After spending some time with the Sol Nano, here are my likes and dislikes:
1. This thing is tiny! Imagine stacking two hard drives for reference.
2. The Nano has a respectable light distribution for its size… No problem lighting a 20×20” tank, but I do believe the lower edges of the tank are probably better suited for lower light corals. An unexpected perk is zero light spillage and less growth on the glass.
3. The small size makes working in the tank much easier. I also enjoy the added viewing real estate from the surface. See picture below that compares it to the old disco ball.
4. The fan is silent. You would need mouse ears to hear it. I find equipment noise distracting to the tranquility of a reef tank. The silence of this unit blew me away.
5. The onboard controlls are fantastic for tuning the light spectrum to your preference. I look forward to trying out the AI controller for more versatility.
1. The included mounting bracket was a nice gesture, but I had a lot of trouble with it. Standard tanks with plastic trim will have to come up with a DIY mount. My tank is rimless, but the glass was too thin for the short plastic screws that clamp the mount. Thicker glass would suggest a larger tank, while this unit is targeted for “Nano” tanks. The length of the mount is short in regards to my 20×20” cube. The mounted light did extend past the built-in filtration chamber, but not far enough to light the forefront of the tank. I ended up mounting it to the flimsy false wall of the filter, which I had to reinforce with acrylic.
2. Having all that light originate from such a small point source has some ramifications.It results in some hard shadows. While I haven’t seen any recession, I do notice coral shading is much more apparent. The second issue is a very intense glimmer effect. I love glimmer lines, and I favor tanks illuminated with metal halides, but the glimmer from this fixture is intense and takes some getting used to. Imagine filming metal halide glimmer and replaying it at 2X speed. People with sensitive vision may not like this effect. However, the intense shimmer can be managed by reducing surface agitation.
Overall, I’m extremely impressed with the AI Nano LED. I’m thrilled with the tiny footprint, and 75% less energy consumption. If I was working with an sps-dominant tank of the same size, I would probably upsize to the standard Sol. But for a nice lps/softy cube, this light can definitely handle tanks on the larger end of nano reef volumes. I just wish it came with a better mounting bracket. In a few months, I’ll report back with long-term observations. So far, I’m impressed enough to consider LED technology for my 180-gallon sps reef.
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