The Aquatic Gazette

Ecoxotic Aluminium LED Arm

In Lighting on July 13, 2011 at 21:58

About 3 months back, we had a quick look at Ecoxotic’s new EcoPico desktop aquarium. It generated quite a stir and was our most read article for the following two months. A big reason why the EcoPico desktop aquarium commanded such interest was because of its sleek and sexy aluminum LED arm. Thus, we decided to bring in the LED arm to give you a closer look and a detailed review.

Technical Specifications
Approx Measurements: 10 inches long | 3 inches wide | 4.5 inches tall
Total Watts: 3 watts
Light Spectrum: 12,000K White | 460nm Actinic Blue

Ecoxotic’s choice of packaging for its aluminum LED arm is much-lauded. The recyclable packaging is as big as it needs to be. By choosing a stylish triangular design rather than the usual rectangular box, Ecoxotic may have saved as much as 35% of boxing material. As our aquatic friends in the wild increasingly suffer from the effects of global warming, we would love to see more aquatic companies follow Ecoxotic’s green example.

The packaging is as large as it needs me to be, as seen beside the LED arm.

The Ecoxotic LED arm is for aquariums that are around 30cm in size. LED arms for such nano tanks exist, but as LEDs are still not as cheap to produce as the common fluorescent light, some companies have decided to use vastly inferior LEDs in order to price their products cheaply. This has created quite a fair deal of discontentment with aquarists who have used these inferior products, as they expect LEDs to last the usual 50,000 hours and not to lose lighting intensity after 500 hours.

Before Ecoxotic made this LED arm available, the only other reliable and stylish LED option for nano tanks was the ELOS E-Lite LED. However, the ELOS LED was more suitable for the marine aquarist because of its lighting intensity and its numerous LEDs translated to a price higher that what most freshwater aquarist will pay for.

Thankfully, Ecoxotic’s LED arm now gives the nano freshwater aquarist the option of a reliable LED arm at a reasonable cost. The LEDs found in the Ecoxotic are of good quality, able to output optimal lighting intensity for 50,000 hours. With a photoperiod of 8 hours a day, that works out to slightly more than 17 years!

The LED arm comes with one LED strip, and every LED strip is 9 watts of light. Ecoxotic smartly engineered the LED arm to have space for another 2 strips, allowing a total of 27 watts of light. Some aquarists have gone even further and have proven that it is possible to squeeze another 2 strips at the edges for a grand total of 5 strips or 45 watts of light. If you need that extra output, just order the extra strips and it is simple to attach them on the arm with the provided adhesive.

All those extra LED strips will have their individual power cords and instead of having multiple power sources, Ecoxotic has made it possible through the use of their splitters to power up all the individual LED strips through a single power source. This shows that the company has really thought through the use of the product from an aquarist point of view, we are impressed.

The Ecoxotic LED arm’s main strength is its design. With today’s popularity of rimless aquariums that emphasises a minimalistic and clean look, aided by unobtrusive equipment, a lighting unit which takes the conspicuous spot on top of the aquarium requires an appropriate design to fit into that minimalistic concept.

Some aquatic companies have also hopped unto the LED bandwagon, but they seem to be happy to house them in housings that will hold a compact fluorescent tube. In contrast, the Ecoxotic LED arm is sleek and metal sheet thin, with the advantage of the minute size of LEDs played fully.

When using the Ecoxotic LED arm with a rimless tank, the combination works perfectly. The structure and thickness of the LED arm flows with the similar structure of an aquarium and the choice of a curvature, rather than a right angle, takes away the tension in design that is critical as it occupies a conscious space.

The LED arm is made of high quality aluminum that does not flex easily under pressure. It should also be noted that if the choice to discard the LED arm after its 17 years lifespan is taken, aluminum is easily recyclable, and this is just another example of how environmentally friendly Ecoxotic is.

At the legs of the LED arm, where the arm grips the tank, Ecoxotic has used good quality rubber to prevent the aluminum legs from damaging your tank wall. The black rubber matches the LED arm perfectly and we didn’t realised the use of rubber till we inspected that area. Also, rubber is waterproof and we will not see any degradation of the material. This is unlike other light units which utlise plastic to hold their light units to the tank wall, as the paint on the plastic often comes off because of its constant contact with the aquarium’s waters.

The width of the rubberize aluminum legs have been designed to fit aquarium walls of thickness 6mm or less. If you plan to use the LED arm on an aquarium of thickness substantially less than 6mm, a screw adapter is provided to narrow that gap and ensure the LED arm is secured. On our 5mm aquarium, the arm fitted nicer without the need for the screw adapter.

The intensity emitted by the LED arm is good and it does look brighter than 9 watts from a compact fluorescent tube, partly due to the pinpoint nature of LEDs. There are three choices of colour temperatures for the LEDs. There is the choice of using the 12,000K White LED, the 453nm Blue LED, or a combination of the 12,000K White LED and the 453nm Blue LED in your desired combination.

The Ecoxotic LED arm is an excellent product that only comes along once in a while. Well designed, reasonably priced, made of superior material and long lasting. When we were authoring this review, the Ecoxotic LED arm really reminded us of Eheim Classic filters, which shared all these positive attributes and are recognised today as a legacy, with their popularity undiminished in the last 20 years or so.

Simple in design but brilliantly executed, we have high hopes for the Ecoxotic LED arm, and the legacy it will establish.

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Product specifications credit: Ecoxotic

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