Radion vs. SKY vs. AP9X

blaxsun

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What are the thoughts on the best LED lighting system out there? Performance, reliability and ease-of-use? I currently have EcoTech Radion G5 Blues, but I’m debating switching over to something like the Neptune SKY or Kessil AP9X (the latter two which can be controlled through Apex Fusion). I’ve begun to abhor Mobius with a passion. Am I better off just sticking with my Radion G5s or looking at one of the two newer contenders? Any feedback from SKY and AP9X owners would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
 

bcarl77

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I'll add some input here. Currently in the similar debate. I have an Apex, 3 G4 XR15 Pros (with diffusers, MP40s, Vectra, and Versas for AWC). My tank is a mixed reef (4 ft X 2 ft X 2ft (WB 135.4)). I have no experience with Kessil so I cannot comment there. In the end I think it comes down to the pros/cons of each option and maybe the answer involves the combination of each?

Sky:
Pros: Lightest panel style LED with practical and sensible mounting options, less shadowing, and arguably the closest mixed to a T5 this helps overcome many types of shadowing caused by aquascapes and coral growth. Par spread is not as good as a G5 fixture. Has the power, easily interfaces within Fusion. Great spectrum blending.

Cons: Questionable build quality (No documented issues), No track record as its a Gen 1. Lack of current features in Fusion (only 4 color channels, no acclimation mode). Lacking spectrum.

Radions:
Pros: Proven light with great results, hybrid design between a puck/panel style. Some of the best spread documented. Good spectrum blending (still get some color separation, a diffuser will help remove this. Good spectrum compared to the "gold standard".

Cons: Mobius. Most likely will need multiple fixtures or supplemental lighting to overcome the shadowing issues that remain. More expensive.

You could always try to switch one fixture out as a test? Ultimately I think it comes down to your application and aquascape. I will add I have seen VERY limited reviews from Sky owners whom were not happy with their upgrades and I have not seen many hit marketplace, yet. May be best to wait this one out....?
 
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blaxsun

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I am running diffusers on my G5s, and overall I’m happy with the coverage, color spread and PAR - just hate Mobius with a passion (and EcoTech tech support is nonexistent).

You very aptly summed up my thoughts on both lights - thanks! I’d love to know where the AP9X fits into this - as it seems to be sold out everywhere.
 
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areefer01

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What are the thoughts on the best LED lighting system out there? Performance, reliability and ease-of-use? I currently have EcoTech Radion G5 Blues, but I’m debating switching over to something like the Neptune SKY or Kessil AP9X (the latter two which can be controlled through Apex Fusion). I’ve begun to abhor Mobius with a passion. Am I better off just sticking with my Radion G5s or looking at one of the two newer contenders? Any feedback from SKY and AP9X owners would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

One thing I might suggest is to remove the bit on "thoughts on the best LED". Reason being is two fold. First is most hobbyist have not used most of the kits over their system. Second is bias. There really isn't a best because most of the lighting kits out today will grow coral when sized properly. This is really true as we only need to see the evolution of the lighting within our hobby from conception to today. We really are getting better with each new product.

If you have current G5's what would be the reasoning behind the upgrade? I understand the Mobius frustration but is it worth your time and dollars to switch? Is there anything else nagging at you that says enough is enough and move? G5 has a few years left on it so just trying to look at it objectively.

Non biased feedback:

  • No best - it is subjective.
  • G5 is a good kit. Never used it. Still a lot of life in your kits so consider staying put.
  • Kessil - amazing shimmer. Kessil logic. No need to fiddle but has control. Apex iota integration is a huge quality of life improvement. Quality is there. Kessil does everything soup to nuts - in house.
  • SKY - new kid on the block. Look at the forum here, Neptune forums, there are no complaints or issues. Initial quality and out of box experience is great. Bluetooth control is solid (I've controlled mine from the next room passing multiple walls). Single light supports wide range of spectrum pre-sets. Review Dana Riddle's paper to see this. Two fans. Apex and Bluetooth control. 2 to 3 minute setup.

I have nothing negative to say about any of them. Only used Kessil and SKY. Best is subjective. All will grow corals. Dana's SKY review is solid. Quality will stand the test of time but Neptune, Kessil, and Ecotech all stand behind their products. I don't like spending other peoples money so if you do have G5's my thoughts are your best play is to stay pat.
 
