The Cetus2 LED is an interesting and capable controllable LED light with an attractive cluster of multicolor diodes. We’ve been running a pair of them on our 75 gallon Euphyllia tank for about a year and always ‘thought’ they ran somewhere around 50 watts.
This misperception was due to our experience with comparable 50 watt lights and the apparent brightness of the lights over their tank. Despite our initial writeup of the Cetus2 way back in 2017 claiming 84 watts, it wasn’t until we came across a recent advert for Tropical Marine Centre’s private labeled version called the Reef Photon that we began to sense something was amiss.
The original light is called an 84 watt by maker HM Electronics but this number is arrived at by adding up the maximum power that each LED could be driven at, and not the actual power of the light itself. In the Cetus2 AquaticLife has found a perfect matchup for their hybrid T5 HO LED fixture and while they have retained some of the original marketing with the 84 watt number, they have in the past clearly stated that this is in fact a 64 watt LED light.
Meanwhile TMC has really leaned into the hypothetical 84 watt number with the misleading rating more boldly emblazoned on the product packaging than any other comparable reef aquarium LED light. The product detail page for the TMC Reef Photon also repeatedly claims “Full spectrum reef capable lighting with 84w max output” but when asked about this TMC candidly admitted that it actually outputs 20% less than that.
It’s not unusual to see these kinds of misleading claims from generic aquarium companies but it’s really shocking to see this from a self professed “back bone of the industry and hobby in the UK”. This begs the question, how many other companies and products – not just LED lights – are delivering much less power than advertised?
How many of these companies that have invested in rebadging Chinese aquarium products are simply echoing the claims of their Original Equipment Manufacturers? Pumps, lights, protein skimmers, there’s a lot of room to fudge the numbers, especially when no one is actively looking. We encourage everyone to test, measure and double check the claims of the aquarium products they are using because this is the information age, and misleading product labeling should not be tolerated in our hobby.
The sad part is that the Cetus 2 ctually is a pretty nice little light, we wouldn’t have used it for a year if we didn’t like it. But when a manufacturer is claiming 20% more light than it actually puts out, it doesn’t leave the consumer with warm and fuzzy feelings about it.