With LED aquarium lights becoming more mainstream in the aquatic world, manufacturers like Current USA are having to produce higher quality fixtures while trying to maintain a competitive price point. The Satellite Freshwater LED+ is one of their newer products that has been out on the market for less than a year. But does it have the oomph to last?
Design and Build
Current USA has designed their fixture to be as unspectacular as it can be, but it had quite the opposite effect on me. It’s anything besides unspectacular! With a sleek minimal design to it, coming in barely thicker than a 1/2″ (12.5 mm) on the head unit. It was like pulling the sword out of the stone when unpacking this – I had to stop to admire their work.
I went with a 36″ Satellite Freshwater LED+ for my Mr Aqua 12 gallon. My first thought when setting this fixture on the glass was “How stable is it?” You would be amazed! This fixture has two slide out mounting brackets that almost grip onto the outer part of the glass. It also allows you to slide the Freshwater LED+ back and forth for maintenance. It feels great and it’s even better knowing that you can fill your tank to the rim without having to worry about a water drip from your mounting brackets.
The brushed black aluminum on the Satellite Freshwater LED+ gives it a nice look and texture while providing sturdiness to the fixture itself. I put about 20lbs of pressure on the center part of the unit and it barely bowed to the stress.
I know we all have our lights on timers and a schedule, but if you had the option to create a new spectrum for the day – would you? Well, Current USA finally added a wireless remote to their Satellite Freshwater LED+ unit (which is what the plus is about)! Now you can control the lighting of your aquarium with different settings all from the seat of your couch! I have to say, it’s a very nice feature even though most of us (including myself) do a “set it and forget it” type of approach. I personally find the cloud setting very appealing, where it emulates a sunny day with occasional clouds passing over.
Now for the remote and signal itself, this was one of the drawbacks I didn’t like. It uses Radio Frequency, which can get deflected by electronics. Even with a direct line of sight, I had myself clicking the “ON” button a few times to get it to actually turn on. I do believe Current USA is talking about updating their frequency so it’s on their own channel, but until then – it is somewhat of a downfall.
An overlooked part of all aquarium lights is the cord length. Hobbyists are constantly praying that we have enough length to connect to the surge protector. Well no more praying is involved! With the Satellite Freshwater LED+, like all Current USA products, it has a male/female connector assembly power cord that is universal with extension lengths. The transformer side has a long length of 60 inches (150 cm) with a male DC plug and the head unit of the Freshwater LED+ has a length of 38 inches (97 cm). This gives a massive 8 feet (240 cm) of freedom with how you want to set up your tank and lighting. If that isn’t enough, you can always just add an external DC male-to-female connector for even extra length.
Current USA has thought of it all, but they have even thought about the future! The Satellite Freshwater LED+ will be able to directly connect into their new Ramp Timers [COMING SOON] and be able to emulate day and night cycles with just a small ramp timer box.
Probably the number one reason why a person would buy an aquarium light is to promote plant growth, so the big question is – Does the Satellite Freshwater LED+ do its job?
From measurements provided by Current USA, the Satellite Freshwater LED+ is capable of growing low-medium plant life with reasonable substrate and tank depth (which is 18″ depth). Though Current USA didn’t let me know what settings they were using, I personally bought my 36″ Freshwater LED+ for a Mr Aqua 12 gallon long aquarium to test the PAR and growth. It now grows out some really nice Utricularia Graminifolia carpets & Bucephalandra.
With how it stands, the Satellite Freshwater LED+ has probably one of the best sleekness factors I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t need to be made out of acrylic or hung by rails – it just lays perfectly on the top of your aquarium and effortlessly doing its job of being the aquarium’s sun. The Satellite LED+ definitely hides itself into the scene, making sure your eyes look into the aquarium and not what’s above it. And if you do anyways, all you see is a thin sleek panel shining onto your wonderful aquascape.
With Current USA’s Satellite Freshwater LED Plus, the prices are still very competitive, given all the features offered on this fixture. It is truly difficult to find a better value at this price point. Current USA has put the Satellite Freshwater LED+ in a class of its own because of the wireless remote, numerous interesting lighting effects, and functionality with the upcoming Ramp Timer [find out more soon!]. It is definitely a great little powerhouse if you’re going low-tech or hi-tech with a shallow tank like the Mr Aqua 12 gallon long.
If you made it this far, then you must’ve really loved the review. And if you are impressed by the light as much as I am – Check down below for the list of vendors I recommend where to buy your new Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED plus.
Check out other great reviews on this fixture @ Ted’s Fishroom