There are different types of flavors for aquarium lighting, and depending on what you have in your tank you may need some pretty intense lighting to make sure the health of your inhabitants is always at it's best. While on our search for some aquarium lighting to purchase, we came across Aquaillumination's LED lighting system. LED's are the next best thing in aquarium lighting, they offer high PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation which is the spectral range of solar light that is needed by corals in order to grow) at lower wattage and heat levels. LED's have been growing in the aquarium field for quite some time, and now they are just getting smarter, better and longer lasting. One of the advantages to LED lighting is that you no longer need to change those bulbs out every 6 months. LED's are said to be able to last about 10 years before having to change them out.
So what makes the Aquaillumination's Vega so cool? Well aside from looking like they were designed by apple computer with it's white shiny coat (also available in black), they are jam packed with features. The AI Vega LED's allow you to control each color independently. There are 4 LED pucks that carry Cree XM-L Cool White, Cree XP-E Royal Blue, Cree XP-E Blue, OSRAM OSLON Deep Blue, Cree XP-E Green, OSRAM OSLON Deep Red. This is one of the first LED systems to incorporate colors other that white and blue. We are not to sure what value that may bring to the table, but honestly the technology hasn't been out that long and these can take years to test, but we think it looks pretty cool anyways. Check out the demo video below.
Aqua Illumination Vega
Out of the box the Aquaillumination Vega
is a solid LED, the construction is impeccable and feels sturdy. The unit is heavy and feels like a quality product. The While part of the LED fixture is made of plastic while the rest is a metal heatsink to dissipate the little heat that the unit puts out. The unit also features a fan that is only enabled when the unit is hot. There are no manuals in the box except for a small insert that tells you how to turn on your LED's and also how to put them in demo mode. The Vega can be run without a controller, but we do not recommend it as it is pretty annoying to hit the button and not know what intensity the lights are on. We feel this is only to really test the unit.
In order to test the unit we also purchased the new Aquailluminations controller. The controller allows for timer control of all the colors independently as well as allowing you to set weather controls ,and lunar cycle. We love this feature because it mimics clouds passing by at random times or even thunderstorms. honestly the thunderstorms are kinda funny looking so we turned them off pretty quickly but we did like the cloud cover options. The Lunar cycle is also pretty impressive, it will dim your lights at night to mimic the moon having a higher intensity at full moon. It did take a little while to figure out how to program the unit but once you figure it out its pretty easy. The manual did not come with the controller and had to be downloaded form the Aquallumination support website.
The controller looks decent but we feel they could have done a better job. We didn't like that you must always have the controller connected to power outlet or usb port on your computer (not so wireless after all) in order for it to send controls to the LED's. If you manage to bump the controller and disconnect it, your lights
will stay at whatever intensity they were when the controller was knocked off. We feel AI could improve on this by having the controller dump the configuration on the LED's and have them run on their own. Only thing is that something like this will cost the consumer more so we can see why they probably opted out. The buttons are not very user friendly and take some getting used to, but once you play with it for a good 20 minutes you should be able to get around.
The setup between the controller and the Vega was fairly simple and straight forward, all you need to do is tell the controller that it is wireless and it goes out searching for the Vega. The default setting on the controller is for it to be wired.
The Vega's do not come with any way to install them so you must purchase a stand from them. There are a few options, we decided to go for the older style tank mount since we were going to hang it in a tank with a hood. We opted for the 24" mount and cut it in half to create two stands. Since we weren't sure if we were going to keep to stay with this configuration we only purchased one set. but after installing the unit we are very happy with it and will be placing the order for the second set very soon.
Aqua Illumination New Controller
Take a look at the new mounting options. If you have existing AI Sol Blue, you can use the same mounting brackets as they are backwards compatible.
Aqua Illumination EXT Hanging Kit
Aqua Illumination EXT Rail System
All in all we are very happy with the setup and would definitely recommend it. The Vega goes for $499 and the controller will set you back another $79. You will then need to pick a mounting option which typically ranges from around $25 -$100. The savings of not having to replace the bulbs every 6 months pay off very quickly.
- Good construction.
- Cheap compared to other lighting sources
- You have to purchase stands and controller seperatley (this could also be a good thing as it alows for flexibility)
IN THE AI VEGA BOX
- One Vega LED Light
- One Power supply
- One page manual and warranty info
IN THE AI CONTROLLER BOX
- One controller
- One Power supply
- One USB cable
- One 10' x 3.5mm cable for wired control
- One mounting kit includes Velcro and screws
WHERE TO BUY