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Planted Aquarium Lighting Confusion


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Posted (edited)

Hi,

I am looking Into getting an LED lights for a planted tank that's 48" x 24" with the height close to 36" (which is really tall). Obviously with a tall aquarium I am concern on the brightness of the lights that I need especially for a planted tank (substrate will probably around 4.5" depth). I've tried looking into what others in the hobbies do with their tanks and I am finding it a bit hard to find anyone with a similar set up (a tall tank). The general consensus is that the height will definitely impact the light penetration. 

As such I have been looking at various lights' lumens values and what confuses me is that all the high-end or Pro WRGB LED lights lumens figures that I could find max at around 5,000-8,000lm (depending on which brand). On the other hand, full spectrum LED lights which from what I research are more for the plants with medium intensity requirement has higher lumens value (around 12,000-17,000lm) than the lights designed for high-light intensity plants such as Plant Fluval, Chihiros WRGB Vivid, etc.

So I am confused how to strike a balance between having enough penetration (using the lumen value) and still have WRGB feature to ensure specific wavelengths are available for photosynthesis & as nutrients, while trying to keep cost as low as possible. 

Am I missing something here or have I misunderstood it? I am fairly new to this hobby so please let me know, any help or input are welcome. My head is about to burst trying to make heads or tails of this matter.

Cheers, Dee

Edited by Dee00
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Unfortunately Kessil is way over my budget (looks really good through) 

Thanks @StreetwiseI'll look into Fluval 3, is there a significant difference between Fluval 2.0 and 3.0? 

 

@KBOzzie59Knowing that really helps. I have been asking various shopkeeper about the lights they have and rather than giving me a clear answered they kept pushing for their most expensive lights 😭

The first post of the forum discussion attached the tank in the photo seem to have 2 lights. The width of the light seem quite small, does that mean I would need 2 of them as well?

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Posted (edited)

The Fluval comes in several widths.  When I have the option I like multiple lights rather then one long one i.e. 2 24" on a 48" wide tank,  I'd even go as far as 2 15" and a Nano on a 36" wide tank.  This way you can vary the light left to right / right to left if needed.  But I'm crazy like that.  And actually on that 60 tall (48" wide) I have a 24" 3.0 on the left and a Nano on the right.

Edited by KBOzzie59
clicker was faster than my brain
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Lumens are for humans, PAR is for plants. The Chihiros Vivid 2 does have significantly higher PAR than the Fluval 3.0, but it doesn't have as good a warranty. 

If you want to grow plants on the substrate in a tall tank like that, you're gonna need a powerhouse light. The SBReef lights put out outstanding PAR for the price. 

My recommendation for a "newbie" would be to get a large piece of driftwood and glue or tie epyphitic plants (java ferns, anubias, etc,) to the wood closer to the surface. That way you don't have to worry about getting a crazy strong light. Having to do maintenance on plants in the substrate would be a pain in the butt anyways, assuming you don't have 4' long arms.

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I think you’ll be ok with two 48” Fluval 3.0s. They might not have the par of the ADA, Chihiros etc, but they’re meant to be mounted right on the rim not suspended above like the high end lights. Your effective par at the substrate will be similar. (I think)
Another alternative is the Lominie lights. They have some cool looking budget friendly spot lights. I’m eager to try one on my next tank. 

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On 7/7/2021 at 6:09 PM, Dee00 said:

Wouldn't SBReef light or the like be suitable? From my understanding these are for marine tanks not freshwater, or does it not matter much aside from the higher PAR value?

The problem with marine lights is that they don't produce the wavelengths of light needed for most freshwater aquatic plants. If you're into growing algae, they're bomb, but they lack the 660nm wavelength needed for plant growth. spacer.png

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I’ve found a light called ‘AquaNice Neo-Helios Pro Smart Full Spectrum Light’. According to the seller, it’s what i am looking for. I’ve tried looking around for more detailed information or specifications but barely found anything. 

Has anyone heard or used a Neo Helios Pro light? Is it good enough for a 3 ft tall tank?

