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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I'm window shopping for my next light for a 55 low tech/low light tank. I have narrowed my choices down to two lights (based largely on budget at this time - I can upgrade later on if need be). However, looking at youtube vids I've been distracted by the Marineland Double Bright LEDs - I think I like that shimmer - I don't know if it would get on my nerves though! lol
Anyone here use one of these? I realize it's 36" long and my tank is 48" but I thought I could add a second light later if the shimmer & color clarity was worth it. Don't know if they are suitable for low light plants in a 18" - 20" deep tank...I don't know how LEDs stack up against T5HOs (1 bulb on top of tank, or 2 suspended as high as required)
The other two lights I'm considering are cheapies, and I'll post about them later - I was just wondering about the Marineland for now.
Thanks,
~ Cin ~
 

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I've been looking into the ml leds for my first planted 55 tank. I've seen that they offer a 48-60" light but whether or not this will be bright enough for you or not, I don't really know. I'm trying to figure tghat out myself. I'm trying to setup a low tech low light tank too so if you figure something out let me know and ill do the same for you. I'm with you, I think I like the shimmer effect plus I like the lmoonlight led option too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I went to youtube & looked at a bunch of Marineland Double Bright vids, and one man showed the 36" one on his 75g tank. The sides weren't fully lit, but it was a beautiful effect. He said his shyer fish appreciated the lesser lit areas. If the light system itself is strong enough to grow plants for a tank as deep as my 55 (don't know that yet) I can always move the fixture slightly, spliting the days. Even if I needed two fixtures, I'd consider getting them IF they are suitable for plants.
There is a triple tube T5 with built in moonlights on ebay, with separate switches for the leds & the T5s. I've emailed the vendor to see if you can run only one or two of the T5s at a time, but I haven't heard back yet. 3 T5s are huge overkill for me. 2 T5s is even pushing it. But the unit is very affordable if the lights can be run independently. One T5 is a little too low, I think, there is a place where I can order that option too. A 55 leaves you stuck in the middle. It's tall, but it's narrow. There's even a 4 bulb T8 on ebay - but why spend the $$ on the extra wattage, not to mention all the physical space it takes up...
I didn't see the 48" Double Bright - I'll have to look that up.
 

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I have the 48-60" (its 48 inches long) on my 4 foot 90g.
I went through a painstaking process trying to decide what to get...and after owning this one these are my recommendations for your 55g:

1) if you have a 3d background in the tank, dont get these lights - the shimmer appears all over the background and is EXTREMELY distracting. Maybe you would like it, but when i turn off my filters to stop the surface agitation, the tank looks much better without the shimmer all over the background. It completely takes away from the fish and gets almost dizzying. I dont think this happens with a clear back though, and not sure if itll happen with just a spraypainted back outside of tank.
(EDIT) - if you mess around with the height of the fixture and your inputs and get it perfectly set up, it is possible to reduce the shimmer to the perfect level, just takes some experimentation.

2) get the 36"-48" (it is actually 36 inches long) for your 48" tank. After having one that is the full length of the tank, I like the look where its a little shadowy around the edges and sides better (plus you save a ton of $$$ this way)

3.) from what I've read you'll be able to grow at least low light plants on your 55 - on my 90 @ 24 inches above the surface, bulbs/plants grew well in seachem flourite black sand. I switched to tahitian moon b/c its much better looking and plants all died so working on fixing that now...all i know is that there was enough light

5.) also you can see the beams of light in the top like 6 inches of water where the bulbs are...if your water is ultra clear they're not as obvious but still there. Not a huge problem but something to consider. This can be greatly reduced if you slide the light farther towards the back of the tank, but then when fish swim in the front they're not lit up.

Other things:
- They provide a VERY narrow line of light. On my 25" deep tank, there's maybe an 8-10 inch area directly below the light that is well lit, but just outside that area gets drastically darker
- They are stupidly wired so you cant have the blue night LED's on a separate timer for night time.

- I did a little cost comparison of the 48" fixture vs 2x24w T5HO vs 2x55w PC (all give very similar overall visible brightness levels/look):
Annual electricity in Boston MA: LED $20, T5HO $27, PC $62

- 5 year costs including initial cost, electricity and bulb replacement (i considered LED bulb repl. to be a whole new unit every 5 years which is was marineland suggests, and for the other 2 replacing once a year (altho many say replace PC every 6 months which would be WAY more expensive) LED $298, T5HO $467, PC $759

Overall the look of these lights is AMAZING and are WAY cheaper than power compacts. I've personally owned all three types of lighting I listed, and these give the best look. The T5HO (mine were the LET kit from reefgeek - pretty much the best T5HO you can get) were almost as good looking and would be better for a full/high tech planted tank b/c of their much better light spread and higher PAR output. I'm going for a lightly planted tank with only a few big low light plants, and dont want to use ferts or CO2, so the marineland is better for my uses as it won't create as much algae as the T5HO if run for more than 8 hrs a day.

hope this helps
 

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I used to sell them and I would not recommend these fixtures for any application where there are specific lighting needs. The quality of the fixtures is inconsistent. If a bulb burns out and you are outside of the warranty you are SOL and need to get another fixture because the bulbs in these fixtures seem to be wired in series circuits and usually you will lose more than one bulb at a time and they are not replaceable. The light is not strong enough for many plants. The spread of the light from these fixtures is horrible unless you like having dark areas. If you want a light for a fish only tank I guess they are ok, but I would not recommend for a planted or reef tank.
 
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