While spending time with the DFWMAS crew last year and getting a rare bit of time to tour around the vendor area, I ran into Joy Meadows of ReefBrite and I was blinded by her table of LED lights. ReefBrite had all sorts of LED strip lights on display, and what caught my attention was this little silver 8-inch model, a 9 watt, 6 LED striplight in a heavy, high quality aluminum housing. Our club was doing an acrylic tank building workshop, and this small LED might very well have been the perfect light for a Pico-Reef in a 2.5 gallon acrylic tank. Impressed by the brilliant light it output, I continued on. As the show was wrapping up, Joy found me and handed me this little 8-inch wonder to test out.
The ReefBrite TECH LED strip was set up at the aquarium club acrylic workshop the following month with copies of the literature ReefBrite had provided, and many of our club member went home with bedazzled eyes. My eagerness to set up the 2.5 gallon tank was tempered by the reality that I already have 15 or 20 tanks running depending on how you want to count them, and I had yet to devise the mounting system I envisioned to utilize the light over a pico reef. So it just kinda sat there.
All that changed when my Caribbean biotope reef took a turn for the worse with a bad outbreak of Crypotocaryon. Unable to remove all the fish to hospital tank situations, I was forced to instead attempt to control the outbreak within the main system. It would be easier to remove the few Gorgonians and the two aquacultured live rocks that had small patches of Caribbean some brown, nondescript stony corals. Removal was easy, and I had a spare 20 gallon tank already in operation as a former QT tank. After a drain and fill, the Gorgonians and live rock would go there. The system had no light of any kind so that’s when the little 8 inch LED wonder that had been sitting on the shelf was put into action.
This little 8″ LED dynamo ran for 4 months, 24/7, keeping these Gorgonians and live rock alive, and it has done so very well. With no real way to mount the fixture, the LEDs simply rested on the glass cover. Every 12 hours or so I simply moved the light from one end of the 20 gallon long to the other end, creating “day” on one side while it’s “night” on the other. Surprisingly the Gorgonians got the hang of it quickly and seem unaffected by the lighting regime. I even had one of the gorgonians put down several square inches of new encrusting base on the tank glass!!! The stony corals are even growing in QT under this makeshift lighting arrangement. I can’t help but wonder what other uses a small, high-powered LED unit like this could offer.
I’ve had more than one occasion where the main lighting on a reef has catastrophically failed and left me without any backup. Each time this has occurred, corals have wound up going for days or weeks without lighting while replacement parts were being shipped, and many corals were lost during those waiting periods. When thinking about the types of backup equipment one should keep on hand, after heaters and water pumps, it might be a great piece of mind to consider what you’d do if the main lighting were to fail. And when it comes right down to it, it is impressive what the 9 watt LED from ReefBrite was able to accomplish and many of the gorgonians in the re-established display system are only alive because I had this fantastic little light on hand.
ReefBrite provided these details about the TECH LED striplighte –
“They are available for sale min msrp is $125.00. They are also available in Actinic and full spectrum White. It comes with a 30 watt power supply. It has 6 leds and runs at 9 watts. The Tech leds are available from 8″ to 72″ in all 3 colors.”
FTC regulations require that we inform you that we were given this product, but our opinion of a product is never affected by how we acquire them.