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The first look at the new AquaIlluminationVega Color!

The first look at the new AquaIlluminationVega Color!

By Shane Graber – Posted Sep 07, 2012 03:00 PM
The AquaIllumination Vegas are just now shipping to USA retailers; Advanced Aquarist has ours in hand! Here is our unboxing of the Vega Color and matching controller.
(Please note- We have 1 unit for testing in Ireland but the launch for this unit has not been set for Europe)
The new AquaIllumination Vega Color

AquaIllumination just released their new Vega LED lighting systems for public consumption.  The Vega comes in two versions: a Blue and Color version (both available in black and white finish).  Advanced Aquarist received the Color version for this unboxing.

One noticeable update to the fixture is that AquaIllumination slightly changed the bulb configuration from their past specs and increased the Cree XP-E Green and OSRAM OSLON Deep Red from one LED per fixture to two and decreased the Cree XP-E Royal Blue LEDs from six to four.  Photos of the light in action are found later in the unboxing.

AI Vega Dimensions:

  • Length: 11.88 inches
  • Width: 5.38 inches
  • Height: 1.57 inches
  • Weight: 3.25 pounds

Power Supply:

  • Power Consumption: 95W max power from outlet
  • PFC: > 0.9
  • Universal Input Range: 100 to 240VAC / 50 to 60Hz
  • DC Cable Length: 10ft
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 5.84 x 2.14 x 1.26 in.
  • Regulatory Compliance (Meets Requirements/Limits): UL, CE & RoHS

The Vega retails for $558.95 USD.  The Controller is sold separately and retails for $79.95 USD.

In the coming weeks, we will provide a complete review the new AquaIllumination Vega Color for our readers. In the mean time, we wanted to give you a first look at this new LED lighting fixture.

The unboxing begins!

The AquaIllumination Vega and controller arrived packaged together in plenty of bubble-wrap.

Left: AquaIllumination Vega; Right: Controller

The bubble-wrap is removed!

We opened up the Controller box…

…and inside was the Controller, power supply, and cables.

The Controller and power supply just out of the box.

Unboxing the Vega. Nice box!

Underneath is the AquaIllumination Vega light fixture. Plug it in. Enjoy!

Removed from the packaging: The AquaIllumination Vega and power supply.  The Vega is about the length and width of a sheet of copy paper (and under 2″ thick).

The AquaIllumination Vega flipped over to expose the four banks of LEDs AI calls PowerPucks.

Closer view of the cooling fan on top.

Another shot of the fan.

Bottom view of the four banks of LEDs PowerPucks.

Close-up of the PowerPucks.  The Vega Color consists of the following LEDs:

4 – Cree XM-L Cool White
4 – Cree XP-E Royal Blue
4 – Cree XP-E Blue
4 – OSRAM OSLON Deep Blue
2 – Cree XP-E Green
2 – OSRAM OSLON Deep Red

Notice the multi-colored LEDs.

The output is bright!

Two additional views of the LEDs in action.  On to the Controller ….

The Controller powered on.

Setting up the timer.

The AquaIllumination Vega and Controller

Another shot of the AquaIllumination Vega and Controller.

Check out the AquaIllumination channel on Youtube for videos showing how to change modes, coral acclimation, setup, lunar cycle, and more.


We have been asked alot about all the new LED that are arriving in at Seahorse Aquariums.  We have some information from a post on Reef Central by rodneyri.  There are lots of pictures so here we go.


Out of the box


LED’s on view



Front shot of Tank


Par Readings in 2 modes

Par Readings in 2 modes




Readings taken with an Apogee PAR meter, all pumps turned off in my tank. Tank had a water change yesterday. To keep the readings consistent I placed the meter’s sensor in the tank and took a reading in High Efficiency mode on the Mitras then without moving the sensor changes the lights to High Output mode and took the reading. This was repeated at each level so the results are comparable with my situation.

