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FAQs about T 5 Fluorescent Light and Lighting for Marine Systems

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Related Articles: Fluorescent Light & LightingSpectral Quality of Various Fluorescent Lamps by Dana Riddle, T5 Fluorescent Lighting, Coral System Lighting

Need help changing lighting in 180 gallon FOWLR tank/Lighting/T5/DIY 11/29/11
Hi Crew!
<Hello Susan>
I feel like such a schmuck emailing to ask for your help, but I'm really just at the end of my rope here.
<No need to be a schmuck, is what we are here for.>
I have a 180 gallon (72" x 24" x 24") saltwater setup that was given to me 8 years ago.
<Lucky you.>
We have done pretty well for the last 8 years, and I have done lots of reading here to help me along the way.  (Thanks for that, by the way!)
<You're welcome.> 
The lighting on the system was set up as follows when we received it, and it has not been changed since...
 (2) 32W 48" blue actinic 03 fluorescent bulbs, (2) 96W 34" square pin CF 10,000K daylights, and (2) 34" 96W 10,000K / actinic 50/50 CFs. All three sets of bulbs are mounted about 12-14" above the surface of the water inside a homemade canopy/hood.  The ballast that controls the 50/50 lights recently suffered permanent demise, and late last week I discovered that the manufacturer has gone out of business. 
Here's where my dirty little secret comes out...  I am a pretty smart gal,
<Reminds me of Pat Benatar's lyrics...."I'm a pretty smart cookie with a long history".>
but no matter what I do, I just cannot wrap my head around lighting and electricity.  No matter who I talk to, what I read or how much I read, NONE of it sinks in or makes any sense.  Watts, volts, amps, ohms, Kelvin...it's all Greek despite hours and hours of effort on my part.   In all of my 'research' into what I am going to do with this 'ballast situation,' I stumbled upon the fact that many saltwater enthusiasts are switching to T5 fixtures and bulbs.   So, off I went to investigate the T5 situation.  All of the literature might as well have been written in Polish, because I still have no clue. 
<T5 = T designates it's a tube, and 5 means the tube is .5" in diameter.>
At this point, I am inclined to believe that it might be time to move away from the square pin CF bulbs, as fixtures to accommodate such are becoming fewer and further between.
<They are, and now would be a good time to upgrade.>
 It seems silly to replace the ballast and the square pin end caps if it's only going to get harder to find them in the future.  I think that I would like to switch to T5 bulbs, but I'm not sure where to go from here and I just need a little guidance.  So here are a few questions...
1.  Is the current lighting in my system adequate for the FOWLR?
 Would it be adequate to add soft corals in the future if I desired to do so?
2.  I am looking at the Sunlight Supply T5 Retro Fit Kits, which seem like they would install relatively easily into our existing canopy once current structures are removed.
<Yes, they do install quite easily and everything you need should come with the kit.>
 The kits come as long as 60", but the longest T5 bulbs that I have consistently found are 48".  I was thinking about purchasing 3 kits at the 48" range, which would give me 6 bulbs.  But I'm just not sure... would I be further ahead to purchase the 48" lengths and stagger them left to right as I install from front to back or would I be further ahead to purchase the 36" lengths and install them side by side?
<I would go with the 48" lamps and stagger.>
3.  Regardless of which length and install set up I go with, I'm not sure what I need in terms of daylights, actinics and/or combo bulbs.  If I go with the 48" kits and stagger them, would I be okay to go with (4) daylight bulbs @ 10,000K to 12,000K and (2) actinics or would a different configuration be better?
<The actinics aren't really necessary for coral growth but they do give a nice color pop if desired.  As to K or Kelvin temperature, I'd go with the 12K lamps.  Or a couple combo bulbs?
<Yes, two 50/50 lamps over two actinics would provide better light for corals.  Most soft corals should thrive with six T5 lamps but there are a few that will not.  If I were to upgrade, I'd go with eight tubes which would provide plenty of light for all soft corals.>
  (And Heaven forbid you indicate above that I might be better to go with the side-by-side 36" kits....?!?!?!?!?)
<No, would be too much unnecessary hook up.>
4.  If the Sunlight Supply T5 retro fit kits are something that I should stay away from, can you recommend anything else that would work to be installed directly into our existing canopy without buying a formal 'fixture'? 
<Sunlight Supply is a reputable company and retros are all you need with your set-up.  Complete fixtures will cost much more.>
I know that this really seems like such a basic question, and I am sure that you are going to be inclined to tell me to go read what is available to me.  I appreciate your time, and believe me when I say that more reading than I have already done isn't going to make a difference.  At this point I know and understand enough to have a very vague clue, and the rest simply makes my head spin out of control.....
<If you can read, installing the retros should be no problem but we will be here to help you should problems arise.>
so any input you can offer would be fantastic. 
Thanks so very much for your time!!
<You're welcome.  I have deleted your personal information for your privacy.  These queries go in our Daily FAQ's and I'm sure you do not want to share that information with the general public.  James (Salty Dog)>

Metal Halide Placement/Reef Lighting 1/24/11
Hey Crew,
<Hello Nick>
Hope you guys had a great weekend.
<Good football games.>
I needed your opinion on some lighting issues. My first option is to stick to a T5 fixture over my 12 gallon Nano. The light itself is 4x8w t5s, 2 10k and 2 actinics, 32 watts total. My second option is the 70w 20k metal halide. Would the t5s be sufficient for sps and lps? Or if I use the metal halide, how far off the surface of the water should the light be?
<Your T5 lighting should be fine for your SPS/LPS corals. I would suggest going with three 10K lamps and one actinic to increase the PUR level.>
Thank you so much for your time.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Another PC Vs. T-5 Question/Reef Lighting 1/9/11
Dear Crew,
<Hello Joe>
Again, thank you for your awesome dedication to the hobby as well as the commitment to answer and post questions on a daily basis. I always look forward to reading the dailies- what a treat!
<We are glad you enjoy, and thank you for the compliment.>
This topic has been covered over and over but I thought that I would ask for your opinion on my particular situation.
I have a 54 gallon corner reef tank (mainly LPS) with a 150 watt 10K HQI, as well as a 65 watt 10K PC retro-fitted into the stock fluorescent fixture.
Although the retrofit is working fine, I've had it for some 7 or 8 years and it will eventually need to be replaced.
The replacements that I'm looking at are either the 2x24 watt or the 2x31 watt T-5 (only Coralife makes that latter). The length must be 30" to fit the pie shaped tank. I've also learned that the greater the width of the fluorescent unit, the more the HQI light is blocked (no canopy), limiting the number of bulbs to essentially 2.
<Mmm, without knowing your tank dimensions, I'm thinking the HQI lamp should be all that you need for your system. If you are looking for color accent, consider a LED Stunner Strip.>
I'm assuming that 1 PC bulb will be brighter then 1 T-5 bulb of a similar length and spectrum due to the PC's twin design, as well as higher wattage. In your expert opinion, would either of these units be a cost efficient way to improve my lighting or will the intensity increase be minimal?
<Watt for watt, T5 lighting has more lumens per watt, runs cooler, more cost efficient, and penetration is much better than PCs. Depending on your tank depth, you may also want to consider the LED retro modules which provide a stunning color accent and are extremely energy efficient. Take a peek here for a few examples.
Again, due to the aquarium shape, I'm somewhat limited in terms of choices (aside from upgrading to a 250 Watt HQI). I don't need to replace this fixture now but would like to if the benefits out weight <weigh> the cost.
Thanks so much!
<You're welcome and do write back if you have more questions. James (Salty Dog)>

