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LED Lighting for the Home Aquarium

Marineland LED Plant SystemOver the last few years the aquarium hobby has seen a major shift in aquarium lighting, LED lighting is in, and traditional lighting is being replaced. This change has been most noticed in high output lighting sources, like Metal Halide and High Output Fluorescent lighting, where the cost of operation, frequent bulb replacement and high heat emission made consumers eager for an alternative.  As a result, the hobby has been flooded with high output, feature rich, LED lighting fixtures for marine aquariums mostly focusing on the demands of reef aquariums and corals. These fixtures are much more affordable than the first generation.

Until recently, the freshwater side of the hobby has seen little attention from most lighting manufacturers, with what little was offered having few features and poor performance, but this is all starting to change. With advancements in LED technology and performance, some of the bigger aquarium lighting manufacturers are shifting their focus to LED over traditional lighting sources. Freshwater aquarium hobbyists are starting to see some cool new lights for their aquariums, with advanced features, high performance and affordability.

Marineland has had their Single Bright and Double Bright LED systems on the market for several years. These are fairly basic systems, good for general lighting purposes, offering daylight and moonlight features with manual control. But in 2012, Marineland upped their game for the freshwater hobbyist, and introduced their Aquatic Plant Lighting System. This new system is a high performance LED light for freshwater planted aquariums, based upon their successful Reef Capable LED platform, that has been on the market for several years. The Aquatic Plant Lighting System has a built in 24hr digital timer and controller that automates the on/off and lunar light cycle. The light features 1watt 6,500K white daylight LEDs, as well as 3watt RGB (Red, Green and Blue in a single chip) LED to enhance the light spectrum specifically for plant growth. The blue component of the RGB also doubles as the lunar light when activated.  This light fixture will not only provide for live plants, but will also enhance beautiful coloration in your freshwater fishes, and give the power needed for deeper freshwater aquariums. The Aquatic Plant Lighting system is available in 4 models, with adjustable mounting legs, that can fit on aquariums from 18” to 60” wide.

Satellite LED+In 2013, Current USA launched two new lines of aquarium LED lights, the Satellite Freshwater LED and the Satellite Freshwater LED+. These new Satellite LED light systems are loaded with features and affordable, making the switch to LED for the freshwater hobbyist more enticing than ever. The lower level Satellite Freshwater LED fixture offers independent control of blue and white LED channels, and features a hardwired control panel that allows you dimming control of the blue and white LEDs for custom color mixing.  The wired remote also has control modes for storm action including effects that mimic random cloud cover and lighting, as well as dusk and lunar light modes. The Satellite Freshwater LED+ models are where the fun really starts. These more advanced models feature more colors, and a programmable 32 key remote control, while still offering affordability.  LED+ combines 6,500K white LEDs with fully controllable RGB LED chips, which allow the user to create a nearly limitless number of colors for their aquarium, all with remote control!  The LED+ line also has built in cloud and storm mode controls.  Each remote control features 6 pre-set, freshwater optimized, color choice keys.  You also have the ability create and save custom color settings, with 4 custom memory keys.  Both the Satellite Freshwater LED systems feature sleek, adjustable, low profile housings. Satellite LED systems are both available in 4 models, with adjustable mounting brackets that will fit aquariums from 18” to 60” wide.

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.