Home | Aquarium Equipment | New LED lighting technology coming to TFP – Part 1

New LED lighting technology coming to TFP – Part 1

Aquarium with 2 Panorama LED fixture Dave here.  I just got back from a trip to California to visit with the folks from Ecoxotic, a new aquarium lighting company that specializes in LED technology.  Many thanks to Ecoxotic for the opportunity,not only was the trip informative, but it is much warmer in southern California than it is here in frosty Pennsylvania.  Ecoxotic has just started shipping product this month, and we will have it here at TFP very soon, so I wanted to give a quick rundown of the new products that we will be carrying from this exciting new company.

LED technology (Light Emitting Diode) has been around for quite a few years in the aquarium hobby, mostly as “night lights” in traditional fluorescent and metal halide fixtures, or as supplemental lighting like the Current PowerBrite lighting systems.  LED lights are extremely energy efficient, produce little heat, have a usable lifespan up to 50,000 hours, and they’re environmentally friendly, as they have no mercury like other aquarium bulbs.  As the technology  has advanced over the last few years, we have started to see more applications for the LED lights that include high output versions, and complete aquarium lighting systems.

Ecoxotic has come out with a line of LED aquarium lighting equipment that, as their tag line states, is “Endangering the Status Quo”.  There are three main products included in the launch of  the Ecoxotic line;  The Panorama light fixture, The Panorama Module, and the Stunner LED strip.

Panorama LEDThe Panorama light fixtures come in two models, a 171/2” and a 23 ½” version.  These two fixtures can be used on aquariums as small as 18” to as long as you need using multiple units (for example, a 48” aquarium is well lit using two 23 ½” inch Panorama units)  The Panorama units come complete with everything that you need to set up the lights including a well designed mounting system that has a handy tilting feature for aquarium maintenance.  The Panorama units use a combination of 8000K and 453nm actinic LED bulbs to provide a full spectrum light source, capable of supporting a reef aquarium.  Ecoxotic has tested these lighting systems on corals for over a year with great success.  These units have no moving parts, and are completely quiet, and produce virtually no heat, eliminating the need for chillers or other cooling equipment.  The heart of the panorama fixtures is the panorama module, which I will explain below.  Each module has its own 12v power supply, and are easily replace, with the units user friendly design.  The 17 ½” fixture uses four panorama modules, and the 23 1/2’’ model uses 6 modules.  As an introductory offer every new Panorama fixture will also include one Stunner LED actinic strip, which I will also explain below.

The Panorama module is a sealed LED strip, with an acrylic lens cover, each module has 12 one watt high output LED bulbs Eight 8000K, and four 453nm actinic in each module.  These modules are a component of the Panorama fixture, and are also sold individually as a module for a complete retrofit lighting option.

Bubble Coral under 403nm Stunner LEDThe Stunner LED strips are a very cool product, with many uses, and comes in four different light spectrums for most any aquarium application.  Each Stunner has twenty four 1/4watt LED bulbs for a total of 6 watts each.  The Stunners are available in an 8000k, 453nm actinic, 403nm ultraviolet, and a 8000k/453nm actinic combo light spectrum.  The strips are sold individually, and require a 24v power transformer, also sold separately.  The 24v transformer can power up to 6 Stunners, which can be linked together with their included connectors.  There are several ways to mount the stunner strips, included with each is adhesive tape, special mounting clips, or there are also screw holes in the end of the units for maximum flexibility depending on application..

We are really excited about these new products here at TFP, we will have them in stock soon, and we will have some working displays up here in our retail store in the coming weeks.  Check out our website, or stop in to have a look at these cool new lights




  1. avatar

    So, after seeing the base price, how long is the ROI (return on investment)? A year or more?
    If the lights never lose their potency I can see it being a good investment, if they need to be swapped as often as T5/MH will the money ever be recouped?
    What about the measurable power consumption? Before I fork over $1400, I’d like to see some real data
    Thank you, PS say hi to Sara

  2. avatar

    Dan, Good questions, The energy savings is significant with these fixtures. The 17 1/2″ Panorama has a rated power consumption of 46 watts, and the 23 1/2″ model is rated at 72 watts. If you are lighting a 4′ tank you are looking at good energy savings vs. 4 bulb T5 fixture (144 watts vs 216 watts) and excellent savings vs a T5/MH fixture (144 watts vs. 408 watts) Another important thing to consider is heat production, LED lights produce virtually no heat, so in many cases there are additional savings from eliminating the need for a chiller, and reduced air conditioning requirements in the home.
    LED bulbs have a rated lifespan of up to 50,000 hours, with 12 hours per day of use, that is well over 10 years. Real world performance is not likely to be that long, but it is realistic to say they have at least 5 times the expected usable life of T5 bulbs, and more than that compared to Metal Halide. Plus you have the added environmental factor that there is no Mercury in these bulbs when it is time to dispose of them.

