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NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light: Gen 1 vs. Gen 2

If you are looking for affordable fish tank lighting, one of the best options is the NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light. A new version of the product was recently released. So how does the first generation compare against the newer second generation? You can find out in this comparison guide.

Quick Summary

The NICREW ClassicLED Gen 2 has significantly more LEDs when compared to Gen 1. As a result, the new generation of the aquarium light fixture is able to provide a brighter and more intense brightness, which is beneficial for growing low-light and medium-light plants in your aquarium. The second generation also comes with more size options and light customization. 

So, if you have a hard time picking between the two products, we highly recommend getting Gen 2 over the older Gen 1 version. You can purchase either product on Amazon with the following links:

Comparison Charts

12″ NICREW ClassicLED Gen 1 vs. 12″ NICREW ClassicLED Gen 2

 12" NICREW ClassicLED Gen 1 Aquarium Light12" NICREW ClassicLED Gen 2 Aquarium Light
Adjustable Brackets?YesYes
Compatible Aquarium Lengths 12" to 18"12" to 18"
Canopy Requirement Glass

Acrylic
Glass

Acrylic
MaterialPlasticAluminum
Number of White LEDs3060
Number of Blue LEDs612
Lumens380835
PAR N/A56
LUX18003700
Optional Timer Features Single Channel Timer

On/Off

Brightness control

Simulate sunrise and sunlight

Internal memory to store settings
Dual Channel Timer

On/Off

Brightness control

Simulate sunrise and sunlight

Internal memory to store settings

Adjust white and blue LEDs independently
Watts6 W11 W
PricingCheck price on Amazon.Check price on Amazon.

18″ NICREW ClassicLED Gen 1 vs. 18″ NICREW ClassicLED Gen 2

 18" NICREW ClassicLED Gen 1 Aquarium Light18" NICREW ClassicLED Gen 2 Aquarium Light
Adjustable Brackets?YesYes
Compatible Aquarium Lengths 18" to 24"18" to 24"
Canopy Requirement Glass

Acrylic
Glass

Acrylic
MaterialPlasticAluminum
Number of White LEDs6090
Number of Blue LEDs1218
Lumens6401160
PAR4570
LUX30004100
Optional Timer Features Single Channel Timer

On/Off

Brightness control

Simulate sunrise and sunlight

Internal memory to store settings
Dual Channel Timer

On/Off

Brightness control

Simulate sunrise and sunlight

Internal memory to store settings

Adjust white and blue LEDs independently
Watts11 W15 W
PricingCheck price on Amazon.Check price on Amazon.

30″ NICREW ClassicLED Gen 1 vs. 30″ NICREW ClassicLED Gen 2

 30" NICREW ClassicLED Gen 1 Aquarium Light30" NICREW ClassicLED Gen 2 Aquarium Light
Adjustable Brackets?YesYes
Compatible Aquarium Lengths 30" to 36"30" to 36"
Canopy Requirement Glass

Acrylic
Glass

Acrylic
MaterialPlasticAluminum
Number of White LEDs90120
Number of Blue LEDs1824
Lumens9201910
PAR6278
LUX38005200
Optional Timer Features Single Channel Timer

On/Off

Brightness control

Simulate sunrise and sunlight

Internal memory to store settings
Dual Channel Timer

On/Off

Brightness control

Simulate sunrise and sunlight

Internal memory to store settings

Adjust white and blue LEDs independently
Watts18 W25 W
PricingCheck price on Amazon.Check price on Amazon.

36″ NICREW ClassicLED Gen 1 vs. 36″ NICREW ClassicLED Gen 2

 36" NICREW ClassicLED Gen 1 Aquarium Light36" NICREW ClassicLED Gen 2 Aquarium Light
Adjustable Brackets?YesYes
Compatible Aquarium Lengths 36" to 48"36" to 48"
Canopy Requirement Glass

Acrylic
Glass

Acrylic
MaterialAluminum Aluminum
Number of White LEDs120150
Number of Blue LEDs2430
Lumens13502500
PAR6298
LUX38006100
Optional Timer Features Single Channel Timer

On/Off

Brightness control

Simulate sunrise and sunlight

Internal memory to store settings
Dual Channel Timer

On/Off

Brightness control

Simulate sunrise and sunlight

Internal memory to store settings

Adjust white and blue LEDs independently
Watts25 W32 W
PricingCheck price on Amazon.Check price on Amazon.