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On 7/7/2021 at 4:09 PM, Dee00 said:

Wouldn't SBReef light or the like be suitable? From my understanding these are for marine tanks not freshwater, or does it not matter much aside from the higher PAR value?

 

On 7/7/2021 at 8:30 PM, Phantom240 said:

The problem with marine lights is that they don't produce the wavelengths of light needed for most freshwater aquatic plants. If you're into growing algae, they're bomb, but they lack the 660nm wavelength needed for plant growth. spacer.png

I don't know why you'd use the reef version when they make a freshwater version. The freshwater version specifically uses 650 nm diodes.

 

On 7/7/2021 at 3:44 PM, Patrick_G said:

I think you’ll be ok with two 48” Fluval 3.0s. They might not have the par of the ADA, Chihiros etc, but they’re meant to be mounted right on the rim not suspended above like the high end lights. Your effective par at the substrate will be similar. (I think)


Depends on how high you hang the lights over the tank. Suspended lights give you more control over the "spread" of the lights front to back, which is my main gripe with the Fluvals.

I also don't like the spectrum very much. It's not RGB; it's pink, blue, warm white and cool white. When it comes down to it there is a serious difference in color rendition between that and a true RGB. That's just me being picky though. I bought a Fluval 3.0 years ago and it's served me well this whole time, it just wouldn't be my choice for a high-end tank. I would probably go with a T5 if I didn't have a Chihiros WRGB, the color mixing and rendition you get with T5's makes colorful plants and fish look amazing.
 

Edited by gjcarew
I need to learn how to proofread
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On 7/16/2021 at 3:02 AM, gjcarew said:

Depends on how high you hang the lights over the tank. Suspended lights give you more control over the "spread" of the lights front to back, which is my main gripe with the Fluvals.

 I bought a Fluval 3.0 years ago and it's served me well this whole time, it just wouldn't be my choice for a high-end tank. I would probably go with a T5 if I didn't have a Chihiros WRGB, the color mixing and rendition you get with T5's makes colorful plants and fish look amazing.
 

Unfortunately, I couldn't find the SBReef Freshwater version. 

My lights would be mounted on the rim of the tank. I don't think I would go for T5 as I am more familiar with LED lights. So in your opinion a Chihiros WRGB has more worth value for money compared to a Fluval 3.0 for a 3 feet tall aquarium? 

Do you reckon if I get Chihiros WRGB 2 if I would need 1 or 2 of it?

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On 7/16/2021 at 7:31 AM, Dee00 said:

 

Unfortunately, I couldn't find the SBReef Freshwater version. 

My lights would be mounted on the rim of the tank. I don't think I would go for T5 as I am more familiar with LED lights. So in your opinion a Chihiros WRGB has more worth value for money compared to a Fluval 3.0 for a 3 feet tall aquarium? 

Do you reckon if I get Chihiros WRGB 2 if I would need 1 or 2 of it?

Sorry, linked it in the previous post. Here's a direct link: https://sbreeflights.com/sbox-reef-lights/83-45-sbox-freshwater-pro-timer.html

The value of a product is relative and depends on what you want in a light -- maximum par at substrate, color rendition, warranty, ease of use. Here's a litte comparison, note that all PAR is a rough calculation and from directly under the light (maximum par)
 

Fluval 3.0 48"

Price: $219.99 ea

Pros: Easy app control, great warranty, relatively inexpensive

Cons: Low power (~17 PAR @ 36 in), mediocre color rendition

 

Chihiros WRGB 2 48"

Price: $349.99

Pros: True RGB, easy app control, medium light at 36" depth (~30 par)

Cons: Mediocre warranty (1 year), not ip-68 rated (though it is UL rated and seems splash-proof), pricy

 

sBox Freshwater Pro Timer 45"

Price: $351.96 (currently on sale)

Pros: MAXIMUM POWER (est. 185 PAR @ 36"), great LED combination for plants

Cons: 2 year limited warranty (don't drop it in the tank!), limited support, no app (in-line channel and timer control)

 

If you want to grow dwarf baby tears at the bottom of your tank, you'll want either two Chihiros WRGB 2 or one SB reef Freshwater. You might struggle even with two Fluvals. That's if you're going for high tech and demanding plants though. Chances are you will not need all the power a SB reef Freshwater can provide, but you can always turn it down while you can't turn the others up above their maximum power. If it was me, I'd start with one Chihiros or SB reef, and if I needed supplemental lighting I'd get a Fluval 3.0 to go with them. 

