AI Hydra 26 HD Review: LED Light for Advanced Reef

Last Updated on September 21, 2020 by Anne Thynne

AI Hydra 26 HD Review
AI Hydra 26 +HD LED Light

All tank-keepers know that a reef aquarium is a bit difficult to maintain. There are a lot of factors that need to be taken into account when you plan to create a saltwater or marine aquarium.

For instance, you need to check whether the corals and fishes are compatible with one another. Furthermore, you need to maintain a continuous supply of clean water free of any harmful or dissolved toxins. You also have nutrients, filter media, and the list goes on.

While the ones mentioned above usually get all the spotlight, what people often ignore is the significance of lighting. Proper growing light plays a vital role in the development of your aquarium’s ecosystem.

Having proper lighting is very crucial because it determines the growth of the plants and corals. On the contrary, too much light can increase the growth of algae in the water. Conversely, less might deter the development of plants and corals.

In this AI Hydra 26 HD review, we’ll highlight some of its best features that help sustain marine life. We will also outline the pros and cons that you need to keep in mind before purchasing.

Finally, based on this review, you can decide whether or not this product fits the bill.

Alternates You May Consider

Before going into the details of AI Hydra +HD, lets take a look at other options we have for saltwater reef tanks –

Preview
Best High End
Kessil AP700 LED Fixture w/ built-in WiFi 2018 Model
Best Overall
Current USA 4227 Orbit Marine IC PRO LED Reef Aquarium Dual Light System with Wireless Loop, 48"
Best On Budget
VIPARSPECTRA Timer Control Dimmable 300W LED Aquarium Light Full Spectrum for Grow Coral Reef Marine Fish Tank LPS/SPS
Most Popular
Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light, 48 to 60-Inch
Best On Budget
AQUATICLIFE Reef Edge LED Aquarium Light Fixture, 48"
Suitable For
SPS Dominant Reef
Mixed Reefs
Mixed Reefs
Soft & LPS Reefs
Soft & LPS Corals
Timer
Built in wifi controller, programmable
Programmable 24 hours timer, daily weather patterns
Timer with dimable feature
24 hour on/off time with gradual sunrise, sunset, daylight, moonlight
3-Channel Timer
Spectrum
Full Spectrum, Tunable
Full Spectrum
Full spectrum with proprietary layout
Adjustable color spectrums and intensity
6 colors ensure full spectrum
Length/Coverage
36" x 24" for SPS tanks and 48" x 24" for mixed reefs
36", 48", 72"
One light is ideal for 32x24” coverage
18" to 60" length options, covers 18-24" wide
36" and 48"
Power Consumption
185 watts
92 watts
165-300 watts
60 watts max
48 to 71 watts
Power Supply
100-240V (AC)
100-240V (AC), 12 DC
100-240V (AC)
12V DC UL power supply
12V DC
Special Features
Innovative heat management, Dense Matrix LED, full color control, acclimation, lunar cycle, weather effects
Dual LED with full spectrum & dual actinic output, Adjustable dawn, dusk, daylight and moonlight color spectrum, Built-in wave pump controller & HUB
Limited features compared to other products
24-hour natural biorhythmic lighting cycle, 6 on-demand dynamic weather effects, integrated wave pump control
Sunrise + Sunset Functions
Average Rating
-
-
-
-
-
Total Reviews on Amazon
-
-
-
-
-
Best High End
Preview
Kessil AP700 LED Fixture w/ built-in WiFi 2018 Model
Suitable For
SPS Dominant Reef
Timer
Built in wifi controller, programmable
Spectrum
Full Spectrum, Tunable
Length/Coverage
36" x 24" for SPS tanks and 48" x 24" for mixed reefs
Power Consumption
185 watts
Power Supply
100-240V (AC)
Special Features
Innovative heat management, Dense Matrix LED, full color control, acclimation, lunar cycle, weather effects
Average Rating
-
Total Reviews on Amazon
-
Best Overall
Preview
Current USA 4227 Orbit Marine IC PRO LED Reef Aquarium Dual Light System with Wireless Loop, 48"
Suitable For
Mixed Reefs
Timer
Programmable 24 hours timer, daily weather patterns
Spectrum
Full Spectrum
Length/Coverage
36", 48", 72"
Power Consumption
92 watts
Power Supply
100-240V (AC), 12 DC
Special Features
Dual LED with full spectrum & dual actinic output, Adjustable dawn, dusk, daylight and moonlight color spectrum, Built-in wave pump controller & HUB
Average Rating
-
Total Reviews on Amazon
-
Best On Budget
Preview
VIPARSPECTRA Timer Control Dimmable 300W LED Aquarium Light Full Spectrum for Grow Coral Reef Marine Fish Tank LPS/SPS
Suitable For
Mixed Reefs
Timer
Timer with dimable feature
Spectrum
Full spectrum with proprietary layout
Length/Coverage
One light is ideal for 32x24” coverage
Power Consumption
165-300 watts
Power Supply
100-240V (AC)
Special Features
Limited features compared to other products
Average Rating
-
Total Reviews on Amazon
-
Most Popular
Preview
Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light, 48 to 60-Inch
Suitable For
Soft & LPS Reefs
Timer
24 hour on/off time with gradual sunrise, sunset, daylight, moonlight
Spectrum
Adjustable color spectrums and intensity
Length/Coverage
18" to 60" length options, covers 18-24" wide
Power Consumption
60 watts max
Power Supply
12V DC UL power supply
Special Features
24-hour natural biorhythmic lighting cycle, 6 on-demand dynamic weather effects, integrated wave pump control
Average Rating
-
Total Reviews on Amazon
-
Best On Budget
Preview
AQUATICLIFE Reef Edge LED Aquarium Light Fixture, 48"
Suitable For
Soft & LPS Corals
Timer
3-Channel Timer
Spectrum
6 colors ensure full spectrum
Length/Coverage
36" and 48"
Power Consumption
48 to 71 watts
Power Supply
12V DC
Special Features
Sunrise + Sunset Functions
Average Rating
-
Total Reviews on Amazon
-

