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Hi All,
Coming from saltwater, whereby we have a our goto lights (echotech radions), just wondering does the freshwater planted tank hobby have a safe goto light that most use? I see a lot of discussion about Chihiros, twinstar etc, but just want to get some feedback from those using the lights on their tanks in terms of quality and reliability. Finding it hard to decide on a suitable light good light for a planted tanks. thanks in advance :).
 

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Hi All,
Coming from saltwater, whereby we have a our goto lights (echotech radions), just wondering does the freshwater planted tank hobby have a safe goto light that most use? I see a lot of discussion about Chihiros, twinstar etc, but just want to get some feedback from those using the lights on their tanks in terms of quality and reliability. Finding it hard to decide on a suitable light good light for a planted tanks. thanks in advance :).
Since fw really has a bit more diversity than marine (well blue centric vs some shade of white)
and generally no need for the high photon fluxes (the meeting point is like a low light coral tank and a medium high tech fw)
not to mention smaller light budgets..well it's pretty open.

If pushed I'd probably say the Fluval Plant 3.0 and the AI Prime FW.
The real "premium" lights are generally overkill .. GHL Mitras and Radion xr15 freshwater.
No need for 250 par at the substrate level.

Next tier is like Finnex (only here due to their err programming philosophy. Prob deserve "premium" status otherwise) , Nicrew, Chihiros, Hygger, Beamswork
and prob another 1/2 doz Chinese lights.

t5's still have their admirers as well.

"Your" choice will depend on a list of needs/wants including mounting, control, and level of tech i.e CO2, plants, looks ect.
Similar yet different than sw.

Some say fw is actually more difficult than sw.. Not sure I agree but there are narrower parameters that are sometimes easier to control.
pH, alkalinity ect.. Things that can sort of "float" in fw.

Then again mistakes won't kill $1000's worth of plants either.
Guess it is as hard as one wants to make it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow! Thank you for a very thoughtful post. Much appreciated. That is very helpful for someone who went straight to marine and now wants to dive into freshwater. I understand marine rather well but yes, freshwater is a little bit of mystery to me, particularly with lighting. I’ve got a Chihiros slim RGB and a freshwater AI prime and have noticed a similar thing just like in marine (Chihiros seems better for bringing out fluorescent pigments and AI prime being more full spectrum, brings out more of the non-fluorescent colours). If I look at my green neon rasboras, these look best under the AI prime but the chilli rasboras and ember tetras really glow under the Chihiros. The green rasboras are hard to see under Chihiros and chilli rasboras and ember do not look as red under the AI prime (albeit I can turn the whites down to help but they’re isn’t enough RGB to bring out those colors.
 

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Having done mainly fresh but a few marine also, I tried my luck with Ecotech FW version, it had a nice lightning and sunset/rise function, but definitely not for high tech tanks. Also tried the AI Prime as the support team for them swore black and blue the they were perfect for FW (after a marine pack down) - also not so great but I believe they may have a dedicated FW version? Maxspect was brilliant for me on all counts of plant growth, but they are sadly no longer as far as I am aware. I absolutely love my Chihiros WRGBii for high tech plant growth, colour and livestock colour.
But by your name/location, I assume you are around Melbourne? Nature Aquariums in Mont Albert (though soon to be Blackburn) have a very reasonably priced full spectrum series of lights that I use on all my non Chihiros tanks. Aquavivo Plantpro (high tech) or Plantglo (anything else). Might be worth a squizz if you're close enough (nearly half the price of a Chihiros but doesn't have bluetooth function).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Having done mainly fresh but a few marine also, I tried my luck with Ecotech FW version, it had a nice lightning and sunset/rise function, but definitely not for high tech tanks. Also tried the AI Prime as the support team for them swore black and blue the they were perfect for FW (after a marine pack down) - also not so great but I believe they may have a dedicated FW version? Maxspect was brilliant for me on all counts of plant growth, but they are sadly no longer as far as I am aware. I absolutely love my Chihiros WRGBii for high tech plant growth, colour and livestock colour.
But by your name/location, I assume you are around Melbourne? Nature Aquariums in Mont Albert (though soon to be Blackburn) have a very reasonably priced full spectrum series of lights that I use on all my non Chihiros tanks. Aquavivo Plantpro (high tech) or Plantglo (anything else). Might be worth a squizz if you're close enough (nearly half the price of a Chihiros but doesn't have bluetooth function).
Awesome, thanks, Matt. Yes I know Natures well and will be down there on Wed so will check it out. I do love their lit cardinal tetra display using the Illumagic blaze x freshwater, the colours of the fish and plants look amazing. Chihiros is a name I hear a lot and I like the slim90 but just can’t seem to get that nice crisp white that shows all the colours perhaps the WRGB2 pro would allow for the both of best worlds. My only concern is that I’ve been seeing posts about the Chihiros not lasting long, which is a concern as they are not all that cheap.
 

