| | Re: Light recommendation for a 36" planted tank with C02 injection LED/CF
Definitely use LEDs. Saving all that money on bulb replacement alone makes it worth it.
I think having one with a dimmer (and therefore intensity control) is really important. I like to have on the high end of reasonable light but be able to dim it down to whatever works best, even if that's turned down a bit. The flexibility is important. It's DEFINITELY not a wiz-bang feature, at least not in its simplest form. A simple preprogram daylight routine is enough. You don't need full hour by hour control of intensity and color temperature. That could probably be considered a whiz bang feature. It's really helpful to be able to generate barely enough light to grow moss to all the way to the surface of the sun or anything in between. And being able to take a break and grow some slower growing plants for a while if you get too busy. And not spooking your fish in the morning. And really life saving if the fixture turns out to be too strong and you can't do much about other than raise the lights or use floaters to avoid disaster...
I use a RAPIDLED fixture I built a few years back (and that I replaced the LEDs once on) with a three option daylight ramp and it works well enough. Some day I'll definitely try something fancier in the future but for now this is fine. Others may be better able to inform you about commercial models that fit the bill.
In any case, I think you should be able get something with the ability the control intensity and/(hopefully) simple daylight program for your budget.