Continuing on with our testing of some of Reef Brite’s products, we decided to take a step back and test a former tried and true product. In this product review, we’re going to take a look at the Reef Brite 15″ 250W Metal Halide Pendant from Reef Brite. To test this product out, we called up Nick at Bulk Reef Supply and placed our order. We installed 2 of these units running Reef Brites Twin Arc 20/20K 250W mogul bulb, alongside 2 of the Reef Brite 48″ XHO Actinic Blue LEDs which you can read about in a separate review.

The combination of the lights were installed over one of our 150G tall Marineland Reef Ready systems, which was previously lit by 2 Radion G3 lights. This tank is a mixed reef with a wide variety of LPS and SPS corals. This tank is also primarily stocked with wrasses including 2 Super Male Lineatus, Mystery, Katherine, Dusky and a pair of Red Margin fairy wrasses, along with a juvenile Orange Shoulder Tang who is showing some fantastic colors. Soon we’ll be adding an Achilles tang who is currently in the QT and looking healthy as ever and eating like a champ!

 

What’s in the Box?

Well, for starters it’s nothing to get excited about. Two boxes and a small Reef Brite tube that contains the twin arc mogul bulb. One box contained the 15″ pendant and the other contained the digital ballast.

At first glance, for the price of the pendants, the ballasts and the bulbs, we started to think “What did we do? We had good LED’s running on our tanks and now we’re going back to the basics?” But again, we’ve followed the craze and tried every LED combo you can think of and felt it was time to go back to what’s worked in the past and we’re really glad we did.

One thing to note here is that the on the side of the pendants is a circular metal clasp that might be loose, but is used to secure the glass cover on the light. When you are setting up the lights, be careful as the clasp will be open and the glass can slide out pretty easily. When it is in a mounted position, the clasps will swing down and ensure the glass does not slide back and forth. If you want to tighten the screw, be careful as you might have to slide something behind the reflector to hold the set screw in place; which could cause damage to the reflector and it’s a key component to this light.

 

Operation

Metal halide lights are not the fancy lighting solutions with dimmable controls, but rather you pick the kelvin bulb you want and it’s time to operate. We used our Apex controller along with an EB4 to control the XHO and 2 Metal Halide pendants. Once we replaced the Radion G3 XR30W units with our new DIY mount for our Reef Brite lights and programmed the Apex, it was time to put the Halides to the test.

As noted in our XHO review, turning on the 2 XHO units first, we noticed a huge difference. The colors popped on all our corals as well as our fish, but the overall color was very blue. Now, turning on the Halides was quite the eye opening experience. Tulio mentioned to us that using this combination of lighting would nearly eliminate any shadows in the tank and would really brighten it up. From personal experience, it was a night and day difference! Our Welso’s and bubble corals at the bottom of the tank inflated in less than an hour. We saw colors on fish that we had not seen in months, if not years. For example, our Lineatus fairy wrasse looked really good when we bought it about 6 months ago, but since, didn’t display some of the colors that helped sway our decision to purchase it.  Here’s a quick pic from an iPhone 6 to show you what we mean:

When operating for several hours, the lights and ballasts run warm like any halide, so nothing different than previous halides we’ve used or tested. Not a big deal for the tank we installed these lights on as they are sitting atop our canopy. They are well ventilated and nothing is sitting on top of them or resting on them. If you are installing these in a closed top canopy or in a frag system rack, just take this into account so you allow enough room for proper ventilation. In fact, the same goes for the power supplies as it clearly states… “failure to properly ventilate the lighting or power supplies could cause damage to the lights and void any warranties.”

 

Bottom Line

As we stated before, when opening the box, there was a little bit of resentment in the purchase due to the price tag for both of these units (pendants, ballasts and bulbs – $830). But after unpacking the unit and getting it setup and working, the buyer’s remorse quickly dissipated when we saw the way our reef inhabitants responded to the new lighting.

In addition, after speaking with Tulio at Reef Brite, it’s clear he has taken the time to analyze and design this product based on tried and true methods of the past. His reflector design for this lighting system is what sets this light apart from other Halides we’ve tried where they were equipped with smaller reflectors.

Based on the design, the light intensity, and the results we’ve seen after running these lights for over a month the Reef Brite 15″ Metal Halide Pendant gets a “thumbs up” from Reefnation!

 

Product Specification

With its space-age fan-less design, the Reef Brite Metal Halide Pendant runs cooler and produces 25% more light output more than any other compact metal halide system available. A high luminous efficacy (lumens per watt) makes the Reef Brite Metal Hybrid systems efficient to operate.

 

Manufacturer Info

With clean aesthetic lines and extensive product design, Reef Brite is providing an attractive element to enhance the beauty and personalization of aquatic biotopes world wide. However, innovation is at the core of what we do at Reef Brite. Creating stunning high quality lighting and aquatic environment solutions Reef Brite’s product line encompasses cutting edge solar replacement technologies in efficient lighting and aims to provide users with a powerful product designed to be versatile and efficient.