The AquaIllumination Hydra TwentySix joins its big brother, the Hydra FiftyTwo, at interzoo 2014. While it may resemble the AI Nano in size, the similarity ends there. The Hydra TwentySix has more output than the original Hydra, including six additional LEDs. Impressive when you consider that it is slightly more than half the size of the original Hydra.
The smaller size also makes it more flexible in application as well. The TwentySix punches a lot of par into a 24 in. space with its 80-degree frosted lens. There are plenty of tank sizes where a Hydra FiftyTwo is overkill and the TwentySix fits the use case better. The smaller size also minimizes the visual impact on the display, allowing greater viewing opportunity from the top. Its diminutive size definitely makes it a viable option for nano-reefs as well, but one should definitely consider scaling back the output.
Each puck consists of four Cool White XT-E, Royal Blue XT-E, two Very Deep Blue, one 415nm Violet, red, green and 400nm UV diodes. Max output is reported at 263 uM. At $399 US, the TwentySix costs the same as the Hydra. It also runs at the same wattage as the original Hydra, which is around 90W, but you get 15% increase in PAR values all in a smaller package. Like its big brother, the TwentySix is wireless and is compatible with AI controllers and mounting rails.
The Hydra TwentySix serves as a potential successor to the original Hydra at its price point, and compliments the FiftyTwo by filling a void for a smaller fixture with the same color blend and power.