A Review and Comparison: Fluval Fresh & Plant 2.0 Fixture - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-27-2016, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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A Review and Comparison: Fluval Fresh & Plant 2.0 Fixture

A Review and Comparison: Fluval Fresh & Plant 2.0 Fixture

Hi All,

I did a fair amount of research prior to purchasing the subject fixture reading information I could find online about features as well as output and did a comparison of the fixture against comparable fixtures such as the Finnex Planted+ 24/7 and the Satellite Plus Pro Freshwater.

Here is a summary of what I found:

Satellite Plus Pro:
45 watts; 44 LEDs total; adjustable color spectrum; adjustable brightness; PAR=103@12”; PAR=75@16”; 120 degree lenses; 1 year warranty Potential issues: Not fully sealed; remote control issues reported

Finnex Planted+ 24/7:
35.8 watts; 108 LEDs total; adjustable color spectrum; adjustable brightness; PAR=95@12”; PAR=68@18”; unknown degree lenses; 6 month warranty; Potential issues: Not fully sealed; moisture issues with board and LEDs

Fluval Fresh & Plant 2.0:
46 watts; 252 LEDs total; fixed color spectrum 7500K; adjustable brightness 100% - 10%; PAR=112@12”; PAR=66@18”; 120 degree lenses; 3 year warranty; fully sealed unit Potential issues: ‘touch’ control takes some practice (I did not try the WiFi model)

I purchased a 36”-46” model of the subject fixture from Ken’s Fish on 5/14/16 for $136.00 (15% off – coupon code: fluval )*** including shipping. It arrived on 5/26/16 having traveled cross-country by slow mule (aka FedEx). It was very well packaged with the fixture box enclosed in a large brown corrugated box with bubble-wrap for cushioning.

*** As of 7/27/16 the coupon code is still good

Why did I decide on the Fluval F&P 2.0 over the other units?
1) 120 degree lenses
2) Much better warranty than other choices (3 yr verses 1 yr or 6 mo)
3) Warranty backed up by Fluval/Hagen with service center here in the U.S. and an 800 number.
4) Fully sealed unit, no moisture issues to deal with
5) Did not need ‘automatic’ ramp up/ramp down….all of my tanks are on digital timers

I had checked out our club (Greater Seattle Aquarium Society) Apogee MQ-200 Par Meter in anticipation of its arrival and after unpacking the unit I read the instructions (which were pretty simple) and proceeded to install it on my 30 gallon (36” long). It took me a while to understand how to use the ‘touch control’ which is has two purposes. With a quick touch it cycles the light between off/on/all LEDs (including blue)/blue LEDs only. If I ‘touch and hold’ maintaining contact with the touch sensor if the light is in the all LEDs mode or blue only LEDs mode it will gradually dim or brighten the output light intensity. It took me a while to figure out that ‘touch’ is not the same as ‘push’ and it took some time to getting used to the controls.

I tried the Fluval F&P 2.0 on several different tanks and recorded the PAR readings; this is what I found:

On my 45 Gallon (tall – 36.3" x 12.7" x 23.8" high) 20” rim to substrate
w/dirty VersaTop PAR@41
w/clean VersaTop PAR@51
w/ no VersaTop PAR@58

On my 20 Gallon (24.3" x 12.5" x 16.8" high) 14” rim to substrate
w/dirty VersaTop PAR@116
w/clean VersaTop PAR@130
w/ no VersaTop PAR@145 @ max output
w/ no VersaTop PAR@14 @ min output

On my 30 Gallon 36.3" x 12.7" x 16.8" high) 12” rim to substrate
w/dirty VersaTop PAR@100
w/clean VersaTop PAR@103
w/ no VersaTop PAR@116 @ max output

What is my opinion? I like the unit. The ‘touch’ control still is a challenge from time to time. I’ve run it at maximum output for almost two (2) months and there have been no issues with LEDs or overheating. The unit is warm to the touch but certainly no hot.

What would make it better? Although I prefer 7000+K for the light spectrum on my tanks the 7500K rating on this unit seems a little ‘warmer’ to me than that. I would like the individual color controls that the other two units have.

45 Gallon with Fluval F&P 2.0; shortly after major re-work of 'scape

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Roy
75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1XFluval F&P 2.0 48"/59W, 2X Marineland 350 Magnum filters; 45 Gallon Tall, 96Watt AH Supply CF 6700K, 1X Marineland 350 Magnum filter; 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0 36"/46W, Marineland C-220 filter; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED kit, Marineland C-160 filter; all with Press. CO2 and (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay
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Last edited by Seattle_Aquarist; 10-01-2016 at 12:19 AM. Reason: ..
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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-27-2016, 11:58 PM
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I have this light as well - 24" version. The touch thing is not the greatest. I have the light on a timer so i really only needed to mess with the touch switch initially and a few times when I adjusted the briteness.
I will say I can back up their claim it is water proof - sort of. While removing the glass top (was in a hurry) I bumped the light and the end with the touch switch fell into the tank - like 50% of the lite was in the tank.
The light was not very happy and was doing many weird light cycles then turned off. I could not get it to turn back on. Finally realized the touch switch was very wet and not liking it. Allowed it to dry off, plugged the light back in and it has worked just fine for the last 3 months.

