Help with lighting pick (finnex vs fluval vs beamswork)
I've been going back and forth about lighting for the last week or two, and have narrowed it down to 3 options: finnex 24/7+ HLC, beamswork da fspec, and the fluval 3.0. I've read a lot on these three lights, and am still pretty uncertain as to which to choose, so I'm hoping you all can help!
I have a 55g that I set up about 2 months ago [Also, a custom all plywood stand that I built that I'll post another thread on later!]. I've run a few smaller (2 10g, 1 5.5g) low tech planted tanks for the last year, this is my first tank with co2. I ordered a victor 270d, swagelok b-2ma, and a clippard mouse solenoid from fleabay last week and am going to get co2 running on the tank in the next couple of weeks once all of the parts and fittings arrive.
The tank is stocked with 22 three lined corys and 21 cardinal tetras, along with ~50 RCS. I'm using safe t sorb topped with pool filter sand for substrate, with osmocote. I mixed my own ferts and plan to dose following PPS-Pro once I'm running co2.
I'm going for a nature style tank, currently it's planted with
and I'm going to add Alternanthera reineckii to add some red and Staurogyne repens as a carpet once I have the co2 and new lights.
I currently have a cheap hardware store fixture with two phillips 32w 4-ft t8s on the tank. I'm new to lighting and have read a lot of threads, and I'm considering between the finnex 24/7+ HLC, beamswork da fspec, and the fluval 3.0.
One thing I'd like as a feature, or to be able to add, is being able to ramp the lights on/off and set points in between. I've read the Nicrew channel timer pro should be able to do this with the beamswork. The other two lights can do it on their own.
Other than that, the main difference (to me) mostly seems to be price/reliability between the 3. I like that the fluval 3.0 has a 3 year warranty, but for the price I could buy 2 more beamswork fixtures or one more of the finnex if either wears out in less than 3 years. I'd prefer to spend less than more, if I get a similar outcome, and $200 for the fluval is more than I was planning for lights, but I'll do it if it's the best choice.
I'm leaning towards the finnex 24/7+ HLC at the moment, though there are a lot of finnex 24/7+ versions and the HLC doesn't seem to be as commonly used as the CC or SE, so I'm not sure it will have enough PAR for the depth of my 55? My substrate is only 16"-17" below the top of the tank, I have a pretty deep level of substrate. I see a lot of people running two beamsworks or two finnex, but I'm not sure if that's just to get a wider spectrum (ie running the fspec with the 6500k) or if it's because they have wider tanks.
So, what would you suggest? One of these three, or do you think another light that I'm not considering would work better?