If you are gonna do crypts and anubias at the bottom, might as well go with the Fluval. It's a great price. Also, if you really want to push the amount of light in your tank I would strongly recommend CO2. Going above 30 PAR without CO2 can put you at serious risk for algae.

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I have not. Currently have a ONF Flat Nano and a Hiro Aquatics wabi kusa stand for my nano projects.

On 7/16/2021 at 7:31 AM, Dee00 said:

 

Unfortunately, I couldn't find the SBReef Freshwater version. 

My lights would be mounted on the rim of the tank. I don't think I would go for T5 as I am more familiar with LED lights. So in your opinion a Chihiros WRGB has more worth value for money compared to a Fluval 3.0 for a 3 feet tall aquarium? 

Do you reckon if I get Chihiros WRGB 2 if I would need 1 or 2 of it?

https://sbreeflights.com/sbox-reef-lights/83-45-sbox-freshwater-pro-timer.html

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This is my set up 65G (36x18x24)

I run two Fluval plant 3.0’s at the setting in the photo and I’ve had no problems with algae. Minimal ferts, no co2 just the recommended dosing of seachem excel and I started with all tissue culture pots except the Anubias. Many have argued that I’m way over lighting but I tried all different setting and I’ve been getting the best results form this considering the depth of water it has to travel. Hope this helps or at least gives you another view point. 

072170CB-2D57-4254-AF5C-2EECC1898CC6.png

D23B32CD-0B55-42B2-B057-33F0B1812BCC.png

D13A50C1-A5D5-496A-918D-BB70F21B5387.jpeg

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Thank you very much @gjcarew for the links and detailed comparison. Unfortunately I don't live in the US so I am not able to buy the SBReef. 

Also thank you @DevoB for letting me know of your light settings. It really helps put it in perspective.

I will keep looking if I can find any lights that looks promising and give anyone reading an update. So far I am looking at a local budget light that seems ok. But still trying to figure out its PAR value.

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Found this lights named Ledstar AQ WRGB, and I've listed some details below. What do you all think?

There are 2 series C and J series.

Both are has water proofing (IP68), CREE 5050 for While LED and Epistar 5050 for RGB LED

LEDSTAR AQ C SERIES WRGB 

Built in controls for brightness and timer

image.png.616f80d2ec1621625013d15b61ef4ccf.png

image.png.624d73958281bfdbdb388101e6bb9166.png

And LEDSTAR AQ J SERIES RGB+W 

Control via App and Bluetooth 5.0

image.png.82d3809dc1f628cfc7e2a67c05a47a9a.png

image.png.b84cc7c66cb3dcded7571a14c1980d90.png

Do you think these are good? If so, which should I go with or do you reckon the specs are close enough that it does not matter too much?

 

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On 7/18/2021 at 8:13 AM, Dee00 said:

Found this lights named Ledstar AQ WRGB, and I've listed some details below. What do you all think?

There are 2 series C and J series.

Both are has water proofing (IP68), CREE 5050 for While LED and Epistar 5050 for RGB LED

LEDSTAR AQ C SERIES WRGB 

Built in controls for brightness and timer

image.png.616f80d2ec1621625013d15b61ef4ccf.png

image.png.624d73958281bfdbdb388101e6bb9166.png

And LEDSTAR AQ J SERIES RGB+W 

Control via App and Bluetooth 5.0

image.png.82d3809dc1f628cfc7e2a67c05a47a9a.png

image.png.b84cc7c66cb3dcded7571a14c1980d90.png

Do you think these are good? If so, which should I go with or do you reckon the specs are close enough that it does not matter too much?

 

J-series is probably what you want to go for. I've never used these lights and I can't find much information on them. I am a little skeptical that they could produce 4x the par of the Chihiros with the same number of LED's and drawing the same amount of power. But that is a great price!

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