    So while the initial investment is considerable, the long term performance and return on investment looks to be very good, especially for folks who live in areas where electricity cost are going thru the roof.

    Again, thanks for the questions, this technology is new to us as well, we are learning as much as we can also


  3. avatar

    These look beautiful.

    What are your thoughts on using these on a 6 foot tank dominated by SPS? Is there enough light to maintain coloration? (My tank is 24″ deep)

  4. avatar

    These lights are not going to be enough output for an SPS dominated tank, these fixtures use 1 watt LED bulbs, with a total of 72 watts each on the 24″ model. They are not going have enough punch for a 24″ deep tank. I would reccomend these for a LPS, soft coral, Zooanthid type of setup. You should be able to keep some SPS with these lights, so long as they are mounted high in the tank. We should have some High Output LED options available later in the year that will be good for a deeper SPS dominated tank. The Stunner actinic LED strips will add very nice color enhanchancement when added to a traditional Metal Halide system.

  5. avatar

    Had a question wanting to start a 47 column tank with a 30 inch depth. Probably going to have mainly live rock, soft coral, and Zooanthid.

    Would this be an option for me?

  6. avatar

    The Panorama LED light is perfect for tanks with Soft Corals, Zooanthids, and some of the lower light demanding LPS, SPS, and mushrooms corals. 30″ is pushing the limits of the output for these fixtures, but with selective placement of your specimens, I think that you will be very happy with the color and appearance of your tank with the Panorama fixture.

  7. avatar

    i have a 72″ nova extreme pro and a 36″ nova extreme pro.. would it be possible to retrofit these into my current fixtures?

  8. avatar

    Lisa, The Stunner LED strips can easily be added to most light fixtures, they have a very small footprint ( less than an inch wide ), and have multiple mounting options for different applications. You can link up to 6 Stunners on a single transformer, so wiring is easy. The Panorama Modules are a bit larger and may be difficult to mount in the Nova Extreme fixtures. I would Reccomend mounting the Stunners as far away from the T5 bulbs as possible, you do not want them to get too hot, that will shorten their life span.

  9. avatar

    how well will this work over a 36x18x21 21 being depth of course. acrylic tank.

  10. avatar

    David, The Panorama fixtures would work very nicely for that aquarium, I would recomend using two of the 17 1/2″ fixtures if you plan on keeping higher light requiring species of corals.

  11. avatar

    Can the panoramic light fixture be mounted inside a standard wood canopy hood or must you use the mounts it comes with?

  12. avatar

    The Panorama fixture is not designed for mounting inside a canopy, they should only be used with the supplied hardware. What you want to use for a retrofit canopy situation, are the the Panorama modules. They mount easily inside of a hood, and have built in heat sinks and mounting brackets. The modules can be spaced out to fit any size aquarium, and are available in the same LED configuration as the fixture, as well as a 453 nm actinic only version.

  13. avatar

    What is the conversion of lumens to watts vs other types of lights? For example how many stunner strips do i need to replace 3 8watt t5’s, or on a larger level how many stunners to replace a 150 watt metal halide.

  14. avatar


    That is a tricky question, in general, the LED lights put out much higher levels of PAR per watt than either flourescent or metal halide fixtures. I do not have a conversion for LED vs. the others, and it is going to vary from bulb to bulb, manufacturer to manufacturer, even when you are talking about the same types of bulb. If I can get some hard numbers specific to the Stunners, I will post them. The Stunners, are designed as a supplemental light source, and at only 6 watts each, are not going to be much of a primary light source for anything but a very small tank. However, for replacing small 8w T5 bulbs, the Stunners are going to be more that adequate, and I would think that they will provide much higher PAR levels than those bulbs.

