Panorama Marine & Actinic LED strips produce some unbelievably colorful soft and stony corals

By on Dec 07, 2012

The Panorama LED strip light has been around in some form or another for years now, and the Panorama LED fixture really shows the experience that Ecoxotic has gained during that time. Coming in a mixed-color Marine and an all blue Actinic version, the Panorama fixture represents a carefully thought out reef aquarium experience from the dealer to the final owner. Each Panorama LED Fixture is a complete lighting kit which is memorable to see on store shelves, extremely well equipped when you open it and best of all, it makes some crazy-beautiful looking corals.

The Panorama LED fixture is a fully loaded aquarium LED lighting kit. The abundant acessories that come with the come with each Panorama fixture are neatly packaged into an extremely informative full color printed box. Before you even open the it the display presence of each Panorama LED Fixture is bursting at the seams with everything you could ever want to know about it, including sizing guides, how much lighting is required for different groups of corals and what kind of aquarium you have.

The Panorama’s strip of LEDs is equipped with a common reflector to drive light down into the tank and the fixture is available in a wide range of lengths to accomodate many different tank sizes. Small and unobtrusive mounting legs allow the Panorama fixture to be mounted a couple inches above the aquarium while resting on the tank sides. Other mounting options allow users to easily affix the Panorama LED Fixture to an aquarium canopy, neatly a little bit removed from the mounting surface since the LED strip needs some room to circulate air for passive cooling.

Other items you’ll find in the box include the power supply, inline dimmers (two in the case of the two-channel Marine LED), splitters if necessary and the token Ecoxotic chammy to keep the LED strip clean. Another nice thoughtful touch is the inclusion of velcro strip so you can create a clean install by affixing the inline dimmers in a useful place. The use of a black nylon wire guard to keep the cords really clean is a nice touch and basically the whole set up stops short of sending someone to your house to help you have the most plug-and-play installation experience no matter what your setup.

The moment we first learned that Ecoxotic was making longer sizes of the Panorama Pro LED striplights into a full-on LED fixture we knew we wanted to use a couple of them over our gyre-flow powered frag tank. Measuring in at 48 inches long with a divider neatly dividing the water into a continuous gyre of water movement, the 33 gallon Long aquarium is a shoe-in for use with Panorama LED Fixture.

The Gyre Frag Tank at RB HQ uses one of each of the Marine Panorama and Actinic Panorama LED fixtures to cover a 48 x 12 inch (120 x 30 centimer) area used and intended primarily for high light SPS corals. The use of two Panorama LED for this purpose is perfect for the really light hungry corals but we actually had to reduce the intensity and duration of the Marine colored LED striplight because it was causing some real lightening of the corals, nearly bleaching some Montipora and lower light Acros. We imagine we could get away using the same lighting on a 55 gallon aquarium with more height using this same configuration.

Putting aside the user experience, the efficiency of the LEDs and the look of the fixture, at the end of the day the only thing that truly matters to us is how the corals look and respond and grow under a particular light over time. By that metric the Panorama Pro produces the most uniform light field possible in this coral propagation setup making it easy to place corals within the aquarium, and obviously delivering the quantity and quality of light that makes a range of soft and stony corals look amazing.

Truly, even after looking at this tank day in day out for about a year, with Panorama LEDs on it for over five months, the look of the SPS corals still takes us by surprise. Visitors who see these vibrant stony coral colonies and frags almost always ask me what we are doing special and aside from good water quality we attribute the look of the corals in the frag tank principally to the Panorama LED strip light fixtures. As with almost all LEDs the Panorama LED Fixture doesn’t deliver the sweeping color rendition that comes with using T5 fluorescents, so it is lacking a little bit of color in the red, pink and purple end of the spectrum but at 100 watts it already uses less than half the power that this tank previously consumed with Tee Fives.

With such overwhelming success on this particular setup we can’t imagine using any other LED light on this long and shallow tank. You ay have spotted two particularly dark staghorn acros residing at either end of the frag setup and those are there to color up. The coral-coloring experience using the Panorama LED has been so dramatic that we’re taking greater enjoyment from buying brown corals for their potential than we ever have. We’re practically trawling the mid-grade LFS in town specifically to look for brown corals that could use a little LED love; that amazing orange-polyp-purple Porites was the first prime example of doing this deliberately.

The final piece temporarily missing from the Panorama LED ecosystem is the One Touch controller to automatically time and dim the striplights. The One Touch is expected to start shipping next week and although we’ve had one for a while, until a single larger power supply is available we’ve only been able to run the One-Touch controller on the two-channel Marine Panorama LED strip.

We (and our corals) couldn’t be more satisfied with the results of using two Panorama LED fixtures to color and grow stony corals in this frag tank. The corals look great, the overall setup looks great and we didn’t make a single run to the hardware store to do it since the Panorama LED came with everything needed. As Ecoxotic releases more colors of Panorama strips in the future, aquarists will be able to mix and match LED colors over their reef tanks much in the same way that we did in the past with fluorescent lighting. The only thing different is that now we’l be saving money on power consumption and the lack of replacing tubes so reefers will have more money for frags.

FTC regulations require that we inform you that we were given this product for review, but our opinion of a product is never affected by how we acquire them.

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