T5 lighting, placement 12/29/10
Hope you're well this evening.
I am reading Anthony Calfo's book, book of coral propagation volume 1 edition 2.
<... there is only one V.>
Mr. Calfo's recommends that t5s should be placed 3" above the surface of the water. I have four t5s. They are positioned about 5.5" above the water.
They are 2x 10000k day bulbs and 2x true blue actinics.
<Do see WWM re. I'd switch at least one of these out for more "white">
Now, being my first tank, I installed the lighting (2x Hamilton tech Aruba Sun t5) very poorly. I am not a handy man by any stretch of the imagination. I ended up gluing the retro fit into the cabinet.
Now I cannot lower it as it is glued in place permanently.
<It's fine where it is>
I have a colt coral, gsp, mushroom and a Kenya tree in the aquarium now.
Both are doing great. Will my lighting scheme be able to house them long term?
<Very likely so>
The aquarium is a 75 gallon with 20 gallon sump and a mp40w es.
I would also like to add some Zoas, toadstools, Ricordea and numerous other soft corals.
Thanks for your time.
<Umm, welcome. Bob Fenner>

T5HO Lighting Replacement Bulbs 12/3/10
Hello folks,
<Hi Ben>
I've got a 30 gallon marine tank with four T5HO lights, and it's getting to be time to replace the bulbs.
<Keep in mind T5HO lamps are good for close to two years.>
The fixture came with two 10K and two actinic 39w bulbs, but I've been reading some posts lately where folks have been recommending more full spectrum and less actinics.
<Although the photosynthetic animals we keep do benefit from some actinic lighting.
Lamps in the 8-14K range are much more beneficial and do contain wavelengths in the actinic range, it's just that we do not see it because of the masking the higher Kelvin temperatures.
If you like the aesthetics of actinic, use no more than one lamp in your system.>
Another concern is the amount of light. I have a Condy anemone who seems happy with the lighting as
is, but the corraline <coralline> algae on the live rock has been bleached out except in shady areas ever since I upgraded from standard fluorescents, about two years ago.
<Coralline algae fairs much better under bluer lighting but maintaining 350-400ppm of calcium will help here, and don't forget magnesium.>
I have considered only running two of the bulbs, but I'm not sure if that would be sufficient light for the anemone.
<Depending on the depth of your tank, it may very well be enough. Do not underestimate the intensity of T5HO lighting as they are very capable of producing a little over 90 lumens/watt. If you want to try this, eliminate the actinic.>
Livestock includes the Condy, a Watchman Goby, a Clarkii Clown, and a few red-legged hermit crabs. There is about 25 to 30 lb. of live rock, and about 1/2 inch of aragonite substrate.
The tank is only 16 inches deep, so I'm curious whether two T5's would have sufficient light penetration.
<With 16" of depth, I'd give it a try with close observation. Two T5HO lamps are equivalent in intensity to 4 standard output fluorescent lamps.>
Thanks in advance!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

T5 Bulbs Question/Reef Lighting 10/31/10
Hello to all at WWM,
<Hi Benny>
I recently purchased a 24 inch Wavepoint retrofit fixture for my 29 gal reef tank. The fixture brings 2x Sun Wave 12k and 2x Blue Wave 460. I just changed one of the Sunwave for another Blue Wave and was wondering if coral growth will suffer with this combo.
<Yes, too much blue. PAR values may be high with this combo, but we are more interested in PUR (Photosynthetically Usable Radiation) values which will drop with this combination of lamps.>
If so can you recommend a better Wavepoint bulb combo that will allow me to keep my sps happy and thriving.
<My choice would be three of UVL's (formerly Ultraviolet Resources) Aquasun lamps and one actinic for color pop. The Aquasun lamp has major peaks at 440, 540, and 600nm. This combo will provide a higher PUR value for your corals. See UVL's Spectral Graphs attached to this email.>
Thanks for all your help
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

T5 HO Lighting System 10/28/10
<Hello Dave>
Hope things are well, I have written in the past and you have always had the right answers, My 150 reef tank has 6 T% HO 39 watt bulbs 3 actinic and 3 aqua blue for a total of 6 lamps, the lighting appears to be fine, would like to know what your opinion is on the longevity of these bulbs and any recommendations on the height above the water they should be placed at and any other tips you may have.
<Knowing your tank dimensions would be of much help here. I'm trying to comprehend the use of 36" lamps on a 150 gallon tank. Can you provide tank dimensions so I can elaborate further?>
Thank you for your time
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re T5 HO Lighting System 10/28/10 - 10/29/10

Hello James
<Hi Dave>
Thanks for responding, my tank is 36" wide, 30 deep and 27 " high, my T5 expel a lot of heat as my tank is built into a custom kitchen with cupboard below to house the sump and a cabinet above the tank for storage. I'm not sure if my lights are too strong or incorrect,
<They are not too strong, especially with a tank depth of 27".>
they are on from 7:00am to 8:00pm and I am having some difficulties controlling the everyday green algae. Any assistance you can provide would be appreciated
<There are several factors that can cause excessive algae growth. You did not mention whether you use a protein skimmer,
and/or chemical media to filter your water. You also do not mention what your present nitrate level is, so at best, all I can do is suggest.
Your present lighting is much too blue which makes this more favorable to algae growth than "whiter lights" would be. A combination of five 12-14K lamps, and one actinic would help reduce algae growth providing all other parameters are favorable, and still give a pleasing appearance. Do read here and related articles/FAQs found in the header.
To answer your other questions, the useful lamp life of T5 lamps is about 18 months depending on your photo period. As to height above water; this largely depends on whether you have corals. If so, T5 lighting will not support light loving SPS corals if placed on the bottom of your 27" deep system, they will need to be placed in the upper third of the tank, and in that regard, the lighting fixture should be as close to the water's surface
as safely possible. If you have a fish only system, I'd place the light 6-8" above the water to help reduce heat transfer to the aquarium.
When writing to us in the future, please follow these guidelines.
Cheers. James (Salty Dog)>

