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T5 Lighting Question


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For those of you with T5 lighting, I was curious what peoples opinions where on number of bulbs, Depth of tank, ect...


I have been looking and researching T5 lighting and of course more light is better right? If a tank is say 16-18 inches tall would 4 T5 bulbs be enough penetration for that tall of a tank? Say the tank is 18 inches deep...would 4 bulbs be enough? Most people seem to push toward a 6 bulb, but is seems the main reason given is you have more bulbs to fine tune the coloration with...I am curious how major of a difference it is between say a 4 bulb and a 6 bulb...


Heat...many people say Heat is not really an issue with T5 lighting...I have a 250w Metal Halide right now, and use a little fan with 4 fans in one blowing across the top of the tank, and it keeps it perfect....Do you that use T5 lighting use fans as well? I am sure all T5 lighting fixtures are different some have built in fans some don't, Curious if that matters?


I have always thought of Metal Halides as being the cream of the crop, the best lighting for a reef tank, but it seems many people are claiming as good or better results with T5 lighting...I have read individual reflectors are important, some claim to be "German"...not sure what that means...Some are bent reflectors...ect..ect..


Just curious to hear some opinions from those that currently run T5's...My wife is wanting T5's for her 40g Breeder, and while I really like the Shimmer of the metal halides, the T5's are starting to kind of apeal to me...I wonder how someone would compair the two...say would a 4 bulb T5 be roughly the same as say a 70w or 150w Metal Halide? would 6 bulbs be the same as a 250w metal halide?


I do like how the T5 lighting creats a uniform lighting across the tank...making it seem brighter than say a single light sorce like a Metal Halide...Anyway...Curious to hear from those that are using T5's and are proponants of T5's over Metal Halides...Is heat really the biggest difference? Can T5 really grow SPS?




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I have 4 T5's and two VHO's over a 24 inch tall tank with acro's that are in the sand bed growing. I don't know what size tank you have but I would suggest going with a 6 bulb, it gives ya more bulbs so more chance getting the color you want. The heat issue isn't an issue but you do need a fan to cool the bulbs if there isn't one Iain the fixture, the bulbs will last longer if they are kept cool. There are many bulb colors to choose from, I chose to go with for T5's a 65k bulb, a actinic bulb and 2 mid day bulbs, the VHO's are both actinic but are over two years old so I don't think they are doing much. When I replace the bulbs I thing I will be getting some 13k's instead of the mid day's because the tank has a little yellow tint to it. I will keep the one 65k because I believe that it helps cover the full spectrum of light. If I were you and going to be buying T5's I would get two actinic, one 65k, one midday and two either 13k or 15k or maybe one 13 and one 15 to see which one you like. There was a thread a couple weeks ago about T5's and there par ratings, you should check it out, basically the ATI bulbs were better than the so called "best" the gensing or whatever they are called. If you are going to be getting a fixture you need to get one with individual reflectors, not one with one big flat piece of shinny aluminum. You will get a small shimmer with T5's, granted not as much as with MH but there is some.

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The biggest thing for any T5 fixture is the reflectors, if you have individual reflectors, it increases the light output exponentially, so as long as you have individual reflectors, you can get comparable results to MH without the shimmer and heat issues, but, you have to have the right number of bulbs :P

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I have a 6x54 over a 20 inch deep tank. I have sps growing from top to bottom. I only run all 6 lamps for 2 hours a day, 4 for 8 hours, 2 for 10 hrs. My soft corals seem to be happier when I don't run all 6 all day.

2 blue, 2 actinic, 1 10K, 1 Inkigo sun (kind of purple~pink)


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It all depends on what you want to grow and the type of look you want. you can throw in a bunch of 10k bulbs and it will grow all kinds of good stuff but look like crap. I have alot of actinic and a little bit of 10k and i can support some LPS and softies, but they definitely won't host sps, clams or anemone's. i get pretty good penetration to the bottom with them for 4 bulbs. I have a 6 bulb fixture i bought from grassi that kicks the crap out of my 4 bulb fixture, I also have 175, 250 and 400 watt halides on different tanks. i have been getting the best growth out of a 10k 250 watt halide but very yellow color. As for heat, the T5's put out about 70% less heat than the halides. If heat and electricity wasn't an issue, halides would win for me hands down over t5's, When i swap my corals out between tanks, i just get better results every time.

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