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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking to upgrade/replace lighting on a 36" x 18" x 24" high 75g. I have run an old Current 4x T5HO with a mix of ATI lamps for about 15 years with adequate results. Easy medium light plants, pressurized inline CO2 controlled by pH meter (Apex), regular additions of root tabs. The fixture is fritzing out, so time to move into the future.

I'm considering the Finnex Planted+ 24/7 ALC, perhaps a pair of them, since you all seem to speak highly of this model. Is there an alternative LED fixture I should consider that might be better? Better = more reliable, better plant growth, better color. Bells and whistles don't interest me. I prefer a strip-style light over anything hanging or over rim-mounted pendants. Cost isn't a big issue, but I don't care to spend more for no real benefit. (As an aside: holy cow has LED lighting come down in price in the last five or so years. :))

Some people have mentioned that the legs on the Finnex Planted+ 24/7 ALC leave something to be desired. Is this a big deal?
 

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I have a 75 gallon 48x18x21 deep. I started out with an Aquatic Life 4 tube t5ho, and like you I had adequate results. I made the jump to Leds with 2 Beamsworks DA Fspecs. I cut power usage in half, had better results with growth, and although some colors popped, it lacked in the red department, and red plants looked kinda washed out. On an 18 inch wide tank, I found I needed 2 fixtures to get good front to back coverage.

I wanted a change and researched. I wanted a fixture with true 660nm reds without breaking the bank. I narrowed it down to fluval 3.0 or the finnex ALC. I was ready to pull the trigger on 2 fluval 3.0 fixtures when I found a sale on the ALC for 50 bucks cheaper per light than the fluvals. I didnt need the bluetooth control so I bought 2 Finnex ALC. I have been pleasantly suprised. Good color, the fish and plants POP. My congo tetras look like swimming jewels, and my plants have responded. Better growth and now im seeing colors I didnt see before. My red lugwigia is now scarlet, my rotala now has a nice orange hue and the green plants look green, not a washed out yellow green. Im now growing plants I never dreamed of trying before as well.
Once you figure out the remote, they are pretty customizable and they dim and raise intensitiy very smoothly. I have had no issues with the feet, and if you like a strip light, they work ok on a rimmed tank.
They sit lower over the tank than the DA fspec, so there is less light spillage into the room.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for all that. :)

I have had no issues with the feet, and if you like a strip light, they work ok on a rimmed tank.
FWIW, the tank is rimless. Shouldn't make a difference, should it? My Current fixture has similar looking feet, and sits on the rimless tank fine.
 

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75g, 33L, 2g and play tanks
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I have a single Fluval 3.0 on my 75 gallon. I wish I had a second. But that's not a worry right now. If I found a sale that would probably change though. lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have a single Fluval 3.0 on my 75 gallon. I wish I had a second. But that's not a worry right now. If I found a sale that would probably change though. lol.
Hmm. So a little reading suggests to me that the Fluval 3.0:

-- is quite a bit more likely to last a few years
-- probably won't give quite as good color to the tank
-- is more likely to require 2 fixtures to cover an 18" front to back tank (I'd get two of either model, anyway)
-- is more expensive

All correct? Am I right in thinking that the Finnex are known for power supply failures? Is this a simple fix (factory support; aftermarket)?

Is there any idea about which (Fluval 3.0 vs Finnex ALC) grows plants more reliably? It's looking like the Finnex but I don't see enough reports on both to get a good sense of this.
 

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I bought the 36" ALC and returned it in favor of the Chihiros. But the decision was not as clear-cut. There are definite pros and cons on each light

1. Coming from the Planted+ original (I have two of them on my 20 long), the color spectrum is tried and tested. I prefer the ALC's colors to the Chihiros (even with it's infinite customizability, the Chihiros looks 'artificial' compared to the ALC. No idea on plant growth since I have not used the chihiros yet)
2. Simple on-off operation is a plus for me. I can set different weekday/weekend schedules in my Apex very easily.
3. The light hangs closer to the water and looks very sleek on the tank. The Chihiros while looks sleek, is much more bulky and looms on top of the tank a good 5" or more. Since I use it on my peninsula tank, I can't lower the legs past the rim so as to not impede straight-on view of the tank.
4. I hate the ALC's remote. While I don't find the Chihiros' app pirticularly easy, the remote is worse. This is basically the only reason I went with my ALC. I like making little tweaks to the schedule and this is way too hard with the remote.