Good product.
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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 05:12 PM
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Thanks a lot for the feedback and the PAR readings
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Plants and algae grower.
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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-31-2016, 02:45 AM
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Same club Seattle Aquarist. I recently fell in love with the Fluval 2.0 as well. I put out a video yesterday on it and thought it might be a good idea to include it with his findings as well. If not, not meaning to hijack, and willing to take it down etc.

I tested par, but also focused on testing the waterproof features of it.

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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-31-2016, 03:12 AM
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I really appreciate how you included the watt draw for the fixtures. Par obviously is the important stat, but readings are way less reliable, just look at the largely unchallenged scores for t8 fixtures in the par thread, not even close to accurate.

With fluorescents, 32 watt bulbs are all drawing about 32 watts. With LEDs 100 watts of capacity will actually be anywhere from 20 to 60 in actuall power draw...and how much is drawn explains a lot.
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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-31-2016, 05:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smackpixi View Post
I really appreciate how you included the watt draw for the fixtures. Par obviously is the important stat, but readings are way less reliable, just look at the largely unchallenged scores for t8 fixtures in the par thread, not even close to accurate.

With fluorescents, 32 watt bulbs are all drawing about 32 watts. With LEDs 100 watts of capacity will actually be anywhere from 20 to 60 in actuall power draw...and how much is drawn explains a lot.
Well you need to add a bit more clarity here.
Lights like the Beamswork, when tested w/ a kill a watt meter have been shown to draw exactly as stated BUT this of course is not diode watts..
BUT neither is it for tubes either:
Quote:
How does ballast factor affect energy usage?

When you’re trying to get the most savings and efficiency out of a linear fluorescent system, the first place you typically look is the lamp wattage. You might think that a 32W fluorescent T8 consumes 32W and a 25W high-efficiency fluorescent T8 consumes 25W.
Not exactly.
A fluorescent lamp carries a wattage rating, but we calculate the actual wattage of a fluorescent system based on the system wattage, which includes the impact of the ballast factor.
To calculate the system wattage of a fluorescent fixture you multiply the lamp wattage by the number of lamps and the ballast factor.
Lamp wattage x number of lamps x ballast factor
=
Total system wattage
http://insights.regencylighting.com/...orescent-tubes

Getting into constant current drive LED's, if I have a 1000mA driver and I measure the voltage across the diode at 3 volts.. it IS a 3W diode..
IF it a current "state of the art" diode that would produce in excess of 300 lumens. If it is a cheaper diode of lower efficiency it will produce maybe 1/2 of that.
There are other complications..
http://phys.org/news/2012-03-efficiency.html

Quote:
As the researchers explain in their study, the key to achieving a power conversion efficiency above 100%, i.e., “unity efficiency,” is to greatly decrease the applied voltage. According to their calculations, as the voltage is halved, the input power is decreased by a factor of 4, while the emitted light power scales linearly with voltage so that it’s also only halved. In other words, an LED’s efficiency increases as its output power decreases. (The inverse of this relationship - that LED efficiency decreases as its output power increases - is one of the biggest hurdles in designing bright, efficient LED lights.)
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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-31-2016, 05:15 AM Thread Starter
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Hi @CoryWM,

Thanks Cory for that informative video! What I liked most about the video was the "dunking"; to be truthful I just didn't have the guts to dump my new Fluval into a tank to test the 'waterproof' claim. Thank you for performing that demonstration; I would not have believed they could handle being submerged for an hour, especially with the pressure of a three (3') depth.

FYI everyone Cory is the owner of Aquarium Co-op. a great LFS that is located north of Seattle in Edmonds. Aquarium Co-op is a GSAS Sponsor Store, they provide discounts to members on merchandise, plants, and fish. Also Cory purchases many fish from GSAS members that breed some extraordinary species. I have known Cory for several years, he is a avid hobbyist, fish breeder, and occasionally even dabbles lightly in planted tanks! I should say that Cory has been a staunch supporter of Finnex LED lights for several years - so to hear him state that he was impressed enough with the Fluval unit to consider selling it is a huge endorsement.

I believe that Cory is using the Apogee MQ-500 PAR meter while my measurements were taken with the older model MQ-200 PAR meter; so while the PAR numbers will be similar his are likely more accurate. The GSAS PAR meter was sent in last week to Apogee for an MQ200 to MQ500 upgrade which consists of new software and the new sensor. Apogee received our meter on Thursday, did the upgrade, and shipped the unit back to us on Friday - 24 hour turn-around is excellent customer service!