T5 Questions/Reef Lighting 10/22/10
Hi Guys!
<Hello Doug>
You answered some questions for me once before and were a big help.. I've done tons of reading and ultimately am still at a cross roads in trying to determine what to do..
My questions pertain to T5 lighting..
I am currently running Current's 67 Solana XL.. I had a custom canopy built to match the stand and it is beautiful all the way around. I just wish the stuff inside the tank was as nice looking as the stuff outside the tank!
<It may hinder my response not knowing your tank size, length, width, and depth.>
I have 4 T5's tucked up under the thing and can operate any 2 at a time or all 4...
But I just can't get the bulb configuration how I want it..
Here's currently what I am running under there..
1 - AquaticLife 700+ 54W HO 10000k
http://www.aquaticlife.com/lamps/index.html (Spectral Graph under the lab test results link)
<A good spectral range capable of producing a high PAR value.>
1 - Korallin Zucht Fiji Purple (Spectral Graph at the bottom of this page)
<Mmmm, too much red.>
1 1 - Korallin Zucht Super Blue 20000k (I cannot find a Spectral Graph for this bulb anywhere.. Do you guys know anything of it?)
<No, but the Kelvin temperature indicates it would be very heavy in the blue (440-460nm) range.>
1 - D-D Giesemann Powerchome Actinic+ (There is a Spectral Graph for this bulb on the same page as that Fiji Purple..)
I currently have the 2 KZ bulbs on one ballast and the AquaticLife and the Giesemann on the other..
This configuration does not give me a very good (actually none at all) "Pure Actinic" type view of the corals in the evening and that is what I am looking for..
I can switch and run the SuperBlue with the Actinic+, and the Fiji Purple with the white AquaticLife, having the latter turn off earlier in the evening and giving me the evening views I am looking for; and I have done just that, but still not getting quite the result I wanted. My question is this though.
If I were to purchase a Giesemann Pure Actinic bulb and replace the Actinic+ or the SuperBlue and run those together, I think I may accomplish what I am striving for, but what am I doing to my overall light output? Am I taking away too much in the other spectrums by getting rid of one of those two bulbs and replacing it with a Pure Actinic? Should I maybe consider getting rid of one of the other 2 bulbs? Do I really need that White and Fiji Purple? I like how the Fiji Purple and the SuperBlue look together, and would be satisfied with that during the day, but is it enough? If I ran a Pure Actinic and the Actinic+ in the evening.. I would most likely have that combination overlap for several hours.. Currently I have my "brighter" "white" light come on at around noon.. The "bluer" lights come on at around 3.. The white turns off around 7 and then the blue turns off around 10.. So I have 4 hours of overlap.. Is this sound like a logical approach? Too much light? Too little light? Too many total hours?
Should I just leave it all alone and add another 2 bulbs (two pure actinic)
for 6 total bulbs and have these pure actinics just run the last couple hours of the evening with the other 4 off...??
I'm so lost. Too much reading. Trying to understand too many spectral graphs, Want good lighting for my corals AND want my pure actinic type viewing in the evening.. Please help. Oh, and one more question... If I did run two of Giesemann's Pure Actinics' and did a 6 bulb combo... Do I need to consider the time the Pure Actinics' are on as part of my overall photo period? Or can these run an additional 3 or 4 hours over my 8-10 hour normal photo period?
<The problem I see is that you want the best of both worlds. With only a 4 bulb T5 fixture, you do not want to waste energy by using too much blue which does little for PAR (Photosynthetically Available Radiation) values of which corals depend on to photosynthesize. Rather than add two more T5 lamps, I would concentrate on providing around 10-12K out of your present T5 system and add actinic LED lighting strips as needed for the desired "pop" you want. The strips are rather inexpensive and extremely efficient to operate, and best of all, no lamp replacement needed, and one power supply will operate up to six strips. Have a look here.r /> http://premiumaquatics.com/aquatic-supplies/EX-8010.html>
Thanks for your response in advance! I look forward to the next time I get to write you guys!
<Do let me know your thoughts on the above. If this isn't something you are interested in doing, we can go further. James (Salty Dog)>

Reef Lighting 10/10/10
Hello to all at WWM,
<Hello Benny>
I love your site.
<Thank you.>
I have 29 gal reef tank its 30 inch by 12 wide by 18 tall, I was running it with 130 watts pc and changed it yesterday to a 4x 24 watt T5 HO total 96 watts. The lfs store that I bought it from told me I can keep clams and SPS under that. Is this true? It has individual reflectors and is really brite <bright> compared to the PC.
<Yes, it holds true with your system. T5HO lamps are capable of putting out 90-93 Lumens per watt which is going to give you a total of around 8600+.
Individual reflectors will add even more to that number. As a tidbit, a single T5 lamp produces nearly twice the light output of one standard T12 lamp.>
Thanks in advance.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

T5ho lighting fixture -- 02/02/10
Thank you for a great informative site!
<Thanks for coming by!>
I have a t5 lighting fixture question. I'm looking to purchase an 8 bulb 54watt fixture. I would love to spend lots of money, but it just isn't feasible for me right now. I'm looking at the Sun Blaze by sunlight supply. I was wondering if you would recommend it for some one on a budget and how you think it would perform over all compared to the Tek light by sunlight supply.
<One can do fine with the Blaze unit, though it does appear to be a single reflector vs. individual reflectors (one per bulb) the difference is arguable.>
My tank is 48"(L) 30"(H) 24"(W) I'm planning a mixed reef with SPS placed higher up. Also, could you offer a second opinion on this bulb combination. 5-ATI blue plus, 1-GE 6500k daylight, 2- UVL actinic white.
<This is quite a matter of personal taste, but the combo above is likely going to appear very blue.
I personally would swap out the 6500 and a few of the blues for 10000K daylight bulbs. But that is an advantage to T5 lighting, having an extra bulb or two to play with the look is relatively cheap.>
Thanks again for a great site!
<Welcome and thank you, Scott V.>

