Currently, LEDs are doing great. They are just overly pricey at the start...but the optics will last for roughly 10 years. I personally use Ecotech Radions, but the Taotronics do the job for a much better price.
T5HO are an option, but need several bulb units to keep LPS
and even more for sps
. ALong with that, standard bulbs don't usually cut the mustard and then drop money on pricier bulbs. I have some of these bulbs just sitting in my living room gathering dust because I got tired of replacing them and got LEDs. Bulbs need to be replaced every 6 months as with age the spectrum they put out changes.
have kept coral for years and were the high output standard until LEDs hit the market. They put out a ton of heat and makes tanks quite hot, usually requiring a fan or even a chiller to keep the temp down. Then it can come down to the bulbs yet again just like T5HO.
All of these work, just in terms of saving money and not needing to upgrade LED
wins. You just need to be careful not to burn corals. I did that when I first got my Radions when I underestimated the pure penetration power LEDs offer. Because of this, if you get any LED
unit you should look into a feature that allows you to dim them to assist with acclimation of new corals into your tank.