So you already have an aquarium light and it’s just not pumping out the PAR you like. What do you do? Well, Current USA has unveiled an adhesive strip called the Satellite LED+ Flexible Strip to cure this curse. But does this light reel have what it takes to shine in the spotlight?
Design and Build
Waterproof, Waterproof, Waterproof – you can definitely look at those other LED strips but when it comes to aquarium use – Current USA made sure the Satellite LED+ Flexible Strip was able to take splash damage from regular maintenance cleaning. This doesn’t mean they cover any water damage that might arise but I personally cut and dipped my Satellite LED plus flexible strip into water. I would say if I tried this with any of the other LED strips, I would probably have been in for a real “shock”!
With that said, The Satellite LED+ flexible strip is just like the other LED strips on the market – they adhere to a surface and produce light. Now it does have some peaks like better PAR readings, waterproofing, and programmed features on the wireless remote. It also will be compatible with the new Current USA Ramp Timers that will change settings on the fly in 15 minute intervals, but that’s a WHOLE ‘nother article for me to talk about!
Is it Really Wireless?
Looking to squeeze in a bit more PAR into your aquarium with the press of a button or maybe you’re in the market for a moonlight setting on demand? With the Current USA Satellite LED+ Flexible Strip, “the power is in your hands”! Well OK, it’s in the wireless remote. With this remote, you can now integrate any color setting into your aquarium at your choosing. It has over 12 pre-programmed features – from a moonlight setting all the way to what I like to call “Zeus’s Wrath”. You also have 4 memory buttons that you can store your own custom color settings.
I did find it fun playing with the Satellite LED+ strip and changing the hue of my aquascape. I felt like a kid with his first remote control car. After some time using this LED strip, I found that my initial Up Aqua LED aquarium light was creating overexposure in my aquarium and need a bit more color. With a bit of simple tweaking on the wireless remote, I honed in the best setting to collaborate well with my original fixture and produce an overall better atmosphere in my tank.
The whole Satellite LED+ Flexible Strip assembly does comes with a 3 foot length cord with an RF sensor at the tip, thus giving you a bit of freedom to place the RF sensor away from other electronics to provide you a direct line of sight with your wireless remote without causing any frequency issues. I am personally a cord freak with keeping everything tidy and out of sight, in which one more cord makes me a little coo-coo, but I was able to zip-tie it into an optimal place for my wireless clicking.
Down to the Wire
We all wish we lived in a wireless world, where functionality still presides with no hang ups from the dreaded cord. Current USA tries to at least bring some serenity to your wired woes. With the Satellite LED+ Flexible Strip, it comes with an ample 8 feet of cord length, giving you enough length to work with your aquarium and still be able to connect it to the closest outlet.
Making the Cut
With the Current USA Satellite LED+ Flexible Strip, you can now cut lengths as you see fit. Each section is 5 1/2 inches long where a seam cut is indicated as a white line and labeled +GRBW. I actually created a live video of my first attempt at this and showed how it held up with staying waterproof. It definitely is a nice feature to have so your LED strip isn’t overlapping your lights or aquarium.
I’m guessing you’re looking for me to shine some light onto this subject. The Current USA Satellite LED+ Flexible Strip is not intended to be a standalone fixture nor help with growth that is anything deeper than 18″. However, if you are looking to get about 5-10 more PAR into your setup, this is a good addition to your existing light. I’ve seen people also use this for a backdrop light but you’re better off buying one of those cheaper LED strips if you’re not looking for that PAR boost.
The Whole Sleek of Things
Okay, so every aquarium and setup is different. You could be the next Harry Houdini and completely hide this inside your light fixture. But for me, the Satellite LED+ Flexible Strip definitely stands out to me. It’s like seeing Johnny Five (the robot) with all the external circuits and LED’s completely encased in a hardened gel. Now don’t get me wrong, once those lights are illuminated your eyes are completely focused on your aquascape. Although if you’re investing into this little side-kick light strip, then I don’t see why it would ever be turned off. Considering it has a moonlight feature and all it takes to enable it is the push of a button.
When it comes to price vs. performance, the Satellite LED+ Flexible Strip isn’t something I would recommend anyone to buy if they are starting up a new aquarium or are looking for a primary light source, seeing how it’s about $5.80 per mircomol @ 12″ depth. When compared to other LED aquarium lights, it does struggle to be competitive in that market. If you’re looking to boost up your existing aquarium light or create a better color spectrum/moonlight mode, you can pick one of these guys up for around $75 which is actually a pretty good price compared to some of the other LED strips I’ve seen.