Stop the reef tank lighting confusion! THESE are our Best Saltwater Aquarium Lights for 2019!

Stop the reef tank lighting confusion! THESE are our Best Saltwater Aquarium Lights for 2019!


(upbeat music) – All right, best of
2019, reef tank lighting. Probably a focus on LED just because that’s what most people
are dying these days. So we’re gonna look at, again,
best means a lotta things to a lot of different people, so we’ll look at a bunch
of different angles. We’re gonna start with
what is the number one most popular LED or
lighting option out there as voted by you guys by what you’re picking up for your tanks. And then? – The best most economical
for a four-foot tank. So four-foot tank being
right in the middle of those that have very long tanks, those that have smaller tanks, we thought four foot wold be a good one, and then you could just kinda make those decisions after that. But the most economical
to light a four-foot tank. – Yeah, shortly put, you just can’t hit every last option out there. Four foot’s super, super common in tanks. We’re gonna go with that. But also, best 2019 for color and shimmer. – Oh yeah.
– And this one might be a surprise actually. – Yep. – And we actually had to debate
that one for a little while. – We did, we did. – And easiest to use that grows coral. So like, which one can I almost plug it into the wall and just
start producing results. I mean, we’re a little
bit past that these days. But what is the closest I can get to that where I’m not monkeying around with it trying to become a marine
biologist and set up my light. So easiest to use. And then what’s one that comes after that? – And then we have our,
as always with the 2019, the best in show for 2019. – So if you just wanna get
this lighting thing behind you, know that you bought the
best available option, I’m never gonna think
about lighting again, or at least ’til the next
coolest thing comes out. (laughing) That’s gonna be that one, best in show. And then of course, we’re gonna finish off with what we would like to see for 2020, what kind of technology advances
or form factor advances, what we’d like to see out of the lighting manufacturers
of the world for 2020. All right, so starting
with the most popular. Again, as picked by all of you, the most units sold in 2019. This one actually surprised me. – There was, there was
so many of these things that people are picking up, and it was, yeah it was really surprising when you look at all of
the options out there the number one was the AI Prime. – Yeah, so the AI Prime here was the number one selling unit, and I guess I shouldn’t
have been surprised because it’s actually one
of the lower cost items, and it’s also really,
really perfect for options where you have beginner
to intermediate corals, even on a larger two foot area tanks. Definitely 18 by 18 inches. And you can scale ’em. So not surprised. But just, just, just behind that, actually like 100 units behind that, which is not that many for all of 2019, was the Kessil A360X. – Right, yeah. So I mean another one that
both of these actually, and I can see why a lot
of people are picking ’em and why I would pick ’em is, really it comes to a lot
of controllability, too. Where out of the box I can open
up my app for the AI Prime, and just set it and walk away. (voice muffled) Oh yeah, and then with the Kessil I don’t need a controller. I have the option to, but I’ve
got knobs on the top of it, so it’s again a set and walk away. – Yeah, they also have now a little dongle that goes on it for wifi as
well as a spectral controller so you can do it right at the tank. But, so best of 2019,
or most popular, rather, really we’re gonna break this
up into two or three ranges. One which is a 50 watt, one that’s 90, and one that’s over 130. There’s a good reason for that, is because there are different purposes for each one of these lights. Anda gain, the Prime is
super good for a beginner to intermediate coral. Or like a smaller tank where it doesn’t need to be that bright or to scale or what not. But it’s much less wattage, whereas, this guy may
be twice as expensive, but it’s also nearly twice as much wattage as well.
– 90 watts, yeah. – So this is where you start
to jump into the SPS tanks and higher demand light and what not. And I’m just gonna tell
ya we chose 90 watt because 90 watt is the
area where I suggest almost everybody is best served. So 90 watt and then you space ’em every 18 to 24 inches or what not. You get past that and
all you’re really doing is starting to produce a
spotlight in your tank. For most instances unless
you have something super deep or you’re gonna mount ’em
really high or what not, for most, most reefers that have common size tanks out there, 90 watt lights like the Hydra 26, the Kessil here, the XR15 from Radion. I think there’s one of these even, the MaxSpect lights, there’s a whole bunch of 90 watt options. That is the one I actually recommend and so that’s why we’re
talking about that one today, and the most popular 90 watt
option here is the Kessil, and in this case it beat
out all of the other options by more than 50%. – Yeah, for the 90 watt range.
– This is what you guys are voting for, by what
all of the other reefers out there are picking up in that range. And I think you’re gonna
pick up some reasons as to why that might be a little
later as we go through this. But best of 130 watts. – Yeah, 130 watts or more, and we kinda broke this one
up a little bit further, too, in that 130 watts plus,
the most popular option that people are, that you guys
are putting on your tanks, really is this Aquatic Life. So I mean, we’re talking about the Aquatic Life T5 Hybrid fixtures. And when you put all the T5