Tank Specs; 140x75x55 deep (water level approx 57)

PAR readings in High Efficiency mode
240 (sandbed)
576 (water level)

PAR readings in High Output mode
340 (sandbed)
810 (water level)


Par readings with 1 light on

Just took readings with one Mitras on, starting from in the middle directly under the light and moving 10cm away each time. All readings on sandbed.

PAR at the glass was 196. Only measured this in the centre position.


Here is more information on the unit

the write up by Jake Adams

The GHL Mitras LED light is the first aquarium light fixture from the experienced designers and manufacturers of aquarium electronics, most notably the GHL Profilux controller. We had to go all the way to Germany to get our first look at the Mitras LED in person, way back in May when the GHL LED aquarium light was still in middle stages of development. The promise that we saw in the GHL Mitras LED six months ago has been fully realized in the final production version of the Mitras with a set of hardware features which is nearly unrivaled in the aquarium hobby and bordering on over the top. Priced at $1200 the Mitras LED is not going to be many hobbyist’s first foray into LED aquarium lighting. However, experienced LED users and owners of large tanks who are ready to take big steps towards LED lighting will find the Mitras LED very worthy of their consideration.

The first thing that struck us about the final production Mitras LX 6100 LED is its very finely crafted metal housing. Compared to the plastic-y shells of some aquarium LED lights the steel and aluminum chassis of the Mitras feels distinctly high class. The fit and finish of the anodizing work and paint job of the Mitras feels very solid and more so than most lights this is a fixture which will make you want to touch it, which is good because the onboard touchscreen controller is the first mode of entry for programming the Mitras LED light. Some other fine touches to the exterior of the Mitras include a hidden USB access port on the underside of the fixture and a sweet transparent power cable which ensures that you’ll never mistake it for another one of your aquarium devices.

The onboard controller of the GHL Mitras LED is no doubt part of what adds to the overall cost of this top-tier LED light but it also ensures that no other accessories of computer is needed in order to get some programming of the light. With onboard 2.4GHz wireless the built in controller of one Mitras can become the master unit for a suite of other Mitras lights set to slave mode. When using the Mitras controller we found the splashproof touch-sensitive buttons to be extremely responsive and the nested menu options were fairly intuitive, there was no need to crack open any directions to quickly adjust different color channels. As good as the Mitras controller is, you’ll want to access it via USB using the GHL Light Composer to really make the most of what the Mitras can do. Even with an easy interface, the navigation of the small screen on each Mitras can take a little while, especially if you want to set multiple time-intensity points for nine different channels, those button presses add up. We have not yet played with the GHL Light Composer for the Mitras but we’ll be sure to do so very soon.

Cracking open the Mitras LED was also an absolute pleasure (not literally cracking it, but carefully opening the housing of course). Compared to the first view we had of the Mitras LED at InterZoo the final Mitras LED boards, fans and electronics seem much more thoughtfully laid out. Whereas the Mitras initially had its four fans drawing from the bottom and fanning this moist salty air directly over the electronics, the Mitras now funnels its air cooling from the top and out the sides – a much safer and more durable orientation for air flow for sure. Also, previously we saw what appeared to be an afterthought for UV LEDs clumsily added to the middle of the body as if to fill in a void. The new placement of the Hyper Violet HV LEDs is right there next to the cluster of other LED colors which makes much more sense from a color-mixing point of view and for having one set of reflector or lens clusters to swap out.

We’ll be having a whole lot more to say about GHL’s first foray into LED aquarium lighting with the Mitras LED. Be sure to check our previous coverage of the Mitras LX 6100 over the better part of this year and stay tuned for some unexpected observations about what the Mitras LED looks like next to some other aquarium LED heavy hitters and perched three feet over corals on a massive reef aquarium display.

An evening with Seahorse Aquariums……

Welcome Red Sea 
Date: Thursday 28th June 
Time: 7pm
Location: Red Cow Hotel – Munster Suite
Capacity : 50 people

The Event.

