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Aquatic Life Edge LED 48-inch Aquarium Lighting System

The sunrise to sunset programmability, admirable performance over planted aquariums and excellent design mark the Edge LED aquarium light as a winner.

By Stephen G. Noble | June 10, 2014

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The Aquatic Life Edge LED is an aquarium lighting system that replicates the daily circadian cycle while providing all wavelengths of visible light closely replicating natural sunlight. The Edge LED system uses a mix of white LED's with Kelvin (K) ratings of 6K, 9K and 10K coupled with Blue, Red and Blue Lunar LED's. The combination of LED's creates a lighting system that highlights the vivid coloration of our fishes and provides essential wavelengths for photosynthesis of freshwater plant life. Aquatic Life also promotes the Edge lighting system for saltwater and marine aquariums. Naturally, anyone desiring to use this lighting system over a reef tank will need to carefully assess its intensity and PAR. Depending on the depth of the aquarium and species kept, supplementation from another lighting source might be required. Check with your local pet shop for assistance in determining the proper lighting for a reef tank.

 

The lighting system's programmable artificial circadian cycle is not only pleasing to observe but no doubt, appreciated by the tank s inhabitants. Almost any beginner's guide to aquarium keeping advises against shocking aquarium fish by suddenly turning on the tank's light. Fish don't have eyelids and flooding a dark aquarium with bright light noticeably disturbs the fish. It is much more humane to employ this nice program feature, especially in the winter months with late daybreaks, to subtly create an artificial sunrise. The sunset feature, likewise, allows the fish to naturally prepare for the night. From an aesthetic perspective, the sunrise and sunset features of this lighting system cannot be overstated. It is very nice and generates positive comments from my fish room visitors. 

Aquatic Life Edge LED
Stimulated emergent plant growth. Photo by Stephen G. Noble.

I was provided with an 'off the shelf' sample of this lighting system. The system was not modified or altered by the manufacturer. After five months of testing, I conclude the Edge LED is a first class lighting system. I decided to first test it over an open top, 90-gallon aquarium used for over wintering gold fish, floating plants and red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) trees. ) alive. The water lettuce didn't grow but it didn't die either which made me very happy. During the winter, these plants are normally placed in a tank receiving direct sunlight and intense artificial light just to keep them going for the next pond season. Growing just under the water's surface were Cabomba and Egeria. Both showed slow but steady growth. Salvinia displayed rapid growth under this light. So much so, that weekly, l moved about a cup full over to my indoor turtle pond and let them enjoy a tasty meal.


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The instructions clearly state the light must be mounted over a glass top presumably to avoid splashing water from damaging the system. This presented a unique problem because the red mangroves protrude about 8-inches above the top of the aquarium. A solution was found by mounting the light on a glass ledge a full 9-inches above the aquarium. I didn't think this light would be effective mounted so far above the tank but the aquatic plants proved me wrong. It was no surprise that the red mangrove continued steady growth given their upper leaves were so close to the light. Most fascinating was the lights capability to keep water lettuce (Pistia

 

Aquatic Life Edge LED
Red Mangroves directly under Edge LED. Photo by Stephen G. Noble

The light performed flawlessly over a heavily planted, low-tech 55-gallon aquarium. Amazon swords (Echinodorus), Anubias, Cryptocoryne all grew steadily. I was totally unprepared for what occurred with Hygrophila. The plant displayed explosive growth and found a gap in the aquarium's lid to exit emersed.

In short, the light performs as advertised and exceeded my expectations. I am very happy with the new LED systems specifically designed for planted aquariums.

The light is equipped with a power chord that is nearly 11 feet long. This should preclude the need for an extension cord. But to Aquatic Life's credit, they tell how to use an extension cord if one is necessary.

The only improvement this system needs is in the instructions. This is not a unique issue to only Aquatic Life; it's industry wide. I wish manufacturers would contact me for input before printing unclear instructions. Prior to hooking up the Edge LED system, read the instructions and then go directly to Aquatic Life's website, www.aquaticlife.com to view several excellent videos. The videos add much clarity to the rather vague instructions. The lighting system does not have a simple on/off switch. It has a very precise program that must be followed step-by-step for the system to properly perform. The instructions say how to set the timer and then later refer to lighting channels, yet the instructions do not state exactly what the channels are and how they perform. This is unfortunate because better instructions would allow the consumer to fully understand and utilize the features of this outstanding light. The following comment is not directed solely to Aquatic Life but to all manufacturers who use electronic timers. Please install a battery back-up to keep the timer setting during power interruptions. Gosh, even $5 alarm clocks have this feature. Adjusting the Edge LED's legs is simple using a cross tip screw driver. That is a very nice feature and I particularly like the ability to positively lock the legs in place. 

The sunrise to sunset programmability, admirable performance over planted aquariums and excellent design mark the Edge LED aquarium light as a winner.  
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Reader Comments

PD Budd    Oxford, NY

7/2/2014 3:36:17 AM

For the first 6 months of starting my freshwater tank I struggled with getting a balance of plants to algae!. As soon as the Edge LED light bar went on over the tank It seems that the old T-tube light sput the tank into the dark ages.I have had my Edge over a planted tank with mostly tetras. This excellent review just about covers everything. I love my lighting system now and feel that the design is the lighting system for the aquarium industry's future.
he programming is very complicated and the instructions did not help me at all. So, I called customer service often and a lot. After setting it up with a certain amount of full daylight and he sunrise, sunset and enticing moonlight, I felt that the strong daylight was too much and he fish were jumpy. Also, the algae bloomed like crazy.
So, I called customer service and we worked out a better schedule with a long sunset and the longest moonlight (terrific living room lighting!) and the algae growth is back to normal the fish re happy little campers and the plants are finally growing properly.
So, if you so get an Aquatic Life Edge make good use of their excellent customer service.

Trey    Syracuse, NY

7/1/2014 8:13:29 AM

Read this article the other week, turned around and purchased a 48" EDGE LED light. I sold the T5 lights i was using and i could not be happier.

THis light is everyting i have been waiting for in programable LED lighting for a planted freshwater tank.

Thanks for the article!!

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