Finnex FugeRay Planted + Aquarium Light Review

I was satisfied with the stock light that came with our Fluval Spec V for all of one week.  From the beginning, I wanted this aquarium to be my first try at a planted tank, and it became clear very early that the light that came standard wasn’t

up to stuff.  The intensity of the stock light puts it in the very low light category and I knew that some of the plants I selected required lighting in the upper end of low light or even medium light.  Also, the color of the stock light was a bit on the blue side for my taste.  Lastly, I consider the stock light of the Fluval Spec V to the be the lowest quality component of the product; no matter how much I tried to ‘coerce’ it back into shape, it came with a permanent bend that looked funny.

So, for all the effort that I had put into research and planning for our new aquarium, I thought it would be worth it to upgrade the light from the start.  A few things that I wanted in a replacement light:

  • Lighting output of low to medium light.
  • Nice quality of lighting in regards to color
  • LED lamps – it seemed reasonable for a small fixture such as this to go ahead and get the latest technology.
  • A length that would work with the dimensions of a Fluval Spec V.
  • Reasonable price

Research quickly led me to the Finnex FugeRay Planted + line of LED aquarium lights as the prime candidate for our new light.

Finnex FugeRay Planted + Aquarium Light in Box

Features of the Finnex FugeRay Planted Plus:

This particular variant in the FugeRay line is specifically made for planted aquariums.  Most of the LED lights that makeup the output are standard white lamps, but also added in are red LED’s that Finnex claims to be beneficial to aquarium plants.  From the Finnex website:

“Differentiating itself from the original Finnex FugeRAY LED, the Planted+ series offers true 660nm red LEDs.  Unlike competiting LED fixtures offering a cheaper and mass produced labeled ‘RED’ LED, the Finnex Planted+ has incorporated TRUE 660nm RED LEDs– which studies have found to be one of the most efficient wavelengths for plant photosynthesis.”

I will have to take them at their word on the benefits to photosynthesis; however, the more evident benefit to my eye is the excellent colors that are rendered by this light. The red accents help to warm up the tone of the lighting, which is preferred to my eye over the coldness of white LED lamps only.

Red and White LED's in Planted + Aquarium Light

Some features of the Finnex FugeRay Planted + light (LED counts and power are specific to the 16″ model):

  • Normal Mode Lighting comprised of (60) 7000k White LED’s, (32) 660nm (Red) LED’s for a total of (92) 1 watt LED’s.
  • Night Mode Lighting – (4) Blue LED’s.
  • Rated power of 11.9 watts

The light is available in the following lengths: 12″, 16″, 20″, 24″, 30″, 36″, and 48″.  Pricing increases based on length.  I paid $65 USD (including shipping) for the 16″ model.

The light housing is made up of extruded aluminum.  I think it is a great looking light with a very sleek design.  The aluminum material doubles as a heat sink to dissipate warmth from the LED lights.  It gets warm but not hot.  There are some ‘Finnex’ decals on each side – I removed them easily and like the look better without them.

Finnex FugeRay Aquarium Light

The light is controled by two switches enclosed in soft rubber covers, one on each end.  One switch turns on the main lights, and the other turns on the night mode lights.  Both switches work independently so the main lights and blue night mode lights can be turned on at the same time.

End Switch on Finnex LED Light

I actually have mine setup to have both modes come on when the light is energized from a plug-in timer: the night setting lights add just a bit more intensity in the center and it balances the warmth of the main lights nicely.

Night Setting LED's on Planted + Aquarium Light

The power cord is interesting.  It has a section of cord that comes out of one end of the light fixture and is routed to a AC/DC converter box.  From there, you have another cord that goes to the plug.  This isn’t a bad thing; you just have to find a place to store the converter box.  The problem I have is that the cords that enter either side of the converter box are hard wired.  I had a tough time hiding this box as it would not easily fit through the opening in my storage box.  I did eventually get it shoved in through the cord opening to get it hidden.  This would have been easier if they would have put a plug of some sort into the end of the control box so that one of the wires could be disconnected.

Accessories that come with 18" Finnex FugeRay Aquarium Light

The light includes separate grey plastic mounts that slide onto either end of the light fixture.  The mounts are designed to rest on the rim of your aquarium with a plastic stop on either side of the glass.

