Fluval Plant 3.0 Review: Best Aquarium LED Light

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fluval plant 3.0 review planted aquarium

Are you looking for a new aquarium light to help you grow plants or corals? If so, the Fluval Plant 3.0 LED light might be just what you need! This light has been designed specifically for use with planted and coral tanks, and it offers a variety of features that make it an excellent choice for any aquarist.

In this Fluval Plant 3.0 Review, we will take a closer look at some of the features that make this light stand out from the competition, its alternatives, and why experts consider it the best planted aquarium light.

Fluval Plant 3.0 Overview

In an aquarium setup, light doesn’t play just an aesthetic role. Light is an essential factor that plays a role in the wellbeing and health of an ecosystem, from pets to plants and corals. It’s necessary for plant and coral growth as well as for the fish’s circadian rhythm. 

The Fluval Plant 3.0 led light was one of those products that impressed us before we even had the chance to review it. The company claimed to have done quite some impressive work with it and managed to put in some great features that surpass most people’s expectations.

Most users will find this led light for planted aquarium to be highly responsive, simple to understand, and even simpler to use.

The device itself is not manually operated, which means you need to download the Fluval smart app on your mobile device from the App Store or the Play store. From there, you can pair your mobile phone with each Fluval led light in your environment and choose from the different light presets or modes of operation.

What is in the Box?

This might be one of the simplest setups and easy-to-understand products in the whole fish-care industry. In the box, you will find three components.

All three of these components come together in a second and attach to your tank. After this, you download the app, and everything becomes clear in the first 10 minutes of usage.

fluval plant 3.0 unboxing

Fluval Plant Nano LED Model

However, the Fluval Plant 3 isn’t the only model that Fluval offers. From the same company, comes the Fluval Nano Light, which to be fair is so similar, it can be considered as another version of Plant 3.0.

Also controlled by an app, this one offers 7500K lighting with an IP67 waterproof rating and an incredibly wide area coverage due to wide-angle dispersion. The mounting bracket is flexible too to provide for easy placement on various tank widths.

fluval plant nano led review
Fluval Plant Nano LED
Best aquarium light for small tanks

Programmable

Fully adjustable

7500K

Compact

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As we have already detailed, the products really don’t differ all that much from each other in features. Our suggestion in terms of choice between the two is to simply opt for the Fluval Nano LED model as it is the best aquarium light for nano aquariums.

This will ensure sufficient but not excessive light to feed the plants, not only by being more compatible physically but also by making it easier to match in terms of lighting set up from the Fluval Smart app.

Fluval Plant 3.0 Features

The Fluval Plant 3.0 full spectrum aquarium light is a very high-quality product that can satisfy the needs of all fish owners. We’ve already mentioned that this product is controlled by an app, but there are a few other features we think you should be made aware of.

In this Fluval Plant LED Light review, we will take a look at some of its most important features:

Customization

Undeniably, the key feature about this product is how easily customizable and adaptable to one’s specific needs it is. There are three modes which you can operate: manual, auto, and pro.

fluval plant 3.0 growing plants

In the manual mode, you can choose from four different settings of lighting. These settings mimic lighting during the hours of sunrise, sunset, and noon, including a moonlight setting. The app interface clearly portrays each of these different modes which you can tap to activate, until the moment you want to switch to different lighting.

Automatic mode, as the name suggests, creates an automatic switch between these different light settings, to provide a basic 24-hour cycle without the need to keep you occupied in making the necessary switches every few hours. You can check out a fast-forwarded preview of the whole cycle and make your own preferred adjustments to the daylight to moonlight cycle.

The pro mode is a fully flexible system that not only allows you to program in different light settings but can also adjust these settings to switch and shut down according to your personal schedule. so if you need the lights to shut down for a few hours a day while you are out of the house and then turn on without you needing to complete the process on your own, this model has your back.

Miscellaneous 

Fluval plant 3.0 is a great LED light for planted aquariums as it is highly energy efficient. The light emitted by the unit is sufficient for thriving plant and coral growth, and it is very safe, as very low amounts of energy are wasted and turned into heat during the process.

Any heat that is produced, is masterfully distributed by the aluminum shell which makes sure to prevent humidity in the tank.

There are many things you can do with this light through the Fluval smart app, however, it does come with a few presets of its own. Through six distinctive band waves which allow full-spectrum effects, these presets mimic different habitats in nature, such as lake Malawi, Tropical, and Planted, which are great choices to give you plants comfort, coziness, and a feeling that they are home.

Full Spectrum Flexibility

According to your own preferences, you can set the duration of your artificial sunrise and sunset: during sunrise hours, your daylight settings will be applied, and during sunset, the lighting will gradually switch to the night settings.

As default, the light settings are turned all the way up to 100%. That setup is compatible with 40 gallon fish tank, whereas for smaller tanks you might need to make adjustments.

We recommend not to surpass 50% of power on any of the lights for small 10 gallon tanks or such. Another tip would be to stay mindful of the amount of blue light you are allowing into your tank, as it can foster black beard algae.

APP Control

App control of this product works via Bluetooth. Every adjustment you make through the app is programmed in the physical operation and memory of the lights themselves.

fluval smart app

The app allows the user to switch the intensity of five different hues of light: Pink, Blue, Warm White, Cool White, and Pure White. Adjustment of these hues can be made in a range of 1%-100%, with intervals of 1%.

After you download the app on any mobile device, through either Play Store or the App Store, you can then update the firmware of your light.

Now let us run you through the actual app, including pictures, to give you a better understanding as a user of what you will be dealing with.