Finnex Planted+ 30" I was testing on the tank. The ALC looks almost exactly the same or even a bit thinner
1032923


Chihiros WRGB II"
1032924
 

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Hmm. So a little reading suggests to me that the Fluval 3.0:

-- is quite a bit more likely to last a few years
-- probably won't give quite as good color to the tank
-- is more likely to require 2 fixtures to cover an 18" front to back tank (I'd get two of either model, anyway)
-- is more expensive

All correct? Am I right in thinking that the Finnex are known for power supply failures? Is this a simple fix (factory support; aftermarket)?

Is there any idea about which (Fluval 3.0 vs Finnex ALC) grows plants more reliably? It's looking like the Finnex but I don't see enough reports on both to get a good sense of this.
That's mostly correct. I believe the Fluval uses more watts and produces more Lumens/PAR. but not by a whole lot. Color from what I understand is different and in my opinion is where the choice should be made if the price is not an issue between the two. But yes, either light will work better with two lights on this size of tank. I don't recall what the difference in the way the lights look.
 

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Hmm. So a little reading suggests to me that the Fluval 3.0:

-- is quite a bit more likely to last a few years
-- probably won't give quite as good color to the tank
-- is more likely to require 2 fixtures to cover an 18" front to back tank (I'd get two of either model, anyway)
-- is more expensive

All correct? Am I right in thinking that the Finnex are known for power supply failures? Is this a simple fix (factory support; aftermarket)?

Is there any idea about which (Fluval 3.0 vs Finnex ALC) grows plants more reliably? It's looking like the Finnex but I don't see enough reports on both to get a good sense of this.

A few years ago Finnex improved the quality of their power supplies and better coating on their circuit boards or so I was told.
Power supplies are relatively cheap though it may mean a little DIY work to say replace it with a Meanwell.

Fluval is still the waterproof winner here though.

Color difference is reported as the Fluval is too warm for some even with adjustments. I have no idea on actual look though.
I've suggested trying to dim the cool white channel over the warm white. Somewhat counter-intuitive but the cool white has more yellow )or more correctly less red)
but never got any feedback as to how that worked.
Finnex generally likes to pair 660's with a cool white (7000k) and therefore the base white is pretty clean w/ little yellow.

You will need 2 of most lights just to match the output of the old t5's.
Is there any idea about which (Fluval 3.0 vs Finnex ALC) grows plants more reliably?
Not really an issue with "like" products.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I got the Fluval 3.0 today. Overall build quality seems high.

Installation, linking to the app, programming the app was all very simple.

After some experimenting, I got the overall color rendition to approximate the T5 setup I was used to (10k, 6500, 2x Aquablue Specials) though the Fluval lacks the ability to run quite as much blue as I like (started out with reefs back in the day, can't unlearn VHO actinics once you've seen them...). I settled on 85% pink, 100% blue, 100% cold white, 75% pure white, 75% WW. I though the pure white looked really green and the WW really red when run alone, so I put every channel at 100% and dialed back those two until I got close, and then took a little pink off the top (hard to tell on that -- the pink and blue are very weak).

Just estimating, two Fluvals at those settings will be visually somewhat brighter than the 4x T5 bank. Given that this is roughly half the power consumption, that's impressive. I'll report back on how the plants react after some time, and after I put on a second Fluval (yes, the tank absolutely needs two).
 

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I also had 2x3.0's on my 75. I ended up going with the Chihiros.. on the last page, I have a before and after comparison picture.

 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I also had 2x3.0's on my 75. I ended up going with the Chihiros.. on the last page, I have a before and after comparison picture.

Wow!

So, one Chihiros has sufficient coverage front to back on a 75?
 
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