A great opportunity to meet some of the Red Sea team and learn more about their unique Reef Care Program, which we believe offers hobbyists of all levels the opportunity to own a successful and sustainable reef aquarium.
Whether a beginner or an experienced hobbyist with a thriving coral reef aquarium, we are sure you will benefit from this introduction to Red Sea’s innovative new products.
Joining the Seahorse Aquariums team for the evening will be Steve Halls and Kevin Davies from Red Sea.
Steve is Red Sea’s European Sales Director. Having worked for Red Sea for many years Steve will provide an insight into what makes Red Sea ‘tick’, including explaining some of the research and development which went into Red Sea’s recent advanced Salt formulations and Reef Care Program.
Kevin will be well known to those of you who use the various reef forums, and in his role as Red Sea’s Technical Support Manager he brings not only 30+ years of experience as a professional aquarist, but an in depth knowledge of Red Sea’s products.
Kevin will be on hand to give plenty of advice on how to achieve a great looking reef aquarium, including answering technical questions from the more experienced hobbyists. 

After a brief introduction to some of Red Sea’s products there will be a Q&A session and further chance to discuss reef-keeping with the Seahorse & Red Sea team over a drink..

Join us for an informative evening in a friendly environment, and benefit from some never to be repeated offers on Red Sea products. Book early as numbers are limited! 

To book please email us at: to reserve your place. Please send names and contact details.


RedSea No3 Po4 – X (NOPOX) in technical terms to use in you tank

Here is a post which is emails back and forth with one of the technical guys from Red Sea. We will on June 28th be having an evening with the Red Sea technical people at the Red Cow hotel so you can meet and ask questions as well as hear what they have to say. By looking over this post – you can see they know what they are talking about. This is in particular on the NO3-PO4-X product.

Question; We have a customer that is using your NPX for approx 2 months now. His nitrates are undetectable which is great but phosphates are off the scale.
Any ideas what must be going on as we still learning as we go with the product.

Answer: No3Po4-X is best looked upon as a food source for different types of bacteria, denitrifying (Heterotrophic) working on the No3 content and what we call PHB’s (Phosphate Harbouring Bactria) working of the Po4.

As you are already seeing in the system in question the bacterial colonies working on the Nitrate content reproduce much quicker that the PHB’s but in the fullness of time these levels will sync in relation to the No3 content.

What I am going to suggest in the first instance is you run the skimmer as wet as possible, wet skimate will help extract the Po4 laden PHB’s to be skimmed off as this is how the Po4 is exported from the system, No3 is digested by the heterotrophic’s and reduce this to free Nitrogen, Co2 and Water. 

So the following Information will be most helpful.

• System Po4 level at the start of No3Po4-X dosing
• Colour of skimate coming from skimmer at the start and currently
• Type of skimmer and system volume.
• Current dosage of No3Po4-X per 100 litres
• Are you currently using any other form of Po4 remover
• All other test results would also be useful.

There is also the possibility of nutrient release from live rock that I can discuss but until I have the above information I won’t confuse things.

I look forward to the requested information so I can assist you further.

Reply:I have been using No3Po4-X for about 2 months now. When I started the nitrates were around 25-30ppm and phosphates 1.25. The last measurement i took, the nitrates were 6ppm and the phosphates were over 2. So it has been very successful with the nitrates

The tank is approx 425 litres including the sump. The sump only contains skimmer, heater and return pump.
I am not currently using any phosphate remover
I was previously using a v2 400 skimmer but switched to a deltec apf600 skimmer about a month ago. The deltec skimmer is producing a lot more skimate than the v2 ever did. Roughly half a skimmer cup is produced every 4-5 days, very dark brown in colour.
Dosage was initially 12ml per day, currently 8ml per day

When I started using the product I had a fairly bad algae problem, as you would expect from the nitrate and phosphate levels. For approx 3 weeks, ending about 2 weeks ago the tank went through a stage where there was absolutely no algae growth, never had to scrape the glass, no algae growing on the rocks. At the time the nitrates measured between 5-10ppm and the phosphates approx 1.75. It has since returned to normal levels of growth

Reply from Red Sea:
Thank you for the update.
The fact that you have seen an increase in your Po4 content suggests that you are experiencing some nutrient release.

