TMC AquaRay Vs. Build My LED


As of March 2016 BML is no longer in business for aquarium lighting.


BML have closed shop and are solely providing lighting to horticulture.


A well overdue review is the Tropical Marine Centre (Center) AAP AquaRay LED line and the Build My LED line.

This review is done by AAP- Aquarium Research in favor of TMC.

For a moment, we are going to steer from Marine LED study, to review two of the more popular LED brands on the market of 2016.


TMC AquaRay is a professional aquatic brand from the UK, which supplies a high standard equipment and livestock. In the UK, they are the leader for equipment and supply most all stores with premium livestock. TMC is a household name for the UK. They are imported to the US, through a another major livestock supplier Quality Marine in LA,CA, who are also known for only carrying the highest grade equipment and livestock.


In 2007, TMC came out with the AAP AquaRay LED line, which for it’s time was the ONLY LEDs to be able to keep high tech reef aquariums and hard to grow plants. There was a few LED brands, which came out at this time, but TMC was the highest standard with the best quality and best growth from the new technology of these light emitting diodes. AquaRay is still the leaders for aquarium LED tech, still to this day of 2016. We will get into the details of this in a moment.


Build My LED is a relative newer company as of 2013, with a great concept of being able to build any type of LED fixture someone would need for any type of aquarium. They solely import LED parts and manufacture them in the USA. As of late, they have become a USA household name in the aquatic community, mostly in part, because of the number of conventions they attend and speak at, and because of the neat concept of letting someone build their own type of LED. They also have pre-set LEDs fixtures, which they recommend for certain types of aquariums.


Since they have so many combinations of LEDs someone could get, we will be reviewing only one of their more common fixture, which is comparable to AquaRay.

For this post, we will mostly be focusing on their planted tank fixtures, as there’s some very good points to be made.

For the longest time in planted tank history, what was proven and the standard was to have a 6500 Kelvin lighting system, which always showed to have the best growth. 6500K is high noon white sunlight, plus blue sky. This is a pure white light, which if we looked at the spectrum would have a good amount of high growth blue light, plus all the important full spectrum light all the way down to red. Plant science has shown blue and red to be the most effective plant growing light, when in combo to make a white light. White light is made up of all light color, just like black paint is made up of all colors of paint.

AAP AquaRay-
AAP AquaRay has two types of planted tank fixtures. The 6500K planted and the ColourPlus (color) LED, which has white emitters, plus added blue, green, and red.

These lights, come in square type fixtures, which provide a highlight spread from the front to back of the aquarium. They also come in a strip fixture, which is a narrower, but longer spread for great length penetration.

The facts
The strips have 5 emitters at 12 watts
The large tiles have 10 emitters at 30 watts
The small tiles have 4-5 emitters at 12 watts

AquaRay is a modular system, meaning they have many fixtures to allow someone to pick what’s best for their tanks, depending on what’s growing and the dimensions, including depth. Just one fixture is a 10K model, which is best used for aquariums over 30 inch in depth.

The 6500K xb-d Cree emitters in fixtures are completely licensed, meaning no other LEDs can get these emitters, because TMC has a special agreement with Cree to only sell these emitters to them. All other brands have binned emitters, meaning anyone can get them. The emitters are ran at 700mA, which is a much faster force these emitters are designed to be ran out. Many brands will run emitters at something like 350mA, to make sure the emitters last as long as they can, with much less force driving them. These xb-d emitters also allow for a little more voltage swings the emitters can handle, because over time, moisture gets into the fixtures and cause voltage to vary.

The ColorPlus fixture has the added blue, green, and red emitters meant to pop plant leaf and fish color. These added colors do not add much extra growth to plants, but do help with extra unnatural colors, which has become a fancy trend of late. The 6500K has intense green color, with more natural reds.

TMC claims to have the highest output useable energy for input energy of any other fixtures. With just 12 or 30 watts, they can easily outperform 100 watt fixtures. Test with even 175 MH fixtures, the 12 watts fixtures were able to provide better growth.

