygen saturation has occurred within that short time frame.
Reference: Aquarium Lighting; PUR, Photosynthetically Usable Radiation

6. – The dark corners when the light is close to the water (for the next few days, it is sitting on the glass canopy) gives a beautiful appearance of great depth or distance to the tank. It isn’t a light explosion like with UGLY fluorescent lighting. Extreme lighting in all areas which can be accomplished through HO fluorescent is far from calming to look at. With the GroBeam 1000. It looks like I am underwater looking at the items – there are shadows, glitter lines, and a sense of depth which is natural in nature.
See product link: American Aquarium AquaRay Lighting; GroBeam

7. – These two lights will pay for themselves in 3 years vs. metal halide or other LED systems. I ran the numbers, and with the amount saved and the 5 year warranty, they can’t be beat. After seeing and experiencing the build quality, I can now certainly confirm this.

8. – Bye Bye to my metal halide, the heat, the very warm ballast, and the feeling I was always under a sunlamp when working in my tank.

9. – Bye Bye to the expensive bulb replacements and the special handling they require. You aren’t supposed to touch the halide bulbs with your fingers – hmmmmmmmmmm, how do you replace them then, with gloves? If oil from the skin can damage a metal halide bulb, why are we using such “delicate” things? I always used my bare hands but always worried too what would happen.

10. – and finally, HELLO to the LEDS!!! Welcome to the new technology and the safety of them. They are worth every penny. I’m looking forward to having to prune my planted tank often. That’s what makes the hobby fun.

GroBeam 1000 Video

 
 

Summary

I decided the plants take precedent over my preference of color which is why I went with the appropriate lights rather than the XG1500 9000K. I had a 175, 6700K Metal Halide over my 22 gallon cube, and then switched it over to a 14K bulb I had when I used to do saltwater just to see the difference. I didn’t like the blue appearance nor how it made the plants look odd. True, my neon tetras glowed more blue as did my beta, but the plants looked weird. I went back to the 6700K last night to make my final decision. Everything looked much better under that light. It is under 6700K that I got explosive growth when I added a good, CO2 reactor (I use the Red Sea Reactor 500 – although some don’t like it, I think it is wonderful!)
See product links:
TMC 1500 LED Lights
CO2 reactors, economy

P.S.I purchased some fish magazine off the shelf and was looking through it last night. There were bunches of ad for LEDS, 155 1 watt bulbs!, etc. I just had to laugh when I read them 🙂 I hope people truly do their research!!
Reference: Aquarium Lighting Facts & Research

By Gary S.


Section 2; GroBeam 600 & 1500 Ultima

Please Click pictures to enlarge

 

• The New (as of January of 2013) GroBeam XB-D Ultima 1500 Tile & 600 Strip is an over all wide angle 65K High Light Planted or Fish Freshwater Aquarium Light.
See this product link: Aquarium LED Lights; 1500 Tile & 600 Strips

These new emitters seem to run even cooler than earlier emitters with a voltage variance that likely will be less sensitive to voltage spikes that moisture in an aquatic environment can cause.
As well the PAR is higher than that of the previous versions

• These newest adaptation of the Natural Daylight LED, aka the GroBeam now has the patented Cree Natural Daylight XB-D LED emitters

• The 1500 consists of 10 x 6,500K extremely high output NEW patented Natural Daylight XB-D LED emitters while the 600 strip utlizes 5 of the new patented emitters
The 600 Ultima consists of 5 x 6,500K XB-D LED emitters.

Please see the picture above for a 45 gallon “Cube” planted freshwater aquarium with two GroBeam 600 Ultimas

• For “High Light” Planted Aquariums, best results achieved under 25 inches of depth (the Marine White can be supplemented 1 to 2 for deeper planted aquariums)

• Excellent for Marine Refugiums as large as 38 gallons for the GroBeam 1500 or 15 gallons for the GroBeam #600

• The 1500 tile achieves 2058 Lumens, and a PAR of 148 uEinsteins/sec/m2 @16 inches.
The previous 1000 GroBeam Tile has a PAR of 123 uEinsteins/sec/m2 @16 inches

Please Read/Reference:
Aquarium Lighting; Facts & Information
PUR, PAS, PAR in Aquarium Reef/Planted Lighting

For Marine Reef Aquariums, see the related:
American Aquarium Reef Lights; Ultima 600, 1500, 2000

Also see:
Product Feedback @ American Aquarium Products

Copyright 2019
By Steve Allen

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For Help Finding a High Quality Hot Cathode UV-C Replacement Bulb:
UV Bulbs; Guide