Hybrid fixtures together, this guy is super popular and– – Number one in that range.
– Yeah, number one in that range. It’s a little different
’cause it’s T5 wattage and it’s a little different, but– – And add your own LEDs into it and stuff. But if you’re looking
for the LED only option in that 130 watt plus range, the most popular in the
LED only, the Radion Pro. – Radion Pro, or Radions
together actually. But the Radions are absolutely the number one selling in that range. And they’re perfect for deeper tanks. They’re perfect if you just wanna like really pound your corals with light. You’re one of those people
who wants to hit 600 plus PAR ’cause you’re a super
pro, got tons of flow, and you really know how to do this, then this is perfect for the application. It’s good if you have a really wide tank and you wanna mount ’em wide. But one of the differences
here is LEDs and the T5s here, obviously the 130 watts here is spread out over this entire bulb length. And with this guy it’s coming out of two little pockets right here. So just be aware of what you’re doing. But, so number one, if you’re
gonna go super high power, more power, more better
horsepower, everything, it is definitely the Radio that everybody out there is picking up, and the number one, again,
by leaps and bounds. – Yeah, and number one,
there’s a pro versions, the XR30 Pro and the XR30 non-pro version. And when we’re talkin’ about
how many of these things that you guys are buyin’
and putting on your tanks, 80% of ’em are the Pros. So I mean if you’re looking
for, should I get the regular, should I get the pro, almost everybody is
choosing the pro option. – So as voted by you guys, 80% pro, and I’ll tell you what a lotta
people are doing these days, actually is kind of considering
this is like two pucks, and they’re kinda considering
it when you go to the XR15, which is half the size and one puck, they’re actually picking up two of those, which is about the same cost. And then you get to kinda space it out and get a little bit more flexibility. But if you really want
the punch, this is it. So most economical option
for a four-foot tank, budget is king and I
wanna make this cheap, this is, I’m gonna break
this up into two options, I’m gonna tell you right now,
this is one of ’em right here. So for $310 you can light
an entire four-foot tank. Even though it is designed
to be a hybrid option, it will actually light the entire tank, be adequate for all your
beginner to immediate corals, for all the people out there
and future proof, right? So what else can you do within future? – Yeah, I mean if I just
jumped into a four foot tank and I’m just getting my feet wet in corals and I’ve got some of
my softies, my polyps, some of my beginner,
intermediate type corals I can just get this
knowing that down the road if I upgrade to more advanced corals, which inevitably I wanna do, and dive deeper in the hobby, I can add LEDs to it and
increase the PAR output and start to get in those PAR levels at 250 average all through the tank for some of those more
advanced type corals and stuff. So future proof in that I
don’t have to toss this thing, it’s not like just a T5 fixture
where it’s a bank of T5s and adding LEDs to it
could be an issue or– – Difficult.
– Yeah, I might just end up throwing the whole thing
and start going LEDs, this one I just add LEDs
to my existing lights so I don’t waste the
light I already bought. – Yeah, for those of you who know, this is the Aquatic
Life T5 Hybrid fixture, and it is originally designed
to work with the LEDs you might have already owned or bought and then add-in fill light or be bought that way to begin with. But it doesn’t need to. You can absolutely use
it without those things, and the spill will
actually fill in the middle because of the way that
the reflectors work. But at a later date… Especially if you raise it up. At a later date you can
come in and add your LEDs into the middle, wherever you want, and now becomes that T5 LED hybrid that everybody loves, is my favorite. In fact, this is one of the fixtures, if you let me go back there and pick out almost anything
for the average tank, I’ll almost always pick this
up in a different LED option just because it provides
the best performance blend. – Yeah, and I don’t have to
spend all my money at once. So–
– $300 up front. – Yeah, I buy $300 here,
and then maybe a few months or however long down the
road I get enough for an LED, and I throw an LED in,
and I work with that. And then I just, it’s incremental budget. – And that’s what hobbyists do. All right, so if you’re looking
for the LED only option, it’s the Maxspect Razor R5. This guy is $600, and I
think one of the best values out there for a four-foot
tank in terms of LED only. – Yeah, I mean you get four 50-watt pucks and they’re spread out. So it’s not like there’s
one spotlight here. I mean, it spreads it out. And it’s not four feet, like you said, but there’s legs included on here that will mount it out to a 48-inch tank, in which case it will fit. And because they’re spread out, now I’m hitting those outer edges. Now there might be a foot on one side and a foot on the other that don’t get all the direct light from the LEDs, but in most options, like if
you were mounting multiples of single pick LEDs or single,
like this, like the Primes, you’re still gonna lose that space anyway. – You are not gonna mount,
this is a 50-watt LED, so this is essentially like four of these mounted into one fixture already. I mean, they’re different
products but similar ranges. And so you’re not gonna mount ’em all the way to the edges
anyway in most cases. They do make a four-foot version, and it’s a little bit more expensive, has another puck in there, but yeah, for a four-foot tank for most people you’re goin’ LED only at $600. For an option that actually
is gonna produce results and easy to use, this is what I’d pick. – Well, it’s economical
also in the sense that I don’t have to get mounting kits, I don’t have to spend a
lot of time and effort into mounting this thing. It’s got the legs, and I’ll tell ya, this was one of the easiest legs for me to put on this light. It’s a tighten of a screw, slide it in, and I’m ready to go and I
can expand it or contract it for whatever size tank. But now I gotta plug it in and I’m ready. – There you go. So yeah, you got legs on here. They’re super easy to use. So the average person actually, in walking around here
and one of the things that we ask people is the most important is how easy is it to install in the tank, ’cause I don’t wanna drill in my ceiling. I don’t wanna put brackets
on the wall or what not. And so having an easy
to use mounting bracket right outta the box is super, super important to a lotta people. This fits that bill. Now in terms of most affordable, I’m just gonna go out and say there are tons and tons
of ways to buy tanks, and there is no absolute right way. We’re trying to balance quality, a little bit of warranty, and from manufacturers that we trust, and we know will actually grow corals and are easy to use, take the whole blend and put it together to pick what we think is the most affordable. If you want you can absolutely
go out to Alibaba or Amazon or Ebay and there are like what people call black boxes out there, and they are absolutely the
cheapest way to get it done. They might take a little more
effort to set up and use. It kinda depends. But if you’re looking for
something out of the box, super easy to set up, this is it. So best in 2019, best color and shimmer, this is one I think is gonna
catch you all off guard. – This one we heavily
debated in your office. And it was well, who’s
got the best shimmer. And that one, I mean, you
could point to a lot of forums and threads and people and say
who’s got the best shimmer, and the answer is usually Kessil. – Almost always.
– The Kessil. Almost always it’s Kessil
because of the natural type of non-disco-like effect because they got the single dense matrix array of LEDs. One lens and everything like that. So it makes these really nice
caustic lines in the water, this nice shimmer. So I was set on that
and that mindset, too, and then you said go look at this tank and then look at this tank, and tell me which one
has the best shimmer. – All right, so I’m gonna tell you, I’ve been talking about
the Kessil shimmer forever, and for most of those
years I woulda told you for sure it is the Kessil. And in fact, I will still
tell you my favorite shimmer and overall look of any
tank is still the Kessil combined with T5s which
kinda softens the shimmer. But it is a little sharp. So you don’t see static and you don’t see the disco ball effect
and all that stuff, but it’s kind of a sharper edge that’s comin’ outta that one lens. However, with some of the other approaches where you have tons and tons of LEDs and they’re different colors
shootin’ all over the tank what you’ll end up with is
being able to see those colors and they’re visually all over, and it’s only when you’re
really looking for it and you start to see all
the colors shootin’ around. I call it TV static, other
people call it disco ball effect. So, but with the Kessil you don’t see it because they’re all under one lens, the colors are blended perfectly, and both visually and I can
measure it with a meter. However, visually the best
one is definitely the Radion, whether you go with the XR15 or the XR30, when you put this diffuser lens on it, outta the box I will say this
isn’t one of my favorites because of the HIE lenses will
shoot colors around the tank, you can see ’em. The shimmer is a little discoy. But when you put this guy on here and you just mount it on the top of it, it’s an extra $50 and
the diffusion lens here blends all the colors. – Softens it.
– Softens it. So you get thicker caustic
lines that are kinda more wavy, look much more like you’re snorkeling, and I would say the most appealing, also the Radion outta the box
has some of the widest color and ability to adjust the
color to your desires. So if I have to go, I think a lotta people woulda thought I’d say Kessil, and I still say Kessil
if you are talking about in conjunction with T5s. But if I’m gonna go LED only, this is actually visually
the most pleasing LED only to my eye option out there. – We’re also giving this one
the best color as well, right? As far as, as long as
shimmer, too, is in this, because of the most controllability between all of those spectrums that is included underneath that lens. – There are some options out
there that have a little wider in some areas or what not, but a lot of ’em lose ability to control those actual elements. So it’s a little bit of a coin flip, but in general, just color and shimmer, if I’m looking at the tank
and I just want to appreciate how beautiful it is in my house, and I wanna go LED only,
this is my favorite option. Okay, so up next is best
in 2019 easiest to use. It grows corals. That might seem kind of like an odd thing, but most of these kinda leave
you to your own devices, like flip some switches
and hope for the best. – Yeah, you know, for
a while I always think the easiest to use, to me, that meant that I can actually access it maybe on an app or something and run it. And that makes it easy to
use ’cause I don’t need maybe a third party or an additional type of controller or something. But then when you start thinking about it, it’s like, you know what’s
even easier than that? Is something that I can