Lighting Recommendation (T5 or MH) -- 01/21/10
WWM Crew,
<<Howdy Daniel>>
I am planning an upgrade (within 6 weeks) of my 58 gallon reef/SPS system (36X18X21) to a 150 gallon deep dimension reef/SPS system (36X36X27) and had a question about lighting.
Will T5s be sufficient for SPS corals in a tank with a height of 27inches or are metal halides in my future?
<<Well I have to tell you Daniel, I'm a big fan of MH lighting as I think it provides the best look as well as the most bang-for-the-buck'¦especially on deep tanks. But I have also seen some quite nice systems under T5 lighting'¦including some tanks in the 24' deep range. As long as you maximize the number and wattage of the bulbs over your tank, and place the most light-demanding organisms in the upper-half of the water column, you should be fine to continue with T5 lighting on your 150g display>>
I currently have 6 - 39W T5s over my 58 gallon which has a height of 21 inches and have no problems providing the needed light intensity/requirements for my current corals (Pocillopora damicornis - 6 inches from the water surface, Montipora capricornis - 12 inches from water surface and Seriatopora hystrix - 12 inches from water surface).
<<Indeed'¦but as you demonstrate, placement of the organisms is key>>
I will need to add more light to what I already have for the 150 gallon system but don't know if additional T5s will do the job.
<<They should, yes'¦especially with an eye toward more 'daylight' bulbs vs. 'actinic'>>
I don't want to stack live rock 24 inches high to enable placement of corals for sufficient light.
<<This should not be necessary>>
Also, if metal halides will be required, what wattage fixture would you suggest? (I was thinking about one - 250 watt fixture that would move diagonally across the tank supplemented with 4 - 39W actinic).
<<A single MH pendant on a rail system to track across the tank would be very interesting. A 250w unit would likely suffice, but for such a system I would be inclined to go with a 400w bulb/fixture to maximize light intensity toward the 'fringe' of the lighting footprint'¦and use one of the better 'large' reflectors like the Lumen Max Elite from Sunlight Supply or the Lumen Bright from CoralVue>>
Thanks for sharing your knowledge and maintaining such a great site!
<<The pleasure is ours>>

T5 Light Suggestion/Reef Lighting/Selection 12/8/09
<Hello Junaid>
Hope you are doing well.
<Yep, still above ground and walking.>
I currently have a 90 gallon saltwater tank with mostly LPS corals and looking into adding SPS corals in the future. I am running a Current Nova Extreme Lighting Fixture. I am going to be changing the light bulbs that came with the lights and looking into URI which seems like the best choice for price and from the forums I have read. I am still hazy in deciding which exact bulbs to get. My lighting fixture can hold 8 bulbs. This is what I am looking into:
54W T5 Actinic White Bulb (50% Actinic 03 & 50% tri-band phosphor adds color enhancements, 12,000k) x 4 54W T5 75.25 Fluorescent Bulb (75% Actinic 03 and 25% Tri-band phosphor, 14,000k) x 3 54W T5 454 Fluorescent Bulb x 1 (85% Tri-band ultra blue spectrum, 15% actinic spectrum) x 1
From previous posts I have read, Steve Pro has recommended getting two Actinic 03's, one white actinic 50/50 and one AuqaSun for lighting fixtures which can house 4 lights.
<Mmm, likely dated information. Too much actinic wastes light intensity of the other colors in the spectrum needed by most light loving invertebrates.
There will always be actinic (440-460nm) present in all lamps designed for our needs.
The lower Kelvin temperature lamps do not appear blue because the color is masked by the higher intensity of the other colors our shallow water corals also require. Spectral lighting charts will show this. Scroll down
on this link. http://www.ushio.com/products/petcare/aqualite.htm>
What would you recommend for my light fixture which houses 8 T5 bulbs?
Should I replace any of these choices with the AquaSun?
<If it were me, I'd go with seven 10 or 12K lamps and one actinic. This would still give you some nice color and still provide a high intensity output.
My choice in T5 lamps would be URI or Ice Cap.>
And what is the difference between T5 75.25 Fluorescent and T5 454 Fluorescent?
<The T5 75.25 is 75% Actinic 03 & 25% Tri-band phosphors. The T5 454 indicates the lamps
spectral output is 454nm.>
Thanks for your help in advance!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Kind Regards,
M. Junaid Shaikh

T5 Light Suggestion/Reef Lighting/Selection 12/8/09
Thanks for your quick response Salty Dog! From what you have mentioned, would you then recommend the following:
URI 48" 54W T5 454 Fluorescent Bulb (85% Tri-band ultra blue spectrum, 15% actinic spectrum) x 1
URI 48" 54W Actinic White T5 Fluorescent Bulb<http://www.jlaquatics.com/product/lb-utaw4/URI+48%22+54W+Actinic+White+T5+Fluorescent+Bulb.html>
(50% Actinic 03 & 50% tri-band phosphor 12,000 K) x 7
<Those 12K lamps should work just fine.>
I am a still a little hazy on lighting so wanted to confirm with you before I go and buy the lighting. This is the website I am looking to buy the URI lighting from:
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