The mounts also have 4 screws (2 on each end) that tighten to clamp the glass/frame of the aquarium.  The screws are made of clear plastic.  The screws seem very cheaply made.  I don’t necessarily have a problem with them being plastic.  However, the threads seemed damaged right out of the box and were very hard to turn.  I was not going to mount this light on the glass so I removed the screws and also found that the inner plastic stop on each end is also removable.

Finnex FugeRay Mounting Feet

Despite a few problems with the quality of the mount, the light is very well made.  I have no concerns with the integrity of the water tightness.  The lens that covers the LED array is continuous, optically clear, and seems quite durable. The switches are easy to turn off/on and I think will be durable over time.

Dimensions:

I have measured my Fluval Planted + light fixture as carefully as I can, down to the nearest 1/16th of an inch. Metric values are conversions from english and rounded to the nearest mm. Know that there will be some variance from unit to unit, but these numbers will be very close.  The measurements are for the 16″ model – some measurements may be applicable to other light lengths in this series (such as height).

  • Length (fixture only without mounting feet): 16″ (406 mm)
  • Width: 2-11/16″ (68 mm)
  • Height (fixture only without mounting feet): 1-1/16″ (27 mm)
  • Maximum mounting width: 18″ (457 mm).  This is with the feet, mounting on glass, outside edge to outside edge.
  • Mounted height : 2-1/16″ (52 mm).  This is with the feet, mounted with the feet resting on a surface.
  • Mounted glass height : 1-9/16″ (40 mm).  This is with the feet, mounted with the feet resting on a surface.

Comparison to the Stock Fluval Spec V Light:

There really is no comparison.  The Finnex Planted + is a much better light than the stock light that comes with the Fluval Spec V.  The build quality is much more robust on the Finnex.  Light droop that plagues the stock light is taken care of by the new mounting method.

Finnex FugeRay Planted + mounted on Fluval Spec V Aquarium

Light intensity is much greater than the stock light.  This is apparent when first plugged in and compared side by side.  Here is a picture of the two next to each other.  It is impossible to capture the intensity because the light levels between the two fixtures is so different – the Finnex is on top and the stock Fluval Spec V light is on bottom:

Finnex FugeRay Planted + Compared to Stock Fluval Spec V Light

In use on the Spec V, I have my 16″ model resting right on the top of the acrylic lid.  If a person decided to forgo the use of the plastic lid, you can adjust the legs very wide apart and the 16″ model can span from the end glass to the partition at the filter section.  I have seen some people use the 20″ model on the Spec V without the acrylic top.  That model can span the length of the aquarium from outside glass to outside glass.  It makes for a nice clean look, but I don’t like the logic of putting light over the filter section.

14-002-0162.jpg

Overall Impressions of the Finnex FugeRay Planted +:

It has met all my expectations.  It creates great color: warm light with a nice intensity.  The light levels are perfect for my use as a low light aquarium with low to medium light plants. The construction seems excellent – a product that seems very high quality.

LED array on Finnex 18" LED Light

The only things I would like them to improve on are the mounting screws and to add a plug to the converter box.  These issues are easily forgotten once installed and I don’t have much else to wish for in a light.

One wish list item for Finnex LED lights in general is to add dimming capabilities.  As this is not a super bright light, it’s not that big of a deal, but it would be nice to have a knob to dial down the light intensity to match the needs of a particular aquarium.

If the Finnex Fugeray Planted + light doesn’t meet your upgrade needs for a Fluval Spec aquarium, check out my page of other options.

32 thoughts on “Finnex FugeRay Planted + Aquarium Light Review

  1. Hello! Great webpage!
    Hows the LED reflects on algae ? If at all? I have a 40l aq and Im considering LED light but heard few stories that LED is beneficial for algae growth…
    As I plan the new aq even smaller, maybe round 20l , would love to hear your experience on this.

    Kind regards,
    Vladimir

    • I don’t think LED is any better at deterring algae growth compared to other types of light, if that’s what you’re asking. I’m very satisfied with the light – it puts most aquariums into the medium light intensity.

    • Thanks! It has held up perfectly. Operates the same today as it did when I got it (19 months and counting).

  2. Your blog is great! Very informative and great pics!
    Can you tell me which Finnex light is best for me to have a live plant aquarium? I’ll be using dirt (base), Flourite (little), pool filter sand (cap), and gravel as substrate.
    What Finnex model would output lots of strong plant-friendly light? Thanks.

