The variety of LED fixtures in the reef aquarium market continues to grow, and there are a number of Chinese manufacturers jumping into this segment. One of the more established companies is E.Shine. They recently sent us their latest model, the AquaSun 36×3-watt fixture. Featuring a 50/50 mixture of Cree XP-E Royal Blues and XP-G Cool Whites, this light comes out of the box equiped with a proven LED combo. It also includes a built-in controller/dimmer that can adjust the instensity of the white and blue channel over a 24hr time period.
The controller of the AquaSun LED also manages temperature with a fan and automatically dims the LED’s if temperature exceeds 80 degrees celsius. The whole package is made complete when you factor in the UL approved power supply, remote control, and hardware to either hang the fixture or tank mount it. They even throw in a screw driver! E.Shine can also custom tailor the LED ratio, and even include red and warm white Cree LEDs. You can also specify an insane variety of optical lenses for the fixture(15,30,45,60,90,120 degrees).
The Aquasun will be put throught its paces over a new 36″Lx18″Wx26″H tank. It will be interesting to see how the extra height of this tank will challenge the 20″ fixture and its 90 degree optics. For the time being, it is running over the tank empty.
There are some initial gripes:
- The fan is not silent. It’s not mechanically loud, but you can hear a lot of air moving. Fortunately, the fan only activates when the LED’s are above 80% intensity. Therefore, it is silent in the evening, when LED intensity ramps down. And you can create a custom tailored schedule to ensure peak intensity occurs during a time where noise isn’t a big deal. It’s really not loud, but the light is definitely not silent.
- The default program on the controller dims the lights to 5% at night, even though they can be manually dimmed to 1%. The default 5% is way to bright for moonlight. But, it is pretty easy to create your own 24hr program. The plan is to create a custom program with 1% intensity at night.
- The cord for the power supply is a tad short. According to the install guide, the power supply is to be mounted on top of the fixture with brackets. It is also designed to cut out in the event of water contact or submersion. But it would be nice to be able to move the power supply behind or underneath the aquarium. The trade-off would be too much cord for those that follow the directions and mount it to the fixture.
These are minor gripes for an affordable fixture. Overall, it’s an impressive unit for it’s pricepoint when you consider the number of LEDs in the fixture and the built-in controller with remote. Lookout a follow up review in the future, after it has been tested over a deep tank full of fresh frags.