Here at Reefnation we do our best to test out new technologies and share our feedback. In this product review, we're going to take a look at the Reef Brite 48" XHO Actinic Blue LED lighting from Reefbrite. To test this product out, we installed 2 of these units alongside 2 of the Reef Brite 250W Metal Halide pendants which you can read about in a separate review.
The combination of the lights were installed over one of our 150G tall Marineland Reef Ready systems which was previously lit by 2 Radion G3 lights. This tank is a mixed reef with a wide variety of LPS and SPS corals. This tank is also primarily stocked with wrasses including 2 Super Male Lineatus, Mystery, Katherine, Dusky and a pair of Red Margin fairy wrasses.
We will soon be adding a juvenile Orange Shoulder Tang that is beginning the transition to adult and is starting to show some fantastic neon blue markings around it's body.
What's in the Box?
Well, for starters it's not a box these lights show up in. Instead these lights come in a Reef Brite tube. Within the tube, you will find the light itself with mounting brackets already attached. In a separate box, you will get the power supply for the light.
At first glance, for the price that you pay for the light, you wonder... "What did I get myself into? This looks like my first DIY LED strip light." Let us reassure you, this will be the last time you have these thoughts!
One thing to note here is that the mounting bracket that is included can be used in two different ways. If you are mounting multiple XHO units together, then the closer bracket position will be best (as it is attached out of the box).
If you are using these alone or mounting to the metal halide like we did, then the extended bracket position will be better to allow more air flow and spread out the light coverage. In either position, one benefit to the single set screw on the outside ends of the light will allow you to angle the light to target where you want the LED light coverage to be.
The light does not come with a dimmer or control module, just the light itself and the power supply. We used our Apex controller along with an EB4 to control the 2 XHO and 2 Metal Halide pendants. Once we replaced the Radion G3 XR30W units with our new DIY mount for our Reef Brite lights and programmed the Apex, it was time to put the XHO's to the test.
Upon turning on the 2 XHO units, we immediately noticed the difference these lights had! The light penetrated right to the bottom of our tall 150G tank which brought out colors in our blasto's, welso's, monti's and bubble corals at the bottom of the tank. It also illuminated the entire tank and brought out coralite colors in corals located in the corners of our tank we hadn't seen in months.
The advantage of the XHO fixture is the coverage it provides as it stretches the full length of the tank versus other lights that are concentrated (e.g. Radion's, Kessil, etc). In addition to the corals response, the colors on our fish seemed much more reflective, especially on our Katherine and Lineatus fairy wrasses.
When operating for several hours, the lights are warm to the touch, so a little different than other LED lighting systems we've used. Not a big deal for the tank we installed these lights on as they are sitting atop our canopy.
They are well ventilated and nothing is sitting on top of them or resting on them. If you are installing these in a closed top canopy or in a frag system rack, just take this into account so you allow enough room for proper ventilation. In fact, same goes for the power supplies as it clearly states... "failure to properly ventilate the lighting or power supplies could cause damage to the lights and void any warranties."
As we stated before, when opening the box, there was a little bit of resentment in the purchase just due to the price tag for these units and the lack of a controller, dimmer, etc. But after unpacking the unit and getting it set up and working, the buyer's remorse quickly dissipated when we saw the way our reef inhabitants responded to the new lighting.
In addition, after speaking with Tulio at Reef Brite, it's clear he has taken the time to analyze and design this product based on tried and true methods of the past. His reflector design for this lighting system is what sets this light apart from other strip LED's we've tested, along with other products like the Kessil and Radion G3 XR30W.
Based on the design, the light intensity, and the results we've seen, the Reef Brite 48" Actinic Blue XHO gets a "thumbs up" from Reefnation!
# of LED’s
# of LED’s
The lights also come in a variety of other sizes ranging from 8" to 72" and come in four distinct combinations:
Designed by Tullio Dell Aquila, the XHO LED‘s have the highest output of any product in their class. Experience Xtreme performance at an affordable price. Mix multiple units to create your own Xtreme High Output Led lighting system. Stylish black anodized housing, high-performance reflector system, and assembled in the U.S.A. XHO LED‘s are the professional’s choice.