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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have very old light fixtures on my two 29g tanks that are beginning to fail. I'd like to replace them with LED lighting if possible. Is there a LED fixture that's comparable to my old T5 fixtures? Here's the basic details:


  • Tank Size: 29g
  • low light plants (anubius, crypts, etc)
  • No CO2 or ferts (very low maintenance tanks)
  • Lights MUST turn on/off with a timer
  • Current fixtures I'd like to replace: Coralife 30" Freshwater dual T5
  • Fixture needs to lay flat due to canopy

I usually look all this up myself, but my time is greatly limited these days so I'm hoping you guys can help point me in the right direction. Thanks in advance!! :smile2:
 

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You will go down a bit in par from a twin T5 fixture but you could run Stingrays on those tanks no problem. I use the standard analog plug in timers with mine.

If your pockets are a bit deeper than that you could always go with the Satellite Freshwater Plus and dim it down with the integral controller if necessary.

Both fixtures have flat-tops if that's what you mean.
 

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I was going to suggest the finnex stingray as well or the finnex 24/7 just dim it if your tank needs less light. Those are the two thinnest fixtures I can think of, I own 2 of each.
 

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Are your Coralife ones with good reflectors or poor ones? I believe they have improved recently but they used to be bottom of the barrel and Stingrays could well provide more PAR than they do.
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Thanks, goodbytes and RyRob, for the suggestions! :smile2:

Is this the Finnex Stingray fixture you both suggested (the 30" length)?: Finnex Stingray Aquarium LED Light. Do you run the Actinic Blue lights for during the day for the plants or leave them off?

I found a lot of different lights referred to as "Satellite Freshwater Plus" when I searched Amazon so I'm not sure which one was meant: Satellite Freshwater Plus


And I think this is the Finnex 24/7: Finnex Planted+ 24/7 Fully Automated Aquarium LED, Controller. With this one, does the controller work as a timer for the lights... meaning do I tell the lights when to come on/off using the controller instead of a regular plug in timer? This one looks very intriguing. It appears I can dim it now for the low light plants, but if I want to go back to a high tech setup, I can increase the lighting. I like having that kind of flexibility beyond just altering the photoperiod. So far, this is my favorite as long as there is some way of automatically turning the lights on and off.

Are your Coralife ones with good reflectors or poor ones?
I'm sure they are the poor ones. They're around 5-10 years old. I think one is the old Coralife brand and the other is the newer Aqueon brand (same fixture either way).

And even if one fixture has the good reflectors, they're poor by now. The acrylic lens covers are old, cracked, scratched from cleaning, have hard water stains that won't come off, and have some melted spots from the lights themselves. Now the fixtures are starting to eat through the bulbs, requiring frequent replacements. I've ran out of my backup bulbs so it's time to get new fixtures.

So far, of the ones I looked at, I think I'm leaning towards the Finnex 24/7. I like the flexibility of controlling the lights throughout the day, including automatically changing the intensity. I just hope I'm not misunderstanding its abilities.
 

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Thanks, goodbytes and RyRob, for the suggestions! :smile2:

Is this the Finnex Stingray fixture you both suggested (the 30" length)? Do you run the Actinic Blue lights for during the day for the plants or leave them off?
The Stingray only has on and off mode. The red and blue LEDs run alongside the standard white and there is no option to turn them off. However the reds and blues provide important wavelengths on the spectrum for growing plants so you would want them on. It is the most basic Finnex model so you do not have the option to run the blues only at night.

I found a lot of different lights referred to as "Satellite Freshwater Plus" when I searched Amazon so I'm not sure which one was meant: Satellite Freshwater Plus
That link isn't pulling anything up for me but this is the one you would want here:

And I think this is the Finnex 24/7: Finnex Planted+ 24/7 Fully Automated Aquarium LED, Controller. With this one, does the controller work as a timer for the lights... meaning do I tell the lights when to come on/off using the controller instead of a regular plug in timer? This one looks very intriguing. It appears I can dim it now for the low light plants, but if I want to go back to a high tech setup, I can increase the lighting. I like having that kind of flexibility beyond just altering the photoperiod. So far, this is my favorite as long as there is some way of automatically turning the lights on and off.
I believe that, yes, the ramp timer is integral to the fixture but the 24/7 mode isn't available if you need to dim the lighting output like you will for your tank.
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the link. I don't like that the light would be only 24" long. I prefer having my lighting extend all the way to the edges to ensure full lighting. It also appears this one cannot be dimmed.

I believe that, yes, the ramp timer is integral to the fixture but the 24/7 mode isn't available if you need to dim the lighting output like you will for your tank.
I don't think I'd use the preset 24/7 mode. I'd most likely create my own settings.

I think I'm sold on this one. I love the flexibility of the lighting settings.