The T5 X Factor/Reef Lighting 11/1/09
Hey Guys,
<Hello Steve>
I have been reading up on T5 lighting and I've got one more question for you. I found what I think could be a great T5 fixture but the wattage seems a bit low for a reef tank (546 watts).
<Mmm, not really with the T5 HO lamps, would be very intense.>
From what I have read on the forums some fixtures seem to have an X factor that makes
them better watt for watt vs. other fixtures.
<The "X" factor relates to their TX5 Hybrid which is a combination of T5 and LED lamps. They likely are better watt for watt incorporating individual 98% reflective Miro Silver reflectors and electronic ballasts.>
For example ATI fixtures are known to provide a higher PAR value on their systems than other higher wattage T5 systems.
<And likely because of their great reflectors. The PAR acronym actually means parabolic aluminized reflector in the lighting world. Most stage lamps are called PAR lamps.
For our use, it means the amount of light from a given lamp that will reach our corals. Obviously, the higher the PAR value, the more intense the light.
An example here...URI manufactures fluorescent lamps with a 180 degree internal reflector. The reflector greatly increases the PAR value of that lamp.>
The Constellation fixture by Aquactinics look like it has some special features but does it make up for the low wattage? It has individual reflectors that are 98% reflective and I have heard that the bulbs are over driven but I'm not really sure.
<The lamps are not overdriven, but driven to the high limit of the lamp's capacity by regulating voltage through an electronic ballast. The company would never get an UL approval otherwise.>.
Do you guys know anything about this fixture? I would like to use it on a 72 x 24 x 24 reef for soft corals and LPS corals.
<They are pricey, but have heard no performance complaints on my end. A very well made fixture in my opinion.>
Thanks again
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re The T5 X Factor/Reef Lighting 11/2/09
One follow up question. Would I be able to put clams or SPS corals in a 24 inch deep tank with this lighting. Even with the nice shiny reflectors I don't know if the clams will get the light they need. I called my local fish store that sells this product and they told me I would only have 3 watts per gallon so I wouldn't be able to. I don't think that rule really holds true anymore with all the new innovations with lighting...but it does leave me with more questions than answers.
<Steve, I haven't any actual user experience with T5 lighting systems, but I have recently been told by Steven Pro of Ice Cap that these systems can be capable of providing enough light for clams and SPS corals. His input is pasted below.
"You can get a T5 lighting system to provide more than enough light for that size tank and its inhabitants, but there is a world of difference in T5's.
Ballasts, reflectors, and the individual lamp choices make all the difference.
A 546 watt fixture likely uses 14 39 watt lamps. That could work, depending on the brand.
Steven Pro
VP of Sales"
<Aquactinics uses the Ice Cap 660 and 430 VHO ballasts and their Miro reflectors in some of their systems, and are regarded as one of the best ballasts available, capable of driving T5's to their upper limit. The information Aquactinics provides on the 72" Constellation fixture does not state the type of ballasts used. You might want to contact them as to the ballast performance in that system.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Oceanic Reef And T5 Lighting/Lighting/Selection 10/10/09
Hi Guys, <and gals>
I am finally setting up my new Oceanic 156 gallon reef tank. I read your site regarding the use of T5 lights in the canopy but I still have a few more questions for you. The tank is 5 feet long and I have heard that there aren't many good T5 ballasts at that length. Reefgeek.com is selling a Sunlight Supply retro fit that is 60 inches long and uses Icecap ballasts
I have heard really good things about Icecap in the past. I am assuming that their ballasts for 60 inch lights are good. Am I correct in this assumption?
<Yes, they are one of the best, if not the.>
My next question is regarding cooling. The Oceanic canopy opens to the back. I would prefer not to drill hole in the sides of the canopy if I can avoid it. I know that T5 will run cooler than metal halides so I figured I might be able to get away with putting some fans in the back. If I put two fans on the left to bring the air in and two fans on the right to blow it out, would I have sufficient air flow?
<Should be more than enough, but depending on the CFM of the fans, you may just want to start with one on each side, may be all you need.>
I can always add three fans to both sides or angle some of them if you think that will help.
Last question. I only have experience with power compact bulbs and fixtures. So...I am not really sure if the lighting from this fixture will be too much or too little.
<Will depend on what you want to keep, and it will not be too much lighting.>
The tank is 24 inches deep and I plan on keep soft corals and LPS coral. There is a chance that I might try a clam or SPS coral that I would place higher in the aquarium. Clams prefer being on a sand bottom with a hard surface slightly below the sand bed. Do you think I should go to the 8 light model?
<I would with a tank depth of 24". With the new Tek reflectors, you should have enough light intensity for most clams.>
If I put the 6 light fixture in the center of the canopy will it illuminate the whole aquarium or will I still have spots that are won't get sufficient light?
<The entire tank would be lit as long as you are getting the 80 watt/60" HO lamps.>
Thanks a bunch
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting Question/Selection/Reef Lighting 9/28/09
Hello Bob,
<James with you today.>
been reading your threads for a some time..... every educational... thanks
<You're welcome.>
I have a 90g bow front 48' long 24' deep.... currently running 2- 96w PC fixture, 1 10k, and 1 460n , I know its well below in lighting, to keep corals,
I wanted to ask if upgrading to (6) T5 VHO's lamps...3 actinic blue 460n and 3 10k @ 54watts each is good? or should I upgrade to 4- 96watt pc? (2) 10k and (2) 460n
I'm only interested in keeping LPS and mushrooms. any suggestions would be greatly appreciated? thanks
I was looking at the Current USA T5 Nova Extreme 48 " fixture w/ 6 T5 VHOs @54w each.
and for PC- 48' 4x65w AquaticLife PC w/ 4 lunar lights.
<My choice would be the Current USA T5 system. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Lighting Question/Selection/Reef Lighting 9/28/09
<You're welcome.>
In your opinion. Are T5 VHOs
<They are just called T5 HO. VHO refers to high output T12 lamps.>
better than pc, and is the T5 Nova Extreme, a good reliable setup?
<I've never heard anything negative about them. I had a Current USA fixture on a experimental tank and I was quite happy with it. You may also want to check out the Sunlight Tek T5 fixture here. This fixture uses convection cooling, no noisy fans. http://www.premiumaquatics.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=SL-960040&Category_Code=SunlightT5 James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting A Frag Tank/Reef Lighting 9/3/09
Greetings WWM,
I'm in the process of setting up a 4' x 2' x 12" frag tank. It will be primarily SPS, I was thinking of buying a friends old Sunlight Supply Maristar metal halide/T5 fixture. My only concern is that it is a magnetic ballast which can be rather heavy and loud.
<Mmm, the Maristar fixtures come with dual electronic ballasts. Your friend's fixture must be an old one. All ballasts operate on the magnetic principle, the electronic ballasts incorporate special circuitry to electronically control power to the lamps which makes them more efficient.>
I've also heard they can interfere with radio frequencies if not properly shielded.
<Nonsense. I can set my battery operated radio on top of my non-electronic MH ballast with no RFI noted.>
Another fixture I'm intrigued by is the Aquatic Life HID/T5 fixture. I understand the "spotlight" reflectors are popular in Asia and Europe.
I'm concerned with the lack of fans or any par tests. Have you any experience with these fixtures ?
<This fixture's internal electronic ballasts work in conjunction with a special aluminum housing to help dissipate heat away from the fixture without the use of fans, and, this fixture is not designed to be enclosed. As far as my experience with them, I have none. Would be better to post this question on one of the reef forums where you will get feedback from actual users of this fixture.
James (Salty Dog)><<Well done James. B>>

