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Looking at getting a light for a planted betta tank with the dimensions of 20x20x20 cube. What’s a good light that will allow me to grow most common plants? Thanks!
 

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You'll get a large amount of opinion on this topic.

For my part, I have had extensive experience with the more common ones: Finnex (Planted Plus) and Fluval 3.0 LED.

The Fluval 3.0 LED has been stellar plant grower. It is also the easiest light I've ever used. It was connected to my iPhone and up and running with a light cycle I configured all within minutes. It allows powerful customization of timing and color that is very easy to manipulate through their app. I'm sure there are more specialized lights that are either better for growing or have more customization capabilities, but those will almost certainly trade off ease of use, price etc... I think Fluval hit the perfect combo of easy to use, good customization, and solid growth characteristics, particularly for people who don't want to spend too much time thinking about lighting. Some people like extreme optimization, engineering and customization of their lighting and that is perfectly fine. That type of buyer might not like this light.

The one downside of the Fluval 3.0 is it needs to resynch with the app on a power outage or it goes back to a default automatic mode and may have the wrong time (e.g. if a long power outage). You can save your configurations so you don't have to reconfigure your light cycle but you have to reset the light to your custom cycle from the default cycle it goes to when power is dropped. I put mine on a small battery backup (along with a filter to keep going in power outage) to mitigate this issue. If you live in a place with frequent power blips, that is something to consider. One last AWESOME feature of the Fluval 3.0 is they are waterproof. No matter how careful you are, you end up getting water on the light at some point. Its nice peace of mind.

I've had four Finnex's. Their remote control is awful in comparison to the Fluval and probably anything else out there (unless they upgraded that with recent models). It's a cheap IR remote that doesn't work half the time. I understand their newest products are more customizable now and may be similar in capability to Fluval. The Planted Plus lights I have were only customizable if you did not use their 24/7 feature and used you own timer. Unless they upgraded recently, the lights I had were not water tight and in fact I lost one light due to mold and algae growing in it, after just one year using it. It was due to a bubbler spray but still, expected an aquarium light to be a little more resilient.
 

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My only real knock on the fluval 3.0 and the finnex 24/7 is that the legs aren't taller or adjustable. I'm not sure why they have the legs so low (maybe to get highest PAR rating. Don't they realize that people have emersed growth and/or hardscape? ADA, Twinstar, even my cheap Chihiros on my 12" tank have tall legs. I also think it looks better on the tank then having the light flat on top.
 

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My only real knock on the fluval 3.0 and the finnex 24/7 is that the legs aren't taller or adjustable. I'm not sure why they have the legs so low (maybe to get highest PAR rating. Don't they realize that people have emersed growth and/or hardscape? ADA, Twinstar, even my cheap Chihiros on my 12" tank have tall legs. I also think it looks better on the tank then having the light flat on top.
That is something else to consider and a good point. You have to evaluate your situation to see if you want/need extra height than the light comes with.

The low height was one of the selling points for me. In fact I liked that the Fluval doesn't even need feet (just those slide out things) and I could lay it right on top of the aquarium. My aquarium is a Clear-For-Life acrylic that has the solid tops with cutouts. I have a canopy so have millimeters of space for anything to "hook" on the ends of the tank. It's also 20" deep (50G), so every inch closer to substrate is better for my situation. It seems like 18" is right around the limit of these general consumer grade lights (Fluval, Finnex, ...) to hit the substrate with enough PAR for carpets and red plants. I can see with a shallow tank or emersed growth, you may want it higher than it comes out of the box with and that would be an issue unless there are some after market solutions.

I have crafted taller stands for a 24" Finnex 24/7 using cut and folded wire clothing hangers. Kind of a 5 minute DIY hack with needle nose plyers/cutter and didn't look too professional, but it worked. Not something for a highly aesthetic setup like rimless all glass, everything hidden kind of thing although I'm sure a more patient person could fabricate something nicer looking.
 

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My only real knock on the fluval 3.0 and the finnex 24/7 is that the legs aren't taller or adjustable. I'm not sure why they have the legs so low (maybe to get highest PAR rating. Don't they realize that people have emersed growth and/or hardscape? ADA, Twinstar, even my cheap Chihiros on my 12" tank have tall legs. I also think it looks better on the tank then having the light flat on top.
I know exactly what you mean about the Fluval. I used another lights legs to get it higher. Then eventually I asked my friend to 3D print me some legs.




OP, whatever you do, try your best not to go cheap on the lights.
 

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That is something else to consider and a good point. You have to evaluate your situation to see if you want/need extra height than the light comes with.

The low height was one of the selling points for me. In fact I liked that the Fluval doesn't even need feet (just those slide out things) and I could lay it right on top of the aquarium. My aquarium is a Clear-For-Life acrylic that has the solid tops with cutouts. I have a canopy so have millimeters of space for anything to "hook" on the ends of the tank. It's also 20" deep (50G), so every inch closer to substrate is better for my situation. It seems like 18" is right around the limit of these general consumer grade lights (Fluval, Finnex, ...) to hit the substrate with enough PAR for carpets and red plants. I can see with a shallow tank or emersed growth, you may want it higher than it comes out of the box with and that would be an issue unless there are some after market solutions.

I have crafted taller stands for a 24" Finnex 24/7 using cut and folded wire clothing hangers. Kind of a 5 minute DIY hack with needle nose plyers/cutter and didn't look too professional, but it worked. Not something for a highly aesthetic setup like rimless all glass, everything hidden kind of thing although I'm sure a more patient person could fabricate something nicer looking.
Makes sense for your setup since you have the canopy, my tanks are all rimless and I want everything raised incase I go emersed and for the look. I used a 3rd party light bridge for my 3 footer and hung my Finnex 24/7 from it. I'm really surprised they don't have an accessory for the light that has a telescoping type rider so you can adjust it.

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I know exactly what you mean about the Fluval. I used another lights legs to get it higher. Then eventually I asked my friend to 3D print me some legs.



OP, whatever you do, try your best not to go cheap on the lights.
That looks good. Your friend should sell those. As I mentioned I'm not sure why they don't sell or include leg options. A part of the market is being left out obviously if both you guys are using DIY. ADA, Twinstar, etc. obviously cater more to rimless and shallow nature tanks.
 

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As I mentioned I'm not sure why they don't sell or include leg options. A part of the market is being left out obviously if both you guys are using DIY. ADA, Twinstar, etc. obviously cater more to rimless and shallow nature tanks.
I agree, I don't know why they would not sell some plastic legs like the printed ones above for $15 as an add-on (if not included). That has to be cheap to manufacture. There is quite a bit of variation in setups and so they lock themselves out of the market of people that don't want to deal with engineering a leg solution.

For high light, the Fluvals are interesting because you can get more than one and easily manage them all from the app. I bought a second to try to get more reds although I had to decrease the levels of both as was getting too much algae and too much plant growth (constant trimming!) after adding. It's quick and convenient that I can make a base profile for the lights, then customize front and rear light profiles from the base profile depending on what plant species are beneath the light and distance. All from my phone.
 

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Im not quite sure which light would fit your tank perfectly but im a brand hoe for Beamswork, Current, Finnex and Fluval. Beamswork being the best bang for the buck - Fluval being the most expensive possibly the best before you get to some ADA level. My plants like Current more than the Finnex but Finnex has that 24/7 mode which is really awesome. Because you said the aquarium is 20" deep I would recommend the Beamswork since its not overly expensive and it has great par - but if you have the money look at the Fluval for sure.
 
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