plug in and then be, set it and be done.
– This guy right here. – That’s super easy.
– This isn’t it, but, the old days of T5s and halides, plug it in the wall, I’m done. Like, success.
– Put it on a timer. – Somebody told me what
bulbs to put in it, Blue Plus from ATI and put it
in there, boom, done, right? That is easiest to do success. Nowadays they give you all these sliders, and when you’re adjusting for your eye you have no idea what meets the metabolic or biological needs of an animal that relies on photosynthesis
for its health. And the different
spectrums, especially red, absolutely inhibits certain
biological functions in different ratios. It is not the same thing. And so I will tell you
for sure it is valuable, especially for a newer
to intermediate reefer, and actually advanced reefers, too, to have something simple
that you can rely on, and then first note
for sure this will work and then adjust from there. – Yeah, and this is
absolutely the Kessils. The Kessil A360, the A360Xs, the 160s. There’s two things on here, and it’s all about the
corals from the Kessil Logic, but all about my eye for anything else, and it’s the knobs. All I have to do is plug this thing in, much like some of the technology
like T5 and metal halides, I can plug it in, I can
plug it into a timer, and then the knobs, I set
my intensity for how bright, and then I set my color for
whatever’s cool to my eye because Kessil Logic says
at any one of these ranges you’re going to grow coral
and now I can just make it more blue if I like that or
less blue if I don’t like it. – So most of you have probably heard about Kessil Logic before, but I’ll give it in two sentences, in the essence that all they’re doing is they’re giving you the
blue peak that really matters, and then the color knob is allowing to add some other specter
in just for visual appeal. So you always have the blue
peak that really matters, and there’s probably some adjustments or absolute perfection with the other, but you will never fail by adding that in anywhere in that range that’s visually appealing to you you’ll be fine. The intensity thing is
also pretty close to that in the essence that
Kessil never got caught up in what I call the PAR wars
for the last decade, right? And it wasn’t more PAR, more better, more wattage, make it more narrow. They were always super, super wide. Always number one selling,
Kessil’s been super, super wide. Getting the light spread
out as wide as possible, even intensity, and so at 90 watts this is one of the reasons
that I recommend 90 watts regardless of what brand you
pick is it’s hard to overdo it. And so you can’t visually
measure PAR with your eye. Your eye’s measuring
brightness mostly as green, and green doesn’t even measure in PAR. So it’s really difficult
for the average person. But with this one it’s hard to overdo, and it’s really easy to back it off if you’re having problems. Never put 600 PAR in
there with this thing. So it’s optimized for most
people’s absolute uses and probably why it’s the number one by over 50% units sold in this range. – So, I mean, if I’m new to the reefing, new to corals and I’m looking for a light and I don’t know what
I want but I like LEDs, this is a good place to start for me, in that I am less likely
to mess up my tank or burn my corals or do
something to my tank with that since I’m restricted from the control of flipping switches and knobs. I can tune the color to
make it look like I want to and then tune the intensity
and then call it a day so knobs win. – Yeah, and you don’t have
a phone to deal with it. Just walk up and do it. You can do it on your phone if you want. You can do it on the little
controller at the tank, which means you don’t have
to do it on your phone or you can do it with the knobs, and it’s super, super easy. You will be able to grow
coral out of the box without becoming a marine
biologist with this light. So next up is best in show. All right, so best in show for 2019, I’m gonna tell you right now. It isn’t any one of these.
– No it’s not. – It’s actually two of ’em. So best in show is absolutely this guy, the Aquatic Life Hybrid fixture with the Kessil A360Xs in it. This is my personal favorite option. I’ll use this in almost every instance because it does almost everything, what I would call, the best. There was an Investigates
when we first got these Aquatic Life T5 Hybrids
when you were testing them where you went out and said this, if I could pick anything
in that warehouse, and we have access to a lot of stuff, that would be the combo
that you would go with. And even on the, your office tank, the SPS tank for the
VRSWWC, in that E170 tank, that’s the combo you went with. – And actually, the LPS tank and the Softie tank is this, too. And these are tanks in my office, I want what I want. And so I want it to look nice and I like the different features of
how it performs for myself. So that’s what I’m gonna use. So in that spirit this is what I believe that it does the best. So you’re gonna get
the best spread because these guys are here for
a diffused light spread. It’s just a blanket of light covering it. You’re also gonna get
the wide angle lenses, it provides a slightly
higher intensity light, reflects off the glasses,
and now this blanket of light from multiple sources covering everything. Shadow is no longer an issue, specifically if you grow SPS
corals like a lot of us do, SPS will do fine as frags. They tend to grow into colonies, and they shatter themselves
