After a brief time away from the aquarium industry, IceCap is officially back in the game and they’re brining their most popular product back with them. The ever popular IceCap 660 ballast is the flagship product making its return to the lighting scene, and it will offer the same great quality and features that made it so popular to begin with. The 660 can fire VHO, PC or high output T5 light bulbs while running cooler than other ballasts while using 40% less electricity and burning 40% brighter. Single 660 ballast can run up to 4 lamps or 440watts and is fully dimmable for T12 style VHO bulbs. On top of that, the ballast is fully repairable and comes with a three year warranty. As for new features of the ballast, most things are unchanged from its predecessors, but will utilize higher quality, non lead “RoHS Compliant” integrated components that allow the ballast to run cooler, reduces the failure rate, and even makes them a little more environmentally friendly. Now, I do realize we stated that the ballast is making its return, but it should be noted that it really never quite went away. IceCap’s former VP Chris Conti went to CoralVue after the company shut it’s doors, and when he left, he took the IceCap 660 and other products with him. The 660 was rebranded under the CoralVue name, but it just wasn’t the same
Much like everyone else at Interzoo, CoralVue and the product manufacturers for whom they distribute have been extremely busy with new product launches. Giesemann Aquaristic, who happens to be one of those companies, has released a new and improved line of their popular T5HO Powerchrome Lamps. Now in their 12th year of production, the PowerChrom lamps have been a popular choice amongst aquarium keepers, including yours truly. Despite being relatively unchanged over that span, for 2014 they will be seing some updates that will include several new colors. To keep the product line up to par, cheesy pun intended, Giesemann has incorporated the latest in fluorescent technology by using the newest advancements in Tri- and Penta-phosphor blending which is said to increase performance and coloration, as well as extend the life of the lamp. Color wise, the PowerChrome lamps will be introduced in seven new colors to replace the previous generation. These include two geared toward freshwater and five for saltwater.
Giesemann is one of the few companies out there that isn’t abandoning the tried and true T5HO technology, and in fact, they are still making groundbreaking strides that keep it totally relevant in a time dominated by LED light fixtures. Around a year ago, Giesemann revamped the look of their Matrixx T5HO fixtures to bring their aesthetics in line with their gorgeous Teszla and Futura LED products, and just a week ago they announced even more upgrades. The brand new Matrixx-II DIMTEC will share the same sleek look as its predecessor, but will also incorporate full Bluetooth connectivity that allows it to communicate with a variety of devices including personal computer, Macs, and Android powered devices. The user interface is provided by Giesemann’s own software package, which is very similar to the one used on the Futura LED system. The key selling features of the software include: Point to point multi-plot light cycle programming allowing smooth transitional lighting phases across an available 920 set points. Fully independent channel control over 2 – 4 channels dependent on light unit connected. Transitional color shift dependent on the mix of tubes across each channel. Fully adjustable cloud and weather simulations Fully adjustable lunar phases. Creation of dedicated user profiles
In a world seemingly fixed on LED lighting and little else, it’s nice to see that T5 fluorescent technology is still developing and hasn’t been cast to the wayside. Pacific Sun, a company that specializes in aquarium illumination, must follow the same train of thought, as they have a brand new offering of specially designed T5 lamps coming out in January. Specifically designed for even the most demanding of aquaria, the lamps will be offered in five different color choices and in all of the standard sizes (24″ to 60″). Interestingly, Pacific Sun is describing these T5 lamps as being “very high output” or VHO. Based on the wattage of each lamp and their intensities (see spectra below), we would actually not consider these to be true T5 VHO lamps, which are typically driven to much higher wattages. For example, a traditional four foot T5HO bulb runs at 54watts resulting in 5000 lumens of intensity. A VHO bulb, on the other hand, peaks at 95watts with an output of 7200 lumens.
When it comes to aquarium illumination, LEDs may be the hot item right now, but older technologies like T5HO fluorescents still have a very loyal following. Because of this, aquarium lighting companies are still cranking out the T5 fixtures, with the latest being the Diurna from Pacific Sun. While not much has changed in the way of fluorescent lighting tech over the years, many of the newer fixtures are getting some swanky features that still make them very competitive with all of the LED products. Pacific Sun is no stranger to high end, feature rich lights, and the Diuna represents the pinnacle of fluorescent lighting for aquarium use. The Diuna has all of the standard top shelf features like high quality anodized aluminum reflectors and dimmable ballasts. But where it really stands apart is in its interface. Where most light fixtures these days have on/off switches and perhaps some controller connectability, the Diurna has a built-in Wireless Controller that uses Bluetooth to connect with nearby devices. Additionally, it has native apps for Apple iOS, Windows and Android. The fixture is available in three different lengths (three, four, and five foot), with each holding an array of either 8 or 10 T5HO tubes. Additionally, the bulbs and ballasts are configured in such a way that only two bulbs are on one of the controllable ballasts