Tag Archives: Reef Lighting

TMC AquaBeam 2000 HD Ultima NP Review

Last Revised 1/22/2015

TMC has released their newest high end offering of LED Lighting.

The picture to the left demonstrates the difference between the 2012 Reef White 1000 and the new Reef White 2000.

This Reef White 2000 borrows much from the Ocean Blue NP 1500 in that it uses the same exact emitters with one important difference. These emitters are lensed which make them focused for more depth penetration.
This is kept from the 1000 series tiles which the 2000 series is set to replace.

The 1500 series are meant to have a wider footprint of 24 inches by 24 inches from an 8 x 8 tile. The 2000s project a 18″ x 18″ light footprint from a standard/common mounting height of about 6 to 8 inches above the water.

As before with the 1000 series and this Reef White NP 2000, it’s the better choice for for a deeper aquarium over the Ocean Blue NP 1500.
As a generalization, the Ocean Blue NP 1500 would be the choice for wide light spread or an aquarium under 20 inches. The Reef White NP 2000 would be suggested for any depth where very concentrated light is needed, such as a high light requiring sps coral or in a general reef aquarium from 20 to 30 inches or even much deeper with correct specimen placement.

Osram Oslon NP Blue emitter SpectrographTo the left is the Osram Oslon “Nature Perfect” blue reef emitter spectrograph.

One important feature the 2000 borrows from the 1500 Ocean Blue is the Osram Oslon NP Blue emitters.
These are the first emitters developed specifically for the use in Reef aquariums which provide the best over all PUR for your reef inhabitants. Early results also have shown less undesirable algae growth with the use of the Osram Oslon NP Blue emitters too.

It’s important that I noted PUR and not PAR as PUR is the photosynthetically useful radiation (useful light) versus PAR which can still have plenty of useless light energy, especially if yellow, green, or warm white emitters are used (& to a lessor degree, cool white emitters).
This is common with most aquarium LED fixtures since while they utilize Cree and other quality emitters, these are still from common general emitter bins that are not specifically designed for aquarium use. In fact aquarium use is but a minor use of these emitter bins and why multiple color emitters are required in a shotgun approach to achieve a good color balance. This results in wasted light energy in nanometers that are not of optimum PUR.

This is the case in some of the more popular but often over rated LEDs on the market.
Please reference:
PUR versus PAR in Aquarium Lighting
Aquarium Lighting; Complete Information

What TMC also now doing as far as construction of their LEDs is standardization of lighting types and dropping a few less popular lights such as the Marine White 1000.
TMC’s reason stated by people I know in the industry, is lower prices while still maintaining the quality of the world leader in LED aquarium lights.

As well, TMC is continuing to utilize the best possible drivers and PWM (“pulse width modulation”) technology which is superior to “current reduction” which most all other LED controllers use.
With PWM, there is NO change to the spectral output when changing voltage either up or down (dimming or ramping up your LEDs).

Specifications:

Please note that these specs are preliminary. As of the time of posting this article, I will update this article should there be any more changes.

  • Utilizes these emitters
    • (4) x 9,000K extremely high output NEW patented Ocean White XT-E LED
    • (2) x “Fiji Blue” XT-E LEDS (deep blue),
    • (4) x NEW “patent pending” NP full spectrum Blue (“Nature Perfect” from Osram Oslon) LED emitters
  • PAR 380 uEinsteins/sec/m2 @15 inches
  • Overall Color Temperature 20,000 K
  • Total Power Consumption 30 watts @ 700 mA

TMC LED PAR
TMC AquaRay Reef White 2000 PAR
Professional say you only need 150 PAR with high PUR LED lighting. Keep clams, grow sticks, SPS… Grow anything you want! Plug and play right out of the box with no adjustments.

PAR ratings were taken from Pacific Northwest Marine Aquarium Society Forum (PNWMAS) official PAR tool.

The difference from PAR vs. PUR

Copyright 2015
By Steve Allen

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New TMC AquaBeam 600 Ultima Aquarium LED Light

TMC has a new series of LED Aquarium Lights coming out in 2013;
The TMC AquaBeam 600 Ultima LED
Expected availability; early 2013

A friend loaned me one for testing and while these are preliminary results, I am quite happy with their potential.

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 Sterilization; Aquarium or Pond

Copyright 2013
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 2/28/14

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

Photosynthesis;

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)

PAR vs. PUR

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.

http://www.aquarium-pond-answers.com/2012/03/pur-vs-par-in-aquarium-lighting.html

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 2015, By Steve Allen