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Old 02-25-2010, 01:44 PM   #1
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Light Advice

Again so everyone knows I have a 46 gal bow tank. I'm debating wether to get a Nova Extreme T5 HO 36" 4x39w 10000k-460nm, or a Coralife Lunar Aqualight Delux lunar strip 36" 2x96w 10000k-Atlantic 03 + 2 LED's. Which one should I get to better my reef? Are these enough for my reef tank?
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Old 02-25-2010, 04:19 PM   #2
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Either of those will work for a reef - it all depends on what type of corals you want to keep. The Nova Extreme will give you more options for corals, as far as lighting intensity goes. You can still keep some of the lower light SPS corals under the Coralife unit, but will have to put them fairly high in the tank.
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Old 02-25-2010, 04:40 PM   #3
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So the T5 will give me better coral life even with the lower total watage? That is really the only reason Im debating between the two. I dont know enough about T5's. All I know is standard 3w per gal. 46 gal = 138w. The PC gives me 192w, the T5 gives me 156w though you probly already know that. Both are over the standard but the PC has much more. I guess I just need a little more info on T5's, but so far Im leaning twards one.
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Old 02-26-2010, 11:30 AM   #4
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Watts/gallon is kind of confusing. I think the rule was made up when you didn't have as many choices for lighting, as that rule has gone out of favor nowadays. The rule will get you in the ballpark, but it shouldn't be used as a hard and fast rule.

While all Watts are equal, the available light (pars) coming from those Watts for the coral is what is different. Intensity and the ability of the light to reach deep into the tank separate the different lighting types. T5HO is more intense than PC and will reach deeper into the tank. In addition, T5HO bulbs are smaller and usually have better reflectors than PC. All these things makes a direct comparison harder.

While I'm not super familiar with T5HO, I would guess that the two fixtures you're talking about would be comparable as far as the type of corals you could keep. It's just that the T5HO fixture would give you more opportunities to put higher light corals in more places in your tank.

I have the Coralife fixture you're talking about on a 46g. I can keep any LPS, and some of the lower light SPS corals just fine - as long as I place them correctly. If I was starting over again, I'd probably go with the Nova Extreme PRO (the one with 6x bulbs) or one of the TEK T5HO 6 bulb fixtures. You might want to look at the "PRO" version of the Nova Extreme. For a little extra money, you can really open up your ability to keep a bunch of different corals.
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Old 02-26-2010, 02:04 PM   #5
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The big difference with T5 is that because the tube is smaller you can design a better reflector so that more light goes down into the tank. To get the best output you need an individual parabolic reflector around each bulb. Some of these achieve over 90% reflection down into the tank. Without the reflector the T5 would produce less light in the tank than a PC which cannot have that type of refelctor due to the tube design.
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Old 02-26-2010, 04:05 PM   #6
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Nelson you are a smart man! Thank you. I've never understood lighting like I do now, honestly! I am going to look into the PRO, I'm not sure what the price diffrence but I may as well save a little extra and get the good one. Definaly going to go with T5's. Thanks again.
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