Saturday, July 12, 2014


Here the VIDEO REVIEW on the new COB series made by Illumagic. This review includes information on the Vital White and Arowana Red and also shows my aquarium in all its glory.

[Review] Illumagic's COB Vital White and Arowana Red

Chip on Board Vital White 90

I have been wanting to replace the T5HOs on my Eheim Opal 100 for some time now. After some researching there is a model that has a very similar design to the Comboray and even uses identical Rotating Legs.

This light has not been officially released yet as it is new tech but I have been lucky enough to get my hands on a pre-ordered model last week Friday from Dalua. I believe that a there are a few pre-orders left but there is so little information about this light so I will be doing a quick review on it.

Description taken from Dalua

This light is VERY interesting but before we get into first here is a quick summary of its features: 

- 4 x 10 watt Cree LED Clusters (Each LED approx 1 watt each)
- Each Cluster contains cool white, red, and green LEDs
- 60 degree optics with each LED
- 6500K Cool white
- 500nm to 620nm
- 872mm x 81mm x 25mm
- 40 watt power consumption
- plug and play

Unpacking and First impression

Delivery overnight and upon receiving the light I was happy with its packaging. Here are some unboxing pictures.

The main frame of the COB Vital White looks pretty much identical in shape from the top and sides as the Comboray Series. When Illumagic is onto a good thing they are sensible enough to stick to it. Again like the Comboray series the build quality of the aluminium frame is fantastic. Brushed aluminium curves; screws that fit perfectly, and a gliding aluminium rail that is not too tight or too loose. Perfect. 

Next I move onto the modern looking rotatable mount. The main concern I had before i received the light was that if it would fit my 100cm long Eheim Opal. Illumagic has solved this problem by bringing in rails that extend outwards to fit larger aquariums. If it looks great, then there is no need to change it.

One problem is i wish those rails would lock into place somehow. This would prevent the light from sliding out when playing around with it above the aquarium (for larger aquariums).

In depth analysis

This light is very interesting. The three foot version is composed of 4 LED clusters. Each cluster has a mixture of 9 LEDs. The Vital White is made of 6x Cool White, 1x Red, 2x Cyan and  9 empty slots. It appears that Illumagic has done all the thinking for us and have arranged and chosen the ratios of the LEDs to optimally suit a freshwater setup.

Vital White COB Cluster

Arowana Red COB Cluster

Spectrum Analysis

Below is a comparison chart of the Vital White and a Photosynthesis Light Absorption Graph taken from the internet. The spectrum is indeed very close to perfect apart from a lot of green. I am suspecting the spike in the green spectrum are from the Cyan LEDs. The green really brings out the colour of plants but is not very useful for photosynthesis. 

Now compare this with a graph of the photosynthetic spectrum of plants

The first thing that crossed my mind was why the cluster technology?

I may be wrong but it appears Illumagic has done this to reduce the shadowing effect and to allow better mixing of the different spectrums?

Light intensity and overall appearnce

The COB Vital White is very bright in intensity and produces a glorious shimmer effect inside the aquarium and out.
I would not recommend the COB Vital White by itself unless you just want a budget LED that grows plants. It definitely requires the COB Arowana red to even out the colour balance. Without the Arowana Red I found the COB Vital White too green for my taste.
With both lights combined, the plants look more vibrant and intense. There is minimal shadowing and the colour balance is dramatic. If I were very picky I would say the lights still lean a little too much on the green side.
One very cool feature I found was the ability to play with the Rotatable Stands. Rotating each stand allowed me to play with the foreground and background lighting of the tank. Tilting the background light away 30 degrees illuminated the background plants and the difference was immediately noticeable. The aquarium appeared to have more depth and had more character. Rotating both lights forward 30 degrees lit up the foreground plants and made the background appear shadowy and sinister. A very cool feature.


The COB Vital White combined with the COB Arowana Red is a high performance light for planted aquariums that I believe is able to grow the fussiest of plants by matching their photosynthetic needs. The lights are of quality build, versatile and fun to play with and can be adjusted via rotatable stands to bring out vivid and dramatic lighting that is difficult to achieve with standard T5HOs. If you want all the advantages of LEDs without the hassle or expense of making your own I would definitely consider the COB Vital White and Arowana Red.

The Good
- Great build Great Quality.
- Exceptional Performance. Plants responded very well.
- Very classy rotatable mounting stands. Interchangeable between the Comboray models.
- Extendable rails to fit larger aquariums that do not conform to the standard 90cm measurement
- Rotatable mount stands allow the user to play with lighting to focus on the background or foreground

The Bad
- Sliding rails don't lock into place and maybe could have been longer
- No channels to play around with
- No Day Night Setting