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Best aquarium lights for moderate to highly planted tanks


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Hello! I am interested in getting into more higher tech planted aquarium. I am curious what led lights will do the job for most aquarium plants (with and w/out Co2). I've heard of brands like ONF but pricing seems to be pretty high whereas lights like Finnex stingray 2 I'm concerned won't be strong enough. Any thoughts of what light brands and models would be best? Thank you very much!

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On 7/1/2021 at 1:08 AM, Patrick M. Bodega Aquatics said:

Hello! I am interested in getting into more higher tech planted aquarium. I am curious what led lights will do the job for most aquarium plants (with and w/out Co2). I've heard of brands like ONF but pricing seems to be pretty high whereas lights like Finnex stingray 2 I'm concerned won't be strong enough. Any thoughts of what light brands and models would be best? Thank you very much!

Myself I like the the finnex  Planted  24/7 lights

Edited by BIG GREEN
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Depends on a lot of factors. My tanks mostly have fluval 3.0 and wrgb 2. I have one tank with onf flat. So I think you have to answer some questions to judge what works:

 

First how deep is your tank. For example a 20 long, which is 12 inches high, is pretty shallow while a 29 is a bit taller.

Second what sort of plants are you going to be planting. For example a nana anubia any light will pretty much work but a purple aflame will definitely want a stronger full spectrum light. 

Third is your tank low tech or high tech. 

Fourth just how much are you willing to spend...

 

 

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Thank you! I would want to go medium to high tech for most of the aquariums. This would be for a fish room so being able to have one or two kind of lights would be preferable. For pricing a 48-60" light I wouldn't want to exceed $250 if I don't have too. I was interested in the Currect USA Satellite and the Fluval 3.0 although I'm not sure how good the Current USA is.

Edited by Patrick M. Bodega Aquatics
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I am low tech on all of mine I use hygger full spectrum. 4 brightness settings timer multicolor settings( I don’t use that) 2 foot style attachments.  my plants in all my tanks thrive. Highest brightness it to much to keep on all day.  They are very inexpensive on amazon. For their ease and performance i won’t use others these are to awesome and inexpensive. I have tried AQueon and nicrew only to replace with hygger. I don’t know how to link but here is a picture 

70C858C2-2A4D-4E9D-AD2E-D2304D629232.png

Edited by Guppysnail
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I really enjoy the fluval 3.0s. They can be expensive but in my opinion are worth it. 

I have the fluval 3.0 nano on my lowtech 10 gallon. Its planted with lowlight plants (crypts, pogostemon, java fern, frogbit). One of the biggest selling points for me is not only the programing and customization but also the fact that its waterproof. I have dropped my fluval 3.0 in the aquarium sooo many times. 

One thing to note is that if you want to get the fluval 3.0 nano they only attacth to rimless setups. There are ways around it. For me I simply put two peices of wood across the aquarium, and put the light on the wood:

20210701_112644.jpg.81dfc8250091c9b5a66cf140db992968.jpg

Here are what my light settings look like, they max out at 35%:

Screenshot_20210701-113115_FluvalSmart.jpg.ba2f0abfa0566251b054df375ecca411.jpg

Heres a thread where forum members posted their fluval 3.0 settings & experiance with the light:

 

Edited by James Black
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On 7/1/2021 at 8:59 AM, Patrick_G said:

How deep will the tank be? If you want the ability to grow low carpet plants at 20”+ I’d want a Fluval. You could also try doubling up on a less powerful light like Nicrew or Finnex. If your budget is under $200 for a 48” then You’ll have to rule out Fluval, the 48” model is up to $220 now. 

I am starting to lean towards the 3.0 despite the price.

Edited by Patrick M. Bodega Aquatics
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I have an aqueon clip-on light for my 10 gallon, a finnex 24/7 planted+ on my 29 gallon, and I purchased a fluval 3.0 for my 55 gallon. I think it depends on your budget and your needs. The Finnex 24/7 planted+ will totally work, but I think it's a bit more finicky and less straightforward to program than the Fluval 3.0. I think the ease and customizability of the Fluval sells it for me.

