CoralCare Chronicles, Part 1: Tired of T5's Shortcomings, Philips Engineer Luc Vogels Has a Bright Idea for a New Reef Aquarium Light

Philips CoralCare Chronicles, Part 1
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CoralCare Chronicles, Part 1: Tired of T5's Shortcomings, Philips Engineer Luc Vogels Has a Bright Idea for a New Reef Aquarium Light

Luc Vogels' Reef Aquarium with Philips CoralCare Gen1 LightingLuc Vogels' Reef Aquarium with Philips CoralCare Gen1 Lighting
Luc Vogels, an electronic engineer and reef hobbyist in the Netherlands, came up with concept for the Philips CoralCare.


The Philips CoralCare Project, like many reef aquarium breakthroughs, began in the mind of a hobbyist.

Luc Vogels had been keeping reef aquariums since 2007. But Luc is not your typical aquarist. He’s an Electronic Engineer at Philips Lighting, a 129-year-old multinational conglomerate that is world-renown for pioneering new lighting technology.


Luc was using T5 lighting on his reef tank and was happy with his coral’s growth and color. But the heat produced by the T5s and the frequent need to replace the bulbs led Luc to look for a better way.


Philips CoralCare Engineer Luc Vogels' Reef AquariumPhilips CoralCare Engineer Luc Vogels' Reef Aquarium
Luc started this aquarium on August 30, 2013. Pretty sweet build if you ask us!


He was familiar with LED reef lighting, but wasn’t convinced the current technology produced the same quality light as conventional T5s. Working for Philips, Luc felt the company could use its LED lighting know-how to develop a better LED reef lighting system. He pitched the idea to the company management and received approval to start what became the CoralCare Project.


Philips CoralCare Engineer Luc Vogel's Aquarium When it Was Still Illuminated by T5Philips CoralCare Engineer Luc Vogel's Aquarium When it Was Still Illuminated by T5
Luc's tank was originally illuminated by 16 x 54 Watt T5 Bulbs.

From Bright Idea to Working Prototype

After considerable research and engineering with experimental LED systems, two prototype designs were ready for real-world testing. In April of 2014, Luc replaced the sixteen 54-watt T5 bulbs over his 275-gallon reef with the new Philips prototype LED fixtures. The only difference in the prototypes was the lighting distribution system. The spectral output was the same.

Philips Engineer Luc Vogels Progress Shots During CoralCare Gen1 TestingPhilips Engineer Luc Vogels Progress Shots During CoralCare Gen1 Testing
If you look closely at the 7 month progress picture, you can see two lighting distribution techniques Luc was experimenting with between the left and right side of his reef.


This gave Luc a chance to compare the performance of the new LED designs on a reef aquarium he built and managed himself. The benefit was Luc knew every coral in his tank and had complete control of all possible variables in the test. It took confidence in the new technology to swap out the T5s for experimental LED prototypes. Over an eight-month period, Luc saw that the corals were responding positively to the new fixtures. In December 2014, he settled on a single prototype design to continue using on his reef.


Luv Vogel of Philips Experienced Abundant Coral Growth Under the CoralCare Gen1 Prototype LightsLuv Vogel of Philips Experienced Abundant Coral Growth Under the CoralCare Gen1 Prototype Lights
The Gen1 CoralCare was designed to achieve an optimal balance between coral growth and a natural appearance of the reef.


As you can see from the progress pictures accompanying this post, the project was a success!

"I am very satisfied with the progress and growth results of my reef," Luc said at the time. "The corals grow healthy, have a natural shape, and show vivid colors. The natural appearance and color rendering of the daytime setting is very pleasing and I enjoy the fluorescent effect of the corals during the saturated bluish evening setting."


But wait! There's more...

This was the birth of the first generation of the Philips CoralCare LED fixtures back in 2016. But the story doesn’t end here. In our next installment, we’ll tell you how the CoralCare fixtures were improved based on feedback from reef hobbyist's and Luc's research.


