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Old 10-28-2008, 11:43 PM   #1
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Power Compact versus T5

I'm sure this has been talked about before. However, I could not find the conversation anywhere. So, here is my scenario and question.

I am upgrading my lights from the standard light fixture (running 1X40Watt 6500k and 1X40Watt 420 actinic blue) to either a T5 unit or a Compact PC unit. Can Someone tell me their opinion on which one I should go with? I only considering between 180 and 220 watts total. So, which format would you recommend and why? Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 10-29-2008, 12:43 AM   #2
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What size (depth) tank?

I started out on PCs, but after having T5s I much prefer them. Lower heat generation, and better depth penetration.
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Old 10-29-2008, 12:47 AM   #3
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75 Gallon Tank.....does the tank size matter when it comes to choosing ?
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Old 10-29-2008, 01:20 AM   #4
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Size... as far as tank depth, will probably make a difference to folks making suggestions. Saltwater or Freshwater? Reef? I suppose the answer will depend on what you're trying to attain.
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Old 10-29-2008, 02:58 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by thekeyofb View Post
does the tank size matter when it comes to choosing ?
Yes b/c T5's only come in certain lengths so for "full coverage" a PC may fit better as well as T5's are better for deep tanks

Anyway most everyone now will tell you that T5 is best, unless you need MH for a reef
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Old 10-29-2008, 03:41 AM   #6
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Well, let me give you guys a complete run down. I started my tank as a FOWLR tank. However, I got into the look of some low light corals. So, now I am going to do a reef. Keep in mind, I am only doing low light coral. So, please try to stay on topic concerning your recommendations. Currently, I have the following in a 75 gallon tank:

- orange mushrooms - purple mushrooms - green mushrooms - white star polyps - green star polyps - yellow tang
- purple tang - blue throat - picasso trigger - red lionfish

I want to upgrade my lighting because I know the current corals that I have will do much better under the higher wattage of a T5 or Compact PC light fixture. I also want to add a few more corals such as: a leather, tongue coral and maybe a low light clam. So, back to my original question.

I am currently running the standard light fixture with (1X40Watt 6500k and 1X40Watt 420 actinic blue). I want to upgrade to a T5 unit or a Compact PC unit. Can Someone tell me their opinion on which one I should go with? With what you read above, can you tell me which format would you recommend and why? Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 10-29-2008, 06:18 AM   #7
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For the money your going to have a hard time getting a fixture as good as this one:
Catalina Aquarium

I looked around and to even DIY a 2x54w T5 setup its going to be right around the same price.

That is a nice fixture, here are some threads about it.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/li...e-service.html
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/li...-solar-t5.html
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Old 10-29-2008, 08:49 AM   #8
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Thanks (Speed)....So, it's safe to say that you're for T5 lighting I guess. Now can you tell me why a T5 unit would be better than a Compact PC unit in my situation?
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Old 10-29-2008, 08:59 AM   #9
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Also, (Speed) or anyone else......can someone give me a rundown on the following product? What have you heard? What have you personally experienced?

Aquarium Lightings - T5 Lighting and T6 Lighting
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Old 10-29-2008, 09:00 AM   #10
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well with the fixture that Speed linked, each bulb has it's own reflector putting more lumens into the tank and not wasting it with restrike. (light bouncing back onto the bulb like in between the 2 straight aways on a power compact)
not to mention the fact that i dont think you will find anything better price/watt than what Speed linked.
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Old 10-29-2008, 09:09 AM   #11
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I'm not talking about individual products here. I'm sure there are some well designed T5 units as well as some well designed Compact PC units. However, which format is better for my application? For example, I have heard that Compact PC units are generally better because they run alot cooler than T5 units. I have also heard that they are less expensive than T5 units to run and give of just as much light.

So, can you guys give me the pros and cons? I really want to make an educated decision on which format to purchase. After that, we can discuss which brand. LOL
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Old 10-29-2008, 09:29 AM   #12
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NO T5's run cooler than PC, PC's get HOT!

T5's are slightly more efficient at producing lumens or light per watt.

T5's penetrate deeper into the water

PC's are basically T5 tubes but they are bent around into a "U" shape, since they are 2 bulbs very close together, they get hotter. Also since they are closer together, the reflector cannot be as good/efficient.

Individual reflectors and T5's is hands down better than PC's


Please search around on many forums for Odyssea, as you will find some good and many bad things about them. They are cheaply made, and that listing says T6 bulbs, which are hard to find and I dont think you can get quality bulbs for it.

Also, for a 4' tank, you can find better deals on T5's then any other tank size. That catalina fixture is the best bang for the buck period, its a great fixture!

And no I dont have one, I'm using a T8 shoplight ODNO at this point, b/c that fixture would be too much for my 55G(for me)
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Old 10-29-2008, 09:35 AM   #13
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Thanks (Speed). That is a very good breakdown of information. I plan on looking into various T5 units today. Is there anyone out there that can give me a breakdown as to why I should use a Compact PC unit?

Also, (Speed)....I have been reading up on those Odyssea units. I must have sent you the wrong link. They do have a T5 unit. However, I agree that they are cheaply made.
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Old 10-29-2008, 07:25 PM   #14
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well i actually have one of aquatraders t6 light fixtures and luckily have not had any problems with the actual fixture yet. the biggest problem is that i can only get replacement bulbs from aquatraders and they only have 12000k or the pink bulb for freshwater.
i have opened the fixture up to take a look inside and found that the electric ballast was just shrink wrapped and not in any type of case.
when i need to replace the bulbs i'm just going to retro fit it with t5ho ballasts and bulbs which will cost me another 50-60 dollars which will put the total cost of the fixture at about $120. wish i could have gotten that catalina fixture.
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Old 11-04-2008, 08:03 PM   #15
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I own that catalina fixture. I'm using it for freshwater planted, but I can tell you it's a great unit. Very bright, and not too terribly hot
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