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Old 01-18-2009, 06:35 PM   #1
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Question on "High Output"?

I have been reading a lot over at Tom Barr's site and it seems everyone there is keen on T5 lamps over anything else at the moment. Out of curiosity, would this fixture http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsUS...000kfreshwater provide more light/light intensity because it is considered "high output" than my 55 watt PC bulb?

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Old 01-20-2009, 09:25 AM   #2
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Bah.. The best bang for your buck always has been, and probably always will be VHO's. They are cheap, they put out 110w per bulb, and it's the only true Actinic bulb.

The only down side is that because it's a true actinic, it's really purple which the coral's LOVE. You just have to get use to it.

If my setup allowed I would have 2 VHO Actinic's and 2 150w MH HQI's over my tank. The CF Actinic's that my fixture uses don't make much if any difference at all durning the daylight cycle when the MH's are burning.


90 Gallon Drilled Glass Tank w/ Corner Overflow: 492w (2x 150w 14,000K MH, 2x 96w Actinic CF) Coralife Aqualight Pro | Custom 34x15x15 Sump/Refugium | SWC Skimmer | Coralife Turbo-Twist 6x UV Sterilizer | Maxi-Jet Power Head w/Sure Flow Upgrade Kit | 120lbs of Live Rock | 100lbs of Live Sand
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Old 01-20-2009, 10:45 AM   #3
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Comparing lights is more complicated than just looking at the wattages. It depends a lot on the bulb itself, what it puts out vs the spectrum your plants/critters needs, the reflector, etc.

I am assuming that you are interested in FW plants (since you are reading the Barr report). .... so the comment regarding the actinics don't really apply <Actinics are useless for plants> ...

To properly compare amount of light suitable for plants, you really need to do a spectral analysis of your fixture & lamps. You can find some data on the net ... look for something like PAR output.

A PC is essentially a T5 bent in half. The HO designation is simply to differentiate the older lower wattage T5 from the newer ones - nothing magical in the name. If you compare a T5 & PC of the same wattage, there is no inherent reason why one is better than the other. It all depends on the construction of the lamp, the phosphors used ... etc. as to which lamp puts out more light that is usable by the plants.

Having said that, it is generally true that because the T5 is linear, it is possible to make a better reflector for the T5 so you get more of the light into the tank. The best ones are T5HO's with individual highly polished reflectors for each lamp. It comes down to construction again ... a good PC reflector will beat a crappy T5 reflector ....

Personally, I wouldn't be switching from PC to T5HO just for the sake of the switch.
80 gal FW with 30 gal DIY wet/dry/sump.
9 fancy golds, 1 hillstream loaches, 1 rubber-lip pleco (C. thomasi), 3 SAEs, small school of white cloud minnows, planted.
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