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Marineland LED Double Bright Lighting System Review

The Marineland LED Double Bright Lighting System may be the right lighting solution for your aquarium.

By David Lass | May 2, 2012

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With lighting for aquariums, there is always a trade-off between amount and quality of light and the electricity used to produce that light. The Marineland LED Double Bright Lighting System does not require any such compromises, as it delivers excellent quality light with very low electricity use.

Marineland Light

The Claims
Marineland claims that its LED Double Bright Lighting System delivers 600 lumens per watt of electricity, that the light penetrates deep into an aquarium and has the shimmer of true sunlight. It also claims that the LED Double Bright has 17,000 hours of life.

The Tests
The Marineland LED system that I tested was the 24-inch to 36-inch model. It has 12 LEDs in three rows of four. The two outer rows are daylight white, and the inner row is blue. I used the LED system on a 29-gallon aquarium. The 24-inch fixture has expandable legs, which allows it to be placed in the correct position on an aquarium up to 36 inches in length. I tested the system with this aquarium set up as a marine fish aquarium with live rock and then as a low-light planted aquarium.

The Results
FOWLR marine aquarium. Within the 29-gallon aquarium set up as a FOWLR marine aquarium with the Marineland LED system, I had my trusty testing crew of aquarium-raised ocellaris clownfish, a couple of gobies and an orchid dottyback (this is the third or fourth incarnation of this aquarium where these fish have been the occupants). For filtration, I used a protein skimmer and live rock. The LED system provided better illumination to the aquarium than in earlier cases when I had two 24-watt T-5 fluorescent lamps. With only 12 watts of electricity used for the Marineland LEDs, the light was driven all the way down to the bottom of the aquarium. In addition, there was the "glimmer" that hobbyists are always looking for in a marine aquarium. While the fixture does not provide sufficient light for a true reef aquarium with photosynthetic corals, it does provide the "look" of a reef aquarium.

Low-light planted aquarium. I then changed the aquarium to a low-light planted aquarium. I replaced the substrate with black fluorite, used water from an existing aquarium and an outside power filter from another aquarium. I planted two different kinds of Java ferns, two kinds of Anubias, some water sprite and a couple of Amazon sword plants. For fish, I added six of the new electric blue rams, six cory cats and a couple of ornamental shrimp. Within two or three weeks, the plants began growing well. One of the Anubias even flowered underwater, and the colors of the fish showed off well. Granted, the plants I used would all be categorized as low-light plants, but with regular fluorescent fixtures that would usually equate to 1 watt per gallon. Here, with the Marineland LED system, I was using less than half a watt per gallon.

The Marineland LED Double Bright Lighting System is an excellent product, very much on the cutting edge of lighting technology for aquariums. It does a terrific job for both the marine and freshwater aquariums that it is designed for: FOWLR marine aquariums and low-light planted aquariums.
Marineland makes it very clear that this light is not designed for reef aquariums or high-tech planted aquariums. The light that the Marineland LED system provides is excellent, with balanced color penetrating all the way to the bottom of the 29-gallon aquarium on which it was tested.

The low profile of the lighting fixture is the slimmest of any fixture I have seen, and the electricity used by the Marineland LED Double Bright Lighting System delivers excellent-quality light for around 25 percent of the electricity used by even the most efficient fluorescent fixture.
This LED system is reasonably priced, and with the light on for about 10 hours a day, the fixture will last for four or five years (the entire fixture is guaranteed for five years). When the fixture fails, simply replace it with a new one. Because you do not have to replace the lightbulbs and because this fixture saves electricity, it may be economical to buy a new fixture after five years than to keep replacing fluorescent lamps with a regular fixture.

I strongly encourage all hobbyists to consider using this lighting system for a FOWLR marine aquarium or for any freshwater fish aquarium, except high-tech planted aquariums.

LED Double Bright Lighting System


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