Dave Ouwinga, EasyPro Pond Products, Grant, MI Originally published in Passion for Water, Spring 2007, Revised Summer 2014
For many of us, the majority of our daylight hours are consumed by our work, travels, family time and other commitments that make our lives hectic. Often it is well after dinner time before we have the chance to relax. It is no secret that listening to the sound of cascading water or watching Koi playfully feed is a great way to relax. Unfortunately, nightfall often comes too soon! With the addition of underwater lighting you can add night time beauty to your water feature and extend the enjoyable time it provides. Underwater lights add a whole new dimension to ponds and waterfalls once the sun goes down. The shadows created by aquatic plants, the dancing light rays created by ripples on the pond surface and even the fish are not visible in the daylight. Uncover the hidden atmosphere in ponds and water features with EasyPro’s underwater lighting.
LED: LED technology has evolved in recent years to offer brightness and color similar to the former industry standard halogen options. The biggest advantages to the LED have always been the bulb life and power consumption. An average of 75,000 hours is normal for an LED light bulb! And a 3 watt LED bulb is comparable to a 20 watt halogen equivalent, allowing for smaller transformers and lower energy bills. EasyPro currently offers LED options from economy to industrial grade stainless steel, including light strips, rings and mini rock shape fixtures.
Cabrio Color Changing LED: EasyPro’s newest lighting innovation! Cabrio LEDs utilize a special RGB diode to create a spectrum of colors. With several changing color modes and the ability to stop on any one of sixteen colors, ponds, water features and patios can be seen in a new light again and again. Choose from 11”, 23” or 35” light strips or a compact aluminum fixture. All Cabrio lights can be controlled from a single radio frequency remote.
Halogen: Halogen fixtures are inexpensive, reliable and available in several wattages. The most common size is the 20 watt light but they are available from 10 watts up to 75 watts. The typical bulb will last 2000 hours. Most lights come with several colored lenses that fit over the light to create amber, red, blue or green hues in the water feature. Halogen lights are available in many styles including plastic, stainless steel or in a “rock” finish, which makes them easy to hide in a stream or waterfall.
Fiber Optic: Fiber optic lighting is much different than the above lighting. An illuminator cabinet is located on shore with a single 150 watt metal halide light bulb. Fiber optic cables capture the light inside the cabinet and carry the light out to your water feature. Up to twenty fiber optic cables can be run from a single cabinet allowing a large water feature to be lit up with only a single light bulb. A slow rotating 8 color wheel is located in front of the 9000 hour metal halide bulb which can be stopped on any one color. An optional remote control is available allowing you to turn the lights on and off from inside your home! Fiber optic lighting requires the most up front investment but offers features and convenience that pay off in the long run.
Most types of underwater lights are low voltage and function in the same way, utilizing a transformer. A transformer is a box that sets outside the pond and downsizes the electric voltage from 115 volt to 12 volts. A power cable then carries the power out to the light fixture in the water. By using 12 volt power any chance of harm to fish or humans is eliminated should a power short in the water occur. Multiple lights can be run from a single transformer. Add up the total wattage of your lights before selecting a transformer. Example: using seven 20 watt lights (7 x 20) would require a transformer of at least 140 watts. Systems with a photo eye can automatically turn on the lights at dark and a dial that can be set for four, six or eight hours of operation. EasyPro offers 10, 20, 45, 100, 150 and 300 Watt transformers with either a built in photo eye or an optional timer and photo eye accessory.
Regardless of which style of lighting you use, adding lights to your pond will prove to be a valuable addition and will expand your water features enjoyable time beyond sunset.