The units also have no fan, which is not needed, because of the amount of emitters used on the heatsink, which also keeps the fixture completely waterproof.

LEDs are like fancy computers we put over an aquarium. Moisture and electronics don’t mix long term.

They have nice shimmer effect, like the Sun and MH, due to how intense the light is delivered to the aquarium, plus how much light goes actually into the aquarium and does spill over rim.

On top of the licensed emitters, AquaRay have a fully waterproof design of IP67, which is the best on the market. They could fall into the water and sit there long term and still come out working with no problem.

TMC also provides the longest warranty for any LED of 5 years, full replacement, with any defect, no questions asked. Their support is handled through the US for US customers and the UK for all other customers. There’s usually quick turn around options, so the aquarium does not go a long time without light.

The LEDs do require a separate controller for any fancy features like dimming, storm, ramp up and down, moonlight. The controller is ran off a PWM tech, which any LED are required to be dimmed by for long term preservation of the emitters. This is different for the reason, all over fixtures use a 0-10v dimming system, which is not best for emitters long term.

They come with in hood mounts and have a separate patented modular mounting design, which allows positioning of the LEDs up or down, left or right depending one requirements of the tank.

AqauRay Evo

AquaRay Evolution- YouTube

AAP AquaRay Main Resourse

Build My LED
Build My LED has endless combination of planted tank options and really allows their users to choose what they want to provided to their tanks. Like was said, they have pre-set models, which they recommend and do have different warranties than the custom models. These combinations would be recommended over a user making any combination they want, as these combos have been proven the best for growth and coloration.

The build site really allows user to target what kind of planted tank they want and users select, based on coloration and wither the tank is low tech (lower, less light required) to the highest tech tanks, which require lots of Co2 and fert supplements. On the site, anyone can see roughly how much light they are getting, along with spectrums, and a number of other somewhat useful values.

They really have a number of pre-sets and user controls, even when aquatic history have proven what’s best for plant health, growth, and most aquatic keepers preference. Still, they give control to the aquarium keeper, which has to be noted as a positive.

The fixtures all come in a strip fashion, which mount on each side of the tank. The tank mount and swivel to direct like where it’s needed.

The facts The Nature Style 6500K xb Series
15 emitters at 16 watts per 12 inch of fixture

The fixture has a 6500K combined rating, with (10) of the emitters being 5000K no name cool white, (2) 450nm no name Royal Blue, (1) 470nm no name Blue, (1) 590nm no name Amber, and (1) 625nm no name Red.

US made, built to order, industrial quaility, with no fans. They have an IP66 spray protection rating. Meaning they can get wet, but should never be submerged.

They claim to have no disco shimmer effect and should have no hot spots, with the angle emitters they use.

They have a separate 0-10v dimmer they use, which is compatible with other popular dimming tech out, like the common Apex. These cannot be dimmed via PWM. As PWM units cannot be dimmed on 0-10v.

They come with a 3 year limited warranty, with a 15% of emitters having to fail, before the warranty can be claimed. The unit is then sent in for repair.

Rim mounts included, with a separate suspension options sold.


Build My LED- YouTube


Here’s a quick review to sum up this article. I’m a fan of both companies, but one company does have some more benefits, which, I’ve already laid out above. But here’s to make it clearer.
AquaRay has been around as the standard for a long time. They are backed by some very large aquatic companies and many professionals. AquaRay works through aquatic professionals, Build My LED works much more through hobbyist.

AquaRay has licensed emitters, which no one, including BML cannot get. They are the Cree 6500K xb-d’s. BML doesn’t claim what emitters they use, but do have xb in the title of some of their fixture, which someone can assume are the Cree xbs, just not the 6500K models and this is only assuming from their name of the fixture (Nature Style 6500K xb) as they don’t state what emitters they use.AquaRay-Cree-Logo
Cree XB-D Data Sheet

There is also some claims BML does have a patent on some lens of their fixture, but this information cannot be found anywhere.

