The Solar Genesis plasma grow light from Chameleon Grow Systems is arguably one of the best looking and best performing lights we’ve yet seen using the LIFI component from Luxim. We recently had the chance to meet with the president of CGS Chris Pieser, who brought his Solar Genesis I plasma light to the Denver Downtown Aquarium so we could see what this light can do over some seriously large displays of fish and reef aquariums.
The first tank that we (literally) perched the Solar Genesis plasma grow light over was a swimming pool sized fish display adjacent to the restaurant portion of the Denver Downtown Aquarium. From this first demonstration it was abundantly clear that the horizontal orientation of the STA 41 series of LIFI plasma from Luxim is considerably brighter than the previous axial orientation of the first STA 40 component that introduced the aquarium hobby light emitting plasma in the first place. Even at a depth of about 12 feet through less than crystal clear water of the fish tank the Solar Genesis plasma grow light was bright enough to read by and the single point source light was producing some very dramatic shadows from the fish swimming around.
The next tank that we tested the Solar Genesis plasma grow light over is about a 500 gallon mixed reef aquarium with a diversity of mushrooms, leather and soft corals, LPS and some macroalgae. Qualitatively, the color rendition of the Gemini grow light was not bad for a plasma light and off the cuff we’d rate it at 8,000 Kelvin because of the nice color rendition in the red end of the spectrum. The STA 41.02 plasma component used in the Solar Genesis plasma grow light is actually rated at 5700K but this is a much more balanced light field than you’d expect from a 6,000 Kelvin metal halide lamp.
What was perhaps the best test of the Solar Genesis grow light is when it was fired up next to the 1,000 watt metal halide lamp which normally lights up this reef. Although the 300 watt Solar Genesis looks much brighter in the picture, and indeed it was over a narrow area, the 1,000 watt metal halide lamp had a much more even and broader light distribution. Still, the fact that the 300 watt Solar Genesis plasma light was able to be compared to a 1,000 watt metal halide is impressive enough, especially when you factor in the lifetime operating cost of this unit versus the metal halide which pulls three times more power, produces more heat and requires yearly lamp replacement.
Below you’ll find a close up photos of the hear of the Solar Genesis plasma grow light, first the actual light emitting plasma emitter made by Luxim and below that is the assembly of the plasma emitter coupled with the backstop and reflector that helps to direct the light where it needs to go. Huge thanks to Chris Pieser of Chameleon Grow Systems for taking some time to meet and show us the Solar Genesis I plasma grow light and to Rob Brynda, curator of the Denver Downtown Aquarium for letting us blind his corals and fish. For more information about the Solar Genesis plasma grow light visit the Chameleon Grow Systems website and see our previous coverage of the Gemini plasma grow light.