AquaRay LED FAQ’s

[toggle title=”What is the ‘Shimmer Effect’?”]

Also called “shimmer lines”or “glitter lines,” this is the moving pattern of light and shadow seen on objects in the aquarium. This effect is caused by a combination of water movement and light – as the surface of the water is agitated by current or air movement, the light rays hitting the surface of the water are refracted and reflected at different angles. This results in variations in the intensity of light striking objects within the water column.

Shimmer is regarded as important for 2 reasons:

1. It creates a more realistic and natural appearance to the aquarium.

2. Water in the ocean is always moving, and this means that most marine animals experience this “shimmer” effect all the time. Reproducing this effect in an aquarium can give your fish the same sense of broken patterns of light that they are used to, and thereby help reduce stress and improve animal health.

Note: some customers may find the increased shimmer effect generated by LED lighting to be too intense – in this case, try mounting the lights closer to the water surface. Reducing the amount of surface movement will also reduce the effect.


[toggle title=”Why do AquaRay lights produce shimmer effect, while fluorescent lights don’t?”]

Generally speaking, the larger the light-emitting area of the light source, relative to the surface area of the water, the less shimmer effect will result. Because fluorescent tubes are Omnidirectional (they emit light in all directions) and the light is emitted from a large area (the entire length of the tube), they tend to nullify any shimmer in the confined area of an aquarium. Single-point light sources, such as the AquaRay LED range, deliver specific beams of light which are refracted and reflected independently by water movement within the aquarium. This is what produces the same natural shimmer that occurs, for example, when light from the sun hits the surface of the ocean.


[toggle title=”How high above the water should I mount my AquaRay solid state lights?”]

To get the best from your AquaRay lights, they should be mounted between 3 and 6 inches from the water surface. As noted above, and as a general rule, the greater the distance between the water surface and the lights, the more pronounced the shimmer effect will be, so try different heights if possible to get the effect you want.


[toggle title=”How many AquaBeam 500 units will I need for my marine aquarium?”]

For a FULL REEF aquarium (fish and invertebrates):

1 x AquaBeam 600 per 1 sq. ft. of surface area, for example, to light a 4 foot x 2 foot aquarium, you will need 4 x 2 = 8 units.

1 x AquaBeam 600 per 1.3 sq. ft. of surface area. Using the same example, you will need 4 x 2 / 1.3 = 6 units.


[toggle title=”How many GroBeam 500 units will I need for my tropical or planted aquarium?”]

For a TROPICAL aquarium (fish and plants):

1 x AquaBeam 600 per 2 sq. ft. of surface area. To light the same size aquarium, you will need 4 x 2 / 2 = 4 units.

The above is a guide only – ultimately the number of units you use will come down to personal preference.

[toggle title=”How hot do LED lights get, and will this affect my aquarium?”]

All electrical lights convert electrical current into light and heat – the more efficient the appliance, the higher the ratio of light to heat. Types of lighting that are traditionally used to light aquariums are among the least efficient, converting a high percentage of the current they draw into HEAT instead of LIGHT. To make matters worse, this heat, rather than being directed away from the aquarium, is actually reflected directly into the aquarium! This often means that the aquarium can be overheated, and may require additional expensive equipment to regulate its temperature.

The LED technology used in TMC’s AquaRay range minimizes the negative effect of unwanted heat in two ways:

1. We use only the most efficient LED technology, with the latest thermal management properties. So, not only do the lights draw less current than traditional lighting types, but they convert a much higher percentage of the current into light instead of heat.

2. The design of the AquaRay range of light units ensures that any heat generated by the LEDs is directed AWAY from the aquarium, with large, multi-finned heat sinks on the rear of the units. In this way, any unwanted heat disperses into the air, rather than being directed into the aquarium. For this reason, it is important that air flow around the heat sinks is not disrupted or obscured in any way.

[toggle title=”What is the Kelvin Colour Temperature of AquaRay lights?”]

AquaRay lights have been carefully designed to offer a lighting solution for almost any aquarium application, from tropical and planted aquaria, to full reef marine aquaria. The CREE diodes used in all AquaRays have been specially selected to deliver light of the correct temperature needed for each application.

