I received the 30 inch Freshwater Planted Tank fixture (75 degree optics) from Buildmyled.com on Monday, and I just wanted to share my experience as there are not very many reviews out there for this fixture.
I purchased this fixture to replace the lighting on top of my 20L plant growout tank, which is a pretty heavily planted. Before purchasing this fixture, I had 2 different 30" Coralife T5NO freshwater fixtures and one 24 inch T5HO fixture (yes, pressurized CO2 and ferts are used in this tank, algae has never been an issue).
Since my fixtures were due for a bulb replacement, my goal was to switch over to a single LED fixture which would give me comparable growth results but not require $90 in new bulbs every 6-9 months.
I originally purchased the Finnex Ray 2 30 in for its attractive price point, but this fixture simply did not not live up to my expectations as there were only 24 inches of centered lights, which left very dark shadows on the sides. I have Finnex fixtures on two of my nano tanks that I really like, but in this case I was not impressed and I thought the light was very yellow.
While it has not yet been long enough for me to comment on plant growth with the buildmyled fixture, I have noticed that the plants are pearling and happy under this fixture, so I am very pleased.
So, on to the details...
PRODUCT SELECTION/CUSTOMER SERVICE:
As I am new to LEDs, I required quite a bit of guidance in making my product selection.
The one downside of ordering from them is that, because they are building each fixture from scratch, it does take longer to receive this fixture than a pre-made one. My particular fixture took 5 business days to build.
Once the fixture was finished, I received a notification email and it was on its way. When it arrived, the fixture was extremely well-packaged with separate compartments for each of the parts, and a plastic coating on the fixture to make sure that it would not get scratched.
The fixture arrived in flawless condition.
One thing to note is that since this fixture is 30 inches and the LED strips come in 12 inch segments, there are 2 empty inches, then 12 inches of lights, then 2 empty inches, then 12 inches of lights, and 2 more empty inches. The small gap in the middle allows for good coverage along the edges.
I was pretty impressed with the results. I took some photos with my iphone for reference, but they did not turn out very well.
This is the amount of illumination I had with 2 coralife T5HO fixtures and one Finnex Ray 2 fixture (since returned):
And now this is with the new fixture, suspended 6 inches above the tank with 75 degree optics. This fixture is on its own (so competing against three different fixtures):
There are a few main differences. The illumination is not quite as bright as with the three fixtures, which is OK as long as the plants are happy. I really like the coloration better as I prefer the pink tones to the very yellow color of the first setup.
The plants were already pearling when I set up the fixture, so I waited a couple of days to make sure that the new light was working well. The plants are extremely happy, as you can see from the persicaria kawaegonum in this picture:
Like I said, the fixture has only been up and running for less than a week, so I can't yet comment on plant growth.
All in all I'm very happy with this fixture. I didn't go with a dimmer since my goal was to get as much light as possible, but for anyone with a lower tech setup, I would definitely recommend it as the light is very bright.
If anyone has any questions, let me know.