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Wow! Thank you for a very thoughtful post. Much appreciated. That is very helpful for someone who went straight to marine and now wants to dive into freshwater. I understand marine rather well but yes, freshwater is a little bit of mystery to me, particularly with lighting. I’ve got a Chihiros slim RGB and a freshwater AI prime and have noticed a similar thing just like in marine (Chihiros seems better for bringing out fluorescent pigments and AI prime being more full spectrum, brings out more of the non-fluorescent colours). If I look at my green neon rasboras, these look best under the AI prime but the chilli rasboras and ember tetras really glow under the Chihiros. The green rasboras are hard to see under Chihiros and chilli rasboras and ember do not look as red under the AI prime (albeit I can turn the whites down to help but they’re isn’t enough RGB to bring out those colors.
Your mileage will vary a bit since you appear to be in Australia? And I'm in the USA. Here chihiros has only 1 importer. The problem with their lights is that the bluetooth module burns out pretty quickly. I lost my light after less then a year. Others have reported similar problems. It makes me wary of recommending them.

My personal off the shelf goto light is Twinstar, BUT it is just a light. It doesn't have app control. If sunrise/sunset features are important to you then they are not a good choice. If you are just looking for something that will bring out the colors of the plants and fish then they are a nice choice.

Either way you will want to control the intensity of light in freshwater. If pushing co2 you can run your lights at 40 to 100 ppfd at the substrate level without worry. If you are not running co2 you will want to keep lights in the 15 to 30 ppfd level at substrate. Good luck!
 

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If you're planning a tank full of colors and want it to pop like a bag of Skittles, you need a light with STRONG reds and blues in the mix. It's why the green fish looked better under one light and the red ones looked better under another. Most LEDs come with plenty of green in the white bulbs. Its the amount of red and blues that determines how other colors will stand out

Personally Im still a T5HO guy, strictly for the color options. Im not too worried about power beyond what they can do with proper reflectors. My tanks are all in the 100-130 uMol range at the substrate

 

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ADA or chihiros seem like the most popular LEDs for "aquascaped tanks". ADA obviously come at a premium while chihiros are much cheaper. I have heard of people having problems with the chihiros lights put personally my WRGB 2 has been flawless so far (to be fair its been 6 months so maybe it will change). I don't think you can go wrong with a Chihiros WRGB 2, WRGB 2 pro, Vivid 2 or if you have those deep reef keeping pockets an ADA Solar RGB.

T5 is T5 and it always works great. I came from reefing background and still have my old ATI t5 fixture waiting in the wings if I ever get a freshwater tank big enough to use it on. I find that for planted tanks lighting is much less important than it is in reefing so form factor becomes more important especially for tanks under 40 gallons. I was always a t5 guy with my reefs and thought they produced better colors for SPS than LED and there might be some truth to that as well with planted tanks but for my money the discrepancy is less noticeable.
 

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Could you shed some more light on this statement? i really like Finnex already but saw them as mid tier in comparison to the twinstar, chihiros and fluval lines.
My prior response is a bit haphazard.
What I meant is that they would be in the "premium" tier of midrange lights.
Twinstar gets the same kind of demotion, lots of power but little flexibility.
LED's were born to be controlled.. ;)

my only real point was that Finnex gets a "demotion" due to the limited programming flexibility.
Exceeds many with a better power supply and conformal coating on their boards.
 

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My prior response is a bit haphazard.
What I meant is that they would be in the "premium" tier of midrange lights.
Twinstar gets the same kind of demotion, lots of power but little flexibility.
LED's were born to be controlled.. ;)

my only real point was that Finnex gets a "demotion" due to the limited programming flexibility.
Exceeds many with a better power supply and conformal coating on their boards.
Ahhhh ok. To be honest, Finnex has been my mainstay from the time they were introduced and there was a rep in this chat. good value for money to me.
 

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If your going by non-limiting. I mean a light that can grow anything and get good color that is definitely not the Finnex 24/7 unless you have a very shallow tank. They simply don't put out enough PAR compared to the twinstar, chihiros, ONF Flat One or even the Fluval. The Finnex 24/7 still isn't using bluetooth and you have to rely on a less than stellar remote IMO.
 

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When the guru Jeff speaks ...we listen :ROFLMAO:

View attachment 1050310
More details? PLEASE! I purchased a used like new light from amazon but it was missing everything except the lighting bar. Since the transformer is out of stock, I'm waiting to get the remote and legs until I find one. Unless there is a light coming with these capabilities that is similar to the ALC/CRV.
 

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I have Fluval 3.0s and 2.0s. Lately I prefer a bluetooth outlet timer from Amazon and a light like VivaGrow(Amazon LED), this is the one I have been getting lately. More than enough settings on the light, easy to use and set remote. You can set it up and it's just on/off with a timer. Or there are 24/7 built in options. Even storm options for lighting, White, and RGB, each with it's own channel, so four channels (White, red, green, blue).

Otherwise I would read above, and as mentioned, I would go any higher than the Fluval ranges, or think they were put in a "premium" grade.
 
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