CoralCare Chronicles, Part 2: Philips Gives Green Light to Gen1.1; Debuts Improved Color Mixing, Higher Par, and More Housing Colors at Interzoo 2018CoralCare Chronicles, Part 2: Philips Gives Green Light to Gen1.1; Debuts Improved Color Mixing, Higher Par, and More Housing Colors at Interzoo 2018
8 months ago
Did you like this post?
dave phillips
8 months ago at 11:41 AM
awsome !!
8 months ago at 12:40 PM
Great information on the light ????
8 months ago at 12:45 PM
Love the idea of designed lights from ground up form a leading electronics manufacturer. Would love to try them some day.
8 months ago at 12:45 PM
I agree, great I want this.
beau jordan
8 months ago at 12:45 PM
I agree
Chuck Israel
8 months ago at 7:31 PM
Great work Luc!
Anthony Wong
8 months ago at 7:36 PM
Interested to give these a try, my tank needs a light upgrade!!
Ray Waldrop
8 months ago at 9:22 PM
Love the options
8 months ago at 10:34 PM
Super interested... looked for an hour and can’t find a price. What are they running for?
8 months ago at 11:54 PM
Amazing article. I now know how to start a reef tank.
Amy H.
8 months ago at 1:57 AM
Wow.. that is so beautiful!. I don't know much about coral but it looks very cool. Do the lights adjust to the time of day?
James Hatcher
8 months ago at 8:46 AM
Shawn vest
8 months ago at 10:47 AM
Excellent article, especially for beginners!
8 months ago at 11:23 AM
Great looking product!
8 months ago at 11:25 AM
Great looking product!
8 months ago at 12:53 PM
wow amazing , the tanks are absoluty beautiful , ive always loved fish and tanks and the coral is so beautiful
Michael w botzenmayer
8 months ago at 8:34 PM
Awesome presentation
8 months ago at 11:23 PM
It just keeps looking more and more vibrant with time
Gregory Vest
8 months ago at 10:01 AM
Just getting started
Alissa Root
8 months ago at 10:19 AM
great content
Paula Hayn
8 months ago at 4:33 PM
I love all the color. it is so beautiful.
Ed slane
8 months ago at 5:29 PM
what a beautiful setup
NIck Haven
8 months ago at 7:19 PM
Steven Dick
8 months ago at 10:00 PM
Very nice
Alicia Buckingham
8 months ago at 11:58 PM
Coral is so beautiful, and there's so many different types. This was an interesting, and informative, article. Thank you for sharing.
Ismael Ortiz
8 months ago at 12:51 AM
Big Difference on the lighting! Great Job!
Christopher Segraves
8 months ago at 2:36 AM
Cool article. Love to see the hobbyist being at the forefront of change in the aquarium industry.
Vickie L Couturier
8 months ago at 2:37 AM
the colors of that coral is stunning,,the lighting is so good
Bob & Brenda Gardner
8 months ago at 5:56 AM
This is awesome. I love learning more about our wonderful hobby! Thank you.
Terry Poage
8 months ago at 5:57 PM
A lot of great information, thanks.
8 months ago at 6:15 PM
Wow so coool!
Paul Walz
8 months ago at 8:31 PM
8 months ago at 10:15 PM
I would love for my tank to look as great as these. Wish me luck.
Ivette Chiong
8 months ago at 11:55 PM
Necessity is the mother of invention! Very cool!
Samantha Martin
8 months ago at 2:39 AM
Being an electrician this was an awesome read!
Mark G.
8 months ago at 5:17 AM
absolutely love it!!!!
Jeanette Denning
8 months ago at 6:56 AM
Wish. We could do more everyday to save the coral reefs
Rebecca Brown
8 months ago at 12:00 PM
I never thought about having coral in my tank before. What a great idea and beautiful as well!!
Sean s
8 months ago at 12:48 PM
Looking to ditching my t5 and possibly upgrade to these
zadok jollie
8 months ago at 12:58 PM
Great information. I love learning by reading articles like this.
Tina M. Counterman
8 months ago at 9:14 PM
beautiful I would love to have a saltwater tank but I think it would be so expensive
