The guys at Bulk Reef Supply have done quite an in-depth and impressive video review of the Vertex Illumina LED fixture. Coming in at over 20 minutes this video really goes through the entire fixture in detail covering PAR readings, LED choices, programming features, build quality and even if the fixture gains the all-important “wife approved” rating. If you have the time grab a cup of java (or maybe a cold beer depending on where you are) and play the video. If you want to 30 second breakdown, click through after the break.
First off, Vertex recommends using a fixture one foot shorter than your tank due to the nice edge-to-edge spread the LEDs bring. That means if you have a 4-ft. long tank, you’ll want to opt for a 36 in. version. In the PAR readings BRS took, there was a nice balance of light and PAR distribution from top-to-bottom and side-to-side from Vertex’s choice of opting for a wide spread of light over using optics or reflectors to concentrate the lights. This spread means it is a great fixture for a mixed reef tank.
The team took the light through the programming paces and showcased all the features you can access through the programming interface and while it doesn’t look simple, there are quite a few customization controls to build your perfect dawn-to-dusk light cycle that can be mastered over time. The team also goes into the overall build quality and up-gradable LEDs if you want to add more LEDs or tap into the red or UV spectrum.
Long story short, this is an impressive fixture with the ability to be one of the longer-lasting fixtures from its quality build and ability to be upgraded over time. The full-featured LED light is also attractive earning Ryan Batcheller’s wife’s seal of approval for not being an eyesore.