Roy
75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1XFluval F&P 2.0 48"/59W, 2X Marineland 350 Magnum filters; 45 Gallon Tall, 96Watt AH Supply CF 6700K, 1X Marineland 350 Magnum filter; 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0 36"/46W, Marineland C-220 filter; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED kit, Marineland C-160 filter; all with Press. CO2 and (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay
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Last edited by Seattle_Aquarist; 07-31-2016 at 02:43 PM. Reason: sp
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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-31-2016, 02:18 PM
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Just watched the full video - very impressive. I certainly feel better knowing my 10 second dunk in 8-12" water did not hurt the light. His video also did a better job explaining why the light freaked out when the button got wet. Again, no big deal, just dry it off and all is good.

Nice to know you have such a good LFS in that area. Thanks for the thread.
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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-31-2016, 10:15 PM
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@jeffkroll

If I plug my twin tube 48" fluorescent into he KillaWatt it say 63.2. About as expected. I realize that some of that energy powers the system, but is there much difference in ballast efficency? Enough that it impacts light output? I do understand that bulbs vary greatly.

With LEDs I mostly figured a new 1w LED diode is pretty much the same regardless of "quality". A Cree might last longer, and degrade slower, than a no name, but at least initially they are pretty much the same. Is that not true? Do good ones produce more light and less heat with the same input energy?

I started caring about this while looking into some el-cheapo e27 54 watt LEDs for my aquaponic setup. The good ones generally consume 30-35 watts but some of the "China bulbs" draw as little as 13 watts and are producing a lot less light allbeit more efficiently I guess. As such I came to believe that energy consumed was the single most important factor to know in judging a LED light (after the wavelengths).

Some of your post is more technical than I can follow, but if I understand you correctly, you're saying good diodes can be up to 2x as efficient (more light less heat) than cheap ones?
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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-01-2016, 12:05 AM Thread Starter
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Hi @jeffkroll & @smackpixi,

I believe that it would be more appropriate if you would like to do a separate thread regarding florescents, LEDs, and ballasts instead of walking all over this thread which deals with Fluval F&P 2.0 - thank you.

Roy
75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1XFluval F&P 2.0 48"/59W, 2X Marineland 350 Magnum filters; 45 Gallon Tall, 96Watt AH Supply CF 6700K, 1X Marineland 350 Magnum filter; 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0 36"/46W, Marineland C-220 filter; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED kit, Marineland C-160 filter; all with Press. CO2 and (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay
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post #11 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-08-2016, 06:03 PM
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this thread has sparked my interest in the Fluval f&p 2.0. I have been really looking at the finnex. now I have another option to consider.
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post #12 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-30-2016, 01:09 AM
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Thanks for sharing your findings. One feature that I'm trying to make sure I get with my next set for LED lights is the ability to set a timer with 3 stages: daylight (to grow plants), night (enough light for me to see, but not so much to trigger plant/algae) growth, and totally off (I'm sleeping, no need for any light). Based on other reviews of Finnex lights such as the Ray2, this can't be done. Even the Finnex 24/7 doesn't allow you to control the 3 stages to your liking despite having a built-in 24 cycle (from my understanding, happy to be wrong).

The Current-USA I believe requires adding the Ramp Timer Pro to achieve what've I've described. Otherwise it just has day-time and night-time modes on the timer.

Does the Fluval Fresh & Plant 2.0 give you this kind of control?
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post #13 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-30-2016, 01:38 AM
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With the addition of the wifi controller it should be.

https://youtu.be/0UFszuRE30M

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post #14 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-30-2016, 01:59 AM
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The wifi controller is interesting. Thanks for mentioned in. It's a shame that it costs so much.

I saw in the comments that wifi interference can result in the lights turning on in the middle of the night.

And apparently if power is lost you need to log back in with the app to reset the schedule. That's kind of a bummer for anyone relying on this when traveling.

Overall the controller isn't being received well by Amazon.com customers.
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post #15 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-30-2016, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
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Hi @infolific,

I honestly do not know but it may be possible. Fluval does offer a 'Wi-Fi' option (which I did not purchase) that allows adjustable "ramp up" "ramp down" "break" and "night" periods that you can program via an app that is available in IOS or Android. Here is a link to the pdf of the Wi-Fi manual which I skimmed.

Roy
75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1XFluval F&P 2.0 48"/59W, 2X Marineland 350 Magnum filters; 45 Gallon Tall, 96Watt AH Supply CF 6700K, 1X Marineland 350 Magnum filter; 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0 36"/46W, Marineland C-220 filter; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED kit, Marineland C-160 filter; all with Press. CO2 and (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay
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