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On 7/1/2021 at 6:38 AM, Guppysnail said:

I am low tech on all of mine I use hygger full spectrum. 4 brightness settings timer multicolor settings( I don’t use that) 2 foot style attachments.  my plants in all my tanks thrive. Highest brightness it to much to keep on all day.  They are very inexpensive on amazon. For their ease and performance i won’t use others these are to awesome and inexpensive. I have tried AQueon and nicrew only to replace with hygger. I don’t know how to link but here is a picture 

70C858C2-2A4D-4E9D-AD2E-D2304D629232.png

How great is this light!? I have it myself. Best light for the value

It has 5 brightness settings though not 4.

Edited by Fresh
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On 7/1/2021 at 12:59 PM, Patrick M. Bodega Aquatics said:

I am starting to lean towards the 3.0 despite the price.

Before you spend your coins you should indicate the depth of your tank as well as if you will be low-tech or hi-tech. I'm not sure you know what the terms mean as you said you would be med-tech. low-tech/hi-tech with regards to a planted tank refers to if you will have co2 injection. If your tank is a 20 long (12 inches high) and you will have anubia and java fern i'd go with the 957 mentioned above and save $150. If you have one of those odd shaped tanks that is 20 inches high and will be growing rotala h'ra and other red plants then i'd consider the wrgb 2. It all comes down to picking the right tool for your needs not picking the tool mentioned most often after all a flat head screw-driver might end up stripping a philip screw.

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Fluval 3.0 has a number of drawbacks IMO. The color rendition is pretty poor, and the spread also sucks. There is no easy way to raise it off the tank to illuminate the whole thing. That said, they are bombproof and generally powerful enough to grow most plants. I've had one for 3+ years, and haven't taken particularly good care of it, and it still works just fine.

Best bang for your buck is probably a T5 fixture for both power and color rendition. For LED's I've yet to see something that I like as much as the Chihiros WRGB's. Amazing color rendition, super powerful, sleek look, can be raised above the tank, and still relatively cheap.

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On 7/1/2021 at 12:38 PM, anewbie said:

Before you spend your coins you should indicate the depth of your tank as well as if you will be low-tech or hi-tech. I'm not sure you know what the terms mean as you said you would be med-tech. low-tech/hi-tech with regards to a planted tank refers to if you will have co2 injection. If your tank is a 20 long (12 inches high) and you will have anubia and java fern i'd go with the 957 mentioned above and save $150. If you have one of those odd shaped tanks that is 20 inches high and will be growing rotala h'ra and other red plants then i'd consider the wrgb 2. It all comes down to picking the right tool for your needs not picking the tool mentioned most often after all a flat head screw-driver might end up stripping a philip screw.

So this would be an aquarium room design and the tank sizes I would be going with are a 7 gallons (11.8x11.8x11.8in), 11 gallons (18.9x11.8x11.8in), 25 gallons (18x18x18in), 78 gallon (47.24"x19.69"x19.69"), and lastly 115 gallons (47.24" x 23.62" x 23.62").

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On 7/1/2021 at 1:54 PM, gjcarew said:

Fluval 3.0 has a number of drawbacks IMO. The color rendition is pretty poor, and the spread also sucks. There is no easy way to raise it off the tank to illuminate the whole thing. That said, they are bombproof and generally powerful enough to grow most plants. I've had one for 3+ years, and haven't taken particularly good care of it, and it still works just fine.

Best bang for your buck is probably a T5 fixture for both power and color rendition. For LED's I've yet to see something that I like as much as the Chihiros WRGB's. Amazing color rendition, super powerful, sleek look, can be raised above the tank, and still relatively cheap.

Good to know. Thank you!

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Does anyone have any experience with the Twinstar A-series? I've heard great things about the brand but they seem to be a bit more difficult to get in America and are a bit spendy. But I did find the A series for $38 for a 12-18 inch light which is comparable to the Finnex Stingray II.

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On 7/1/2021 at 2:07 PM, Patrick M. Bodega Aquatics said:

Does anyone have any experience with the Twinstar A-series? I've heard great things about the brand but they seem to be a bit more difficult to get in America and are a bit spendy. But I did find the A series for $38 for a 12-18 inch light which is comparable to the Finnex Stingray II.

Twinstar comes in B, C, E, and S lines. The "A" just means adjustable. The B and C lines are meant for low-tech tanks.

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