or their neighbor and then they start to die off. You watch the undersides die off. It’s always, always a problem. So especially, it wasn’t really a problem when we were doing blanks of T5s and big old halide reflectors. But now with spotlight LEDs you’re going big colonies of SPS, tends to be a problem unless you have tons and tons and tons of LED modules. – Yeah, so we’re talking about using the T5s for that diffuse growth light, and then the LEDs for visual appeal. So I get the shimmer and things like that. – So I think, a lot of
people would think about it, like buying T5, or LEDs and then I’m gonna supplement
my LEDs with the T5s. I think it’s actually the opposite. I’m buying the T5s for a growth or metabolic function, predominantly. And then I’m gonna use the
LEDs to add that nice shimmer and contrasty feel to the
tank that looks really good. It’s gonna add PAR as well, but really, this is metabolic function, this is visual appeal, and
then combined together, really the best. And also, I combine now
proven bulbs for growth, which are like the ATI Blue Plus bulbs. People have been using those for decades. Like 20 years worth of
successful tanks on those things. I even made the LED modules, like design their peaks
after that specific thing. And so, I wanna add in
the Kessil Logic into it. I mean, I just got proven super, super easy to produce results. – Yeah, and when we’re talking
about the types of corals. Like you were saying about SPS, this combination with
the 360X and the T5s, I mean, this will work for
any of those types of tanks. So if you’re in the beginner
to intermediate corals, if you’re into those more advanced corals and things like that, I can simply either turn down my LEDs for those
lower light demand corals or turn them up or add more LEDs to this because it’s expandable,
for SPS dominant tanks or things like that. – As they grow, intensity knob. It’s the only thing I’m gonna do, as I go through different types of corals. So if you want the same
thing but you wanna save a little money because these
guys are like $450 a piece, you wanna save a few bucks,
this option with the AI Primes also works really, really well. You can do a two and then if you want you can expand to three or what not, and it will work really, really well. I will say the shimmer, the visual shimmer from the Kessil in this
thing is slightly better, but that is my favorite one. So that is the best in show,
Aquatic Life with these guys in a four foot tank, two of
’em is absolutely adequate. And so what would we like to see for 2020 from reef tank lighting? All right, so desired for
2020 from reef tank lighting, what would you like to see first? – I mean, biggest thing for me is, just like the Kessils were, it doesn’t matter where
I turn that color knob and I can fiddle with the
intensity as I see fit, rather than just give me
the keys to the kingdom and the spectrums and the all of this, give me a success mode. Let me plug in my light and say, okay, you have this type of, you have about this size of tank and you mounted it about this high, then turn it to this or turn it to this. Rather than just here’s your light and go ahead and enjoy
and be successful with it, tell me how to be successful with it. – I’d like to see this specifically from the most expensive options
where you’re investing in them, I’d like to see them
invest in you guys as well. Ad so this option is super easy, the Kessil lighting option, but I’d actually like
them to even step it up. There’s common size tanks out
there, 120 is super common, a 60, 40 breeder. In that case, if you are running x tank and use this amount of lights
and turn the intensity to x. It is that easy. And the person that’s selling
it for you can tell you that. They are asking you to do the work. Let’s ask them to do a little bit of work. They’ll do some work up front, but it’ll apply to tens
of thousands of people. Instead of asking tends of thousands of people to do the work on their own, they own all the PAR meters. We all know ranges in which
the corals will survive. There’s no magic matrix in this anymore. Let’s give more advice. So this one here, actually, they did a really good job. They did the CoralLabs and they picked out a spectrum range, emulated actually the Blue
Plus range, the AB Plus. And then used it in a coral facility and proved that it works
and then provided that to the universe so proof’s
in the pudding, right? But, you know, these are
really smart lights, man. And the software that goes
with it is amongst the best. There is no reason that
the engineers over there shouldn’t be able to allow you to say, my tank is four feet wide by two feet wide and I’m gonna use two of these, what should I set it at? In fact, or just set it
automatically for you, right? My tank is this, and it
will just, boom, go into it. You wanted to go aggressive? You wanna go safe? In fact, it should probably lock down aggressive as death mode. – Warning and everything.
– But switching switches is death mode, for sure. So giving you really clear guidance. I’d like to see that out
of somebody in the 2020, somebody step up and say
we’ve learned enough, we can now give that
information to you guys, and give value for the
price point that you’re at. If you’re at the top
end of the price point, give top end value. Just gluing LEDs to a board
is not good enough anymore. So that’s one of the things
I would love to see for 2020. – Yeah, absolutely. Another thing, too, is
that with all the testing that we’ve been doing, I mean we’ve tested almost every
single one of these lights, for PAR and distribution
and things like that. We’ve gone to WWC, we see
what they use for success. And it’s a T5 LED combo. And we come up with diffusers and these different types of things. Ultimately what we’re trying to create is this diffused even blanket of light throughout the entire tank, which is hard to do with puck style or single points of light. So, it’s time to, if we wanna get rid of, if we wanna look at T5s and metal halides and put ’em in the thing of a past, make an LED that is,
