The VHO T5 lamp fixture called the Tek Wave from Sunlight Supply is what has now trickled down to the market from the first incarnation of the intentionally VHO T5 fixture we first saw as the Tek Light Ultra Elite. What started out as an aggressively cooled VHO T5 fixture with supplemental blue LEDs for $799 has been distilled into a more economical light with a shorter name and a much smaller price.
At just $399 the Tek Wave VHO T5 light is now smaller and lighter, with an airy design that allows it to passively cool the higher powered T5 lamps. One of the first things that you’ll notice when looking at the Tek Wave fixture is the two inch gap between the polycarbonate splash guard/lens and the bulbs which permits airflow to rise up through the entire fixture. When we further examined the new Tek Wave light it was hard to tell whether there was more holes than actual sheet metal because every square inch of this light is perforated to allow for airflow; the top, sides, reflectors, and endcaps are highly slotted for passive upwards flow of hot air.
Not much has changed with new Aqualux bulbs since we first wrote them from ReefAPalooza. UNlike traditional HO T5 lamps which have been driven at Very High Output since the beginning of T5 lamps in the reef hobby, the Aqualux T5 tubes are true VHO lamps. Although the Aqualux bulbs were originally a half inch shorter as to not be confused with regular T5 tubes, this is no longer the case and they are available in a full 48 inches long, but only in that size. While sizing up the new light we were able to give a quick weight comparison between the Aqualux VHO with its thicker glass and beefier cathodes and a standard issue Giesemann T5 lamp. VHO Aqualux T5 tubes weigh a full 11 grams heavier than their HO counterpart so there is no small difference in materials between the two.
A few things are important to note about the Tek Wave VHO T5 light from Sunlight Supply, not the least of which is its American fabrication which is machined and assembled in Washington State. Although the four Aqualux VHO lamps are available in the most popular colors (daylight, 10K, actinic and blue), if you want to use this light these are the only four bulbs that you will ever be able to use so you can forget about using Powerchrome Aquapink or Fiji Purple lamps. Furthermore, in the dusty environment surrounding a typical reef aquarium or a reef shop, dust and minute salt spray will slowly buildup on the topside of the spaced out polycarbonate shield. At least the thumb screws holding up the lens are easily removed and replaced but it will a little bit of maintenance to ensure that the lens is clear.
We are told that Sunlight Supply has already started full scale production of the Tek Wave VHO T5 fixture which has begun shipping nationwide and Marine Depot already has the new light listed for sale on their website.