T5 vs VHO

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Aquarium Advice Addict
Jan 1, 2004
I have a 100 gallon and currently have 4 x 60" 110W VHO bulbs over my tank. Due to a lot of reasons, Im considering switching to T5's as I have limited capacity in my canopy. Can someone recommend a website to order these from? I looked at Fosters Smith and just dont know the difference in the bulbs meaning I dont know which T5 to order? I want all white and will go with a mixture of 48" and 24". However there appear to be a variety of white T5's to choose from. ANy help is appreciated.
If you want a nice quality T5 unit then you will need to buy one with individual parabolic reflectors such as the Sunlight Supply Tek T5 light. The ones at the Drs. site (minus buying the IceCap ballasts and IceCap reflectors...then having to buy endcaps and brackets) only has a single parabolic reflector for all the lamps in the fixture. The one I'm speaking of is Current USAs T5 fixture. It does look like the Nova Extreme T5 retrofit comes with a separate reflector for each bulb but I haven't heard much on the kit. In terms of their fixtures, they may be a good light (I've heard good and bad) but in the long run you will get more intense/directed light from a fixture like the Tek light.

Here's a place to find a couple quality fixtures with individual reflectors for each lamp:
You could just mount the fixture in your canopy.

or if you want retrofit kit for the canopy:

dapellegrini has told me that the Catalina Aquarium Solar T5 light is very good. You can find his review of it here:

Also, always keep your eyes on eBay for a good deal because I have seen a few for T5 lights selling really cheap.

I will also add that because of reflector design the Teks have more spread out light penetration whereas the IceCaps are more direct (spotlight).
And even though the VHO`s might not have as much reflection as the T-5`s you can help the VHO`s out by using URI bulbs that have an internal reflector and then I use a reflector hood instead of a canopy which helps out alot.


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Heres the issue. My canopy is very odd in that there is not much room at all inside. So I am forced to buy individual bulbs and reflectors - or not use the canopy. I already have the 2 ballast (Icecap) so all I want to do is hook up reflectors and bulbs. Why cant I do this? Is there a problem in doing this? If I can hook up 6 x 24" and 4 x 48", I would think this would be a ton of light? I dont really want to buy a $500 set up as I would have to buy probably 2 of the light setups - in essence running me $1000. My tank is 60" long. Please help me understand what I need to do and why? Also I have no reflectors now with my VHO set up
I want to keep better corals though and a clam...cant do that with VHO. I figure if I get a lot of T5's I can. Am I correct?
fishman said:
I want to keep better corals though and a clam...cant do that with VHO.

Oh Ok. I`ll just regard this clam in my tank under VHO`s as a figment of my imagination. LOL


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What kind is that! I was told I couldnt keep clams or any special corals under VHO! SO what all can I keep under 440W of VHO lights? Also I do have 2 other VHO (48") that are (blues) in the back of my tank that I dont ever use. I was using them to simulate dusk but dont use them any more. If I were to fire them too what other corals can I keep?
While I have found someone that knows what they are talking about (you!) do I need a reflector for my VHO setup now?
Lastly I need to replace my moon lights..isnt there something I can buy from like Lowes that will do the same thing as the expensive ones that you can buy off of the fish website?
I use 2 50/50 and 2 super actinic (blue) bulbs. It sounds like you have the 4 bulb set up also. With that lighting you would be able to do most LPS corals and soft corals. You could also do some limited SPS corals. As far as clams you could do the squamosa clam as the one I have pictured. You would have many choices of corals with that lighting set up. As I stated earlier get the URI bulbs because they have internal reflectors and then get the reflector dome to keep the light in your tank instead of your room where the fish are. I cant help you with the moon lights as I have never had them. Check out my gallery and you`ll see pics of corals you can have.
Yeah I have Aquasuns in my setup now. I dont know if they sell URI bulbs or not? I thought URI was like an industry standard?
Also do you know anything about fans I can cut holes in my canopy and put them in to draw out the hot air?
I made a list of all your corals. I know those can be done so Im going to get them. All I have now are xenia, buttom polyps and star polyps. I need more corals badly! I also am going to get a clam!!!!!! By they way did you QT your corals or clam?
Here is the link for the good doctors as they sell them for 1/2 my LFS sells them for. As far as QT corals or clams I have heard it both ways. Some say that you should why some say you dont need to. Saying that I have never QT my corals or clam. That is not to say that is the right way but so far so good. But believe me I`m knocking hard on my wooden head right now. HTH
I have looked at FosterSmith before and they dont carry the 60" bulb in 110W for some reason. This is what I use to maximize the ballast (Icecap 660). All they have is 140W.
Plus I can get the Aquasuns in my LFS for $32 (same as website) and dont have to pay shipping. I may have to rig up something as far as a reflector.
Yeah I dont QT my corals either but do make sure I have "rinsed" them very well before they go into my tank. I take a long time to acclimate and use probably 5-8 gallons of my tank water in the process to hopefully rinse the coral before it goes in.
Did I mention Im getting me one of those clams!! :)
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