  15. avatar

    I have a question about this–I have a FOWLR setup in an eclipse 12 and the ballast seems to have broken. Could I retrofit a panorama module into the existing hood and call it a day since I don’t really have anything that requires that much light? It’s a pretty small tank and was getting by with the 13 watts, would 1 module provide a similar amount of light, or would I need more?

    Thanks in advance!

  16. avatar

    Seth, the Panorama module would provide more than enough light for an eclipse 12. The amount of light output of the 12w module is considerably greater than the 13w Power Compact light that is currently in the Eclipse 12 hood. If you are not keeping corals, you may want to look into replacing the hood with an original Part (Item # 219999) Modifying the hood to fit the LED light is going to be challenging, and should only be attempted if you are capable of mounting the lights safely. The Module is 12 3/4″ long and is mounted with a screw in each end. The stunner strips may be a better option for to look at, they are much smaller, and may be less challenging to install.


  17. avatar

    Hi I have a 20″ long x 10″ deep x 16″ tall saltwater tank that has a 6″ canopy that has 2 compact fluorescent 40w 16″ bulbs. one is a 10k/460 the other is a 420/460. I was thinking of going with the panorama 12w led module. How many modules do you think would work.I have live rock and sand, mushrooms, leather, Kenya tree, green star, Zoanthids, polyps, and Xenia. And two clown fish.

  18. avatar

    steve, I would probably recomend using two of the Panorama Modules to cover the 20″ tank, the modules are 12 3/4″ long each. The other option to consider is a single Panorama module, and a combination of Stunner strips if you want more actinic color for the tank.

  19. avatar

    Hi, I have a freshwater 125 heavely planted tank, 50 neons 2 rams, 2 flying foxes. Most are well but some Neons have flattened bellys and are swimming at a different angle than the healthy looking ones. Is this Neon Decease or a swim bladder problem or something else? Is it infectuous or treatable? Temp 82 degrees, PH 7.2, Tank has never been torn down since 1996, fed on frozen brine shrimp and bloodworms. Any help would be appreciated.

  20. avatar

    Hi, i have a 8’L x 18”W x 24”D tank i believe it’s a 220 gal. i need lighting, what would you recommend i use the panorama or the combination lighting t5’s with m/h and moon glows. I’m at the point of lighting but don’t no witch direction to move in, please help i can only afford to spend the money one time, i have to get it right , the first time out. i will be raising live rock, some corals and fish . Thanks

  21. avatar

    Steve, it is difficult to say what the problem with the Neons may be. If possible, email some pictures of the affected fish to Marinebio@thatpetplace.com, we would be happy to take a look as see if we can help. Typically “Neon Disease” shows itself as a loss of coloration along the dorsal surface, along with abnormal swimming behavior. This disease is not treatable, and is infectious. Sunken bellies are usually a sign of internal parasites, or long term nutritional problems. You can feed them medicated food for internal parasites. If all you are feeding is bloodworms and brine shrimp, I would reccomend varying the diet of the fish to include a staple flake and/or pellet to your feeding regiment.

  22. avatar

    Rick, an 8 foot tank presents a challenge to light, especially if you need to mount the lights on top of the aquarium. Either of these light types can be used depending upon what type of corals you want to keep in the aquarium, the rock and fish will be fine with any of the lights. The higher the light damanding corals you wish to keep will detirmine what kind of light you should use. High light requiring SPS corals will do better under the combination MH light. You could suspend two of the 4′ fixtures over the tank if that is an option. If you are keeping lower light demanding LPS or soft corals, then the Panorama fixtures may be a better choice, and can be mounted to your stand with the supplied brackets, space the fixtures in between your center braces, you will need three or four fixtures to cover an 8′ tank, depending on where and how many center braces you have.

  23. avatar

    Hi, I have a Biocube 29 and wanted to put some SPS in. How many of the Panorama Modules do you think i would need if I replaced the stock PC lighting with them? Thanks.

  24. avatar

    I have a 250 gallon reef tank with with a center overflow, making the tank a ‘walk-around.’ It presently has 2-250 watt halides, and 8-96 watt power compacts. The halides are mounted on left and right side of the center overflow, and the compacts are mounted across the front and back (4 across the font of the canopy where it lifts, and 4 across the back that lifts). The canopy is completely enclosed and is cooled by 2 large cooling fans that pull air up from the sump area up through the center overflow wiring area and exhaust the air through the ends of the wooden canopy. (Sorry for the long description!!)