For tropical and planted tanks, we recommend our Natural Daylight diode. This is a specially selected warm white LED, rated at 6500 Kelvin, the color temperature widely accepted as optimum for freshwater biotopes.

For marine and reef aquaria**, two diode colors are used:

1. Marine White – this is a cool white diode, specially selected for brightness and is rated at 14,000 Kelvin.

2. Reef Blue – this diode is rated at over 50,000 Kelvin and is specified for accentuating the bright colors of corals and other bioluminescent marine animals. The shorter wavelength of blue light also means that this diode provides good light penetration for deeper or more specialized aquaria.

These color temperature diodes are used either on their own or in combination across the AquaGrow and AquaRay range to provide maximum flexibility so you can create the lighting solution you want, for the type of aquarium you have.

**although these colors are defined for use in marine aquaria, they are also suitable for some specialized freshwater biotypes, for example, in Cichlid or other fish only displays.

[toggle title=”Can I operate AquaRay lights underwater?”]

Definitely not! AquaRay lights are designed to provide the light that aquarium animals need in the same way they would get this light from the sun in their native habitat, that is, from above. This is also the best way to create the natural and life-like appearance that one would expect when looking at the aquarium. Submersible lights are not natural, and may in fact be harmful for animals which would not normally experience this kind of unfiltered light.

Although AquaRay lights are designed to be waterproof and to operate in a high-humidity environment, they are not submersible – damage cause by immersion in water will invalidate the product warranty.

[toggle title=”Are AquaRay lights controllable and dimmable?”]

Yes, all AquaRay lights are digitally programmable. For this, you will need an authentic TMC Digital Controller which is standard with some units and optional equipment with others.

Note that there are two types of controls – the AquaRay Controller and the AquaRay Power Control.

[toggle title=”How do I choose what TMC Solid State lighting products to buy for my tank?” last]

The TMC range of LED aquarium lights is divided into two sections:

a. The GroBeam range of lighting products use specially selected Power LEDs which are rated at 6500 Kelvin, an ideal color temperature for planted and tropical tanks – this color temperature will render green and red colors to their best effect in terms of vibrancy. Products in the range include the GroBeam 600 and GroBeam 1000.

b. The AquaBeam range provides the marine hobbyist with a range of lighting products to meet any lighting challenge. The AquaBeam 600 is available in four colors – Marine White, Reef White, Marine Blue and Reef Blue – while the new AquaBeam 1000 HD Ultra offers two color choices – Marine White and Reef White. The AquaBeam 1500 XG Ultima offers a choice of Ocean White.

The AquaBeam 600 Range
The AquaBeam 600 measures 490mm x 45mm x 35mm and has five power LEDs. The Marine White has five 14K diodes, and is designed to offer maximum brightness and the coolest of white illumination. This high Kelvin level is only achieved by the super white LEDs selected for and used in TMC AquaRay products – these are not supplied to other aquarium light manufacturers and are not available to the public.

Reef White and Marine Blue have two and three blue diodes respectively and this mixture of super white and blue means it’s possible to get the right balance of bright cool white light for illumination, and actinic blue light for viewing bioluminescence and penetrating deeper tanks.

The Reef Blue is all-blue, and can be used as a night light, as additional actinic light to accentuate bioluminescence and for lighting exceptionally deep tanks where only pure blue wavelengths can escape the progressive and natural absorption of the longer wavelengths as depth increases. (That’s why everything looks blue once you are a few meters underwater – only high energy short blue wavelengths remain from the original white, full spectrum light incident at the surface).

The AquaBeam 1000 HD Ultra Range
This unit measures 200mm x 200mm x 50mm and has ten power LEDs with custom optics to boost light output and optimize light delivery to the aquarium. The Marine White again has the 14K diodes for maximum brightness from TMC’s specially selected LEDs.

The Reef White has three blue and seven white LEDs, again with custom optics, to accentuate bioluminescence and improve light penetration.

The AquaBeam 1500 XG Ultima
This unit measures 200mm x 200mm x 50mm and has ten power LEDs with custom optics to boost light output and optimize light