One major difference is using one spectrum of emitters throughout the whole fixture, while BML combines colors to make and overall 6500K rating. There is a major argument here, which could be had for which is better. One is natural white lighting. The other is colors combined, and the colors are expected to blend once the light hits the water. The extra colors do make extra pop to the colors, which is not natural to the eye, but is preferred by many.

The pure 6500K spectrum is a nice white, which is what we see and is shined in to the tanks and through out the room if the keeper does not have a hood. The combined color of the BML 6500K is not 6500 white to the eye. It’s actually more blue and pinks, which can be seen from the specs, because they actually use colors more rated for reef keeping, not really what plant keepers have ever used in the past with fluorescent lighting. These colors are what would be seen in a room, if the aquarist does not have a hood. The difference would be a white shimmer on the wall versus a rainbow shimmer on the wall.

This can be see in these pictures here:



Someone could say… well then, I will just make a straight 6500K fixture from BML, but then the argument has to be made, why not just go with AquaRay, as their 6500K are patented, which BML are not. Plus AquaRay will provide so many more design perks over BML. Someone could say they prefer the extra color to the tank and no one could argue this point. This would just be preference, because in the last 50 years of aquatic keeping 6500K has always been the standard and there’s also proven health benefits to fish and plants with this pure white spectrum. BML motos has been for people to get what looks best visually to them though, and not necessary what’s best for the plants. This is harder to measure though. Still, AquaRay has a ColorPlus tile, with all the added perks of the tech design, just TMC is not going to tell us that’s what best for the plants. It’s only a preference choice.

The AquaRay will use 5 HO 700mA emitters, while the BML use 15 350mA emitters. AquaRay dim using the known way emitters are suppose to be dimmed for long term use of PWM. BML uses the questionable 0-10v. So even though they market that they choose to use 350mA to make the emitters last as long as they can, they then make use of a dimming process, which is known to short out emitters prematurely.

One of the major things said about BML in the planted hobby is that the xb fixtures are actually too bright for most aquarist and a dimmer is required, even when injecting tons of co2 and ferts. So, this is actually a waste in the sense, because more light than needed is being purchased, then a extra dimmer is required, which runs the risk of shorting the life of the fixture. TMC has been provided to have the right about of light right out of the box, not requiring a dimmer from the start. This is the difference in using 5 xb emitters vs. 15 xb emitters. Also with the extra stress 0-10v dimming, this is stress over 15 emitters, instead of 5, meaning there’s more percent of change of failure.

The 0-10v dimming is much less expensive, if wanted. PWM will cost more upfront, but usually pays for itself, because the energy used is proportionate to the percent of light dimmed to. This is not the same as 0-10v, because even at the lowest setting, full power is still used.

AquaRay is completely water proof, while BML is only splash proof. This is huge, as aquatic keeping involves high humidity. It’s a guarantee that moisture will get in and slowly destroy the electronics of these computers over the aquarium. Waterproof will certainly provide the longest life for the emitters possible.

The AquaRay come in square spread, which is huge for plant keepers. They also come in strips if need be, even these strips have wide spread. The BML do allow to choose what spread is used, so the widest angle is recommended and since the fixtures have extra power anyways, this will not under light the aquarium in any ways.

Lastly, no one can argue the warranty difference between the two fixtures. BML is one of the longest on the market with 3 years, which beat out most competition. They cannot beat out AquaRay 5 year warranty, with full replacement, even with the latest tech, while BML require 15% for the emitters to have to be faulty and then the fixture has to be sent back for repair.


TMC Color Plus

BML Dutch

BML Dutch


Indepth Aquarium Lighting Information

So, while both companies provide an LED fixture, which beat out 90% of the competition out there for planted tank LEDs. AquaRay is still clearly setting the standard for aquarium lighting. This article just went into planted tank LEDs at that. BML has a wide range for reef tank options, but they also do not have the patient reef emitters TMC has. Which are the most advanced emitters out period.

