The Kessil AP9X is an exciting new light fixture from the best multichip LED
manufacturer in the business. For the most part the experience of reefers with
Kessil’s lighting spectrum and style is with their versatile spotlights for
freshwater, reef aquariums and even refugium lights to grow macroalgae.
It was about five years ago that Kessil released their first aquarium fixture with
the AP700, their first light designed outside the parameters of an aquarium
spotlight. Interestingly we got a sneak peek of Kessil’s follow up to the AP700 at
MACNA and at ReefStock 2020 it was officially launched as the Kessil
In terms of technical details and performance, the Kessil AP9X is essentially the
power of two A360X spotlights, with built in wireless connectivity and control. As
you might expect the Kessil AP9X has some optimization to improve the spread and
distribution of light over rectangular reef aquariums – where the AP700 had
elliptical lens-reflectors the AP9X is more refined with slightly teardrop shaped
Like the Kessil AP700 the follow up has built in daisy chaining of analog 0-10V
signal for basic brightness and spectrum control, but like the A360X there’s also
digital signal control with the K-Link that uses standard USB-C cables to connect
to other lights. The digital daisy chain allows the AP9X to serve as a master hub
for other slave lights, with addressing of other lights to have individually
defined programming, spectrum and schedules.
We got some hands-on time with Kessil’s new Aquarium Panel AP9X and one thing that
is incredibly surprising is how light it is! Despite pumping up to 185 watts of
power through the dual dense matrix LED multichip, the fan barely has to kick up
to any kind of high speed, with fun sports-car spoiler style exhaust of hot air at
With such a light weight the Kessil AP9X is more flexible than ever before in its
mounting options. These will include a classic dual arm mount, a hanging kit, but
also a brand new ‘AP9X Mounting Arm’ that will have some special tricks like the
ability to pivot and angle with a few degrees of freedom.
The Kessil AP9X is more than a smaller and brighter next generation aquarium panel
light, and every feature is better in every way than the AP700. We’re still about
a month out from a full release with price and availability from Kessil but from
what we’ve already seen at ReefStock, this is going to be powerhouse
of bright aquarium lighting.