    The heat build-up is not bad in the tank at all, and is controlled by my chilller quite nicely. However, my air conditioner cannot keep up with the tremendous heat that this lighting exhausts into the living room! Also it’s quite a pull on the electric bill!

    The tank has been established for 8 years and SPS grow only in the upper 1/4 of the tank, and the rest is dominated by LPS, soft corals, zoo’s, etc. My clams are also very high in the tank. Tank depth is 30 inches with 6 inches of live sand.

    Do you think I could replace the lighting I presently have and achieve sustainable results with these LED’s? And, I wonder if you would go so far as to suggest a set up of Modules to replace what I have?

    Thanks if you have time to respond…or the patience! HA!

  25. avatar

    Kelly, what are the dimensions of your tank? The Panorama fixtures, depending on your reflector and bulb set up, are probably not quite as strong as a 250w MH bulb, and are not really designed for use inside a canopy. What may work well for you is a combination of HO T5 bulbs, and some LED actinic supplementation. T5 bulbs are cooler running and are more energy efficient that your current PC bulbs. Ecoxotic has an all new Actinic only Panorama module (248733), that will work well in a canopy setup. You could also go all LED using multiples of the Panorama Modules, It would take quite few, they are only 13″ long each. If a standard light fixture can be used, you may want to look at the Ice Cap T5/ LED fixtures.

  26. avatar

    Similar to Jay’s question, but I didn’t see any response on the blog. I have a 29 gallon Oceanic Biocube and would like to replace the stock lighting. From the manufacturer videos it appears the stunner strips are a safer option than the panorama module(s). How many stunner strips do you recommend and what color(s)? I was thinking of perhaps two of the combo strips. (If need be I could always add more later). My nano reef houses seahorses, zoanthids, feather dusters, gorgonia, a mandarin goby, a firefish goby and a pair of peppermint shrimp.

  27. avatar

    Heather, Unfortunately we do not have a 29 gallon biocube here for me to look at up close. From looking at pictures, I agree that using stunners would be an easier modification, but I am not sure that two of them is going to be enought light. I think that you will need 3 or 4 of them to provide enough light for your corals. I would do a combination of the mixed LED and the actinic LED strips.

  28. avatar

    Thanks for the input…I think you’re right on target with the recommendation for 3 or 4 stunner strips. I stopped by a local LFS today that is an authorized retailer for Ecoxotic and the rep I know said the best formula when converting from compact fluorescents to LEDs is to take the wattage I normally run in compact fluorescents and divide it by 4. The result is what the combined LED wattage should be to give similar coverage.

    The 29 gallon Oceanic Biocube is sold with two 36 watt CFs for a total of 72 watts. 72 divided by 4 is 18, so it appears that three of the 6 watt strips should work adequately. If not I can always add another since up to 6 can link to the same transformer :~)

  29. avatar

    I sent an e-mail inquiry to Ecoxotic for their recommendations on lighting the 29 gallon BioCube. They responded within a few hours (awesome customer service), and here is a copy of the text from their e-mail, along with contact information if any of you out there need to seek their advice.

    Thank you for contacting Ecoxotic and showing interest in our products.

    Yes, we actually already have hundreds of hobbyists who have installed our Panorama LED Modules in both a Biocube 14g and 29g. We normally recommend using two of our 50/50 #8200 Panorama Modules and one of our #8010 453nm Blue Stunner LED strips.

    If we can be of any additional assistance, please feel free to contact our Technical Support Department at 1-760-727-7285 or via email at info@ecoxotic.com and we will be happy to answer any question(s) you may have.

    We hope that you find this information beneficial. You will also find many articles full of helpful information on our Ecoxotic website community support section! Your question(s) may already be answered there.