Thanks so much for the help!! :)
 

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I have the Finnex 24/7 and I leave mine in 24/7 mode all the time.

In 24/7 mode you cannot change anything other than the current time. There is no way to dim or brighten, it is what it is. There is also no way to change the span on which it comes on and goes off (although it never actually turns off completely, there's always some light). You set the current time and it does it's thing.

If you want to set a custom light level you can do that but you would then need a timer if you want it to automatically turn on and off. There is also no ramping up or down. The timer would turn it on and turn it off.

The remote is also required to operate the fixture and it's a bit buggy at times. That being said I do like the fixture but there is room for improvement.
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
In 24/7 mode you cannot change anything other than the current time. There is no way to dim or brighten, it is what it is. There is also no way to change the span on which it comes on and goes off (although it never actually turns off completely, there's always some light). You set the current time and it does it's thing.
I'll certainly start it off on the 24/7 mode to see what it's like, but I suspect it will be too bright for the plants I have. I'm also unsure of how I'll like the color changes (it may feel too artificial for me). The main thing is that I can create my own settings. That way I can change the lighting to my needs as they change over time.

If you want to set a custom light level you can do that but you would then need a timer if you want it to automatically turn on and off.
That's fine. I have timers for my current light fixtures as it is. So I can just continue using them for the new Finnex fixtures.
 

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So I saw your post in the Lush Low Tech thread and I figured I would come check out what your question was to see if I could help :) Instead, you asked the same thing I have been thinking about! I would love to go LED! I am going to read through this now LOL :hihi: thanks! ;)
 

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They just arrived! So now I get to try them out for the first time. I expect that I'll like them. I'll post what I think after I get them set up. :)

Thoughts upon first usage (two Finnex 24/7 30" fixtures):

Size: The light fixture is indeed small and super thin! It sets on the 29g tank perfectly. I'm not using the legs so the leg "stubs" rest on top of the black tank rim. To lay the fixture flat, it must be pushed over to one side so that the leg "stubs" will lay on the glass top on one side and off the edge on the other side.

Cord Placement: There are cords coming out on both ends of the fixture: (1) power cord and (2) cord for remote control receiver. I'm not nuts about not having a clean side on the fixture, but that's pretty minor. I was concerned that the cords would be a problem with the 29g tank with a canopy, but it just does fit.

Cord Length: I do not like the length of the cord from the fixture to the brick power supply. It's too short to reach the floor so it hangs in mid-air, pulling on the cord. I'll secure the brick to the stand with velcro so it won't continue to be hanging. I'm happy to not have a brick for a plug, but I don't like having a brick hanging.

Quick Setup: Once the fixture is plugged in, it appears to go into the 24/7 mode automatically. The light looked dim and red which I suppose is its morning color. I didn't like it very much to be honest. Using the remote control to change the settings was simple enough. Just press buttons. Make sure to press the 24/7 button as needed.

Light: After not liking the initial color, I tried out the "Max" light setting. Now I like that color! It's only slightly whiter than I'm used to. So I can see that I will be able to get a light setting I like. I'll just have to play with it a bit.

Remote Timer: This is a little weird. Instead of having buttons to set the current time, there are buttons preset for specific times: 12am, 3am, 6am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm, and 9pm. That means you need to wait until your time is one of those 8 preset times to set the time on the light fixture. If it's 6:15pm, you need to wait 2 hours and 45 minutes for the first chance to set the time (9pm). If you miss that, you need to wait again. Maybe setting an alarm on your phone would help.

For now, I have the time set and have the fixtures running through their 24/7 automated color changes. It's rather red and dim at the moment (6:30pm). I'll let it run through its color cycle just to see what the 24/7 is like, but then I'm pretty sure I'll change it to another setting very soon. The colors just feel too artificial to me right now -- kind of like christmas lights. I might like it better if I was just starting out in the hobby, but having seen my tanks look a certain way for a decade, changing the light color that drastically just doesn't look right. Nevertheless, I believe I will like these lights once I adjust them to my preferred color.

I am disappointed, however, to find that I cannot adjust the dimming over time. I either use the 24/7 mode or I select ONE color with ONE brightness and leave it at that (using a regular timer). I had hoped I could set it to be dim in the morning, bright in the afternoon, and then dim in the evening using the memory settings. It cannot do that. I either have a fixed color/dim level the entire time the fixture is turned on or I use the 24/7 mode.

The fixtures also don't appear to be able to cook my breakfast in the morning. What a let down! LOL!

While I may not like some of the features of the fixtures, I was mainly looking for LED light fixtures to replace my old T5 fixtures, and in that way, I think these are going to work out well. Basically, I have switched from T5 to LED lights and have gained the ability to set the lights to the color and brightness I want. I'm happy enough with that.
 
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