Friday, January 17, 2014

EcoTech Marine Radion Gen2 Product Review

I weighed a lot of factors when determining which aquarium light fixture would be best for my reef tank.

I was already planning to purchase the Innovative Marine 38-gallon Nuvo Aquarium, so the light had to be small enough to fit over its cube-shape. My new tank was going to be a mixed reef with SPS corals, so I knew I needed something powerful.

LEDs are known for their long life, excellent color, compact design, control and minimal heat output. With all of this in mind, I decided to go with the EcoTech Marine Radion XR30w G2 Light Fixture

The Radion XR30w G2 packaging was simple but professional. I was impressed with the design and quality of the fixture right out of the box. It was basically plug-and-play: I just plugged the ballast into the wall and the light into the ballast. The Radion immediately came on and I was amazed by the light intensity.

I bought the EcoTech Marine Hanging Kit to suspend the Radion over my aquarium. Installation was simple. The screws are very sturdy and attaching the Radion to the wires was a breeze. It only took about 30 minutes to get the Radion out of the box and hanging from my ceiling. The Radion G2 is really lightweight. Raising and lowering the light is very easy with the grip lock system—just press in a button and you can move the light up or down on the wire.

Every component of the light is sleek and minimalist. The light produces almost no heat and the fan is completely silent. There are 3 buttons on top of the light that control everything. They were a little confusing at first, but it was a breeze once I sat down and studied the button combinations inside the instruction manual.

There are a few different ways you can set up your daily light cycle. You can do it on the fixture itself, you can plug the light into your computer using an included wire or you can use the new EcoTech Reeflink to connect your Radion (and VorTech pumps) to your computer wirelessly.

You use a cloud-based software called EcoSmart Live to set up your light online. The program is great! You can set a personal light cycle down to the minute, edit the intensity of each color, control the total light intensity, produce random storm passovers and so much more.

The Radion Generation 2 is my first LED aquarium light, so I was not sure how much light or color to use throughout the day. This made custom programming the light difficult at first.

After doing some research and speaking with fellow hobbyists, I decided to use one of the pre-existing light cycles as a foundation. I then edited each time plot to fit my tank size and color preference. With the pre-existing color mode as my base, I added more red and green during the day and made the entire cycle more gradual by adding a lot of time points. It's been a lot of trial and error and I am still fine-tuning the light cycle to get it just right.

I have an EcoTech Marine VorTech MP10 powerhead wirelessly connected to my Radion which unlocks some cool features. For example, the VorTech pump will power down into night mode whenever the light turns off.

So far, I am absolutely loving my new light fixture... and my corals are, too. I would definitely recommend the Gen 2 Radion to my fellow reefers. Or, if you want to go a step above, you can opt for the just-announced Generation 3 Radions.