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Old 08-07-2007, 10:43 AM   #1
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Reflectors - is shiny better?


My ballast thingy went a bit wonky at the weekend so I took it back to the LFS to get a replacement under the warranty. While walking away back to the car I was looking at the reflectors that came as standard with it.

The nice white curves of plastic got me thinking, why the hell arnt they aluminium or something metallic and more reflective to maximise the light hitting the tank?

Surely my T5's could get a little boost from this to theoretically hit something like 2 wpg (am at a theoretical 1.8 wpg atm).

So, am I mad in thinking this?

Are the white opaque ones used to "diffuse" the light in a specific way?

Will they make much of a difference?

Best Regards,


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Old 08-07-2007, 07:10 PM   #2
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Polished mirrored reflectors (aluminum or others) are better than just plain white ones in getting light into your tank. In addition, the shape is important too. The best shape is parabolic with the lamp mounted at the focal point.

Some reflectors combine the 2 & claim to put 2x the light into your tank. I have not tested one, but this seems to be true from what I've read of other's light meter readings.

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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Old 08-08-2007, 08:02 PM   #3
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While there are other better reflective surfaces, white is a very good option.
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Old 08-09-2007, 04:16 AM   #4
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I've been doing some hard research while wasting time on the net at work and my findings are as follows...

1. Reflectors are very cheap.

2. The difference between a white and a reflective surface is commonly cited as 85% vs 95% effiency.

3. Like Jsoong mentions parabolic (kinda curved triangular) are the best type. With listed boostings from 200 to 300% on the top brands. But we must assume this is from a base of a non reflector fitted bulb.

Looking again at the white reflectors mounted in my, supplied with tank, ballast they have a "quarter moon" shape. Due to the way the two T5HO tube ballast is mounted.

My LFS had some corallife brand "quarter circle" reflectors of a similar type in mirrored which were spares from their stock tanks. Which would have fitted. But they also showed me the Arcadia T5 reflectors which would happily clip onto the blubs to provide a full parabolic surround, so I put an order in for them.


So i'm now a happy bunny.

Not only will I be able to boost my overall effiency of the use of the light from changing the surface of the reflectors from 85% to 95%. I get the added boost of completely surrounding the T5HO's in the reflectors.

Obviously the wpg is a exceedingly loose calculation with and incredible amount of variables to make it a catch all equation for the light your making for your plants to flourish. But now i am hoping my two 24W High output T5 bulbs over a 46g tank will be comparable to a 2 wpg setup. Without the high energy bills and heat.

Best Regards,

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