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blaxsun

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@areefer01, thanks for the feedback. Yes, I do agree - “best” is somewhat subjective and can certainly be bias. I guess that’s where I’m uncertain - is it worth the time and potential -$ hit to get rid of my G5s for something else?

One less app is always nice, and having either native Apex integration or support through IOTA is certainly a plus (something I value with my Sicce pumps).

I like the “just plug it in” aspect of the AP9X and the color spread on the SKY overall seems better.
 
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zuri

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seem like you answered ur own question
The challenge with the SKY isn’t necessarily whether or not it’s a good light, but whether getting rid of your existing G4/G5 Radions and selling at a loss is worth it to upgrade to a comparable number of SKYs.

If upgrading from the older G3/4s, maybe. But from one or more G5s... well, that’s the $1000 question - as I doubt many owners would want to run a combination of Radions and SKYs or sell their G5s at a loss just to completely replace them with SKYs.
One thing I might suggest is to remove the bit on "thoughts on the best LED". Reason being is two fold. First is most hobbyist have not used most of the kits over their system. Second is bias. There really isn't a best because most of the lighting kits out today will grow coral when sized properly. This is really true as we only need to see the evolution of the lighting within our hobby from conception to today. We really are getting better with each new product.

If you have current G5's what would be the reasoning behind the upgrade? I understand the Mobius frustration but is it worth your time and dollars to switch? Is there anything else nagging at you that says enough is enough and move? G5 has a few years left on it so just trying to look at it objectively.

Non biased feedback:

  • No best - it is subjective.
  • G5 is a good kit. Never used it. Still a lot of life in your kits so consider staying put.
  • Kessil - amazing shimmer. Kessil logic. No need to fiddle but has control. Apex iota integration is a huge quality of life improvement. Quality is there. Kessil does everything soup to nuts - in house.
  • SKY - new kid on the block. Look at the forum here, Neptune forums, there are no complaints or issues. Initial quality and out of box experience is great. Bluetooth control is solid (I've controlled mine from the next room passing multiple walls). Single light supports wide range of spectrum pre-sets. Review Dana Riddle's paper to see this. Two fans. Apex and Bluetooth control. 2 to 3 minute setup.

I have nothing negative to say about any of them. Only used Kessil and SKY. Best is subjective. All will grow corals. Dana's SKY review is solid. Quality will stand the test of time but Neptune, Kessil, and Ecotech all stand behind their products. I don't like spending other peoples money so if you do have G5's my thoughts are your best play is to stay pat.
He knows he has the best lights this a look at me
 
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blaxsun

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I was a Radion fanboy until this weekend when they stopped working out of the “blue” (sorry, couldn’t resist). And apparently it’s all software-Mobius related. So while it’s (now) fixed, there’s no reason the schedule should’ve gone amiss in the first place. And that’s a bit concerting...

When I got my Radions that was the best option available at the time (over the AI Hydras and Red Sea ReefLED). Now the SKY and AP9X offer different possibilities, so I was genuinely curious what others think - and particularly those who’ve switched from Radion <> SKY <> APX9.

Yes, I have Radions (pretty sure I indicated that). No, this isn’t a “look at me” since I’m fairly certain there are many other Radion owners out there who have even better setups (T5, ReefBrite, etc.) There are a lot fewer SKY and AP9X users (for a variety of reasons).
 
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rtparty

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The only LED upgrade to Radions is the Straton. You can actually use less Stratons than Radions in most cases. The two downfalls to the Straton are the UI is clunky (always has been for ATI) and the mouting options are non existent (another massive failure for ATI that they have never gotten right.)
 
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minus9

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I would probably keep you G5's, but you have to ask yourself what is the most important part of lighting to you? The only time I need an app, is if I'm adjusting intensity and I tend to treat lighting as if it's simply on or off. I hated the reeflink and ecosmart live, so I can't imagine what mobius is like? If the Sky was $200 cheaper, then this would be a different discussion, but to me, it's overpriced for what it is. If you did switch, I would do Kessil/T5 or led bars, but that's just me. I understand your pain with apps, which was the worse thing about using AP700's, that app and wifi chip absolutely sucked!
 