acts, and feels like a T5 that I can put onto my tank and get the coverage and the diffusion. – So what we wanna do is emulate
the successes of the past, and all the successes of the
past were blankets of light from a grid of T5s or a giant reflector with a halide bulb
which, if you look at it, two thirds of the light
from that is actually hitting the reflector and
bouncing back down into the tank. So, the light source is actually this big. So in both of those cases, but with LEDs you know if you didn’t know any better, small form factor looks pretty appealing, and that’s why we have all of these pucks. They have a bunch of different reasons why it should be that way. And I will tell you for an
LPS tank, a Softie tank, a polyp tank, these are actually my pick. And that’s what I pick on my
own Softie and polyp tank, and my own LPS tank. It’s just one of these small pucks. I don’t have the same issues. But if I’m gonna go into a
mixed tank or an SPS tank, I need blanket of light, even coverage. I haven’t seen many tank, I haven’t seen any tanks
that are successful long term without either someway
addressing all the shadows and dark areas and shadowing
each others and themselves. So it’s either a million
little LED modules or a panel, like the (voice
muffled) does a big panel, which is nice. Or plug it in with T5s. And right now this is actually the most economical way to do it, right? I could buy a ton, a ton of LEDs, or I can just use the fill
light from the T5s, right? So I would like to see
somebody address this, and I gotta tell ya, it isn’t because I like T5 bulbs or T5s, it’s just because it’s the best available option at the moment, right? So somebody come out with a panel LED that provides that same even
coverage over the entire tank. My personal preference would be a fixture that covers the whole thing and provides just a super,
super even coverage, but I’d even be happy with some type of large module that does that. Somebody should come out with that, and it should be diffused
because these things don’t actually blend all the
individual colors super well. I refuse to look at little colors shooting all over the tank. It’s just not visually appealing, and one of the things I
say over and over again is you will lose some PAR by
putting the diffuser on there, but you get performance, right? So, in my car I like heat, I like a radio, I like headlights, I
like all kinds of things that go performance with my car. So I want better performance
and I’m ready to sacrifice some of the horsepower from the engine to get better performance
and results out of the car or any tool I’m using, in this case, too. So when I use the diffuser it is an engine and functions to distribute all the light, blend the LEDs into one color, and it is worth it for me for sure. Looks better, performs better, the corals definitely appreciate it, especially at lower mounting
heights it’s absolutely true. They’re not getting blasted with super high peaks of specific spectrums, and it just performs better. – Speaking of that, so we already have these perform factors in these LEDs. They’re literally in the
industry all over the place. So with that another
thing we’d like to see is more diffuser options. So the EchoTech has gone
down that road already. They made diffusers for
their XR15s, their XR30s. There’s people I’ve seen,
like some after market things that people are doing to
add some sort of diffusion to their lights that exist
that aren’t those two, so let’s just make diffuser options for the lights that
already exist out there. – It is absolutely an
evolutionary step for lighting. Not everybody wants it. Some people just want more horsepower or the most horsepower per dollar. Other people want performance and it’s just a different thing and they’ll come at
different price points, but I think a lotta, lotta
people will appreciate seeing a nice even shimmer in the tank. No little reds and greens
shootin’ all over, no static TV, and just a really really
nice looking color. And the corals will
appreciate not getting blasted with very specific spectrums like little spectrum laser
beams shootin’ all over. So, more diffuser options outta the people out there, I think. I really hope that we see
some of this stuff in 2020. Somebody step forward and say it. And I think if somebody went
and did all of those things, I think you’re gonna see somebody say, oh I’d pay for that. And especially in a world where LEDs should be getting cheaper, either one thing they should get cheaper to match the cheaper stuff, or the quality should come
up to maintain that price. It shouldn’t just sit
there and rest at that. So I really hope to see that. And I gotta tell ya, if you wanna see any
of the performance data or anything on installing lights, go over to our website, in the lighting category click on it, over on the right-hand side of that menu is a little tab, shows our videos, and there’s so many videos. I think we’ve got hundreds
of videos on lighting alone. Tons and most of these lights that are sitting in front of us. We have performance data. You can see the PAR,
the spread, the shimmer. We’re measuring the spectrum blending. All kinds of the reefiest, geekiest stuff that you could possibly do, and then showing you
actually how to use them to produce the results. So head on over to the website, click on the lighting
tab, click on the videos, you can watch all of ’em. If you want to, there’s a
quick little link right here and you can follow it
and head on over there. We will see you next week with
the next BRS Best of 2019.