Kathy Miller
8 months ago at 12:21 AM
Very interesting read and info on lighting!
Matthew Hansin
8 months ago at 7:12 AM
Michael Mooney
8 months ago at 9:25 AM
Yeah buddy
Steven Flores
8 months ago at 12:35 PM
Nice to have choices and coming from a company with many years of innovations
7 months ago at 2:51 PM
7 months ago at 5:14 PM
Awesome ty
Michelle Gioppo
7 months ago at 8:57 PM
if you have been in the lighting game for that many years you should be expected to make a functional and quality reef light.
Neill Jones
7 months ago at 7:05 AM
Good article.
7 months ago at 1:48 PM
This is good info. I have been thinking of upgrading my lights. You may have changed my direction to these.
Wetside Reefer
7 months ago at 5:15 PM
Not sure why the second photo of every pair is darkened. I can see how the LED fixture would create that effect but I don't see the need for the computer aid on those photos. The reef is amazing and I would seriously consider using this fixture. I just don't think that editing the photos is beneficial to selling a product like that.
David Heath
7 months ago at 5:24 PM
All this looks nice!
Gabriel Tackitt
7 months ago at 9:20 AM
I wish I had a tank big enough for a few of these lights. The Gen2 looks amazing.
Preston Lam
7 months ago at 12:41 PM
Wish I had a big enough tank for the Philips CoralCare!
James Martin
7 months ago at 8:07 PM
learned a lot here thanks
Mike Kearns
7 months ago at 6:27 AM
Bill Gray
7 months ago at 4:00 PM
Great article!
Mackenzie Hayes
7 months ago at 5:40 PM
Love this post! Been looking for more lighting for my tank
7 months ago at 12:36 AM
Great article!
Ernest Gray
7 months ago at 8:46 AM
That's cool
Joe car
7 months ago at 9:08 AM
Great info!
7 months ago at 3:17 PM
Good job!
Shawn Ross
7 months ago at 4:43 PM
Very good info.
Tyler powell
7 months ago at 6:21 PM
7 months ago at 9:11 PM
Sick light!
Michael Turner
7 months ago at 11:04 AM
Great read! Thanks for posting!
7 months ago at 11:18 AM
That is awesome
Alec Ugol
7 months ago at 3:25 PM
Very, very cool. Hope to one day have a great setup as well.
Jonathan Smith
7 months ago at 3:36 PM
I need coral care
7 months ago at 9:45 PM
Working on your reef at your place of employment! Sweet!!!
7 months ago at 6:06 AM
Awesome knowledge
7 months ago at 9:55 AM
Great info
Abdiel Nieves
7 months ago at 1:28 PM
So much good information and innovation
7 months ago at 1:44 PM
I definitely need to up my game in lights
John Gabriel
7 months ago at 2:32 PM
Interested in seeing the long term affects of these lights!
Chris Thacker
7 months ago at 4:07 PM
Just absolutely stunning
Teri Embum
7 months ago at 4:42 PM
Interesting to see the Coral Care lights and hear about their development.
Shawn L
7 months ago at 6:35 PM
Awesome info can't wait to hear about the gen2 upgrades
Cole pierce
7 months ago at 8:16 PM
Christina Wahrmund
7 months ago at 10:11 PM
Great Information
Preston Shadle
7 months ago at 1:38 AM
I love this content!
7 months ago at 9:41 AM
seems like a great light I would like yo try it out
7 months ago at 11:19 AM
David Benayoun
7 months ago at 12:04 PM
7 months ago at 12:42 PM
When I eventually get another tank, I’ll definitely try one of these!
7 months ago at 5:09 AM
Looking forward to this and upgrading
Josh Harbin
7 months ago at 11:56 AM
Looks like some great results for these lights.
Patrick Miksa
7 months ago at 1:40 PM
You need lights for corals, just like most of life on this earth they need lights of some sort, and we must provide what they need if we plan to keep them and keep them healthy and happy.
Chris Thomas
7 months ago at 12:12 AM
I cant wait to try this light!