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blaxsun

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The only LED upgrade to Radions is the Straton. You can actually use less Stratons than Radions in most cases. The two downfalls to the Straton are the UI is clunky (always has been for ATI) and the mouting options are non existent (another massive failure for ATI that they have never gotten right.)
Appreciated, thanks. There’s also the Aqua Medic Angel from Germany, but I’m not sure how it ranks in terms of performance or if it’s a viable option here in Canada.
 
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minus9

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The only LED upgrade to Radions is the Straton. You can actually use less Stratons than Radions in most cases. The two downfalls to the Straton are the UI is clunky (always has been for ATI) and the mouting options are non existent (another massive failure for ATI that they have never gotten right.)
If I were sticking with led's, I would totally do the Straton mixed with a couple 360x's for shimmer.
 
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blaxsun

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I would probably keep you G5's, but you have to ask yourself what is the most important part of lighting to you? The only time I need an app, is if I'm adjusting intensity and I tend to treat lighting as if it's simply on or off. I hated the reeflink and ecosmart live, so I can't imagine what mobius is like? If the Sky was $200 cheaper, then this would be a different discussion, but to me, it's overpriced for what it is. If you did switch, I would do Kessil/T5 or led bars, but that's just me. I understand your pain with apps, which was the worse thing about using AP700's, that app and wifi chip absolutely sucked!
At the very least, until I have a buyer lined up for my Radions and I figure out how much of a hit I’ll take on selling them - I’ll continue to use them (at least for the foreseeable future, anyway).

I almost never touch Mobius, which is why the lights going haywire was a bit disconcerting because it look me a few days to figure out what the root problem was.

The SKY is probably a bit overpriced, but I can probably get away with 2 in my tank (getting rid of my center XR15), use the existing RMS mounts and have a free outlet on my EB32 for one more device. Plus having one less flaky app is appealing on many levels...
 
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Oldreefer44

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Agree with others that the only real upgrade to G5's are the Straton, Phillips Coral Care and possibly the sky. I own Stratons but feel that the other two are similar enough that it would come down to tank dimensions and mounting preferences. Having owned Kessils and Radions, there is no doubt in my mind that these 3 are a step above. On the other hand if you just want to grow corals, the G5's are fine.
 
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blaxsun

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Agree with others that the only real upgrade to G5's are the Straton, Phillips Coral Care and possibly the sky. I own Stratons but feel that the other two are similar enough that it would come down to tank dimensions and mounting preferences. Having owned Kessils and Radions, there is no doubt in my mind that these 3 are a step above. On the other hand if you just want to grow corals, the G5's are fine.
Sorry, did you mean that the Straton, Coral Care and possibly SKY are a step above the Radions? (not the Kessil I'm gathering)
 
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jcates

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I would have to agree that if you have G5 I don't know that you would see a huge upgrade in lighting your tank but the neptune interface is pretty slick. I guess you would have the option not to run your tank as blue but ,making an assumption, that is probably your preferred look if you went with the blues in the first place. I did see a video recently that compared AP9x and sky over the same tank. heres the link I thought it was a decent comparison if you have your heart set on a change.
 
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USCfan

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Best Performance? Ati stration
Best reliability? Philips coral care gen2
ease-of-use? Sky most likely.

I went with Philips coral care 2 and its built like a tank. It's the only one that would mount in my setup and not over heat. In fact it runs 2 degrees over room temp inside my hood with just a fan on it, insane.


Led at the high end is not much different at this point.
 
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Oldreefer44

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Sorry, did you mean that the Straton, Coral Care and possibly SKY are a step above the Radions? (not the Kessil I'm gathering)
i own a Kessil and consider the 3 mentioned above a step up primarily because of the way the light is diffused more closely imitating t5's. Also have been very reliable for the 10 months I have used them. Setup and programming is about as easy as it gets. Do agree that mounting options are limited if you are not willing to hang them.
 
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Dolphins18

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Can't speak on the AP9X, I've used kessils but not that specific one. I was not a huge fan of them. When building my new tank I considered radions and AI's. Lots of people I know have success with both, I went with AI's as I could not find justification for the extra 150 or so per light. I've had a few Hydra 26s for many years, they still work great, only ones that have ever broken have been the ones I dropped into the water. AI always hooks me up on a discount on the new 32s when I do this and they are out of warranty, and the 32s and 64s blow the 26s and 52s out of the water.
I've tried a few of the apps on the different lights, and AI blows the others away, but this isn't super improtant because it's only used a couple times a year at most.
 
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