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Old 05/28/2017, 06:46 AM   #7
Ron Reefman
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Cape Coral, FL
Posts: 10,736
Inexpensive black box led fixtures come with a wide variety of features, from MarsAqua with just 2 channels and manual dimmers, to Euphotics with sunrise/sunset control. And just beyond the black box design there are Reef Breeders with very modern, slimline design and 6 channels of color control and still priced below most other non-black box fixtures. This post gives a pretty good list of black box features and brands.

If you care for the black box case they can last many years. I have some that are now 6 and 7 years old. Some are steel and can rust if not cared for, but most are now aluminum and hold up much better. The leds are fairly bullet proof, older fixtures have had some issues with drivers (power supply) and circuit board issues. But they seem to be getting better and better in terms of quality. Some offer quite good customer service and warranty, others are a giant PITA. I'd recommend you stick with ones that have a website and not just sold on Ebay or Amazon. My customer service experiences with Reef Breeders has been superior, and it's mostly been for pumps, not leds. BTW, they have a sponsor forum here so they are easy to reach.

The very least expensive, MarsAqua will grow corals and produce perfectly acceptable light. After that, it's about features for easy of use and extra control, neither of which have much effect on the coral or the fish. Before leds, sunrise/sunset was a joke. All t5 and MH fixtures are on/off except for one expensive t5 fixture. Your fish will have much more stressful things than on/off sunrise and sunset.

The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it. (Neil deGrasse Tyson)
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Last edited by Ron Reefman; 05/28/2017 at 06:52 AM.
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