This article is met to point out, that while new aquarist are seeing from others that BML is the standard for aquarium LEDs, this is mostly do to the fantastic job they’ve done for marketing in the US to mass hobbyists. They promote in the large forums, groups, and conferences. They really have done a grand job in the last 2 years. TMC has just choose to do all their marketing in the UK, where they are already a household name, plus they work with aquatic professionals, which aquatic history shows, that’s what every great aquatic company has done. They’ve always worked through the professionals to help promote and educate hobbyist the right way. Just like drugs from doctors, but now a days, we are seeing commercials for drugs, which bypass the professionals and try to make the general public think they need a certain medication, instead of their doctor telling them what they need based on knowing the history of the person and experience if what they know works.

I think this article clearly lays out why AAP AqauRay is still the number one aquatic LED brand as of 2016 and will still set standards as time goes on.


Sustainable Science Thesis & Abstract Update

Our friend from St. Mary’s has updated us on the progress of their experiment. Best to just quote what he said.

“We are done

The research report has been submitted as a senior thesis and is on file in our library.
I am planning to add a Marine microcosm sustainability page to my web site and I will upload the complete study to that page as well as an  annotated  the version for a general (but marine aquarium savy) audience as well as the abstract of the study abstract.

St Mary’s College is proud of their “Green campus ” awards so the page will focus on “Sustainable Science”  from the viewpoint of natural resources (the reefs) materials (the actual microcosm) and energy usage.

The soft corls (Sarcophyton) show no statisticaly significant difference with respect to the light source.  The paper explains how this may result from the difficulty in obtaining reproucible samples.

The Zooanthid (Playthoa) and hard coral (Galaxia) however did show statissticaly significant improvement in growth of the coral ans well as the zooxanthallae  count and chlorophyl content.

The web site will include facility description and brief synopsis of the research conducted.  I will include photos. Bottom line: there is statistically significant scientific evidence that the hard coral and zooanthid tested  will show improve growth and health with LED illumination. We present energy use statistics to indicate a dramatic reduction in energy use and of course increase in the sustainability of marine microcosms using solid state lighting.”

Kendal abstract

Above is the Thesis and Abstract of the experiment done by Dr. Hatch’s students. They specifically look at three different lighting types and compared growth. There was significant difference between the variables!

These studies will be linked to from this blog as soon as they are received!

LED experiement, more growth

My opinion, which is in no way the end all for the reasoning of this experiment.

Dr. Hatch came to know the LEDs he choose for this experiment, by understanding the TMC AquaRay LED line is a brand advertising,  they use less watts to get quality growing energy. Some claims, is that there will be more growth, because the spectrum in the fixture are selective, licensed, and patented. As a base line, even if these 30 watt fixtures can go the same as another 120 watt LED, or 250 watt MH… The fixture is doing it with only 30 watts.

The statement can be made, watt per watt, for LEDs available to date, these LEDs have the most useful amount of energy. As in, growth was increased compared to VHO and MH at only 30 watts of quality light spectrum.

Was this experiment testing LEDs compared to other LEDs… No.

There’s really no need for this study as there are so many variables (different spectrum and amount of spectrum) which can affect the experiment. There’s no benefit for someone running a large LED study like this.

120 watts LEDs could have been included in the experiment to add another variable, but there are so many combinations of 120 watt fixture, some included user features like dimming, so what would it really proved?

How are these fixtures different? It’s in the way they drive the energy from the fixture. Emitter didoes can be designed to be under driven or driven at a certain voltage. Many 120 fixtures use many emitters and under drive them. Some less watt fixtures drive their emitters at a higher voltage, but use less emitters.

What this study does shed light too, is that even with 30 watts of high output LEDs (of known useful growth spectrum, not color spectrum), growth will be better than VHO and MH. Certain corals at that (interesting how it’s the “higher light” requiring corals at that, not the soft corals, known for requiring less light. Growth maxed out?) As all different species of plants and corals, could grow different under different spectrum or require different amounts of light.

