The A.R.I.D. Chaetomorpha filters from Pax Bellum are some of the most interesting algae scrubbers that we’ve seen in years. Having been in development for somewhere near half a decade, the unique design features a tube of high output LEDs that is surrounded in living and growing macroalgae.
It is well known that LEDs produce a lot of localized heat, so managing the thermal energy of these lighting components is a top priority to keeping the diodes from overheating. With this in mind, placing lots of high powered LEDs in a confined space is not advisable, but Pax Bellum has come up with a truly innovative way to implement this approach to offering an algae filter with really bright light within a closed tube.
The LED light of the A.R.I.D. filter slip right into a large quartz sleeve that isolates the light from the water, but really diminishes the volume within which the LEDs are housed. At first glance you might suppose that the Pax Bellum LED tube is made from LED ‘rope lights’ wrapped around some kind of metal tube, and attached to the external heatsink. You’d be partly right but Pax Bellum really took their LED heat-sinking to the next level.
this copper tube is actually a functioning heat pipe
The LEDs themselves are wrapped around a metal tube, but this copper tube is actually a functioning heat pipe. The copper pipe in the center of the LED tube is actually sealed under a vacuum, and contains a small amount of working vaporizing fluid.
As the vapor fluid heats up, it evaporates and rises in the pipe. When this fluid vapor reaches the cooler part of the top-mounted heatsink, it condenses and falls back down the copper pipe. The fluid cycle of evaporation and condensation essentially moves thermal energy out of the copper pipe and towards the externally mounted heatsink.
The truly innovative design of the Pax Bellum heat pipe LED tube is definitely the “secret sauce” which allows their A.R.I.D. filter to provide a high intensity of lighting to the macroalgae within. No other lighting design we know of can pack as much power within a small confined space as the working heat pipe heat sink that Pax Bellum has created, and has rightfully applied for patent.
In the large commercial sized A.R.I.D. C-30 filter we recently installed at Unique Corals, the LED tube contains an even mix of white and red LEDs with a total power output of 42 watts. There’s just no way you could pack in so much power and efficiency into such a small volume without the innovative design of Pax-Bellum’s LED solution.
Stay tuned for a follow up post where we give our first impression of our hands-on time unboxing and installing one of Pax-Bellum’s large A.R.I.D. chaetomorpha filter.