Things to Consider Before Buying

LED lighting devices contain a lot of features that work differently with different kinds of aquariums. Therefore, there is no one correct LED lighting system.

Factors such as cost, sustainability, durability, etc. are essential to keep in mind when choosing a lighting system.

The product might not be suitable for beginners. By beginners, we mean those who have never had an aquarium or an LED lighting system for that matter. Most of the lighting systems in the market are available with ample information.

However, the AI Hydra 26 lighting fixture does not come with a lot of information. It lacks an instruction manual, which would be helpful because it would guide you through the whole process.

Professionals who have had lighting systems for their planted aquariums might be familiar with the essentials of this product since they would have an idea of how a general LED lighting fixture works. You need to keep in mind that this product is specially designed for reef aquariums with high demanding corals.

Although the product has incredible efficiency, it lacks the information as to where you should apply the specific features of the lighting system. Thus, you are left on your own to research the different mechanisms of this product.

So, this product is best suited for someone who has previous knowledge regarding aquarium LED lights since it is going to be difficult for newcomers to grasp the features and usability of this product due to the lack of information.

Presenting The AquaIllumination Hydra 26 HD

Product Features
  • 26 Energy Efficient high output LEDs
  • 7 Individually controllable colors
  • 80 Degree Color Blending Lenses

This product is the latest and most innovative creation amongst the Hydra series. It is a pint-sized LED lighting fixture that is quite powerful. The device has seven different colors, such as green, red, off white, deep blue, oil blue, UV, and violet.

This lighting fixture puts out the same amount of wattage as the standard Hydra. The device’s lighting spectrum can illuminate your planted aquarium right down to its water bed.

It comes with twenty-six LED lights, which might not seem enough, but they are adequate to provide the various lights and create an oceanic ambiance for your aquatic plants and fishes.

However, dominating the market right now is the Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light. It gives a very natural feel to the aquarium with its gradually mimicking of a slow sunrise, bright daylight, dimming sunset and moonlight. The feature begins with soft, radiant dawn and continues to the bright morning of sunrise. In the middle of a transition, it turns blazing color to stimulate the environment of noon and ends with a flaming sun for the sunset. All of this happens automatically, so it doesn’t need any external control from the user.

Whereas the AI Hydra 26 HD uses the power from available LED colors to increase the output of lights, which are being operated on a twenty-four-hour sequel. Moreover, it doesn’t need any remote controller.

Pros:

  • It uses high-quality and powerful LED lights
  • Does not need a separate remote controller
  • It can be easily connected via wireless to a smartphone or computer
  • Uses 80-degrees focus lenses for the perfect balance of power and light

Cons:

  • The device needs to be hung from brackets
  • The power supply isn’t attached to the lighting fixture
  • It has a delicate fan
  • Doesn’t include an instruction manual

AI Hydra 26 HD Review: Features and Benefits

·      Seven Dynamic Controllable Colors

The Hydra 26 HD controller screen shows the parameters of the seven different colors. So it will allow you to increase or decrease the brightness of the lights. All the colors are suitable for a high demanding reef tank.

The colors will not damage the aquatic environment of your tank as well as prevent the growth of algae formation. You can also alter between different weather conditions in your aquarium for a realistic effect.

The device features a coral acclimation option so you can reduce or increase it as well as enable or disable it. This feature will help with the growth of corals in your aquarium. Moreover, the 80-degree optics provide a perfect balance of focusing on power and light spread.

·      26 Efficient LED Lights

Even though it contains only 26 LED lights, the remarkable brightness of the Hydra HD lights are more powerful than the ones provided by other products. It will give your planted tank a very natural and comfortable environment.

The lights are very easy to manage. You can tune them from an app on your smartphone, either iOS or Android. Even if you don’t have any of these devices, you can connect to the lighting fixture from any internet device.

With such an easy controller, you can change the settings even when you’re on the other side of the globe. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about misplacing your controller since you can manage the settings through a mobile device.

Similar Products From AquaIllumination

Conclusion

This LED light has a range of excellent features that you will find useful for your reef tank. However, the lack of instruction makes it difficult to use for beginners.

Well, if you are a veteran in the realm of tank-keeping, then you should not have any trouble getting the best out of this device.

We hope our AI Hydra 26 HD review was able to satisfy your curiosity, and we wish you a happy reefing.

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