The spectrum being provided for this experiment, was focused on Chlorophyll Synthesis of Chlorophyll A & B. Color was a moot point as it was not the focus of the study. Even though, color was not an issue, which we can see from pictures. So, with 30 watts of high powered LEDs, great color is still present, which many people question.

More info on PAR/PUR and Chlorophyll Sysnthesis

Great job Dr. Hatch and students. Looking forward to the journal review of the experiment.


Experiment Update 2

LED versus MH, spawning, experiment

University level observation of MH vs. LED

This experiment is close to two weeks from being completed. As the results are still coming in, here is the update we do have based on observation.

From Professor Walter- St. Mary’s College of Maryland University

It is very clear that over all growth was enhanced by TMC Ocean blues.  We are processing zooxantheallae counts, total protein analysis, total chlorophyll etc through stats now.
An interesting aside: Late in the afternoon of the 19-21 (New moon) Most of the Galaxia under LED illumination spawned (several hundred colonies).  The water was nearly opaque with gametes down current from the coral. Both the eggs and sperm were viable and fertilization resulted in viable embryos although I only followed the development of a few to the 8 and 16 cell stage. 
None of the 10 colonies under VHO’s and none of the 10 under Halide in this experiment spawned.   None of the hundreds that did spawn on this occasion did so over all of the years that they were under halides or VHO’s

More will come of this experiment. This is exciting work done at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Hopefully, this study will give some real proof to what LEDs can do. Many people switch to LEDs from MH or other and they may see a difference. But very few people are running controlled tests such as this.

The most likely reason, this spawning reaction is happening for the corals under LEDs, is due to the more USEFUL light LEDs provide. Even more so for the TMC AquaRay LEDs, as they have the most ‘useful’ light per LEDs available to the hobby to date.

PUR (useful light) VS. PAR

Experiment Update 1

Here is the latest on the LED marine coral experiment.

We will keep a photographic record of the light comparisons, but it is unlikely that they will show growth differences in only a month (maybe 2).  The corals will have changed color in that time period (even when photographed with flash)  This reversible color change occurs within a month, and we are using it as evidence that the corals have adapted to their lighting.  Additional anecdotal evidence is accumulation as well. About 25% (6 colonies) of Galaxia under LED for 4 weeks now have entered an aggressive growth phase.  This is indicated by the production of large sweeper tentacles that digest neighboring coral.  None of the Galaxia (400 colonies) under VHO or Halide are showing sweepers.  All of the corals are in the same water, at the same temperature and flow rate.  Only the light is different.

With respect to the photos, I am finding the color balance dramatically shifted toward violet.  This produces an image that does not resemble the subjective evaluations my eyes provide.  Have you obtained representative photos.  Remember that our entire 2000 gal system is a collection of raceways; The water is less than 6 in deep and there is no viewing glass.
Included are a few urchin spawning shots  and a Platythoa. Aquarium LED experiment, study, best aquarium LED
Aquarium LED experiment, study, best aquarium LED
Aquarium LED experiment, study, best aquarium LED

And, so it Begins. How to Mount?

Part of the challenge before experiments can even be ran is figuring out how to use all of the equipment to suit what needs to be done. The design of where all the corals are being watch is like a “raceway”. Not normal tank standards. These raceways a long and short. Figuring out how to mount any lighting over style of tank would be a challenge.

Here’s what the guys at St. Mary College of Maryland figured out.

AquaRay LED Mounting

TMC AquaRay DIY Mounting

AquaRay LED Mounting

TMC AquaRay DIY Mounting

The lamps are mounted on a PVC plate that is attached to J hooks.  The J hooks are suspended from a pvc frame that is held by I beams above the tank.  The lamps can be slid along the I beam or back and forth across the pvc frame or up and down by repositioning the j hooks.

There are 8 units installed over the cloning facility and display tank as well as 8 units installed over the main research tank – 8 more tomorrow.  Eight more over the holding tank next week.