When you start dosing No3Po4-X you can sometimes go through a transition process when feeding a carbon source(No3Po4-X), what this means is you actually go through a change of denitrifying bacteria as the stronger species being fed with the No3Po4-X takes over, this can produce some enzymes which are acidic, this acid is formed locally in the lattice of the live rock, the effect of this is to dissolve some of the Nitrate Carbonate and Phosphate Carbonate put down in the lattice of Corals ( live rock is of course dead Coral) these algae nutrients become available and are fed on by local algae, this can be seen as a local rapid growth of hair algae, you may also see a change in skimate colour, starting at a dark Brown/Green sludge this can become a bright light green and is due to the nutrient release, overtime this will change to a light tea colour once all the algae nutrient is expelled from the live rock. 

The release of these nutrients can lead to a sporadic growth of hair algae, this growth of algae lasts whilst the nutrient is being released from the live rock, depending on the live rock this can last two to four weeks or sometimes longer in rock that has been in captive systems for many years. 

Cyano bacteria (Red Slime) can sometimes be seen when the No3 to P04 ratio goes out of sync, this can sometimes happen if the No3 comes down too quickly, dosing of our Reef Energy A & B can usually resolve this issue.

I suggest increasing the No3Po4-X dosage back to 3ml per 100 litres whilst you still have high levels of Po4 present, it is important then to feed Reef Energy, this will ensure the corals have free Nitrogen available whilst you have low or zero No3 levels.

Questions from Seahorse:

Few more questions;
1. If people are using NPX biopellets and in some cases are not working as good as should or definitely not as good on the phosphate end of things – can they use NPX in conjunction with biopellets
2. Can they use pellets in conjunction with JBL BIONITRATEX which has encapsulated bacteria and encapsulated bacterial food within a bag and is a popular products of ours.
3. When someone is starting a new tank – how early do they add NPX
4. Can they use carbon and roaphos with NPX
5. Can you use UV with NPX

Response from RedSea:
Your welcome, I am always happy to help as best I can
1. We do not advise the use of Bio Pearls with No3Po4-X, the whole point of running No3Po4-X is to control the level of No3 & Po4 by this you can choose if you want a low nutrient level (No3 0.25ppm Po4 0.02) or rapid growth levels (1 to 2 ppm No3 0.08ppm Po4) with the use of bio-pearls you can take the levels to the point where no nutrients are present this has a detrimental effect on corals as they take 85% of their nutritional requirements from the Zooxanthellae living in the tissue of the corals, no nutrients no Zooxanthellae no corals.
2. No, for the same reasons as above.
3. We Use No3Po4-X in our new Marine Mature Pro kit from day one, so long as you have Nitrogen source like Reef Energy you can start from day one, the Energy is useful for the live rock anyway.
4. We actively recommend the use of good quality activated carbon, it is an essential part of any reef filtration system, carbon will not remove No3Po4-X or any of our Reef Colour supplements excessive Energy may be removed.
5. Yes, UV & Ozone can be used with No3Po4-X as this equipment as the light and gas only effect free swimming pathogens and bacteria, useful nitrifying bacteria are usually in contact with a surface area.

Our customers tank is sort now and happy as pie. No more crazy algae growth and Phosphates and Nitrates are down to a low level and all corals are flourishing.



Ecotech Radion …

Ecotech Radion Vs. AquaIllumination SOL Vs. Vertex Illumina

I would like to thank Jeremy B., from Premium Aquatics, for kindly sharing with us the following information.
This is the battle we were all looking for… Ecotech Radion Vs. AquaIllumination SOL vs. Vertex Illumina

A precious piece of information for those who are buying a LED fixture.


