TMC’s most recent addition to their AquaRay line of LED aquarium lights is the AquaBeam 1000 HD. Utilizing Cree XR-E LEDs, custom optics and increased LED density, the 1000HD was designed to fill in any light intensity gaps from the smaller AquaRay 500 LED strips. If you think of the AquaRay 500 strips as flourescent […]
TMC’s most recent addition to their AquaRay line of LED aquarium lights is the AquaBeam 1000 HD. Utilizing Cree XR-E LEDs, custom optics and increased LED density, the 1000HD was designed to fill in any light intensity gaps from the smaller AquaRay 500 LED strips. If you think of the AquaRay 500 strips as flourescent supplement lamps, the AquaBeam 1000 HD is TMC’s answer to metal halides.
TMC AquaRay AquaBeam 1000 HD Stats:
- 10 Cree XR-E LEDs
- Marine White (10 x 14K White)
- Reef White (7 x 14K White + 3 x 50K Blue)
- 30w of electric consumption
- 20cm x 20cm footprint
The AquaBeam 1000 HD is a welcome addition to the Aquaray line. The small form factor makes it easy to place over any aquarium and the simple black and exposed aluminum heatsink are very easy on the eyes. TMC describes the 1000HD as a lighting tile, and I whole heartedly agree. For larger tanks this is not an all inclusive pendant, rather it is part of the modular TMC Aquaray LED line that can be combined with multiple 1000HDs, 500 strips, or other lightsources to achieve the right balance of light.
This is one of the few LED aquarium lights that was designed from the ground up–there are no off the shelf parts and it wont be confused as a DIY job of less expensive knock off. The integrated heatsink adds an industrial edge to the light, while also serving as a bracket to allow mounting to rails or cable. It does look good, but this was also my area of most concern–for 30w the heatsink is on the smaller size and operating temperatures quickly heat the polished metal.
As we suggested with the NanoCustoms PAR 38 LED Review, to ensure maximum output and LED longevity, be sure to use this lamp in a well venitlated area. If possible fans, moving air across would also be beneficial. TMC stats the AquaBeam 1000 has a minimum lifespan of 50,000. In our testing we did not find any stastically significant decreases in light output (as measured through PAR). We will take TMC’s word on this, but do not advise using this product in poorly ventilated areas for fear of LED degradation.
Just How Bright is the 1000 HD?
TMC kindly sent us a Reef White 1000 HD, consisting of 7 white and 3 blue LEDs, for review purposes. Photosynthetically Available Radiation (PAR) measurements were taken through open air, every 1/2″ over a 24″ square area using a calibrated Licor PAR sensor. Three separate readings were taken at 12″, 18″ and 24″.
Measurements in the charts below are measured in µmol/sec/m2 shown in gradients of 25 units for the flat chart and 50 units for the 3D chart.
[click to enlarge]
Thoughts After Using the TMC 1000 HD
In the end, the peak intensity of the AquaBeam 1000 HD could use a slight boost; however, this was a trade off for the coverage and spread achieved. The light is ideal for small aquariums and I would recommend one unit for every 12-18in square depending on the aquascape and light requirements of one’s animals. [TMC has told us they are working with the Cree XP-G LED and we expect the 1000HD will greatly benefit from the increased lumens per watt that the XP line offers.]
The optics of the unit are fairly wide and mix the white and blue light well. We did not observe any light banding issues when put over the aquarium. Note that TMC uses Cree’s standard Blue LED which range from 465nm to 485nm. These provide more PAR, but do not offer the actinic-like color pop that the 450nm Royal Blues do. That said, the bin of white LEDs we found to be very white and crisp. They compliment the blues nicely giving an overall temperature that we would be a fair 12-14K. (Editors note: The aquarium industry’s use of kelvin ratings is largely driven by marketing. We found the TMC 1000 HD LED tile offered a crisp white light with a touch of blue.)
TMC does offer an AquaRay Control unit that offers two channel dimming, sunrise / sunset timing, and a flash mode that simulates a lightning storm. To keep cords to a minimum there is also an Aquaray Power Control which integrates a power supply into the controller. Our unit did not come with this and only offered on/off functionality. We feel the controller would be a much added benefit to the TMC 1000 HD and give it an edge over comparable lights.
Lastly, this light is plug in play nature. It is lightweight, can be set up in minutes, and easy enough to install over any aquarium. This light is well equipped to handle nano reefs and the sub 24″ cube range of aquariums on its own or the versatile design can be employed in numbers of larger aquaria. Given the low heat directed towards the aquarium, the unit can be placed just inches away from the water surface. We have no qualms using this light to grow softies, LPS, and SPS–but for the latter, careful placement in the upper half of the aquarium must be considered.
We must give a thanks to TMC and Quality Marine for sending these units, with a special nod to TMC’s lighting consultant Michael Barret.
Disclosure: The TMC AquaBeam 1000HD LED was provided free of charge by TMC for review purposes. However, as always we maintained our independence and objectivity throughout this review.