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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all!

I've been following a small US company specializing in optimizing the spectrum/quality of "black box LEDs" which are overseas budget LED fixtures.
They seem to do quality work and they recently released a planted tank version, below is the link:

https://sbreeflights.com/sbox-fw-plant-lights/21-basic-fresh-water-plant-led-light.html

165W (but really around 110W) of 3W LEDs for 130 USD, it's going to be hard to find a better price out there.
Power is WAY too strong for a regular tank, but there are dimmers and they may release a version with controller.

Also, I absolutely don't know these guys and I don't benefit from posting this in any way.
I'm just really into LEDs, I build small LED fixtures as a hobby and spend way too much time researching the topic.

I'm going to buy one of their planted version and I will do a review after I've used it for a while.
If you have reef tanks check their reef LED versions, they are by far the best deals around imo.

Cheers,

Nicolas
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sorry for the late reply, been on holidays for a while.

In terms of power these fixtures use 3W emitters, so they are comparable to high-end LED fixtures (AI, Ecotech, Kessil, etc...) for light penetration and power.
They also have 9 different colors with customized spectrums, so in that regard they are also comparable to high-end fixtures.

The main differences with high-end reef LED lights would be:

- The LED emitters: the LEDs on these lights aren't CREE emitters or Bridgelux, most likely they are Epistars.
The difference between CREE/Bridgelux/Epistars/Luxeon/etc is debatable in terms of how impactful it is in the reef hobby.
It's true CREE and Bridgelux emitters are better but with Epistars or Luxeons your corals will still grow great without a doubt.
BUT, if you want the best of the best, look somewhere else and get ready for big markups.

- The built components: High-end brands tend to use better quality components (drivers, controllers, heatsinks, fans) although this isn't always true.
There are many examples of high-end products being remarketed low-end products, but I won't mention them because I respect people's love for a brand.
However, with these lights the company improved many different elements from an original black box LED fixture.
These lights are definitely way better than the black box LEDs that you could buy directly from overseas.

- The warranty: There is a 2 year warranty in the US for these lights, not sure about Canada.
I don't know the warranty policy of high-end LED fixtures so I have nothing to compare this to.

There is no doubt these will grow corals very well, it comes down to personal preference and what makes you happy.
I personally don't like being charged 3 times the price for something that will give me the same results,
but if you like a brand and enjoy the design of their products, it also matters :)
 

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"The LED emitters: the LEDs on these lights aren't CREE emitters or Bridgelux, most likely they are Epistars.
The difference between CREE/Bridgelux/Epistars/Luxeon/etc is debatable in terms of how impactful it is in the reef hobby.
It's true CREE and Bridgelux emitters are better but with Epistars or Luxeons your corals will still grow great without a doubt.
BUT, if you want the best of the best, look somewhere else and get ready for big markups."

Here is my 2c for this part.
CREE is made in USA only which means better quality and overall higher output.
PROS: deliver most out of the LED diodes since it can withstand higher current (better quality less chance of getting kill by heat). So it would give you the best output over all other brands
CONS:eek:ne of the most expensive LED brand and people tent to forget how powerful it is and crank it up to the max. It pretty much kills your corals, melt your plants if you do not use it properly. Limited in coloration as true CREE LED doesn't produce certain color. Color such as UV are extremely expensive so almost 99% of the brand out there do not use CREE UV diodes even brand name LEDs.

Bridgelux/Epistar is made mostly in Taiwan and China, small amount of bridgelux made in USA.
PROS: Lower cost overall, more variety in coloration and comes with different forms. For example Bridgelux can come in form of LED chip/board instead of single diode. the benefit is that with the larger surface area of a "board/chip" it is a lot better in coverage vs a single diode with lens.
CONS: LED diode quality really go by luck. It really depend on the manufacturer when comes to the fixture. So you could really run into issues if they decide to use some of the lower quality diodes to save some cost for that particular line of fixtures. It take a lot more power to achieve the same output as CREE mainly due to the diode itself usually do not withstand high current. So for something 90W CREE can deliver, you might actually need somewhere close to 180W in EPISTAR. It is because in most cases, you light manufacturer would on put about 30to 40% of the max current thru the diode where CREE might be able to put thru 80% of its max current.



When I look at this fixture, my true feeling is that other than the extra stand /leg. There is really no differences between itself to any of the Chinese no name brand/blackbox LED fixtures. In fact, I think the fixture might actually be what I usually call, made in China but build in US type of situation. For the cost itself, I would say it worth the risk. Simply because it takes shorter to time to get to us in Canada. However, I do think whether or not they provide warranty to Canada would be very important as the shipping to US to get the fixture to warranty is going to really kills the purpose of getting a lower cost of the fixture consider how expensive our shipping cost in Canada is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for chiming in oyf709 :)

These lights would definitely be less powerful/efficient than fixtures using CREE emitters.
However, as you mentionned it, maximum output on fixtures using CREE emitters often ends up killing corals.
Unless you have a really deep/large tank, end users rarely use the maximum rated power of a fixture.
I'll order one of the freshwater once the timer version is out, even though I don't need that much power I'm curious about the light.
I'll write a review after a few weeks of use.

I'm also making fixture with a CREE CXB3590 6500K which are very popular in hydroponics at the moment.
They are very large emitters with a very high output and CRI. I'll try to put up a build together in case some ppl are interested.

Cheers,

Nicolas
 

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agree, but that is the mistake most people that try to convert to LED from T5 or MH would have. In a lot of cases, only keeping Blue LED is enough to keep coral alive as coral does not use LM and on consider PAR level
 
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