Being someone who has three AI Hydrason their personal aquarium, I was quite excited when news of the more-powerful HydraFiftyTwo was first announced back in September. Fast-forward three months and here we are now in December. The Hydra FiftyTwo has been released, our first allotment was sold out before the shipment even arrived and I finally get my chance to take one out for a test drive!
The standard Hydra LEDs are already awesome lights and I have been very happy with them. They feature full spectrum LEDs, seven controllable channels and tons of programming functions including sunrise, sunset, cloud simulation and thunderstorm modes. Taking that same successful formula, the new top-of-the-line Hydra FifityTwo adds more power (135W compared to 90W) and more LEDs (52 versus 20). The extra power and extra LEDs translates to wider coverage, better color blending, deeper light penetration and longer LED life as each LED is running at a lower wattage.
With the TIR Diffused Lens, the color blending on the AI Hydra is already pretty good. There is still a minimal amount of ‘disco ball effect’ as the Red/Green LEDs are only in the center two pucks and the Royal-Blue/Deep-Blue LEDs are only on the outer pucks. This is completely eliminated on the Hydra FiftyTwo as each puck contains all 7 LED colors.
The extra penetrating power on the Hydra FiftyTwo is also quite noticeable when seeing it right next to the standard Hydra.