The first manufacturer booth we decided to visit on day 2 was AquaticLife so we could learn a little more about their recently released 3W LED Expert Series for marine aquariums.
The first thing we observed is how much smaller it appers in real life versus the image we have displayed on our website. The unit itself is a mere 14.625" L x 12.125" W x 2.125" H. You can create three 24-hour programs and those programs correspond to the 1, 2 & 3 buttons on the included remote control. The fixture is equipped with American-made CREE LEDs: 8-White XPG, 8-Blue XPE, 6-Royal Blue XPE and 2-Red XPE. You can create up to 18 custom colors and save them in the downloadable software. The lenses (shown below) can be replaced or swapped out for hobbyists that want to modify the fixture to their liking. The black lenses are angled at 80° and the whites are 100°. AquaticLife tells us there are 60° lenses available on their website for aquarium keepers who want more focused light for deeper penetration into their tanks. And, should you decided to swap them out, you don't have to stick with AquaticLife's, either. You an opt for whichever brand makes you happy.
The fixture includes the remote and hanging kit and the free software can be downloaded from AquaticLife's website (Windows only as of today). Let's talk a bit more about the remote. So we already know what the 1, 2 & 3 buttons do, how about the others? The arrows allow you to cycle through your programs while the + and - buttons adjust the light intensity, which is useful for coral acclimation or setting the right mood for a romantic evening at home (OK, joking about that last part). You can hear audible sounds emit from the light when you press the buttons so you know it's working. The buttons along the bottom are controls for the lunar, cloud and storm settings. You can use AquaticLife's 30-day lunar cycle or create your own custom one using any of the fixture's LED colors and even tweak their intensity for just the right look. The storm and cloud duration can be set using the software and started using the wireless remote.
Let's talk a bit more about the software. When you first setup up your light, you can sync the time with your PC so it's correct for your time zone. Watching the AquaticLife boys demo the software, I could tell it was super easy to use. You basically just click and drag the various settings to get the right look to export to the light. One of the coolest features we noticed was the software displays your 24-hour energy consumption (just the LEDS, mind you, not the power supply). AquaticLife has downloadable "traces" available on their website that you can save for your light(s) and even share with fellow reefers. Since the aquarium hobby has such a strong community, we imagine they'll be a lot of sharing among Expert Series users.
For more info about the AquaticLife Expert Series light, come down to Reef-A-Palooza today and visit the MarineDepot.com or AquaticLife booths! Of course, if you can't make it or you're busy watching Sunday football, head over to MarineDepot.com to check out detailed specs and photos. The software was so cool, we spoke with AquaticLife about shooting a video for the light. It sounds like they're already ahead of us and have something in the pipeline, so we'll be sure to embed the video on the product page once it's available.
Stay tuned for more updates from Reef-A-Palooza 2012!