Hi, Dave back again. In part 1 of our LED lighting series, we introduced the new Stunner and Panorama systems from Ecoxotic. In part 2, I want to tell you about another LED lighting system that we are now offering here at TFP.
The Double Bright lighting system from Marineland brings the best things about LED lighting into the mainstream for most aquarium owners. The new Double Bright systems are affordable, efficient, attractive and backed by a well-established name in the industry. Unlike many of the LED systems that are starting flood the market, the Marineland DB system is targeted directly to the general aquarium user, who is simply looking for a nice upgrade from the standard fluorescent strip light. The fish only aquarium owner has no need for the high power (and high dollar) fixtures of the reef aquarium owner, the Marineland DB fixture delivers exactly what these hobbyists are looking for. The Double Bright fixtures are available in three different sizes to fit any aquarium from 18” to 48”, thanks to an ingenious adjustable sliding mounting bracket on each end of the fixtures that allows each fixture to change lengths. The fixtures feature 1 Watt LED bulbs as the main light source. There is no Kelvin rating from the manufacturer, but based on visual observation, my best guess is that they are in the 8,000k-10,000k range. They provide a very nice, shimmering white light effect.
Marineland rates each 1 Watt LED at 75 lumens, so these are definitely not the high output LED that we are seeing in some of the reef lighting units. The Fixtures also feature blue night light LEDs, that give a little bit of a blue accent to the light, but at only 60mW each, they are really intended as a night time illumination. The blue diodes are barely noticeable with the white LEDs on. The control switch on the lights has three positions that allows for all, moonlight only, or all off modes. Marineland also give these new units a fairly conservative lifespan rating 17,000 hours (much lower than some claims of other LED lighting manufacturers), which is still about 5 years of normal use. I think that if they are used properly, most users will see much more life out of these units than those ratings. More on the specs of each individual fixture below.
The smallest unit will fit aquariums 18” to 24” in length, and features 6 white 1W LEDs putting out 450 lumens total, and 3 blue 60mW night lights. This Double Bright fixture retails for 69.99. Compare this light fixture at a little over 6 watts total power to a conventional fluorescent of the same size that is at least 15 watts, with less light output.
The middle size unit will fit aquariums 24” to 36” in length and Features 8 white and 4 blue LEDs, and has a rated output of 600 lumens. The middle sized Double Bright retails for 99.99. This unit uses just over 8 watts, compared to a standard 36” fluorescent fixture that is going to use at least 30 watts.
The largest Double Bright fixture will fit aquariums from 36” to 48”, features 16 white and 8 blue LEDs, and has a rated outpue of 1200 lumens. This Double Bright fixture retails for 129.99. This model uses just over 16 watts, compared to a standard fluorescent fixture that is going to use at least 40 watts.
With light output greater than comparable fluorescent fixtures, at less than half the power usage, with a lifespan of at least five years, it is easy to see why LED lighting is going to be the preferred lighting choice of the smart aquarist. LED also have the environmental edge over fluorescent bulbs, as they have no mercury inside them when it is time to throw them away.
I hope that you have found this informative, check back for more product reviews.
Does the Marineland LED fixture offer any way to switch from “all-on” to “moonlight” via a timer? This would be very appealing to me.
myron, unfortunately there are no independant controls for the daylight and moonlight LED systems that are compatible with a timer. The fixture has a single power cord, and a three position switch for the LED lights. You can put the fixture on a timer, but you can not control the three way switch.
Thanks for this article. I have a few questions.
1. Is there a mode to have only the white lights and not the blue LEDs on since the blue does not add much during day-time use?
2. What happens after the lights stop working. Are there replacement lights that can be purchased or is the entire fixture obsolete at that point?
3. What depth do these lights penetrate to effectively? I have tanks ranging in depths from 12″ to 30″.
cholile, thanks for the questions.
1. The Marineland fixtures have three position swithches; All on, Actinic blue only, All off. Unfortunately there is no position for white LED lights only.
2 The LED lights are not designed to be replaced, at least not easily, on an “Entry Level” light fixture like these. Unlike traditional forms of light, LED lights are hardwired to a circuit board.
3. The lights will have trouble brightly lighting a 30″ tank, it depends on what you are keeping in the tank, and what the light demands are. They are excellent for smaller tanks, what I would reccomend is try a fixture on one of the fixtures on your smaller tanks. and you can “test” the light on your deep tank, they all use the same 1watt LED bulbs.
Hope that answers everything for you,
I have one of the DB 36-48 models on a 80 gal bow tank. The tank is 48″ wide 18″ deep and 27″ high. It’s full of African (mostly Mbuna) Cichlids, black Tahitian sand and a 25″ cliff high wall of Holly Rock. The light is definitely more than adequate for these fish, depth, and set up. But the biggest plus is the shimmer effect (like MH) is awesome. The shimmer may be customized based on the flow rate and stream direction. For a “entry” level LED system at HOT5 cost I believe it will corner the market for sure. Other companies will have to step it up. We will be the winners in the end!!!