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Radion Xr15fw G4 / Kessils / Red Plants

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by jbecks, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. jbecks

    jbecks New Member

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    Hi all,

    Im currently looking at lighting options for a tank that is 48" Long by 24" wide and 18" Height. Ive been contemplating, kessils either two 360s or two 160s or two Radion XR15 FW G4 led fixtures.

    The only red plant im planning on having is Alternanthera reineckii. I understand Kessils are not known for their good growth of red plants, but are the radion XR15s sufficient?

    The only reason Im contemplating the kessils is for the shimmer as it makes a tank look more natural.
     
  2. bshenanagins

    bshenanagins Junior Poster

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    Kessils will grow red plants just fine, the complaint is color rendition that many people have. It’s hard to really say which light is best, as it depends on what you consider to be pleasing to YOUR eye. All of the higher end lights will grow red plants, whether they look red enough to you is the question. Don’t rely on photos from the internet as they are mostly edited or corrected automatically by the camera. The heavier the red spectrum the more likely your reds will pop.
     
  3. jbecks

    jbecks New Member

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    Yeah, I really need to see the lights in the flesh. It’s just going to be difficult to view the Radions.

    I’m leaning towards the radions for more customisation and the fact they replied same day to a question, where as I’ve still not had a reply from Kessil (sent on Monday)

    From what I’ve seen, the radions will still generate glitter lines just not as well as Kessil.
     
  4. bshenanagins

    bshenanagins Junior Poster

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    Every LED will give you some sort of ripple effect, the more surface agitation you have the better the effect. Kessil can actually be too distracting depending on the setup, almost so much that it looks "trippy"
     
  5. jbecks

    jbecks New Member

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    It seems quite hard to find information about peoples experiences of the radions, yet if I was buying reef lights, I would be able to find pages and pages of peoples experiences.

    Are the radions a good light?
     
  6. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Kessil 160 is not quite enough on my 60x18 footprint tank. However it’s also 26” tall so that extra depth is important. The color is supposedly 6000-9000K which so there is a relative lack of red.

    While the shimmer can be distracting, there is no disco effect in the shadows and I can focus on things in the tank. I find that I have trouble focusing on things under Hydra 26s. They look like they’re lit by static or excessive flicker to me. I’m not sure if that’s disco effect related or simply due to them generally running much bluer light and my older eyes don’t focus as well with that light anymore.

    Given your tank size you’ll have probably need the Kessil 360 for coverage. I don’t have any experience with the Radions but the Hydras are fairly durable from what I’ve seen so that seems like a reasonable choice even if it’s not the same company. The new Kessil 360x should address the red appearance issue but then you’re up in the GHL Mitras price range when you figure in the controller.

    Out of curiosity who makes your tank? The dimensions seem like a good size.
     
    #6 shoggoth43, Jun 16, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
  7. EdWiser

    EdWiser New Member

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    Radions do not have filter lines like Kessil’s I have both lights. Both lights are more geared to reef than planted tanks. If you get either one it would be best to use a PAR meter to set the light up with.
     
  8. jbecks

    jbecks New Member

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    The tank is an Evolution Aqua 1200. I popped into my lfs today and saw the kessils in the flesh...they were the A150s that are not adjustable so they looked a little yellow in my eyes (6500k i think) the shimmer...Im sold! unbelivably natural looking shimmer! I always regretted not getting them on my reef tank...so Im going with them. :) and I'll most likley set them in the higher spectrum range.
     
  9. EdWiser

    EdWiser New Member

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    You will need the 360x. Just watch George Farmers tank.
     
  10. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Lifetime Member
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    Kessil have a new light on the market with a greater leaning toward the red end of the spectrum so they should make colours pop a little more than the old ones which can appear to be quite stark. The new model is big bucks though and you'll need 2. https://www.kessil.com/products/freshwater_A360X.php

    I have a Radion XR15 FW but one of the earlier versions. The glitter lines are pretty awesome, but again the reds not so good. However, I think the 4th gen have a couple more red LEDs so offer much better colour rendition. I like the controllability of the Radion but I think the new Kessils are equally controllable.

    I also like that the Radions are suspendible from the ceiling the Kessils not so. However, the Radions are a bit large and cumbersome looking.

    Have you given some thought to Twinstar S series ? I have been using one for a while. You can pick up an inexpensive controller for sunset/sunrise etc, and the colour rendition is among the best I've seen. They are RGB, however no glitter lines.
     
  11. Varun

    Varun New Member

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    Hi there,

    I actually have 5 x radion freshwater fixtures ( 3 x Gen 1 freshwater and 2 x gen 2 freshwater pro) that I use for my terrariums. The first gen fixture is more "reef"-like in the sense that there is a broad spectrum of blues with UV, indigo, blue and hyperblue LEDs. However, I personally found this fixture very pleasing with it's rendition of colour in my plants. I have some "unique" plants and some of these wavelengths really do bring out some crazy sheen/irridescence in the red's / violets of my plants.

    PS:: 2/3 Radion XR15FW first gen have failed with either a cluster issue/driver issue after 2-3y. I was definitely not too happy considering their price. Given that the warranty for these items is unusually short (1y), I had no luck getting proper resolution in Canada (with the distributors). Thankfully ecotech USA offered a partial credit for exchange with the new 2nd gen fixtures.