Replacing Metal Halides With T5 lighting 8/5/09
Greetings WetWeb crew..
<Hello Marc>
It's been a while since I've written for information. It seems that every question I've had up until to now has been asked, answered and posted. Your site/service is with out a doubt the best resource on the web, and I thank you for your dedication, and patience with all of us out here seeking the knowledge to better care for our submerged family members/friends.
<Thank you for your kind words.>
Anyway, I had a question regarding lighting that I was hoping you could provide insight on. I currently have a 309 gallon acrylic aquarium that is 45" long x 45" wide x 35" high.
I attached a picture for visual reference, but I house a sohal tang, a vlamingii tang, a purple tang and a couple of false Percs (clown fish). Corals consist mainly of Favia, brains, Montipora, Duncan coral, a couple frags of Acro and a 16" gigas clam. My lighting is 800 watts of metal halide lighting. I have two 400 watt 10k South Pacific Sunlight dual end bulbs on Blueline Ballasts. This evening, one of my ballasts gave up on me, so I am now at a crossroads. I have been trying to educate myself as much as possible on T5 lighting, but have found very little information on switching to this form of lighting after using metal halides. My question is, can I make a switch from MHs to T5s, and, if I were to make the switch, would my corals and clam suffer from a possible decrease in light intensity?
<Definitely. With your tank depth of 35", T5 lighting is not going to work for you.>
Further, if I were to switch to T5's, since I don't have a way of measuring the light intensity with a par meter, what wattage should I shoot for to provide adequate light for my animals, especially my clam. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
<An easy fix, just replace the MH ballast. With tank depths exceeding 24", MH or HQI lighting will be needed for keeping SPS, most LPS, and clams.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Thinking About New Lighting
Upgrade to T5 Lighting 7/22/09

Hello WetWebMedia,
<Josh here.>
I currently have a 90 gal reef tank with the following dimensions: 48Lx18Wx24H.
I'm thinking about changing my lighting. I have a Coral life 48'Aqualight with two 65 watt 10,000K and two 65 watt True Actinic 03 Blue bulbs, I am considering getting a 48" Nova Extreme 8 x 54 Watt High Output HO T5 Lighting Fixture w/four 54 Watt daylight 10,000K and four 54 Watt Actinic. Is this overkill?
<Nope, and I think you will enjoy it.>
Have you heard anything negative about the new light fixture i.e. heat issues, fan loudness, etc'¦???
<I use one, the fan is quiet, no heat issues that I know of, but I have no idea what temperature it runs at internally.>
Tank Inhabitants:
Torch Coral -- mid tank
Zoos -- mid tank
Caulastrea -- mid tank
Starburst Polyp -- mid tank
Starburst Polyp -- bottom tank
Hammer Coral -- bottom tank
Candy Cane Coral -- mid tank
Button Polyp -- mid tank
Mushrooms -- mid tank
Dendro -- bottom tank
BTA -- mid tank
Royal Gramma
Coris Wrasse (I know)
Fire Shrimp
Coral Bandit Shrimp
Emerald Crab
Sea Urchin
Brittle Star
various other snails/hermit crabs
If this lighting is okay, how would I acclimate my reef inhabitants to the new lighting?
<I would recommend running a shortened photo period each day until tank inhabitants are acclimated. Perhaps 50% of your normal photo period per day increased by 10% until you are back to your full photo period. Keep a sharp eye on your corals for stress.>
Also, will the new lighting enable me to get SPS corals?
Your assistance as always is greatly appreciated.
<Your welcome, and enjoy the new fixture.
Josh Solomon>

Re Upgrade to T5 Lighting -- 07/28/09
Hello again.
Thanks for the wonderful advice. I have one dilemma. I looked at the Current USA Nova Extreme Pro 6x54 T5 fixture. It is a little less light, but it received better reviews and seems a little sturdier.
<No dilemma my friend, this will do just fine. But I would sacrifice an extra actinic bulb, and replace it with a full spectrum bulb for an all SPS tank.>
Will I be able to keep SPS corals with this fixture?
<Yes, as above.>
Thanks again,
<Your welcome
Josh Solomon.>

T5 height over water 7/17/09
Hi friends.
Easy question for you.
It's said T5 lights being fluorescents need to be a few inches max over the water to be effective.
<The closer the better to a point. "A few inches" is very general. If you were to put them say 2" from the water, salt buildup on the reflectors could make it counter productive. I have seen many fixtures 5-6 from the surface that work very well. Think of the mounting legs many manufactures sell for their fixtures.>
What about when they're in a halide fixture that makes them 9" or so over the water?
<They still work, though the light will be less intense by the time it reaches the bottom of the tank, as are the halides compared to a lower mounting.>
Is that just extra light that isn't doing much in terms of growth?
<It can depending on the bulb.>
If so, what good does it do to have T5's that high over the water except for aesthetic purposes?
<In this case it is mostly aesthetic, most T5s used with halides are going to be actinics to get "the look" people want.>
Thanks, Jason
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Metal Halide Migraine, fixt. sel. 7/14/09
Hi WWM Crew,
<Hello Amy.>
Thank you so much for your generous help, especially for us beginners! My question is about metal halide lighting, etc.. I have read article after article, only to come to the conclusion that I am overwhelmed and over stimulated on the topic of choosing the correct lighting for our tank.
Since I do not have an electrical engineering degree or anything close to it, I look to you guys... HELP!!!
<Ah, okay!>
I have a 2 month old 150g ( 48"L x 24"D x 30"H ) salt swim tank with 2" sand substrate and about 20 mollies. I should also mention that I live in AZ where my summer tank temp is 74-75 degrees. I currently have a simple old fluor. strip light. Nothing to get too excited about as we are moving SLOWLY. I would like to make this tank into a reef tank and am VERY confused about which lighting is right for my specific tank needs. I would prefer to avoid a hanging set up as opposed to a top mounting set up due to tank location. I just do not want to be limited later in what I can put in my tank because I didn't go for enough lighting now.
Soooo, that being said, please point me to one specific light fixture, no holds barred, that I will be happy with forever, no regrets, so I can check this box and move on!!!
<Well, if this were my tank I would forget about MH all together and look towards T5s. Something like this:
For MH you will want a dual 250 watt setup for a 30" deep tank, for example:
The T5's will allow you to keep what you want while keeping your tank cooler, less of a chance for needing a chiller in the future.>
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: Metal Halide Migraine 7/16/09
Hi Scott,
Thank you SOOO much for your infinite wisdom. I attempted to go to the premium aquatics website to look at the T5s you recommended but it got me an error message. Could you redirect me? Again, thank you for your help. I am sure it will save me costly mistakes in the future!
<Ah, what a pain, eh? Here they are again on their own separate lines...funny the links do not work. I am sending you this via my personal email too. Maybe the HTML encoding will help. Welcome, Scott V.>