48″ NICREW ClassicLED Gen 1 vs. 48″ NICREW ClassicLED Gen 2

 48" NICREW ClassicLED Gen 1 Aquarium Light48" NICREW ClassicLED Gen 2 Aquarium Light
Adjustable Brackets?YesYes
Compatible Aquarium Lengths 48" to 52"48" to 60"
Canopy Requirement Glass

Acrylic
Glass

Acrylic
MaterialAluminumAluminum
Number of White LEDs150240
Number of Blue LEDs3042
Lumens17003080
PAR62104
LUX38006500
Optional Timer Features Single Channel Timer

On/Off

Brightness control

Simulate sunrise and sunlight

Internal memory to store settings
Dual Channel Timer

On/Off

Brightness control

Simulate sunrise and sunlight

Internal memory to store settings

Adjust white and blue LEDs independently
Watts32 W40 W
PricingCheck price on Amazon.Check price on Amazon.

Size Options

The 1st Gen NICREW Classic LED comes in the following lengths:

  • 12-inch
  • 18-inch
  • 30-inch
  • 36-inch
  • 48-inch

The 2nd Gen NICREW Classic LED is available in the following lengths:

  • 12-inch
  • 18-inch
  • 24-inch
  • 30-inch
  • 36-inch
  • 48-inch
The 12″ NICREW ClassicLED Gen 2 Aquarium Light on Amazon.

Adjustable Brackets

Both generations come with adjustable brackets. These mounting legs allow you to securely place the lighting fixture on top of your fish tank.

Compatible Aquarium Lengths

Due to the aforementioned adjustable brackets, the two NICREW ClassicLED can be secured on aquariums that are longer than the lengths of the lighting fixtures. You can see what version is appropriate for your fish tank below.

NICREW Classic LED (Gen 1):

  • 12-inch: for fish tanks with a length of 12 inches to 18 inches
  • 18-inch: for fish tanks with a length of 18 inches to 24 inches
  • 30-inch: for fish tanks with a length of 30 inches to 36 inches
  • 36-inch: for fish tanks with a length of 36 inches to 48 inches
  • 48-inch: for fish tanks with a length of 48 inches to 52 inches

NICREW Classic LED (Gen 2):

  • 12-inch: for fish tanks with a length of 12 inches to 18 inches
  • 18-inch: for fish tanks with a length of 18 inches to 24 inches
  • 24-inch: for fish tanks with a length of 24 inches to 30 inches
  • 30-inch: for fish tanks with a length of 30 inches to 36 inches
  • 36-inch: for fish tanks with a length of 36 inches to 48 inches
  • 48-inch: for fish tanks with a length of 48 inches to 60 inches
The NICREW ClassicLED Gen 1 Aquarium Light on Amazon.

As you can see above, the second generation NICREW ClassicLED Light has the advantage when it comes to supported aquarium sizes. The first generation doesn’t have a version that cover tanks that have lengths between 25 inches to 29 inches. There is also no version of NICREW ClassicLED Light that could fit an aquarium that are 53 inches or longer.

Canopy Requirement

NICREW recommends that you cover the top of your fish tank for both generations of the ClassicLED Aquarium Light. If you don’t, the water splashes and evaporation could damage the fixture. Not to mention that the product is not submersible at all and, as a result, won’t survive a drop in the water of your tank.

When you cover your tank, NICREW suggests you use either a glass or acrylic canopy so that the light can pass through.

Material

The shorter versions (12″, 18″ and 30″) of the 1st Gen NICREW ClassicLED are built with plastic materials. The longer versions (36″ and 48″) are built with aluminum materials.

All versions of the 2nd Gen are built with aluminum materials. You can find the full breakdown below.

1st Gen NICREW ClassicLED:

  • 12-inch: Plastic
  • 18-inch: Plastic
  • 30-inch: Plastic
  • 36-inch: Aluminum
  • 48-inch: Aluminum

2nd Gen NICREW ClassicLED:

  • 12-inch: Aluminum
  • 18-inch: Aluminum
  • 24-inch: Aluminum
  • 30-inch: Aluminum
  • 36-inch: Aluminum
  • 48-inch: Aluminum

Aluminum are a lot of tougher than plastic and, therefore, less likely to break.

LEDs

In general, the second generation of NICREW ClassicLED comes with more white and blue LED lights when compared to the original generation.

  • For the 12″ fixture, the 2nd gen comes with 100% more white LEDs and blue LEDs.
  • For the 18″ fixture, the 2nd gen comes with 50% more white LEDs and blue LEDs.
  • For the 30″ fixture, the 2nd gen comes with 33.3% more white LEDs and blue LEDs.
  • For the 36″ fixture, the 2nd gen comes with 25% more white LEDs and blue LEDs.
  • For the 48″ fixture, the 2nd gen comes with 60% more white LEDs and 40% more blue LEDs.

You can take a look at the full LED specifications below.

