Tag Archives: PAR

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


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


Photosynthesis and PAR; Planted & Reef Aquarium

These are important aspects of both high end freshwater plant keeping and symbiotic Zooanthellae living within Photosynthetic invertebrates.

By Steve Allen

Revised 1/8/19

I will discuss each of these related aspects of Aquarium Lighting in a little more detail:


Photosynthesis, Aquarium, ReefPhotosynthesis is the synthesizing by organisms of organic chemical compounds, mainly carbohydrates, from carbon dioxide using energy obtained from light rather than the oxidation of chemical compounds.
Put another way, this means photosynthetic plants, algae, and similar use of energy obtained from light to produce cellular chemical energy and carbohydrates when combined with carbon dioxide necessary for life processes including nitrogen processing for growth.
Further Reference: Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle, Cycling

In order for the photosynthetic process to take, the organelle of the cell where light the energy to chemical energy takes place (named the chloroplast), must receive sufficient PAR (photosynthetic active radiation).
Often in aquarium environments the compensation/saturation point is not met within the chloroplast, this results in the organelle not producing the optimum amount of carbon bi-products (carbohydrates), and this excess energy will not be transferred to the host Photosynthetic Invertebrate..
The other side of the coin (more common in the ocean, tropical rivers, etc.) is photinhibition, which is the result of an excess of light energy causing cessation of photosynthesis altogether. Photosynthetic invertebrates as well as many higher plants have many light inhibiting pigments to protect themselves from tissue damage caused by photinhibition (hence the green and other colors that are often more vivid in higher light).

A myth of reef aquarium keeping is that Photosynthetic invertebrates such as corals only need the “correct” light to survive, however this is incorrect as no known animal can survive solely on light energy as there must always be a source nitrogen and other minerals for growth and reproduction.

PAR (Photosynthetic Active Radiation);

PAR, photosynthetic active radiation diagramPAR is the abbreviation for Photosynthetically Active Radiation which is the spectral range of solar light from 400 to 700 nanometers (some resources/research indicates up to 750n) that is needed by higher plants & symbiotic zooanthellic algae.
This is found from actinic UVA to near infrared. UVA is the bandwidth found between 400-550nm which is the absorption bandwidth of chlorophylls a, c², and peridinin (the light-harvesting carotenoid, a pigment related to chlorophyll).
For our discussion of PAR, near Infrared is defined as the bandwidth found between 620-750nm which is the red absorption bandwidth of chlorophylls a and c² (true infrared is beyond 750nm).

Light sources that emit mostly actinic light will often have a lower PAR (although actinic Violet-blue still occupies an spike in PAR as seen from the graph and improve the PAR of your lighting), bulbs that occupy mostly the middle spectrum (yellow-green) such as “warm White (2700K) will produce little necessary “Useful Energy” spikes (PUR) within PAR, while bulbs that produce UVA and yet more infrared will produce more important PAR light energy (as seen from the graph which shows the UVA spike and two infrared spike required for PAR).

It is noteworthy that most symbiotic zooanthellic have evolved/adapted to the lower blues of the Ocean Reefs need more of the blue/actinic spike than “higher plants”, hence the popularity of actinic lights for reef aquariums (this is true of other green algae).
However the optimum nanometer range is about 465-485nm (with some corals requiring more 420 as well), not the ONLY the lower 420nm many actinic lights produce or the more broad range many “blue” aquarium lights produce of 400-520 nm. This is where the latest technology LED lights “shine”, having a more precise 465-485nm blue as well as the lower actinic blue found in the Fiji Blue LED.
For this reason it is a good idea to have extra actinic for corals/clams that depend upon zooanthellic algae, while at the same time limiting blue/actinic in freshwater aquariums to avoid excessive green algae growth.

With he above in mind, the addition of lights that product more near infrared light spikes or the use red LED emitters does not help most photosynthetic corals and in fact some studies indicate to much red light can hinder acropora growth.
This of leaves me scratching my head why one oddly popular Aquarium Reef LED manufacturer adds red emitters to their LED fixtures (& worse, green emitters)?

Source: AquaRay LED Aquarium Lights, Lighting; Including Fiji Blue

PAR is the simplest, albeit not the most accurate way to measure light energy and quantity for the home/office/commercial aquarium. PAR is more simple to define and measure than any other forms of light measurement. However it is noteworthy that PUR is the much more important measure for saltwater reef aquariums.
The facts are you can have a light with a higher PAR be a considerably lesser PUR and thus inferior light.
Important Reference: Why PUR is more important in reef aquariums

For the aquarium keepers purpose, PAR is the number of photons per meter squared per second of light that falls between 400 nm and 700 nm in wavelength with the better PAR meters measuring the important spikes.
The meter displays these numbers in µMol•m²•sec (“mmols”), with currently accepted numbers measured as µMol•m²•sec at 50 mmol for most plants or low light corals such as Nemezophyllia, while Acropra can require PAR outputs as high as 300 mmol (any higher is simply a waste of energy/light)


To bring this concept of PAR vs. PUR to live for a real world example is a high end LED fixture compared to low grade (low PUR) fixture. Two fixtures could have the same PAR, but one could have a higher PUR. Like I’ve said in other lighting articles before…Just like there are multiple ways to add up to 10 (5+5 or 2+8), both will give you the same appearance, but one might be more beneficial to the overall tanks needs.

I strongly recommend taking a look at this additional article to help understand this concept more. It’s a shorter read, but if you digest the information in the post, it will help make this a concert idea.

PUR, PAS, PAR in Aquarium Reef/Planted Lighting; LED Wavelengths

PAR vs PUR AquaRay Readings

PAR vs PUR AquaRay PAR reading

Here is a quote from a professional in the aquarium industry that grows only SPS Acropora Coral. The hardest in the world…

Around 150 (PAR) at the sand and I could keep clams, grow sticks or anything on the sand…

This professional was not taking into account PUR, but was proving that most of what we can put to our aquariums can be grown with a lower PAR. Having a high PUR fixture will only enhance the growth of the coral or plants. A cheaper LED could have a higher PAR, but not allow for corals or plants to thrive as much as a higher PUR fixture. In this case, more PAR is required to make up the lack of PUR.

Remember: PAR varies fixture to fixture and all depends on the tech. used, mounting height, and spread. A PAR meter can be used, but it is just a tool and does not show the whole picture. It leaves out the important concept of PUR.

References; Further Reading/Information:

*Aquarium Lighting; Facts & Information

*PUR vs PAR in Aquarium Lighting; why PUR is more important in reef aquariums

*Reef Hobbyist Magazine; Understanding Lighting and Photosynthesis
3rd Quarter 2010, By Mike Maddox

Copyright 2019, By Steve Allen