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Old 03-18-2016, 12:54 AM   #1
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LEDS with T5 supplements.

Right now I feel like my tank is doing very well. But I feel like I could do better in terms of lighting. The 2 black box LEDs that I have now work well and my corals seem happy and healthy. Although I wonder if they are getting enough. My tank is 2ft deep and 5ft long. I only have 2 led units hanging above it and I'm wondering if it's enough. I know I've got shadowing and it's clear my corals grow toward the light verse growing more naturally.

It seems the newest fad (at least to a noob like me) is supplementing LEDs with T5HO

I'm seriously considering buying a dual T5HO unit and putting a couple ATO bulbs in it to see if I can improve my coral health/growth that much more.

Since my tank is 5ft long should I get a 5ft fixture? Or is 48" enough? I'm not really trying to spend a lot on this t5 unit so I was looking at either a t5ho from Home Depot and buying new bulbs. Or buying a 48" coralife fixture for like $160 and getting new bulbs.

My current LEDs are only white and blues with a couple red in one fixture. I feel like I need to even things out more and get better light spread.

Thoughts?


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Old 03-18-2016, 11:13 AM   #2
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I can only comment on FW CO2-injected tanks which are planted. I have used both reef LED box lights and quad / dual T5HO lights. IME the box LEDs are way ahead in par (on limited experience).


I'm thinking of getting a 4ft LED white light to boost the quad T5HO I have now as I find light penetration isn't great below a foot depth.
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Old 03-18-2016, 12:16 PM   #3
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That sounds like what most others say with the hardware store t5 fixtures. It seems like the biggest problem is they are meant for lighting areas rather then focused into a tank/spot. If they had good reflectors I'm not sure why they wouldn't work aside from maybe the fixtures meant for aquariums may have better or just different hardware to protect from the water or salt? But even that I'm not sure. I searched online and reflectors aren't expensive and I think it's still cheaper in the sense of buying a 2 bulb t5ho and new bulbs and reflectors then buying a "saltwater t5ho fixture"

But of course safety is a concern with water slashing and salt creep and all that. I regularly clean my equipment but it's still a concern. I think my tank could definitely benefit from some extra lighting though. And maybe then my corals will grow around rather then up the rocks toward the lights.


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Old 03-18-2016, 08:12 PM   #4
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It does seem strange but can't comment much on the SW equipment side. There are some really expensive t5 lights here that can be bought but for the price I could get the LEDs.

That's an interesting thought on the way the two different lights throw light. Like chalk and cheese I've found. I don't know how t5ho's compare to metal halides - could they be an option?

I'll often see LEDs compared to MH equivalent so I'm assuming MHs might still be the benchmark?
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:32 PM   #5
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I've heard of some great reviews about the diamond plate reflectors on dual T5 fixtures from Home Depot. The reflector material can be bent so this might help control the light bleed and limit the spread.


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Old 03-19-2016, 03:41 AM   #6
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These are just about the most expensive ones I've ever seen (although looks like 5ft with 8 bulbs).

It does say for saltwater but the bulb replacement cost must be ginormous.

https://www.aquariumproducts.com.au/...=7220&catID=86
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Old 03-19-2016, 04:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delapool View Post
It does seem strange but can't comment much on the SW equipment side. There are some really expensive t5 lights here that can be bought but for the price I could get the LEDs.

That's an interesting thought on the way the two different lights throw light. Like chalk and cheese I've found. I don't know how t5ho's compare to metal halides - could they be an option?

I'll often see LEDs compared to MH equivalent so I'm assuming MHs might still be the benchmark?

I think your right with the MHs being the benchmark still. Being used so successfully for so long I don't think that will change soon. I haven't much considered MHs because I heard they run hot and could really effect tank temp and not to mention are (from what I remember) more expensive to run. My fiancé is literally the type to use the heater in summer lol. I don't want to run into temp issues.

I won't rule out MHs completely though..I just need to do more reading.

My initial thought was that I just wanted a little extra light spread more evenly around my tank. Which I'm hoping adding a 2 bulb HO t5 will do with the right bulbs. I feel like with my LEDs I have a lot of shading and although my corals are doing well I see new polyps come and go on my Zoas due to to being shaded out. I know it's going to happen to some extent but it's leaving patches and it looks weird. I guess a couple different factors could come into this too. Like aquascape and how far apart my led units are from each other. I've considered maybe just adding another LED unit to add more light. But I come back to even lighting spread.

I'm really taking to the led/t5 setup to being a good combo if done right but I hope I can take advantage of it without completely redoing what I've already spent money on.

Those Giesemann T5 fixtures are really nice but even if I had the money to spend on the most expensive equipment I don't know if I would. Maybe it's one of those situations where I've never had the best so I don't know what it's like..but I couldn't see myself buying into an item enough to pay that price. Lately I've considered even ditching my apex. I probably won't because my fiancé got it for me for Christmas...and I do like it.. But I don't know if I love it as much as I'd hoped. The thing that turns me away from most equipment and why I keep my tank simple is the amazingly high cost of things I just don't believe are worth the price.


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Old 03-19-2016, 05:01 AM   #8
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LEDS with T5 supplements.

Yes, it's difficult to justify that sort of price. I'm meant to replace the t5ho bulbs soon so hoping to test if they are much better when new. If I don't have to replace as often that would save some money. Or if I need to replace more often at least I would know.

Was wondering how you would sit the lights. I assume your LEDs are hanging to get the light spread across 5ft?
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Old 03-19-2016, 07:13 PM   #9
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Hmm yeah bulb replacement isn't really something I'm sure if I want to deal with or not haha.

You've really got me thinking.

My LEDs are currently suspended about a foot off my tank. So I'd have to change things up to implement a new t5 fixture.

I'm really wondering if maybe adding a 3rd LED unit would be a better option even tho I've been talking about some other benefits of t5s


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Old 03-19-2016, 08:14 PM   #10
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Just replaced my last T-5 unit with leds I would never go back to T-5s , I love the lighting the leds bring , the 3 units I just got for my fowlr are in no way as good as the tao-tronics I have over the reef but the lighting is a big difference from T-5's and I won't miss spending $30.x4 a bulb for t-5 florescent , some of the leds I was looking at on google said they would support fresh water tanks with live plants there are just so many to choose from ,
the ones I got were cheap $75. for 3 units but no way these would support coral or fresh water plants , I'm not no lighting expert but for my needs I think they will be ok ,
I was thinking of getting a few more to add to the reef just to brighten up the dark corners
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