The metal is polished and is acutally better than a mirror. Mirrors have imperfections and quite frankly are heavyer than a light weight polished metal reflector. In addition the reflector can be angled easily allowing for maxium and focused reflectivity.
IceCaps is the best ballast for florecent bulbs on the market. It can autodetect NO
and T5 bulbs and send the approprate conditioned electricty to the bulbs. By getting at the very least the IceCap660 ballast you can maximize your flexability by being able to simply switch out endcaps and bulbs should you want to change bulb types.
When it all comes down to it the lighting we pick is as much a personal choice as anything else. Some love VHO
while others hate VHO
. Some will tell you something like "Once you see MH
you wont want anything else.", etc. I personally have PC
on one tank and VHO
on another and if I where to do it over again I would do VHO
on both. The bulbs last longer and quite frankly I like the color output of the VHO
's as compaired to my PC
's. Unlike this thread is asking for I dont have T5 experence nor have I seen a tank with working T5 lights.