The display and cloning tank have been operational for several weeks now.  Eight  LEDs are replacing 8 175W 10,000 K Halides (two year old bulbs).  The halides were delivering a Par of 39 and the LED’s 62 uM photons/M^2/sec.  Anecdotally, all to the animals look better as fluorescence was dramatically enhanced by the increase in hight frequency light.  Polyp extension appeared increased and color was more vibrant.  Only one species (Sinularia) objected to the switch and required two weeks to acclimate to the lights.

The man behind the study

Meet the man, which has brought this whole study together.

With government funding to upgrade the lighting in the biology research lab, he knew it was the right time to upgrade to one of the highest useful light LEDs on the market today. These science focused LEDs were the reason for the switch to the AquaRay LEDs.

Walter Hatch

Professor of Biology

Departments: Biology
Office: Schaefer 218
Phone: 240-895-4368

AquaRay LEDs, Aquarium LED Research, Study, best aquarium LEDs, PAR, PUR


B.A. Tufts University 1961; MS Tufts University 1965; PhD Boston University marine Program 1974

Research Interests:

My research interests are in the areas of environmental physiology and chemical ecology of tropical marine invertebrates.  My students and I are currently working on the chemistry and ecological significance of toxins produced by marine flatworms.  We are also investigating the chemistry and ecological significance of molecular communication in soft corals and zooanthids. The organisms we work with produce other secondary metabolites as well including un described antibiotics and neurotransmitters.  The projects in my lab, thus, lead to natural collaboration with Dr. Koch, Dr. Byrd, and Dr. Coughlin and their students working in the areas of natural product chemistry, microbiology, and neuro pharmacology respectively. In addition we also collaborate with Dr. Tanner on the chemical ecology of plant animal interactions.

A Push for Excellence

Experiments for Aquarium Marine LEDs, AquaRay, High Growth LED, Experiments, The best aquarium LEDs

So, time to time, I post something that is work related onto my personal blog just because it is something that stands out to me personally. This time, I’ve decided to start a whole new blog, because this is going to be some on going excitement. One aspect I handle at work a lot is the idea of quality lighting for aquarium keeping. As interesting as this may sound…Cause, I’m sure it sounds awesome! This part of my work can be pretty amazing. Why, cause lighting is how we perceive so much in this world. We’re so visually driven (like 75% of our brain power at one time is managing what we are taking in visually), so for this reason, when you start to understand some aspects of lighting, some amazing things can happen.

A little background. I work at American Aquarium Products of Southern Oregon. We’re a supplier of aquarium and pond products, but more importantly, we supply information on how to have the very best aquarium possible. This involves a lot of quality and experience. We push for ideas that make fish keeping, not just taking a fish and throwing it in some water, but provide an environment where the fish, plants, or corals can thrive under some of the best conditions. It sound difficult, but if it interests you to any degree, it simply fun.

We’re talking good water parameters, disease prevention, suitable environments, and visually pleasing. Let me put it this way, anyone (thank you Jesus) that looks at my tank I keep, is very impressed on how visually appealing the aquarium is. They say “it’s one of the nicest things in the house”. So, how do we achieve this degree of excellence? We’ll learn from someone who spent much of their live earning a living working with these ideas for aquarium. That’s what I do…

Long story short, I work with some of the best quality lighting there can be for fish, plants, corals, and even humans. We’re takin’ science here. This stuff is backed up by research, which has been proven for health and visual perception. These ideas I put into my little home aquarium, these are aspects and ideas, which many other people take very seriously. So, I work with some very smart professionals.

So, what is the point of this blog?

Just this past couple months, my work place had a very large inquiry of some lighting we supply, because of the excellence it provides. Let me remind anyone reading this post, we only sell what back up these high standards we set. We only sell what we have used with much success for a long period of time being in this industry. In other words, we don’t just sell what sells. We publish information based on science and facts, and back it up with an on-line store for anyone that is looking for these standards for this aquarium keeping adventure.