Fluval Plant 3.0 Scheduling and Programming

Firstly, as you launch the app, you will see a list of all connected devices if you have already connected any devices.

If no devices have been connected yet, or if you haven’t connected a particular device, tap the plus in the upper right corner to pair to the nearest available device, which you can rename to your liking after the pairing process has been completed.

When you tap on either device name, you will be taken to a page that allows you to change between the different modes of lighting.

If your firmware is updated all the way, you will see three modes listed on top of the screen. In the case that you do not see “Pro” alongside “Manual” and “Auto”, it means you need to complete a firmware update. Tap on the three dots on the top right corner and then proceed to complete available updates. You will likely need to keep your phone within a distance of a few feet from the device which is undergoing the firmware update.

As we mentioned earlier, in manual mode, you can find a bunch of presets with different light colors and effects, and you can also adjust the amount of light of each hue, as the name suggests, manually.

For beginners, the auto mode will be the most important one, with different light settings to match certain times of the day.

Fluval Plant 3.0 Settings

In case you have gone through the whole process of setting up, adjusting, previewing and saving, and/or exporting in auto mode, and are looking for something a bit more specific, you can find it all on the Pro mode. The Pro mode is just as easy to deal with, and if you understood auto, this will be a breeze as well.

fluval plant 3.0 settings
  1. The 24-hour running time graph – visually represents current settings.
  2. Timepoints settings line.
  3. Brightness adjustment – slide LEFT or RIGHT to control individual color channel intensity.
  4. Add timepoint (the App allows for up to 10 individual timepoints).
  5. Delete timepoint (a minimum of 4 timepoints must be set in Pro mode).
  6. Cancel – cancels the current screen command and returns to the previously saved parameters.
  7. Save – retains the current screen command.

Fluval Plant 3.0 Par Chart

Photosynthetically active radiation is essential, a spectrum of light that plants use during photosynthesis to turn into food. PAR rating is a very important detail that every user of LED lights for fish tasks needs to consider because it measures the amount of light supply a source is providing for plants in comparison to what the plant actually needs.

It is important to note that brightness isn’t equal to a sufficient amount of PAR.

Our team has conducted a number of experiments featuring a PAR meter to bring results on the matter of how powerful the light emitted by this product truly is.

plated aquairum led light par test

Measurements were conducted from three levels of depth: 0.5 inches, 11 inches, and 19 inches. this is to ensure that we are taking different placements circumstances into consideration given that PAR rates decrease with depth.

In comparison to a few other products (Hygger and the Current USA), the Fluval aquarium lighting really outdid itself. Hygger aquarium light was a close competitor, however. But let us get more concrete.

  • At 0.5 inches, so pretty much at surface level, the PAR measurements were at 850.
  • At 11 inches, the PAR fell at an adequate 190.
  • Lastly, at 19 inches, the PAR reached its minimum of 150.

Alternatives

Fluval is a brand that is always one step ahead of its competition. In spite of Fluval’s fantastic product line and a vast variety of products, there are always people looking for something different or simply willing to explore all the options before committing to purchase.

In case you want to take your time in search of alternatives, we got your back! Here are two Fluval plant light alternatives by other brands:

Finnex Planted+ 24/7’s

Finnex Planted+ 24/7 is a close alternative to what the Fluval plant 3.0 provides in auto mode. This 24/7 operating LED device provides the perfect gradual simulated sunrise to sunset cycle, which takes place in real-time.

Finnex Planted Plus 24 7 Review Aquarium Light
Finnex Planted+ 24/7
Best for planted and reef tank

Remote control

14,641 Colors

Ultra Slim

7000k-8500k LEDs

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Users can also mix and match different color combinations, which they can save if they do not want to use the 24/7 setting. It’s an improved product, good-looking and waterproof to cover all the essentials. It’s a solid choice and offers great value for its money.

Hygger Aquarium Light

For a less expensive version, you can go for the Hygger Aquarium light. Similarly, it’s divided into modes: Default mode and DIY mode. The Default mode is a 24/7 natural mode that switches from Gradient Orange (6 am-8 am), White (8 am-6 pm), and Blue (6 pm to 10:50 pm), leaving the lights switched off at other times.

Hygger Aquarium Light
Hygger Aquarium Light
Best budget aquarium

Full spectrum

DIY Mode

7 Colors

Water resistant

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The DIY mode is customizable to your wish, and it can run from 6 10, or 12 hours, five kinds of brightness, and seven colors. It’s waterproof, adjustable in length and easy to clean, and can shine through 50.000 hours. Everything is adjustable and easy to use; however you can find the manual on the Hygger webpage.

Conclusion

With all of our in-depth research, it is safe to say that Fluval Plant 3.0 latest aquarium light is an amazing product. The brand has definitely outdone itself with this release. It provides all the necessities for plant growth and gives users a range of different options to choose from.

Its PAR measurements are incredibly consistent, making it a great choice for both experienced and beginner aquarists alike. While its price tag may be a little steep for some, we believe that Fluval lights are worth every penny. Hygger or Finexx aren’t behind in any way when considering the best aquarium light, especially if you are looking for a budget option.

You might think that a LED aquarium light isn’t the most important part, but we’re certain your plants and corals would disagree with you. In the end, definitely go with your guts, but the Fluval plant 3.0 and the Fluval Nano would be my top choices interchangeably. With hopes that we made this decision easier, catch you in the next one!

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I am Mario, a expert aquarist who is sharing his knowledge with everyone.

Keeping innocent fish and aquatic plants safe and healthy is my daily routine. With my experience and my passion for aquatic life, I will advise you through the long run of keeping an aquarium.

Disclosure: EpicAquarium.com participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for publishers to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.