    Now the second gen fixture you are going to be buying.... I have two of these. These have been re-clustered with a new set of LED. First of all, this is a very very warm fixture (Color-wise). I cannot ever match the wide range of 2000K - 20000K that I got with the first gen, but I can perhaps only get 2000K - 6000K. They doubled down on the white LEDs ( 4 x warm whites and 2 x white). I personally don't like the yellow tone of this fixture. Yet, this fixture ups the wattage from 56 to 96 (IIRC). This means you can potentially light a deeper tank...but keep in mind that if you like a "cooler tone", you might have to turn down the warm white LED drastically and that means you are loosing PAR with increasing depth.

    In the below pic..you can see the fixture on left is the OLD Gen 1 vs the fixture on right-most tank is Gen 2. Notice the warmth in colour. I personally prefer colder look, so for me, it isn't ideal.[​IMG]

    Gen 2

    [​IMG]

    Personally, if I were you, I would look into getting 3 x of these for your 48 long?... or perhaps I would try the UNS Titan fixture / ADA solarRGB. I must say my experience with ecotech fixtures haven't been too positive concerning the failure rates...however I might be an anomaly compared to others.

    cheers

    V

    PS: Here is a pic of the gen 2 freshwater at BigAls in my area

    [​IMG]
     
    #11 Varun, Jun 29, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2019
    Tim Harrison likes this.
  12. evangemeren

    evangemeren Junior Poster

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    I have a 130 gal planted Discus tank (24 x 60 x 25) and I've used BOTH the Kessil A360WE Tuna Sun (the older freshwater version of the A360) and the Radion XR15FW Pro G2.

    In short, they are both great fixtures and you won't go wrong with either. The decision between them, in my view, is based more on a subjective trade-off between the need to fine-tune every individual setting and the need for maximum light penetration at the level of your substrate.

    The Kessil light was great. I used it for a year and was very happy with it. However, at the time the integration with my Apex controller was pretty limited. So I got lured into replacing them with the Radion product since I could control them wirelessly via a separate ReefLink device. At first, I was happy - while the Radion fixtures are much bigger (which is less appealing to me personally), the range of things you would tweak on the lights - and do it all wirelessly - was really neat. However, while the wireless control was kinda cool, the ReefLink proved to be VERY unreliable. And customer service from EcoTech to try and troubleshoot the device was remarkably unhelpful. I've since thrown out my ReefLink and instead purchased Neptune Systems' own WXM module to wirelessly interface the Radions with my Apex controller and I'm much happier with them now. I actually like the interface on the Apex Fusion much better than the EcoSmart Live website.

    Having used both the Kessil lights (a set of 3 to cover my tank) and the Radion lights (also a set of 3) for about a year each, I would say the differences are relatively minor:
    1. The Radions offer more flexibility when it comes to controlling the spectrum, and programming the photoperiod. This is because the Radions have 8 different color channels (driving 8 different sets of LEDs) which can each be controlled independently, while the Kessils only have 2 channels and don't allow you to adjust LEDs within their "Dense Matrix" independently. Furthermore, the Kessil lights still lack a wireless control option (although their website says one is "coming soon") and you need to purchase their Spectral Controller separately if you want to do more than adjust "color" and "intensity" on the fixture. With the Radion fixtures, both of these are native features of the fixture itself.
    2. The Kessil's put out more light. I am using Neptune System's PAR monitoring kit (connected to my Apex) to measure the actual light output from my lights that falls within the usable range. The sensor is partially buried in my substrate, so I am reasonably confident that I'm getting values that match what my plants would see in my tank (instead of the manufacturer's quoted values which are all based on use in the open air). Keeping everything else the same (i.e. my tank, water parameters, the same control system, etc.), the Kessil fixtures produced about 20% more PAR values at my substrate (lights are mounted approximately 7" above the water surface, and there is approximately 21" of water depth to the substrate where the PAR sensor is located, and both fixtures sent to maximum output.) While this does not replace a true spectrograph which measures light intensity at each wavelength, I think this is a reasonable approximation to support the claim that the Kessil fixture has more output.

    So - if your priority here is to get a fixture you can "play" with remotely and adjust the color, schedule, and goof around with fancy things like simulated thunderstorms, then the Radions are the way to go. If your priority is to simply get the smallest light fixture you can find that puts out the most amount of light at the substrate of your tank, then the Kessils are the way to go.

    Having used both now for about a year each, I can honestly say the novelty of all the control features has worn off and I hardly ever touch them. If I had to do it all over again, I'd probably stick with the Kessils ... even though the range of control is much more limited, it was enough for my needs. I also prefer the Kessil's smaller footprint and ability to use a "gooseneck" mounting arrangement.

    PS - I notice that Kessil has launched a new version of the freshwater light ... the A360X Tuna Sun. It is reported to have even more light output and an even smaller footprint. With the upcoming release of the "Kessil WiFi Dongle", I think the decision is even easier still.
     
    Tim Harrison likes this.
  13. evangemeren

    evangemeren Junior Poster

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    One minor clarification: Even though I have concluded that the Kessils put out more usable light at the level of my substrate, the PAR levels I measured with either set of fixtures were well above what I think are required. So again, the light output from either fixture is great ... but just that much better for the Kessil (especially in view of their much smaller size).
     
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