97 thoughts on “Stop the reef tank lighting confusion! THESE are our Best Saltwater Aquarium Lights for 2019!

  1. BRS – what light do you sell that you think could adequately penetrate 46” and provide a mouth PAR for soft coral and or maybe LPS close to the bottom of that depth?

  2. Here is what I would like to see in 2020, the ridiculous prices going down. It is pretty clear from your stats that people don't want to spend an arm and a leg for lights and they should not have to.

  3. Hey Ryan the illumagic Blaze LED Line covers the tank. All lights come diffused with their signature lens covers that don’t fade out.

  4. In my opinion guys the best and proven success in the show is ATI T5 with Reefbrite xho combo. I have tried Radions, AI prime hd and ATI with reefbrites and the best results interms of growth and colour was achieved by ATI/Reefbrites…Thanks for the video though it was very helpful for the newbies atleast.

  5. Would love to see kessil come out with a panel fixture that has something like 9 A80 chips per 2 ft section. Would give great coverage along with no disco ball.

  6. What about the Aqamai LRM? Piont of contention, but i was able to pick up two of these bad boys for less than the cost of one! One new $246.00 and the other used needed a new power supply so ended up costing $100.00 (Ebay). I am surprised no one talks about these powerful wifi leds?

  7. You are describing the orphek alanticV4 in the end for improvements. They are too expensive though but if money was no option I would get those cause it is the wide blanket of lights from the led side.

  8. I personally thought the new Red Sea lights were great. They nailed the color spectrum for coral (and made it simple so you dont need a course to figure out the best colors). They also have insane par

  9. I won on R2R the noopsyche hybrid with k7 2 pro they have came along way. And the are really nice on my tank. Really surprised.
    At 75% I have 200-250 par

  10. Recently added T5s to my tank, went a DIY option because my tank has a 4' x 3' footprint and really didn't feel like 2 sets of hybrid fixtures plus I had all the parts from back in the day (I did have to replace a couple ballasts). My thoughts are 1) Man I forgot how drastically different color T5 bulbs were, ATi "Blue Plus" I definitely could see that green spike in it, but also I massively increased my maximum output without breaking the bank, went from PAR of 250 (highest rock) to 100 (sandbed) to 450 (highest rock) to 250 on the sandbed. Did so economically, and I get a blanket of light so everything is illuminated evenly with (hopefully) no brown sides in the future.

  11. "Stop the reef tank lighting confusion! THESE are our Best Saltwater Aquarium Lights for 2019!" Oh yeah, I can see the whole reef tank community agreeing with your picks, no endless discussion…..NOT….Oh well, friendly discussion is always good, most lights have their good and bad points.

  12. when ryan and randy are getting handsy with the products they could pass for QVC pitch men i love it!!!! set it and forget it!!!!!

  13. I run radion xr15s on my main display and on my plumbed in frag tank I run Black box and I grow SPS  all day long in both

  14. When can we see BRS produce lights? I mean that seems to be the only way to get reasonable priced reef equipment. If BRS starts making lights I bet Kessil and Ecotech will start shi##ing bricks.

  15. Id suggest the Illumagic blaze X for your 2020 line up! I know theyre only new in the states but theyre very popular in Australia!

  16. Hey Ryan, you said you'd like someone to come up with a fixture that blankets the whole tank and it made me think of Reef Breeders Photon series. I would love to see you test them and give your feedback. Logan is a awesome person and believe his lights meet that criteria. Please consider testing them and making a video on it.

  17. yall should make and sell your own strip light led like the reefbrites but with the full spectrum and intensity and instead of one strip 4 and 6 instead

  18. Funny how companies like fritz will not let BRS sell their salt because they only support brick and mortar stores not realizing if it was not for these guys a lot of people including myself would never have visited one in the first place. keep up the great work guys.