1st Gen NICREW ClassicLED:

  • 12-inch: 30 White LEDs and 6 Blue LEDs
  • 18-inch: 60 White LEDs and 12 Blue LEDs
  • 30-inch: 90 White LEDs and 18 Blue LEDs
  • 36-inch: 120 White LEDs and 24 Blue LEDs
  • 48-inch: 150 White LEDs and 30 Blue LEDs

2nd Gen NICREW ClassicLED:

  • 12-inch: 60 White LEDs and 12 Blue LEDs
  • 18-inch: 90 White LEDs and 18 Blue LEDs
  • 24-inch: 90 White LEDs and 18 Blue LEDs
  • 30-inch: 120 White LEDs and 24 Blue LEDs
  • 36-inch: 150 White LEDs and 30 Blue LEDs
  • 48-inch: 240 White LEDs and 42 Blue LEDs

Lumens

For the uninformed, a lumen is the amount of light being emitted from the NICREW ClassicLED. The higher the number of lumens per gallon, the brighter the fish tank will be.

  • For the 12″ fixture, the Gen 2 has 119.74% more lumens than Gen 1.
  • For the 18″ fixture, the Gen 2 has 81.25% more lumens than Gen 1.
  • For the 30″ fixture, the Gen 2 has 107.61% more lumens than Gen 1.
  • For the 36″ fixture, the Gen 2 has 85.19% more lumens than Gen 1.
  • For the 48″ fixture, the Gen 2 has 81.18% more lumens than Gen 1.

You can find the complete lumen stats below:

NICREW ClassicLED G1:

  • 12-inch: 380 lumens
  • 18-inch: 640 lumens
  • 30-inch: 920 lumens
  • 36-inch: 1350 lumens
  • 48-inch: 1700 lumens

NICREW ClassicLED G2:

  • 12-inch: 835 lumens
  • 18-inch: 1160 lumens
  • 24-inch: 1480 lumens
  • 30-inch: 1910 lumens
  • 36-inch: 2500 lumens
  • 48-inch: 3080 lumens

PAR

For the uninformed, photosynthetic active radiation (or PAR for short) stands for the amount of light outputted for plants to use for synthesizing food. The higher the number, the better the lighting fixture will be at growing plants. In general, the second generation has higher PAR when compared to the first generation.

  • For the 18″ fixture, the second generation includes 55.56% more PAR than the first.
  • For the 30″ fixture, the second generation includes 25.81% more PAR than the first.
  • For the 36″ fixture, the second generation includes 58.06% more PAR than the first.
  • For the 48″ fixture, the second generation includes 119.74% more PAR than the first.

You can take a look at the PAR specs below.

NICREW ClassicLED Gen 1:

  • 12-inch: N/A
  • 18-inch: 45
  • 30-inch: 62
  • 36-inch: 62
  • 48-inch: 62

NICREW ClassicLED Gen 2:

  • 12-inch: 56
  • 18-inch: 70
  • 24-inch: 75
  • 30-inch: 78
  • 36-inch: 98
  • 48-inch: 104

LUX

LUX is a measurement of the amount of light available for the plant to consume. The higher the amount, the better it is for plant growth. The second generation also has the advantage in this category.

  • For the 12″ fixture, the 2nd Gen has 105.56% more LUX than Gen 1.
  • For the 18″ fixture, the 2nd Gen has 36.67% more LUX than Gen 1.
  • For the 30″ fixture, the 2nd Gen has 36.84% more LUX than Gen 1.
  • For the 36″ fixture, the 2nd Gen has 60.53% more LUX than Gen 1.
  • For the 48″ fixture, the 2nd Gen has 71.05% more LUX than Gen 1.

You can take a look at the full LUX specs below.

Classic LED Gen 1:

  • 12-inch: 1800
  • 18-inch: 3000
  • 30-inch: 3800
  • 36-inch: 3800
  • 48-inch: 3800

Classic LED Gen 2:

  • 12-inch: 3700
  • 18-inch: 4100
  • 24-inch: 4800
  • 30-inch: 5200
  • 36-inch: 6100
  • 48-inch: 6500

Timer

The first generation ClassicLED uses a Single Channel Timer, which is available on Amazon. This add on will automatically turn on and off your lighting fixture. You can also use it to dim the brightness. Last but not least, the timer uses internal memory to store your settings.

The second generation ClassicLED uses a Dual Channel Timer, which you can purchase on Amazon. It has the same features as the Single Channel Timer with one advantage, you will be able to control both the white and blue LEDS separately.

Watts

All of the extra LED lights means that the Gen 2 NICREW ClassicLED will consume more power when compared to Gen 1. You can take a look at the power consumption stats below.

NICREW ClassicLED Gen 1:

  • 12-inch: 6 W
  • 18-inch: 11 W
  • 30-inch: 18 W
  • 36-inch: 25 W
  • 48-inch: 32 W

NICREW ClassicLED Gen 2:

  • 12-inch: 11 W
  • 18-inch: 15 W
  • 24-inch: 18 W
  • 30-inch: 25 W
  • 36-inch: 32 W
  • 48-inch: 40 W
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