It's actually my first time trying a lightly planted tank as well. I just started a month or so ago. Really messing around with various ways of fertilizing the tank and playing with the amount of light provided. I'm using an Ecoxotic E series LED light bar. Fully controllable light output (temp and intensity) with timer. I think that's a very important element as I'm always tweaking light temperature, light timing, etc... Finding that balance has been pretty tough so far. I've recently had to reduce my light cycle down to battle algae. I think as far as a light is concerned, you get what you pay for. As you mentioned many of the cheaper LED's don't last, and I've noticed they also don't produce the kind of light you want. Likely to do with the temperature produced by the diodes they use in their fixtures.