January 14 2013,

The Reef Builders LED showdown is back! Last year we had a lot of fun letting you choose who you thought was the “top dog” in the LED showdown and wanted to let you all have the chance to weigh in on who you think should be named the top LED light of 2012. We wish we could line them all up and let them perform side-by-side to let you all chose, but we can’t do that so instead we will let you share your opinion on who you’d put over your corals in a head-to-head bracketology smackdown. Just like last year, we decided to lay it out March Madness style. We did our best to have a balanced bracket with a good selection and variety of lighting options in each pool. The method is simple — you vote on which of the two lights you like in each head-to-head poll and the winner will advance. Whatever light makes it through the gauntlet will earn honors as the 2012 Reef Builders LED Showdown Champion. The initial set of polls are open until 11:59 p.m. PST on Thursday, January 17. We decided to make this all about lights that were not only introduced in 2012, but began shipping in 2012. You will notice a few lights may not be mentioned because we had covered them in the 2011 contest.

led showdown 2012 rd1

Econolux SolarStinger NanoFlex/Cluster LED vs. Kessil A350/A350W Spotlight
The Econolux SolarStinger NanoFlex and Cluster LED have Econlux’s rainbow cluster LED, are passively cooled and have flexible mounting options including tank and side mounts are available in both freshwater and marine configurations.The Kessil A350 and Kessil A350W are powerful spotlight pendants with multiple LED colors, two channels of manual control, inaudible active cooling and a great price.

Vertex Illumina 260, 320, 360 vs. Reef Breeders 144W
Vertex Illumina 260, 320, 360 packed in CREE XTE diodes separated specifically by binning targeting different performance levels in three upgraded and high-performance models. The Reef Breeders 144W uses a modular design, has full controls through both a remote and an on fixture controller and a built in timer.

Coralife Aqualight LED vs. CadLights Multichip LED
Coralife Aqualight LED comes with a built in controller, some degree of color control and is loaded with Cree XP-sized LED chips in both blue and white. Coming in 30, 50 and 100W flavors, the CadLights Multichip LED feature built in timers and dimming controls of the supplemental LEDs and includes remote which also helps in programming the  lights.

Schuber Wright LED vs. Tunze LED Strip Lights
Schuber Wright LED  4W spotlight has an attractive side mounting arm and comes in an actinic blue color with a desirable low wavelength peak between 439 and 456 nm or a white color with an 8000K color temperature. The Tunze LED strip lights are waterproof with magnetic mounts with two channels of LEDs which will be independently controllable with the Tunze multicontroller.

AcanLighting Prism vs. GHL Mitras LX 6100
The AcanLighting Prism LED is a veritable cornucopia of different LED colors with more than eight colors of LEDs AcanLighting Prism has three channels of color control. GHL Mitras LX 6100 LED packs some serious punch, featuring nine separate dimmable channels of multicolor LED lighting. An on board controller allows the user to modify settings on the fixture and a USB interface for advanced programming.

Panorama Marine/Actinic LED vs. AquaLighter LED Nano and Striplights
The Panorama Marine LED and Panorama Actinic LED come in longer lengths and are a solid option for longer tanks. THe simple, yet powerful strips are equipped with a single long common reflector, tank mounting brackets and retrofit kit to fasten them into a canopy. The AquaLighter LED Striplights and AquaLighter LED Nano are some neat lights from the Ukraine that offer a nice looking, affordable light in freshwater and marine flavors.

StarkLED BluNova vs. Sunbrite F-Series
The StarkLED BlueNova has built wireless capability and control with three LED arrays of CREE XM-L Cool White, XP-E Blue and Royal Blue 5W LEDs all running at 5 watts. The SunBrite F-Series V1 and SunBrite F-Series V2 are both WiFi enabled that is fully controllable via an iphone app and has an array of Cree, Osram and UV LEDs. The V2 offers individual reflectors.

Blau Nano vs. Elos Elite 3
Small and sleek with two channels of LED control, the Blau Nano features feature 36 white LEDs and 24 blue LEDs and is an affordable option for smaller tanks. The Elos E-Lite 3 features customization and upgrade-ability options with interchangeable tops for easy color matching with your room and features replaceable LEDs.

Finnex Siriya LED vs. AquaIllumination Vega Color/Vega Blue
The Finnex Siraya LED fixture sports three Schuber Wright AC LED spotlights, yup AC not DC LEDs that run cooler and more efficient than a DC spotlight. The AquaIllumination Vega Color and Vega Blue lights each have 20 channels of control independently of the others with wireless control.

Maxspect Mazzarra X vs. E.Shine Aquasun
The E.Shine AquaSun has 36 LEDs featuring a 50/50 mixture of Cree XP-E Royal Blues and XP-G Cool Whites with built in timer and controller to dial in the light to suit your needs. The Maxspect Mazzarra X is a big step up for the other Mazzarra models with full-spectrum lighting and a built in controller of the Master unit.

Sicce Minu LED vs. Pacific Sun Triton R2
The Sicce Minu LED has 72 cool white LEDs and 4 royal blue LEDs for a combined total power of 20 watts in a svelte little package. The Pacific Sun Triton R2 is a modular LED aquarium fixture with a blend of 10 different LEDs grouped into eight channels of control that is available as either master or slave unit.

Eheim PowerLED vs. Build My LED
Eheim PowerLED has three color combinations — one with all blue diodes, one with a third blue and two thirds white diodes and one with two thirds blue and one third white diodes. With Build My LED you choose your own strip light features, select a preconfigured model or drag-and-drop to create your own from 16 different colors of Philips LumiLED Rebel diodes and then your choice between three different beam angles, all at one low price per length.

Xenoxon CoralStar LED vs. Maxspect Razor 
The Xenoxon Coralstar LED fixtures have some fresh and funky body colors and rely on panels of 1W LED clusters and are also available in a controllable versions. The Maxspect Razor replaced the individually replaceable LEDs with mutliple diode printed circuit boards to make swapping out LEDs much easier. The Razor also has a built-in controller, dual channel control, and six time points per channel to set your lighting schedule.

Giesemann Teszla/Futura vs. Orphek Nilus
The Giesemann Teszla is the basic impressive LED platform from the German lighting giant and the Giesemann Futura is a beefed up, supersized and radio controlled version of the Teszla. The Orphek Nilus is loaded with four LED colors — 30 White LEDs, 22 Blue LEDs, 4 Red LEDs and 4 UV/true violet LEDs — and is rated at 120W, which is more than enough for most reef setups.

Aquatic Life 3W/1W vs. Volx Grassy Solare
The AquaticLife 3W flagship light comes in at a total of 78 watts, made up of white, blue, royal blue and red Cree LEDs. The fixture is fully dimmable and allows up to 18 programmable color combinations, and features like cloud and storm simulation. The Volx Grassy Solare LED has aimed to replicate reef lighting spectrums found at five meters of water clear water and features four colors of blue LEDs.

Veritas Eclipse Smart vs. LEDtric iNSPIRE
The Veritas Controls Eclipse Smart LED has four colors of Cree XP-E and Cree XP-G LEDs (cool white, royal blue, red and green), wireless control, and a mobile application to rule it all. The LEDtric iNSPRE has five colors of LEDs to give you a full spectrum controllable via remote control with 55 LEDs.


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