Marineland Aquatic Plant Lighting LED system vs their Doublebright LED
I had this post done and somehow accidentally hit a key combo that closed the tab.... what a pain.
Anyway, I currently have a 24" Marineland Double Bright light fixture that is working well for me. It is on a 30" tank and I set it up to have a shade end and a brighter end.
Fixture bulb span = 17"
White bulbs = 8
Coloured bulbs = 4
Total wattage = 8 Watts at 6500K (coloured don't count at 0.065 Watts each)
Cost = $100 (for reference)
I have the opportunity to upgrade as the office needs a light and mine will fit perfectly. They don’t want overly bright, I already know it can work for many plants (over 90% of what I tried grew well). So I buy a new one through the office and exchange the units perhaps covering the difference in cost or consider it a trade as I am removing this from other staff duties and saving a ton in carbon, bio and sponge filter media (some regular schedule that had everything being replaced far more often than needed and now the carbon isn't needed at all).
My options are 4 fold:
Option 1: Marineland Double Bright 36” fixture.
The fixture is too long for the tank but the feet can come off and it can rest directly on top of the glass... that from the manufacturer. Basically doubling the light output over a larger span. Has some space for upgrading if I go to a slightly larger tank... could go up to 40”, if they make them that long.
Fixture bulb span = 29"
White bulbs = 16
Coloured bulbs = 8
Total wattage = 16 Watts at 6500K (coloured don't count)
Cost = $150
Option 2: Marineland Aquatic Plant Lighting System 18” fixture.
I didn’t know that they had this line until this week, I think the black packaging just looked like the reef systems so I overlooked it. One notable difference, besides the light, between these and the Double Bright is the longer life expectancy of 50,000 hours. Also the built in timer that can be programmed to provide dawn, day and dusk settings. Cool.
The fixture is obviously physically too short but the bulbs cover a longer span (go closer to the ends) than on the Double Bright system. Again, the feet can come off and it can rest directly on top of the glass. Basically it more than doubles the white light output and adds 9 more Watts of RGB or wider colour spectrum light but over a slightly smaller span. Depending upon how the coloured light factors into the intensity it might be considered to be tripling it. I expect that the shade area of the tank will probably be about the same as it is now as the end rows are three white bulbs instead of the current two... 50% more light at the ends of the fixture.
Fixture bulb span = 15" (only a 2" reduction over what I currently have)
White bulbs = 18
Coloured bulbs = 3 (3 Watt bulbs)
Total wattage = 18 Watts at 6500K (9 Watts RGB coloured)
Cost = $200
Option 3: Marineland Aquatic Plant Lighting System 24” fixture.
The fixture is obviously physically the same size as the current one but the bulbs cover a longer span (go closer to the ends) than on the Double Bright system gaining me a few inches in light footprint. Basically it more triples the white light output and adds 12 more Watts of RGB over a slightly longer span. Depending upon how the coloured light factors into the intensity it might be considered to be quadrupling it.
Fixture bulb span = 21"
White bulbs = 23
Coloured bulbs = 4 (3 Watt bulbs)
Total wattage = 23 Watts at 6500K (12 Watts RGB coloured)
Cost = $290
Option 4: Marineland Aquatic Plant Lighting System 36” fixture.
The fixture is obviously physically the same size as the 36” Double Bright but the bulbs cover a longer span so they will overlap the end of the tank by one set of bulbs. Basically it more than quadruples the white light output and adds 18 more Watts of RGB. Depending upon how the coloured light factors into the intensity it might be considered to be almost septupling it.
Fixture bulb span = 34"
White bulbs = 36
Coloured bulbs = 6 (3 Watt bulbs)
Total wattage = 36 Watts at 6500K (18 Watts RGB coloured)
Cost = $380
I think that the 24" aquatic plant system is likely my best bang for the buck even though a longer fixture would provide future expansion. I was pleased to find a decent LED product that would handle higher light plants, even though it is more money than a typical fluorescent fixture.
With my lighting experience, I would go with the largest possible LED fixture that you could get that still fit the tank. I have a Marineland Double Bright LED fixture and I love it!! I would defiantly recommend the Double Bright system as it is the biggest bang for your buck!
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