The Aquatic Gazette

Arcadia Arc Pod (9w)

In Lighting on May 11, 2011 at 00:01

Arcadia, an aquarium lighting company from Britain, launched the Arc Pod more than 5 years ago. It comes with a high price tag when compared to other brands and they all use the same compact PL 9w bulb. So why do consumers still purchase the Arc Pod?

The appeal of the Arc Pod lies in its design and functionality. It’s design is sleek, simple and effective. Other brands will often have their light unit parallel to the length of your tank. In bigger tanks, this works great, but if you are in the market for a 9w unit, you will most likely be using a nano tank. The problem with using lighting units that are of a parallel orientation to a nano tank, is that it’s pretty conspicuous. The Arc Pod is designed to mount on your tank’s back wall and is perpendicular to the length of your tank, this gives it a much lower profile. When using open-topped rimless tanks, this low profile is very much welcomed. When growing light demanding plants, more units can easily be added without looking cluttered.

The 9w compact PL tube is encased within an other cover that is clear at the bottom, with a reflector on top. There has been concerns, that by using an other cover, light from the compact PL will not have the same penetrative power, when compared to other brands that do not spot an outer cover. This concern does hold water, but we tried it out, and found that we could grow the same plants as well as the other brands that do not spot an outer cover, with the same wattages. The outer cover is secured to the rest of the unit through twin plastic clasps, a rubber plug at its base gives credence to Arcadia’s claim of a water-proofed unit. The Arc Pod sits on a clamp that holds it to your tank’s wall. This clamp also enables you to swing the unit upwards during maintenance and is incorporated neatly into the design.

In spite of its superior design and functionality, a few issues do plague the Arc Pod and prevents it from attaining perfection. The sliver paint that is used for the top half of the unit and the clamp are prone to dropping off after a few months of use. If you like having your tank’s water at the brim, your clamp will sit inside the water and the paint will drop off rapidly. Because of this problem, we customised all our nano tanks to have a back wall that is 2cm higher, this allow the clamp to clear the water line.

The next issue also stems from the clamp. After a few months of use, the plastic screw thread that holds your clamp to the tank wall will become non-responsive, and it will be impossible to turn it smoothly. We had to remove our light units from the clamps if we wanted to shift positions as some force will be needed to get them loose. The third issue may not be that much of a problem but we would like to see an improvement if a revised version of the Arc Pod is considered. The power transformer units are big and heavy, if you are using several Arc Pods like us, this may be a problem because of space constraints in the aquarium cabinet or underneath a table. Speaking of several Arc Pods, these lighting units do not come cheap. At its current local prices, for a single unit you could easily get three units from other brands.

If you could live with the issues we highlighted or solve them through tank modifications, you will find the Arc Pod a conventional PL lighting unit that has a design perfect for nano tanks, unrivalled by any other lighting units out there. As for its cost, we think its worth it. Having used them for years now, we appreciate how open they allow our nano tanks to be, without comprising on lighting levels.


credit: Arcadia United Kingdom

  1. I bought 5x 11w Arc Pods 4 years ago, (4 for a `large Nano’ project and 1 as a supplement for a corner of a 3 foot tank ). Within 18 months two of the units (not the bulbs) had failed. That is not a great statistical track record. Not being much of an electrician, I am not sure why this happened… the transformer plugs of the failed units no longer get warm, so I am guessing there has been a short. Googling this fault has not yielded any apparent/similar events for anyone else. Not being attracted to the size/shape of any possible alternative brands, I may try replacing the faulty Arc units in the hope that this was an earlier batch quality control issue. The other 3 units are still going strong 4 years later.

    • Hmmm.. Our Arcadia ArcPods are almost 4 years old and we do not have any issues with them. Have you tried to contact Arcadia’s customer service for help?

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