4x24 watt T5HO versus 4x65 watt PC on 20 Gallon long tank
T5 for a 20 Long? 7/2/09

Hi crew.
< Hello!>
I have currently a 20 gallon long reef tank with 4x65 watt PC (1 10K, 1 actinic, 1 50/50, 1 actinic/460nm) lighting placed 8 inch above water. The tank is 11-12 inch deep. I have a mix of SPS (Monti) LPS (hammer, frogspawn) Zoa corals. In a close future, I would like to add a Crocea to the tank.
After reading on WWM and elsewhere I still don't know for sure if my tank will benefit from a move to the T5HO side. Do you think that I can make my coral colors and growth to increase using 4x24 watt T5HO (1 AquaSun , 1 Aquablue, 1 pure actinic, 1 super actinic) against my current lights?
< I do think your tank would benefit from a move to T5 lighting. Cooler running, longer bulb life and better bulb selection are all just bonuses on top of the better growth. >
In case I make the move, would it be overkill to go for an icecap retrofit kit, meaning overdriving the bulbs a little by using their 660 ballast?
< I do think overdriving them would be a bit much. Be sure to look into a system with individual reflectors.>
Thanks for your help.
< You are quite welcome GA Jenkins >

Lighting, Reef 6/25/09
Hi WWM Crew!
<Hello Dan.>
So, I've just set up my 135-gallon tank. I've got the rock and substrate in there, got the skimmer all set... Now I'm working on lighting.
I have a closed 6-foot long hood that has this pesky support brace in the center that would prevent me from putting a full-length light. Thus I have a 36-inch area on each side to work with. I would like to keep fish,
anemones, and corals.
What would you use? I was thinking of two 380-watt fixtures (mixed metal halide/power compact) -- one on each side.
<This can work, it will leave some shadows/dark spots in the tank though (some like that look).>
Would you suggest something different?
<I have installed lighting for a few of these tanks over the years, I would go with T5s on a tank configured like this myself. You will save money on powering the lights, cooling and get an even spread of light throughout the tank. And you can keep anything with these you can with MH!>
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: Lighting, Reef 6/25/09
<Happy to assist.>
How much total T5 output would you use?
<I would personally shoot for 400 watts or so for a "keep what, where you want" type of system.>
Do you have a couple favorite brands?
<Not really...kind of a controversial subject, big reflectors vs. individual reflectors. My take and end experience is the light ends up reflected down for the most part anyhow. If you have a canopy do look into the "retrofit" types of kits. These can be had for about half the price.>
<Scott V.>

T5 Lighting 6/25/09
Hey, Matt here. How's it goin'?
< Hello Matt. GA Jenkins with you this evening. >
I have a question for you about some lighting for my saltwater tank.
< OK. Fire away! >
I recently purchased a 24" sundial t5 ho light and it came with the usual light bulbs which are 2 10,000k and 2 actinic blues.
< I run a Sundial myself. Nice light for the money. >
I also took y'alls advise and purchased 1 Giesemann Aquablue bulb which is a 60/40 white/blue blend and 1 UVL 14,000k which is a 75% actinic 03 & 25% tri-band phosphors. I want to use both my new bulbs because they say both are really good for coral including LPSs and sps which I intend to have in my new tank. So my question is which of my other bulbs that came with the light should I replace with these new bulbs? Thanks for your help!
< They should replace both 10,000K bulbs.>

SPS ID/Lighting 5/25/09
Do any of you know of any 30" T5 light fixtures that would meet my Acropora's needs?
< I thought you'd never ask! >
I had to go and choose a tank size that's not the most common, so now I'm not having much luck finding 30" fixtures.
< 30" is not a popular T5 fixture size, but there are a few on the market.
The Current Sundial comes in a 30"
I run the 36" Sundial myself and have been keeping SPS with great results. There are a few more out there. What you are looking for is a 4 bulb fixture with individual reflectors. The individual reflectors greatly improve the efficiency of each bulb and are a critical component to keeping higher light needing organisms. >
Thanks again.
< You are very welcome. GA Jenkins >

Re: Halide lighting decision, T5s 4/3/09
Hello again!
<Hey Shelli!>
I don't know if I am allowed to reply to this, but here goes!
<You sure can, you did!>
I was considering the T5s because I have several friends and my LFS swears by them.
<It is a nice way to go.>
How many would you want to put on the 150?
<Personally I would chose a fixture with either 6 or 8 bulbs for this tank.>
I was just worried that because the tank was a little deeper, it wouldn't be suitable.
<Well, it is all about placement. If you want to keep Crocea clams or Acros at the very bottom then you will need more light. But the light 12" from the bulbs is the same no matter the tank's depth. Just place your livestock that needs more light higher up....the same would apply with halides too.>
Thanks for the insight! (and saving me money too!)
<Welcome, my pleasure to help out. Scott V.>

Lighting T5 3/16/09
Hello Crew!
I currently have a 44 pentagon fish only system and am planning on upgrading to a 120gallon which I plan to eventually have corals in. The man at the LFS says that he has converted all of his tanks to use Tek lights with T-5 bulbs and swears by them.
<I do too, not the brand per se, but the type of bulb.>
He recommends using those as a more efficient and equally effective alternative to metal halides.
<They sure can be.>
He also says that because of the reflectors built in to the fixture it increases the amount of light and I will be able to house ALL different kinds of corals.
<You can.>
His corals do look amazing so I am tempted to take his word for this, but other fish stores have told me that metal halides are the only way to go.
<No, T5s are just as good as MH nowadays for most applications, certainly this one.>
Have you had any experience with these Tek lights and do you agree with his recommendation?
<I have with these and many other fixtures...they are great fixtures.
Well, one other point to consider here. Putting a T5 fixture on your 44 would be nice, but it really will not transfer across to your future 120 unless you plan to have multiple fixtures butted up against each other. You could get a MH pendant now that would be easy enough to use to light half the 120 later....like I say, you can do the same with the T5s, but it is not appealing to many to do so.>
<Welcome. But yeah, Go T5s! They really are great. Scott V.>

