Best light for $150 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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Looking for a new light off the shelf for a 55 gallon...$150 budget, looking at Finnex but I donít know much about lighting any suggestions? LED or T5? Iíve researched and searched but would like more ideas

Medium to heavy planted

Man how do I edit posts?

So Iím looking at the Finnex and Current USA

Well my options hate down to the Fluval 3.0 and Satellite Pro Plus.

The new Satelitte, while more expensive has the red lighting for my red plants so I am swaying that way but man Fluval has some good reviews.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 06-22-2020 at 10:24 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 08:51 PM
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Check out the Beamswork DA model. Great light for less money.
Leeatl and Bunsen Honeydew like this.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 09:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishnovice33 View Post
Well my options hate down to the Fluval 3.0 and Satellite Pro Plus.

The new Satelitte, while more expensive has the red lighting for my red plants so I am swaying that way but man Fluval has some good reviews.

for just barn burning lighting 2 of these is in your price range..
https://www.amazon.com/Odyssea-6500K...2859127&sr=8-2
Obviously just dumb lights and 2 takes up a lot of real estate (10").
Throwing the fugeray planted plus into the mix.. Another "dumb" light but easily automated w/ a bit of DIY..




Pushing high light to the substrate w/ a single inexpensive LED is difficult..
2 48" normal planted plus is around $250-$300..
2 Fluvals is about $400

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 09:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input guys, I have thought about doing 2 cheaper ones for better light and less options.

But have decided since I’m building this new from scratch, and it’s the centerpiece of my living room and kitchen, a smart light would be best at first while I save extra money and ultimately end up with two.

So the two I mentioned It looks like the Fluval is more durable, has better interface with WiFi and has a better warranty while the Satellite will supply more PAR to the substrate and has more options with what appears to be a very finicky interface/remote, and is more expensive

Clearly I’ve thrown $150 budget out the window 😐
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 09:39 PM
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Well if you really want to throw the budget out..
2 AI Prime Freshwaters are about the best for the $'s..
The 80 degree lensing pushes much more PAR deep in the tank..
It would be a bit odd to start w/ one but.....

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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Well if you really want to throw the budget out..
2 AI Prime Freshwaters are about the best for the $'s..
The 80 degree lensing pushes much more PAR deep in the tank..
It would be a bit odd to start w/ one but.....
Lord...those look nice....it would be odd with one but man...$240 for a Satellite or $400 for two of those babies and have plenty of light.

Thanks for that I am definitely going to think on it.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by fishnovice33 View Post
Lord...those look nice....it would be odd with one but man...$240 for a Satellite or $400 for two of those babies and have plenty of light.

Thanks for that I am definitely going to think on it.
One minor niggle.. AI Primes "real effective" footprint is more 18x 18.

Covering left to right has a few options.
1)Ignore the 1/3 pattern and push the lights off center. It actually will even out the PAR. Less of a center hot spot..
Like 14" on center from each edge.
2) Raising lights from "standard" though creates more room spill..


soo not perfect but better...

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-23-2020, 01:22 AM
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What type of plants are you thinking? Especially at lowest levels of tank?
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-25-2020, 04:12 PM
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T5s add another level of interest and enjoyment to the hobby imo. The color saturation cannot be matched by LEDs and numerous bulbs are readily available to achieve the color you want. Plus you'll get the par you want spending close to your budget.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-25-2020, 06:40 PM
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Remember the continuing cost of maintenance.

The reason I went with LEDs was that they lasted long term. T5's are great but I hated having to do yearly bulb changes that were pretty expensive as well.
Maybe spending $$ upfront for LEDs will save you more money long term

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-30-2020, 05:27 AM Thread Starter
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Yea going with LED, Fluval planted. Start with one and move to two when extra funds come in (along with co2), until then I won’t be doing carpets I want - just medium light plants. Ultimately I want a nice carpet and red plants.

T5 positives are Initially cheap and you get maximum light. But this is in my living room so I want control over settings. Negatives are you can’t control them and long term they’ll cost more with bulbs. If I had my own fish room for my hobby filled with tanks they’d all be T5s.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-01-2020, 02:25 AM
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I love my LED fixture on my small aquarium, but I still prefer T5HO for larger aquariums. The ability to change out bulbs to manipulate overall color is really fun, as you can see in some of the bulb combo threads here. LEDs have come a long way in 9 years since I started this hobby, so I imagine they will have some sort of modular ability soon where you can buy a pack of different LED colors and pop them in and out without rewiring or soldering.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-01-2020, 03:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capsaicin_MFK View Post
so I imagine they will have some sort of modular ability soon where you can buy a pack of different LED colors and pop them in and out without rewiring or soldering.
That ship sort of sailed but it's still possible that a revival could be had.
Did imagine at one point about LED spectrum emulations of some tubes but the tighter delivery angles in led's makes it a bit of a challenge to blend them.


Not sure why people think it's cheap to just swap tubes constantly .. At $20/quality tube it's not errr nothing.
There is not a lot of colors or shades you lose w/ a good balanced RGBW array..
Start at 5:26..




Of course oone can have a minor to significant loss of output depending on color of course.
and from the vid. the "LED fun" art is sort of obvious..

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