Nano Aquarium Lighting Arcadia Arc Pod (9w)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Arcadia launched the Arc Pod more than 5 years ago. The aquarium lighting systems for freshwater plants designed to allow it to be clamped onto the rim of a tank (glass width 4-12mm) or attached to the underside of an aquarium hood, the aquarium lighting system is available in two sizes to suit a range of small aquariums. The 9W model is suitable for aquariums up to 30cm wide, while the 11W model suits tanks up to 40cm. However, it comes with a high price tag when compared to other brands and they all use the same compact PL 9w bulb. So why do consumers still purchase the Arc Pod?

Arcadia ArcPod Aquarium Lighting Freshwater PlantsThe appeal of the Arc Pod lies in its design and functionality. Its design is sleek, simple and effective. The Arc Pod can be tilted upwards when mounted to the rim of an aquarium for easy access to the to the tank and can be removed and replaced easily, making lamp changing simple.

Other brands will often have their light unit parallel to the length of your tank. In bigger tanks, this works great, but if you are in the market for a 9w unit, you will most likely be using a nano tank. The problem with using basic aquarium lighting units that are of a parallel orientation to a nano tank, is that it’s pretty conspicuous. The Arc Pod is designed to mount on your tank’s back wall and is perpendicular to the length of your tank, this gives it a much lower profile. When using open-topped rimless tanks, this low profile is very much welcomed. When growing light demanding plants, more units can easily be added without looking cluttered.

Arcadia ArcPod Nano Aquarium Lighting Freshwater PlantsArcadia ArcPod Nano Aquarium Lighting System for Freshwater PlantsThe 9w compact PL tube is encased within another cover that is clear at the bottom, with a reflector on top. There has been concerns, that by using an other cover, light from the compact PL will not have the same penetrative power, when compared to other brands that do not spot an outer cover. This concern does hold water, but we tried it out, and found that we could grow the same aquarium plants as well as the other brands that do not spot an outer cover, with the same wattages. The outer cover is secured to the rest of the unit through twin plastic clasps; a rubber plug at its base gives credence to Arcadia’s claim of a water-proofed unit. The Arc Pod sits on a clamp that holds it to your tank’s wall. This clamp also enables you to swing the unit upwards during maintenance and is incorporated neatly into the design.

Arcadia ArcPod Nano Aquarium Lighting Systems for Freshwater PlantsIn spite of its superior design and functionality, a few issues do plague the Arc Pod and prevents it from attaining perfection. The sliver paint that is used for the top half of the unit and the clamp are prone to dropping off after a few months of use. If you like having your tank’s water at the brim, your clamp will sit inside the water and the paint will drop off rapidly. Because of this problem, we customised all our nano tanks to have a back wall that is 2cm higher, this allow the clamp to clear the water line.

The next issue also stems from the clamp. After a few months of use, the plastic screw thread that holds your clamp to the tank wall will become non-responsive, and it will be impossible to turn it smoothly. We had to remove our light units from the clamps if we wanted to shift positions as some force will be needed to get them loose. The third issue may not be that much of a problem but we would like to see an improvement if a revised version of the Arc Pod is considered. The power transformer units are big and heavy, if you are using several Arc Pods like us, this may be a problem because of space constraints in the aquarium cabinet or underneath a table. Speaking of several Arc Pods, these lighting units do not come cheap. At its current local prices, for a single unit you could easily get three units from other brands.

If you could live with the issues we highlighted or solve them through tank modifications, you will find the Arc Pod a conventional PL lighting unit that has a design perfect for nano tanks, unrivalled by any other nano aquarium lighting units out there. As for its cost, we think its worth it. Having used them for years now, we appreciate how open they allow our nano tanks to be, without comprising on lighting levels.