Since first seeing and hearing about this new light from EcoTech Marine, I’ve been dying to get some up close time with it, and today I finally got that chance. The statistics on these lights may be amazing, but pictures or even first hand accounts of them over actual reef tanks don’t seem to be out there yet. My time with the Radion first began with a visit from EcoTech with a unit in hand to look at over tanks familiar to me. Testing began on my 75 gallon SPS reef which is usually powered by a six bulb Tech T5 fixture that’s loaded with Giessman bulbs. The color mix on this tank is perfect, and growth rates are through the roof, but there’s always been something missing. I’ve tried metal halides and a few different LED set ups, but there always seems to be something sacrificed for the gains they give. When the Radion XR30w was first placed over the tank, the first thing that popped out at me was the coral fluorescents. Greens and blues really pop under this light, and yet the overall color in the tank seemed very close to the T5 set-up. Running the LEDs at full power on all channels really seems to yield a nice full spectrum, but still gives enough power in the blue range to make colors that matter jump out. I was really starting to see the benefit of full spectrum lighting, and the point that Sanjay made at MACNA 2011 about how standard two, or three, channel LED lighting tends to give a flat look. Next we started to play with the spread a bit. The Radion has a nice even spread that could easily cover the full four-foot tank with just two units. Placing it near the floor, you could see that at about two inches distance, the shape of the pucks could clearly be seen, but at just four inches the light blended into a nice rectangular patch of light. Lines of red, green, blue and white are not detectable at any distance. These short but enlightening tests concluded the looks at familiar tanks, but there was so much more to come. The next look came later over an amazing EcoTech Marine powered reef that is still fairly new, but was designed by some of the best in the industry. This daunting 345 gallon in wall reef has everything you could want including multiple control units, automated water changes, a full fish room and tons more. Everywhere you look in this tank a MP60 is smiling back at you, and enough battery back-ups to run a city prowl behind the scenes. This monster measures in at 66″ long by 48″ wide and 26″ deep, and the best part is, it’s already lit 100% by EcoTech Marine Radion XR30ws! Walking in to the room, I noticed how well-lit the tank was, and after looking up, I realized that only four of the six Radions were already installed. I knew these lights packed some punch from my early looks, but this took it to a whole new level. At 26″ inches deep, getting light to the bottom is no small feat, and yet it didn’t seem to be a problem. For a few minutes I couldn’t help but be mesmerized looking up at all those glowing pucks, but I then remembered why I was there and began to check out how they put light in the tank. As noted before, the color spectrum is amazing. This tank is lightly stocked, so far, with some of the best LPS and SPS around, and they were all glowing with color under the Radion. A beautiful sunbirst anemone occupies one of the front rock islands and it’s color glows from green to orange under the spectrum. To my surprise, a PAR meter was sitting near the tank and was offered to me to play with. I first measured PAR right under a Radion mounted about six inches off the tank and got a reading of about 350. I next took a reading near the SPS about three-quarters the way to the bottom and got about a 150. On the sand it’s still throwing about 100! This is one powerful light. I also managed to get some insight into what the software will bring to the table. Sliders will adjust each color channel, and a unique spectrum addition will make the package even sweeter. As you adjust each of the color sliders, a spectral graph will update in real-time to show you exactly what the light is putting out. This means that we can match the spectral output of current halides, T5s or even swap color curves and try other people’s settings. This is a revolution compared to simple channel percentages. On a final note, I feel I must address the packaging, because it was also new to me, and put in a word about how EcoTech seems to be handling this new facit of business. The packaging looks much like the Vortech pump boxes with a sleek white look and bright graphics. Inside are compartments tailored to the components, and I’m sure when production starts, software will be in there as well. With this new product, EcoTech Marine is jumping in to a whole new market, and reading into their tactics, they are going to do it right. After trying to get a test sample many times, this was as close as I could get for a very simple reason. Their customers and their supply chain are going to come first. After talking to them several times, I get a strong sense that they will not be launching in to a back ordering nightmare, but that they will be going big, and going there right away. If you feel the need to pre-order now, I don’t predict that you will be left waiting long. I hope you enjoyed finally seeing this light over some corals, and I hope this is just the beginning for EcoTech Marine’s lighting innovations.