  19. Lol same with the mp pumps… u can't buy radions on Amazon prime, only reason why its your most popular light because everything else is on prime for cheaper and next day shipping

  20. I recently reviewed the Aqua Medic Angel and it's amazing how this fixture is flying under everyone's radar:

    https://youtu.be/MX7pvD-v-YU

    It's the only dense matrix with diffuse lighting strips included. It's also arguably the one that looks the best on top of a tank.

  21. Hey Brian how can I get a shirt like yours , I already have a few regulars from last Macna and reefapaloza Orlando but I love those 😳😳😳

  22. I liked my Kessils but the spread isn't anywhere near as wide as people make it out to be. Kessils are notorious for shadowing because of the single point of light. Great lights overall, but something to consider.

  23. I would like to see prices drop in 2020. LEDs and high purchase price have gone hand and hand since their introduction. Most reef hobbiest dont have several hundred to thousandsmof dollars to spend on lighting. The technology has not channged much mostly just increased wattage and improvements on LED color selection. I dont think we will be seeing that happen though. I do think we will see more built in defusers and better blending of the LEDs. Orphek has the right idea with the large panel instead of the cluster. If there was a way to combine the color of the Radion and the spread of the Orphek it would make the ultimate LED light.

  24. What do you guys think of the Illumagic Blaze X w/ the VItimini wings. Can this style of light, where the light is coming in from many angles, be the future for leds?

  25. Hi guys, the Orphek Atlantik is a panel LED. The unit is 2ft long and gives 4ft of diffused coverage for a mixed reef. Cost per foot for optimum coverage could be a good way of looking at it..

  26. I had a Radion G3 Xr30 over my 60 cube. I wasn’t a fan. The mounting arm was cheap; the light sagged and I said that like how the cord exited the fixture. I find them far too expensive. I also shouldn’t have to buy yet another Apex module or a Reeflink to control the light.

    I’m happy with my Red Sea 90s over my tank. They’re easy on the wallet; easy to control; the colors are great and the light is blended. Time will tell.

  27. You guys go dive on a reef it's a awsome experience ,rub elbows with marine biologists..Reefs all around the world are in trouble not enough talk about this in your vids.

  28. I need an advice. I'm planning to buy a 24" cube tank as an upgrade for my 20 gallon tank in which i have a few anemones. I currently have a Maxspect razor light in this tank and the anemones are doing just fine but it won't be enough for a larger tank. I'm thinking of purchasing the 24" T5 hybrid without the LEDs for the beginning for the new tank. Can someone suggest what type of T5 bulbs I should use? Thanks!

  29. 1 3' Maxspect for $600 or 2 4' Fluval Marines for $400 with an edge to edge coverage on a 4' tank and 700+ par at 3" to 120 par at 18" easily on a 4' long, 21" tall by 12" to 14" wide tank. I'd save the $200 and go with the Fluval.

  30. Since this is about lights and you brought up the Hybrid stuff… You said a while back that a light mount and shorter sides were coming for the Stellar, any update on that? I still have my CC ready and waiting for both of those.

  31. The Kessils, radions, and ais arent economical at all. I like you guys but your lying through your teeth if you call these lights economical at all. Theres a bunch of lights that meet the criteria you listed at 12:30 and that much cheaper and still reliable without going to blackboxes. Cant trust you guys at all when talking about economical and ive and many have spread that message. You guys are reliable for many things but advice about economical, you guys are abysmal at it.

  32. I have multiple different mix reef tanks. I have T5's, Kessils, and AI prime. One tank is 40g cube with only the AI. One tanks is standard 30g with single Kessil 350w (old school). One tank is 29G with only T5. One tank is 100g with T5's and LEDs. All my tanks are mixed reefs. SPS up top. LPS in the middle. Softys throughout. All of the lights are growing the corals. However some are working better than others. Through this little experiment I have conducted over the last 4 years I have found that a mix of T5's and LED's have the best result. The T5's spread the light where as the LED's add the higher par and shimmer. You will be very successful in lighting your reef with any of the LED's shown here in conjunction with T5's.

  33. just got two 26HD for my 72g bow. went from some ebay knock off. hopefully i made a good pick worried now after watching this

  34. It seems like to date that significant effort has come from electrical/design type engineers but the competitors have a huge opportunity advantage with software engineering.

  35. look for LED lights that are marketed for growing indoor plants, its more power, for much less money and works the same way. (search "LED grow light" on amazon) Thank me later

  36. Hi, if I adopt a hybrid solution with T5 I still have to use the same amount of LED per inch suggested from the seller and BRS? thanks

  37. I'm an unemployed fifteen year old looking to expand to a forty gallon and I'm on a tight budget… what do you recommend?

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