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Best aquarium lights for moderate to highly planted tanks

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On 7/1/2021 at 3:54 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.

Fyi: They have a hanging kit if you want to raise it off the tank.

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If you're not worried about having a sunrise/sunset function or a built in timer (you can run it on an external timer), but want a powerful light that will easily penetrate 20" of water column, the best light I have experienced is the Finnex Planted+ (all the way to the right), not any of the 24/7 models. That light will provide even the most demanding plants sufficient light



Edited by Phantom240
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I've got the finnex planted + and I impulse bought the fluval 3.0 a month or so later. Either one would do great. Funny thing is I can't grow water sprite in the main tank at all. So I took it and floated it in my spare 10 gallon tank with a cheap no name light that was like less than $20. It's thriving in that tank. So go figure.

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The fluval is substantially stronger (more than double the par); and is water proof (ip67) and has a 3 year warranty. However the finnex is approx 1/3 to 1/5 the price depending on size. A lot depends on your tank depth, high-tech or low-tech and type of plants you wish to grow. Most of the tank you listed are rather shallow (12 inch high) and pretty much any of the cheap lights should be sufficient the taller tank might benefit from the fluval depending on specific plants (nana anubia will not benefit but purple aflame will demand a brighter light) and if you use co2 injection. There is no one size fit all. Btw the fluval requires the usage of an app on a smart phone. On the one hand the app will handle all units on the other if you don't have a smartphone with blue-tooth (can you find a model without bluetooth?) forget the fluval.

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