    • Depends on how strong you want, and your success with a very strong light will depend on if you are adding CO2 directly to the water stream. Low-Light: Stingray series. Medium to High light: Fugeray (Original) or Fugeray Planted + (as reviewed here). High Light: Ray 2. For a high light setup, you need CO2 if you are going to keep things balanced and algae at bay.

      • For the fugeray planted+, would I encounter much undesirable algae growthe and will I still be able to maintain low tech status, i.e. no CO2?
        Thanks, I have spec V

      • It depends. How much algae growth is ‘undesirable’ is subjective. Also know that the more plants you have in there will help to cut down on algae growth. I’d say it will work because this is what I use (Planted + without CO2). I do use excel but not sure how much of a difference that makes.

        If it turns out you use the Planted + and algae growth is high, just reduce the light on duration.

  3. Hi,

    Great site! How long do you leave the light on to allow plant growth, but also prevent algae growth?

  4. Hey, thanks for all the great information. Your site has been very useful to a beginner like myself. One question though, I just recently purchased the 16″ Finnex Fugeray Planted+ for my Fluval Spec V and now my betta is constantly flaring due to his reflection in the tank. Would you recommend I downgrade to the Stingray? I am worried it’s causing him too much stress. Or will he get used to it eventually? Thanks.

    • I have written about Betas on this site as a service, but I will be honest; I have never owned one. I’m not intimately familiar with their behavior so I can’t say what would work. If you don’t need brightness of the planted + (to keep plants growing) the Stingray will be less bright and might do the trick to ease his stress.

      I’d suggest you consult with a fish forum where more informed owners can offer their opinion. If you do make a change that helps please let us know. Thanks!

  5. Just installed mine, the light intensity reflected off the water surface and floater plants is almost too bright to look at! It sits on a the kitchen counter top so you are looking kinda down on it. Hoping when the stem plants grow in a lot it will help provide shade as the intensity is so bright it’s almost to much! Wish it were dimmable, or shade cloth material wrapped around it during viewing time…

  6. I’m planning on setting up a 30cm low tech cube and I hear a lot of good things about this fixture. But I’m concerned it will be to much light for a 12 inch cube with no co2 (I will probably dose excel). I can’t seem to find par readings for the 12 inch fixture anywhere…

      • I’d contact the manufacturer to get the par readings for the 12″. If it’s heavily planted with fast growing plants, it might work out well.

  7. Thanks so much for your helpful and informative site! I’m planning to use the information here to set up a planted, betta-safe Spec V.

    I have a bit of an oddball question for you. I’m looking for a way to catproof the Spec V lid. Would it be a terrible idea to rest this light directly on top of the opening in the lid (without the plastic mounts)? If so, it would serve the dual purpose of providing better plant lighting and keeping curious paws away from the fish.

    • You can set the light directly on the acrylic top without the plastic riser legs. I don’t think it will gain you much advantage for light levels. I also can’t speak for how determined your cat is for moving the light anyway.

  8. I am have been looking for this light but sadly cant find one. BTW im living in Denmark. Any idea? You tank looks so good.

    • Thanks! Unfortunately, Finnex doesn’t export to many (if any) countries outside USA. That’s what a representative told me when I contacted them about availability elsewhere.

  9. Hi! Just wanted to say I’m sorry if this is the wrong place to ask this! I’m new to this and I’m trying to set up my tank right the first time.
    I’m currently in the process of converting a 400L tank from marine to tropical. I’m looking to have a lowtech planted set-up which will eventually include fish. really what I’m looking for is any advise but specifically at the moment about lighting. From the previous tank I have an Aqua One Plant Glo LED light which is 90cm; I’ve research this light and a lot of other but I’m confused. I’ve talked to one of our local fish shops and his concern is that it mightn’t be strong enough to support a planted tank. I know the light outputs 38 watts but I don’t know if this is the measurement I should be looking at? So this is my question:
    1) Do you think this light is sufficient or how can I check if it is? That is what should I be looking for in lights?
    2) If it isn’t would the FugeRay be what I’m looking for? And what length light would be sufficient?
    There are so many different readings and different reviews. What I want is a light that will allow for me to run a low-tech aquarium. I don’t plan on adding CO2 to the system. My tank dimensions are 1200mm(long) x 550mm(high) x 600mm(wide).

    P.S. For anyone reading this I’m looking for as much help as possible so if you like to help a novice through this process I’d be FOREVER greatful!!!

    THAKNYOU!!! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *