Originally Posted by Desert Pupfish
Why would you recommend the Fluval over the Finnex? Does it have higher PAR, grow plants better, have a higher output in lumens?
I'm also looking for a reasonably priced light for a 48" 75g tank that's 20" high. As a lighting noobie, I'm having trouble determining from the specs of the various lights which is best. Obviously PAR is the best way to compare, but that data isn't available for most lights. I've currently got a Beamswork DA FSPEC on my 55 g tank with 5000 lumen output and it grows undemanding plants well. Looking at the 48" version it's only got 5200 lumens, compared to the 36" light with only 200 lumens less. At $70 for the Beamswork, I could get two lights/10,400 lumens for $140, vs $149 a Finnex Planted. The Fluval Planted is $209 most places. How much better is the plant growth on the more expensive models? Other than fancy apps that allow you to control everything from your phone (do I really need to be able to reprogram my lights when I'm halfway around the world?), what are you really getting for the extra money?
Enquiring minds (and thin wallets) want to know....
It's simply down to seeing youtubers and various other people get results out of the Fluval 3.0. When it comes down to it, maybe a beamswork or two puts out a ton of light, but does it look good? The Fluval can be tuned depending on what spectrum you want to see plus the no hassle timers with the app make the Fluval more appealing. If none of that matters then the beamswork lights would probably suit you fine.
IMO the best bang for your buck is DIY when dealing with large high light builds, but with that it does require you to be handy with electricity and building the fixture to save the most money.
For example look at the build I currently have over my 55 gallon:
Luxeon ES Warm WHITE 3 Watt LEDs 4,000K x36 = $36 at stevesleds
3w red green and blue leds x2 each about $15 at stevesleds
6 meanwell drivers $30 at $5 each
48v 350w power supply $30 (depending on where you buy it)
tc420 to run everything $20
This doesn't include the fixture pricing because that all depends on how fancy you want to make it, but the main power is all accounted for at about $130 before shipping or tax or misc items needed to put it together.
I'm getting about 11.5k lumens at 100% out of this thing and it provides enough light at only 50% power to cause the water to become soda water from all of the pearling throughout the day.