So, a couple months ago, we had a college university acknowledge the work we have done, and make a very large order of the aquarium light emitting diodes (LEDs) for the study of growth rates in about 120 different species of corals. This is huge! LEDs are fairly new to the aquarium hobby for lighting of an aquarium. The basic idea behind this lighting and really is going to be the future of all lighting, like around the house, is that it uses a far less amounts of energy to operate and also, a color of light or a spectrum of light can be focused on to get only this spectrum of light to be shined from the light source. Again, this is huge when you know light feed plants and corals and if you can focus on the light that feeds them, and nothing else, you can have a very useful light source to make these living things thrive.

This is what this university is focusing on and running controlled studies comparing the growth rate and health of coral species compare to older, but still very popular lighting methods (very high output fluorescence- VHO and Mental Halide- MH). This is also very exciting for human studies as well, because we know of lighting spectrum that improve human health as well (6500K daylight).

So, since this is a new aspect in health, lighting, and aquarium keeping (and others). I thought it would be very valuable to publish their experiments and track their results.

A little more background and how we go to this point. The LED lighting, which was purchase from us are called AAP AquaRay Lighting. This is a lighting brand that comes out of the UK, where much of our lighting comes over from China. The difference between these brands is that the AquaRay Lighting focus on few light sources with much more useful light energy for photosynthesis of plants and corals. Most of the current LEDs on the market for fish keeping are 120 watts each and will have something around 55 emitters in the fixture. The AquaRays LEDs, are 12-30 watts each and 6-10 emitters. With science you can prove these high PUR (useful light) fixtures can out perform any 120 watt LED and save an aquarium money in the long run. LEDs are meant to save money, that’s their kick anyways, but these AquaRays do it even better. For some reference, this college did the math and by making their switch from VHO and MH to AquaRay LEDs, they will be saving about $59,000 in just 10 years.

The 120 watt LEDs use a lot more less useful light energy emitters to make up an overall successful light to grow whatever they would like. Please don’t take me wrong when I talk about these 120 watt LEDs. They can do the job, they are just not doing it the most efficient.

So, I think enough words have been said for now. This blog is going to be a place to share the university’s results and any updates they provide to us. Hopefully at the end of all the experiments from the school year, we will have side by side evidence of how these LEDs compare to other lighting methods.

I will say that these are the only LEDs like this on the market for aquarium keeping right now. They are miles ahead of some other fixtures out there right now. They even have patients on their emitters, so this blog should prove a little about the advancement of this technology.

Enough of me talking, here is the start of the experiment, with all the information we know this far.

Here are the experiment specs.

They are interested only in growth rates.

They current coral growth facility is just over 6,000 L (1500 gal)  with about twice that volume dedicated to estuarine culture facilities
Primary research organisms
Sarcophytons several species
Multiple species of Xenidea  (Xenia and Anthelia primarily)
Multiple species of annelids
About 50 pounds  of the green alga Chaetomorpha
Primary research
Climate change – Ocean acidification
Oil spill and cleanup
Basic chemical ecology of the organisms

Lighted Raceways
(3) total  length 16.5m (54 ft);  width 0.8m (32 in); depth  0.25m (10 in)
(1)  total   length 5.5m (18 ft);  width 0.5m (20 in); depth  0.15m (6 in)
Dark refugia
4 @  length 1.2m (4 ft);  width 0.6m (2 ft);   depth  0.6 (2 ft)

Old lighting
288  48 inch Ultraviolet research VHO fluorescent lamps driven by icepacks
These deliver around 380 uM photons /m2 /sec
8 150W metal halide lights (12000K)
These lamps are vastly inferior to the VHOs  in culturing shallow water corals

Researcher Information

W.I. Hatch PhD
Professor of Biology
St Mary’s College of Maryland

This research facility will be working with a total of 48 TMC AquaRay Ocean Blue 1500 LEDs.

More information to come