The Radion G6 is the newest flagship reef aquarium light from Ecotech Marine that represents the latest generation of high performance LED fixtures for the reefing hobby. The designers and engineers in Bethlehem Pennsylvania had a high bar to surpass since they introduced so many new features in the Radion G5 that we didn’t know what was left to improve in the Radion G6 two years later.
Like so many consumer electronic products the lights, or car or phone you use today is still the same great product that you originally purchased so the release of the Radion G6 doesn’t undermine your fifth generation Radion Pro or Blue. But since the improvements to the Radion G6 is not a massive leap in light output or some radically new colors to add to the spectrum the question of whether to upgrade is really going to depend on the application and the user themselves.
We produced no fewer than three videos showcasing the Radion G5 and G6, Pro and Blue, side by side and attempted to illustrate all the differences and improvements you might see between the two generations and two different models. We started out by showing you the lights running the same spectrum on a table and really dove into how the colors compared to the eye, and how the new ratios of LED colors affected the overall spectrum but now we’re back with comparisons of the Radion G5 & G6 running side by side over a tank with real live corals.
Radion G6 Pro – If you’re running any lights other than the Radion G5 then for sure there’s a lot to compel a reef aquarist to consider the Radion G6 Pro for their newest light. If you’re already using the Radion G5 Pro then the upgrade to the Radion G6 will give users more spread and a more uniform light spread with a greatly reduced hotspot underneath the fixture.
Radion G6 Blue – If you are currently using the Radion G5 Blue we have to believe it’s because you wanted the most powerful and diverse blue spectrum possible and you really lean into having a blue-heavy light spectrum and all the accompanying coral colors. But one thing that Radion G5 Blue users weren’t totally in love with is the lime and cyan LEDs that help to inject a balance to the spectrum but most users opted to turn those down or not use them at all.
Ecotech Marine has removed the lime, cyan, and even the standard green LEDs from the Radion G6 Blue and has used that headroom to add even more of the blue spectrum we crave in the form of more Blue, more Violet, and more Ultraviolet LEDs. All of these new improvements sound good on paper but we were more than impressed by improvements to coloration in corals that already looked like they couldn’t be improved.
If you’re planning to use the Radion G6 the same as you’ve always used the Radion G5 then you won’t really see much of a difference in the overall appearance in the tank. But the real difference between the last two generations of Radions will come in the form of improved fluorescence from the extra Violet and UV LEDs and leveraging the increased spread to actually save on the upfront cost.
Spread – Perhaps one of the less obvious gains with the extra spread of the Radion G6 is that it’s really time to think about using more of the smaller Radion G6 XR15 lights instead of just XR30s. If before you could adequately light a four or five foot reef tank with two Radion G5 XR30s you’ll now be able to get very similar intensity and coverage with three Radion G6 XR15s which is a 25% savings on the sticker price.
Fluorescence – But one of the most significant reasons to consider upgrading to the Radion G6 is a very welcome boost in coral colors due to the extra Violet and UV LEDs which are also a new, more powerful generation of diodes. The Violet and UV color channels give a noticeable boost to existing fluorescence in your corals but over a period of a few weeks will stimulate the development of even more fluorescent pigments which will be most noticeable in the most colorful zoanthids, LPS and SPS corals.
Upgrade – Last but certainly not least is that Ecotech Marine has an upgrade path for current users to upgrade to the new LEDs in the Radion G6. $199 for the XR15 or $399 for the XR30 will enable users to enjoy the new greater spread and increased fluorescence but more importantly you’ll be able to convert a Radion G5 Pro to a Radion G6 Blue and vice versa should you so desire.
We might be enthusiasts for new reef aquarium gear but we care even more about how that equipment works for our tanks and how it makes our corals look. It’s challenging to summarize how the improvements to the Radion G6 translate into real life use of Ecotech’s newest lights so we we really tried to illustrate the differences in the two videos above and we hope it will be informative for reefers considering whether or not the Radion G6 is a good fit for them.