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Old 06-22-2010, 08:01 PM   #1
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Lighting advise needed please

Hello all.

Have a standard 55 gallon about 20" deep with cheapo hood/canopy. Want to try to grow plants such as amazon swords, cabomba, jungle vals, and wisteria.

The canopy holds 2 18" standard flourescent F15T8 Marineland bulbs. I cant even grow algae and the lights are on for 15-16 hours a day. I believe this is 30 watts total.

I am looking at the Freshwater Aqualight T5 Series. I have a choice of single bulb or double bulb and the HO T5 version as well, single and double.
http://www.oceanicsystems.com/produc...near-strip.php

How much difference will a single t5 bulb give me from what I have now or a double standard T5.

Is a double HOt5 overkill for what I want? Can I get away with a single HOt5?

I am only looking at this brand now but I need answers to what I need to grow these plants succesfully.

Oh yea, will not do co2 and liquid ferts is OK.

Substrate is sand blasting sand.

Thanks,


Dan
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Old 06-23-2010, 10:26 AM   #2
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Those fixtures are plain T5, not T5HO.

If you don't want to start messing with CO2, keep the lighting reasonably low. I'd get a 2-bulb 48" T5HO fixture. You can always use one bulb and leave the other space open. The T5HO is more intense than your T8s and one 48" T5HO bulb should be 48W.
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Old 06-23-2010, 11:21 AM   #3
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SO BigJim are you saying for the plants I want to grow, a single T5ho is sufficient.

I would find it a waste of money buying a hot5 and using only 1 bulb.

WOuld not a double fixture regular t5 be as efficient and more cost effective?

Thanks again,

Dan
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:27 PM   #4
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It's hard to make a call. I prefer flexibility in my equipment. A two-bulb fixture isn't much more expensive than a one-bulb fixture. I'd prefer to have the option of upgrading my lighting if I decided I wanted different plants over saving the few dollars. That's my take on it.

Vals and some types of cabomba are low-light plants. Amazon swords are low-med to medium-light plants. Wisteria, I believe, will also grow under low-med light, but I'm not 100% certain. A 48W T5HO bulb would put you in the low-light range, but you may be able to grow all those plants due to the intensity of the T5HO. If you got a two-bulb fixture, you'd certainly have enough light and you can experiment to see if you really need both bulbs going.

Without doing any research, I'd guess that T5 lights are more efficient that T5HO. However, T8s are actually more efficient that T5s in terms of electricity converted into light. The smaller size of the T5 bulbs allow the use of better reflectors though, so more light goes down into the tank.

Cost effectiveness is another issue altogether. Is it cheaper to replace two T5 bulbs or one T5HO bulb?
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:44 PM   #5
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The reason I;m asking is that a hot5 system is twice the price of a regular t5.

If I need two bulbs and a regular t5 double will do the trick, I would probably go tht route instead of a double hot5. Price difference from a single hot5 to a double hot5 is not much but still very expensive although the light intensity is.

I dont want to worry about algae breakouts and I will not be using co2 although I do use liquid ferts.


Dan
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Old 06-23-2010, 01:00 PM   #6
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I've actually found that better light helps prevent algae breakouts. I've had very minimal algae in my guppy tank since I upgraded to bigger CFLs.
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