We recently set up a new gyre flow frag tank, a 33 Long aquarium which is 48 inches long and lit by an assortment of lights including a NanoBox Reef LED. Since it’s winter and really dry in Colorado a full tank cover was added to help retain heat and water by preventing evaporation. However the tight fitting lid quickly developed a covering of little water droplets that at first seemed to be obscuring some of the light getting to the precious coral frags.
Initially there was concern that the droplets would diminish the amount of light reaching the frags and although the PAR may be slightly reduced directly under the NanoBox Reef LED, the PAR is actually about 10% higher at the margins of the frag tray. Not only is the light intensity more spread out there is also nearly perfect color mixing with no disco ball effect in the ripples of light hitting the frag tray.
It’s pretty easy to see how some droplets of water could be collecting and redistributing light from the LEDs of the NanoBox Reef LED which use only primary optics. It was really only serendipity that helped the realization that the droplets were actually helping the light field in this particular aquarium.
In other reef aquarium setups the formation of water droplets would disrupt the even distribution of light from a point source, especially in the case of LEDs using secondary lenses. But in this case the condensation of water droplets actually improved light distribution and it makes one wonder if there is potential to develop an LED diffuser that mimics the effect of water droplets.