How effective are T-5 NO fixtures?

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Aquarium Advice Addict
Oct 28, 2004
Champaign, Illinois
I now have two of the Coralife Freshwater Aqualight T-5 Double Linear Strips (1 on a 30 gallon tank and 1 on a 20 gallon long tank) and have been very happy with them so far. My plants have thrived and I love the low-profile design.

My question is has anyone done any scientific measurements to see how they compare to normal output fluorescents and power compacts? I've read that they compare very favorably, and my LFS sees them replacing power compact as the lighting of choice for a lot of people because of the lower cost.
According to that spreadsheet, the T-5 NO are roughly 75% more powerful than the equivalent wattage T-12 and 30% more powerful than compact fluorescents. On my 20 gallon long tank with two 18W T-5 bulbs I get more than 3wpg (T-12 output) which explains why I need to inject CO2.
Make sure you get the set up with individual reflectors, for better lighting.
BTW, the tank I currently have as part of my signature is my 30 gallon tank that is lit by 2 21W T-5 bulbs (1 ColorMax and 1 6700K).
I've got a 24" 48 watt HO T-5 fixture on a 30 gallon extra high(24") and am quite satisfied. The 2 bulbs are 12,000K and blue actnic. Very bright with great color. I don't inject co2 but use seachem flourish regularly. I was using a small nutrafin injector that made my water too acidic.
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