    Technical Support
    The Ecoxotic Team

  30. avatar

    I have a 110 gallon fresh water aquarium. 4′ long, 2.5′ high, and about 1.5′ from front to back. Im currently using coralifes 48″ dual T5 lamp fixture, with a 6,700k daylight and a colormax bulb. Im pleased with the light the tank seems to be getting and the fish dont seem to be having a problem with it either. However…my true desire is to get the shimmer effect , where i can see the water ripples reflect on the bottom of the tank and amongst the decor. I was told the best option for me is to purchase a LED stunner strip to get the results im looking for. My question is, will this truely work and if so what color strips would i need to purchase and how many? i was hopeing i could get away with just attaching two, but if not, i may need to wait awhile longer because of finaces. If there are any other ways to get the shimmer look , please let me know, and thanks for you help in advance.

  31. avatar

    Benny, you can definately get shimmering effect from LED lighting, it is a very natural looking light source, and some would say it rivals metal halide bulbs in shimmering effect. I am not sure that two stunners will give you a strong shimmering effect, with your T5 lights on, the stunners are not high power LEDs, and at about 13″ long two of them will only cover half of your tank. A couple things to think about is that the stunners are linkable, up to six on a transformer, so you could purchase two now, then add more later if the effect is not strong enough. The other option is to run only the stunners for part of the day, this will give you a subdued lighting, with strong ripple effect, and if you use the actinic or combo models, you can use them as a dusk and dawn set up using timers.


  32. avatar

    I have a 38G (36″x12″x20″) FOWLR and I’m looking for some good lighting. It has a 6″ high canopy and I want to mount either the module or two Stunner strips (453nm & 8K White) inside the top. My two questions are, are two strips centered on the canopy enough to lite the whole tank and can you turn off the strips individually other than separating the connectors or using separate transformers?


  33. avatar

    Will this lighting system increase or decrease the probability of unwanted algae growth over CF’s?

  34. avatar

    Bob, lighting quality is only one component of unwanted algaie growth. Nutrient control, and light duration, are also critical in controlling algae. LED lights will neither prevent, nor cause, unwanted algae growth compared to other light sources. Nitrate and phosphate levels must be under control, especially phosphate levels. Lights should not be kept on more than 10-12 hours per day.

  35. avatar

    I have a 90 gallon high tank which is deep, over 36″ deep! I really want to go with LED and plan on doing hard and soft corals. Is there any LED out there that can handle that kind of output at this time?

  36. avatar

    Todd, Ecoxotic may have just what you are looking for. They have come out with their Cannon LED pendants, these are very high power, made just for deep aquariums and exhibits. They come in 50W and 100W versions, both in 12K and 453nm actinic versions. I would suggest contacting Ecoxotic to help with designing a system using these fixtures, and to get more technical information about them (www.ecoxotic.com). These are new products, and we have not had the chance to test them out for ourselves just yet, but we do sell them, and will have the 100 watt units in stock soon.

  37. avatar

    hi, i read your blog and i am very interested in this system, but i need some advice, my tank is 70x24x24 mix soft and fish, how many lamps or size do i need?


  38. avatar

    Unfortunately, Marineland does not make a Reef Capable LED model that will fit a 70″ tank. Depending on what type, or how many, centerbraces your aquarium has, you may be able to use multiples of the smaller Marineland Reef Capable LED lights. The other, and better option, would be to use three of the Ecoxotic Panorama fixtures on this tank, two of the 23.5″ and one of the 17.5″ models would work nicely for your situation (again depending upon your configuration)

  39. avatar
    body dla dzieci

    Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Finding
    the time and actual effort to generate a very good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and don’t seem to get anything done.

About Dave Acland

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After graduating from Coastal Carolina University with a BS in Marine Science in 1996, I started my professional career in 1997 as an aquarist at Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach, SC. This was an amazing experience, in which I gained invaluable hands on training in exhibit design and construction, as well as husbandry skills for a wide range of animals. In 2000 I started working at That Fish Place as one of the staff Marine Biologists, with the responsibility of maintaining one of the largest retail fish holding systems in the world. I presently hold the position of Director of Aquatic Science, where I oversee the operation of our 35,000 gallon retail aquarium systems, and provide technical support for our mail-order and retail store customer service staff. As an aquatic product specialist, I also provide support for our purchasing and marketing departments, as well as contribute web content and analysis. As a Hobbyist I acquired my love of aquariums from my father who was keeping a large aquarium in early 70’s, and set up my first aquarium when I was 12 years old. I have now been keeping aquariums for over 35 years, and through this time have kept more aquariums and types of fish than I can remember. I set up my first Saltwater aquarium in 1992, which led me down the path I still follow today.