Ecotech Radion XR30w €749

AquaIllumination SOL Blue €499 (Add €100 for the controller)


Vertex Illumina 300mm 200 €849 – (note 260 model used in this test)



The 3 fixtures hanging at the same height using a 60″ AI rail kit


Power Consumption


Wattage: 73
Amperage: 1.04
Power Factor: .59

Vertex Illumina

Wattage: 81
Amperage: .69
Power Factor: .98

Ecotech Radion

Wattage: 121
Amperage: 1.51
Power Factor: .65


PAR Readings

Fixtures placed at 12″ (30cm) of the water surface


Par measures were taken at 12” (30cm) depth

PAR Numbers


Center: 510
6″ (15cm) Left: 180
12″ (30cm)  Forward: 120

Vertex Illumina

Center: 118
6″ (15cm) Left: 113
12″ (30cm)  Forward: 109

Ecotech Radion

Center: 215
6″ (15cm) Left: 148
12″ (30cm) Forward: 130

Fixtures placed at 6″ (15cm) of the water surface


PAR Numbers



Center: 640
6″ (15cm) Left: 240
12″(30cm)  Forward: 103

Vertex Illumina

Center: 232
6″ (15cm) Left: 195
12″ (30cm)  Forward: 171

Ecotech Radion

Center: 395
6″ (15cm) Left: 226
12″ (30cm) Forward: 158


My personal conclusions


In my opinion this fixture was the winner of the confrontation. It’s a good value for the money, that’s very important. The draw-back is the light spreading. I think you can improve the PAR spread if you use 70º lenses. I believe for this test the AI fixture had 40º lenses.


Ecotech’s latest product had a solid performance and a good PAR spread over an area of 12” (30cm). One of the best and most unique features of this fixture is the different kind of spectrums you can get, and therefore tweaking corals colours. However, this was not measured on this test. A positive side note, Jeremy has also mentioned that the cooling ability of this fixture was impressive.


Vertex was the one who had the best uniform PAR performance. Wasn’t the price so high and we definitely had here a winner. That for me made the difference when picking up a favourite.

I would like to thank Jeremy and Premium Aquatics for doing this test.
If you want to discuss or continue to follow Jeremy’s test, please visit the thread at ReefCentral:  Ecotech Radion ~vs~ AquaIllumination SOL ~vs~ Vertex Illumina






Seahorse Aquariums now suppling ADA in Ireland

ADA founder Mr.  Takashi Amano has revolutionised the planted aquarium in the world of aquatic aquascapes.

Born in 1954 in Niigata, Japan. Mr Amano started his career as a famous Japanese landscape photographer in 1975.

Aqua Design Amano, otherwise known as ADA, offers the leading range of aquascaping products.

Takashi has achieved to take away the look of an aquarium so the viewer looks at the planted aquarium and not to take notice of the glass.
All products that you need to achieve the aquascaped nature aquarium are available.

Takashi Amano tests all the products himself to make sure they are up to the high standards before the ADA logo is placed on any new products.
Products in the ADA range start with the aquarium cube gardens which are low iron glass which give clarity of viewing without the green tint that is standard with normal aquariums.

Substrates are available in different natural grades of different regions such as Amazonia, Africana and Malaya. Other products go down to such a small granular level that helps bacteria and the growth of leaves underwater. All aspects of the planted aquarium are catered for from base substrate with bacteria to assist with the nutrients levels for the plant roots through to the lighting systems.

Here are some of Takashi Amano aquascapes. Click on the images to see the large size to appreciate the detail of the work in the aquascapes.

Mr Takashi Amano produced a range of stunning photographs entitled ‘Untouched Nature.”

This was from travelling and photographing tropical rainforests and landscapes in West Africa, Amazon and Borneo, these have been then re-produced in a aquarium to make it look just like the natural landscape from the untouched areas.

“To know Mother Nature is to love her smallest creations. We recreate the natural eco-system in out aquarium, which leads to a better understanding of the global environment.”

To see the products available at Seahorse Aquariums, Please search on ADA in the search bar or look under the freshwater Drygoods / Substrates / Fertlisers & Aquariums

We will be expanding ADA offering as per request of you the customer so let us know what you are looking for.

Please look at what can be achieved in the aquatics gallery from the Green Machine UK –