T5 Lighting For Haddoni Anemones 2/25/09
<Hello Brian>
I am due to replace the light fixture on my 6 x 2 x 1.5 high 100 gallonish tank.
I mainly have Zoanthids and three haddoni carpets a red, blue and purple.
I am replacing a 2 x 250w halide Arcadia Series 3 pendant.
I am tossing up between a 3 x 150w halide Arcadia Series 4 and a 6 x 80w T5 ATI power module.
With the deep sand bed the tank is only 12'" or 13" deep, will the T5 fitting be sufficient for the anemones?
I have had them for about four years now and don't want to jeopardize their health.
<Brian, if you have kept them (Stichodactyla haddoni) that long, consider yourself a very lucky man as they are one of the most difficult anemones to keep. I would not change the lighting. If the lamps need replacing, replace with the
same Kelvin temperature you are using now. The T5's are not going to be enough light for these anemones. If you need to replace the 2x250 pendant because it is defective, then go with no less than the 3x150 fixture. I would make sure that the Kelvin temperature of the new lamps are the same as the 250 watt lamps. Any change in Kelvin
temperature at this stage may cause some negative impact on the photosynthesis process of the anemones.>
Looking forward to your reply,
<Cheers. James (Salty Dog)>

Coral Tank Lighting, & T5 fixt. f' 2/14/09
Dear WWM crew,
<Hello Rusty, Minh at your service.>
I plan to get a 6'x2'x2' 180 gallon rimless tank and I plan to make it a reef tank. I currently have a 6ft T5 HO fixture that is 640W with 4X 460nm Blue Antics and 4X 10,000k 50/50's. To be able to keep corals with moderate to high lighting needs, how much more T5 HO lighting will I need to get? I plan to hang the light above the tank since it is a topless, rimless tank.
the tank will be 24" deep with a 12" tall pile of live rock in the center that stretches 4ft long .
<This sounds like an excellent project. You've chosen fantastic dimensions for a reef tank. Rimless no less!>
Could I hang this lamp 10"-18" above the surface? Could I get away with doing 4W per gallon or would I really need to get 6W per gallon?
<The old "wattage per gallon" rule is a rubbish way to gauge lighting intensity for a modern reef tank. With increasingly efficient lighting methods, particularly T5 HO, a lot more intensity can be squeezed out of fewer watts so let's think about lighting in terms of intensity.>
What if I do more than 6W per gallon, would that cause any damage?
<The question of adequate intensity and possible over-saturation if you go with more lighting varies on two variables. First, what type of T5 HO do you have? There are many fixtures with various ballasts, reflectors and bulbs that all have varying intensity. Second, what type of corals do you wish to keep specifically? A mid-range set up like the Sunlight Supply Tek T5 HO fixture with 8 bulbs would be adequate for most moderate to high light corals if hung closer to the water surface, within the 6" range.
More powerful and over-driven set ups, such as the Icecap/Aquactinics or ATI Powermodules can be hung higher and still be quite intense. The type of bulbs can also play a significant role in PAR production, you can review this page for more PAR data on various T5 HO bulbs:
I also plan to stock the tank with 2 ocellaris clownfish, 4 green chromis, 3 Bartlett's anthias, a purple tang, and a yellow tang. Would these fish be okay if I add the 2 tangs last as 2"-3" specimens?
<Purple Tangs are known as the most aggressive fish in your selection so care should be taken in the addition order. However, I suspect you should be fine in a tank of your size.
Cheers, Minh Huynh.>

Lighting Question, fluorescent clas., use comp. 2/10/09
Hello Crew,
<Hello Matt, Minh at your service.>
I have a very simple question for you today. I currently have a standard 55 gal tank with some mushrooms and polyps and about 60 lbs of live rock.
I am currently running a 2x55 watt power compact fixture. I really want to start keeping many types of corals in my tank so I feel that I need to upgrade my lighting. I was thinking about getting a 4x65 compact fixture.
My question is, is there a difference between power compact lighting and compact fluorescent lighting?
<No, they are one and the same.>
Sorry for the lame question, but I am seeing both of these listed and see no difference between them. Also, does the lighting upgrade above seem to be good enough? One more thing, what about the T5 fixtures that are out there?
<Although 4x65W PC/CF fixture is an improvement over your current lighting set up, the better alternative is High Output T5 (or T5 HO) lighting. T5 HO lighting runs cooler, lasts longer, and has a better wattage/intensity ratio than PC/CF lighting. More information can be found here:
Thanks for your help
<You're welcome. Cheers, Minh Huynh.>

Re: Lighting Question, fluor. f' 2/11/09
Thanks for the quick response. I have one more quick question for you today. Should I consider MH lighting as an option. I love how it looks but I have read concerns about the heat. My tank is an open top and I do not want to overheat the water. If MH is an option, can I place a 36" fixture over my 48" tank to save some money or do I need the 48" fixture?
<A 36" MH fixture would work on a 48" long tank. However, consider that MH is a single point light source and as a result, the sides of the tank will be dim. This could be a positive in the sense that it will create a sense
of depth and also allow you to set low light corals in these areas.>
Also, what type of wattage should I have in the MH if I decide to go that way?
<The type of MH bulb is more important than the wattage of the set up. For example, a 175W Iwasaki 15k bulb has more intensity than some 250W bulbs and even some 400W bulbs. Take a look at this site for some intensity data
on most popular bulbs: http://www.manhattanreefs.com/lighting.>
<You're welcome. Cheers, Minh Huynh.>

Re: Lighting Question, T 5... 2/11/09
Say I decide to go with the t5 lighting, would it be too much light for the 6x54 watt or should I use the 4x54 watt?
<This would depend on the type of T5 lighting you chose. Certain setups, with high performance ballasts, reflectors and bulbs can be extremely bright and 6x54W could be overpowering and push some corals into over-saturation and photo-inhibition. If you intend to keep mostly soft corals and LPS, most proper 4x54W T5 HO set ups would be more than sufficient. For SPS and/or anemones that require more intensity, 6x54W would be a better choice. For reviews on the most common T5 lighting fixtures, go to this site: http://tfivetesting.googlepages.com/.>
Matthew Diethorn
<Good luck, Minh Huynh.>

T5's without Individual reflectors..not enough? 01/19/09
<Jessy here>
Quick question about my 75 gallon SPS reef. I'm trying to be as patient as I can be with this '¦but I'm getting frustrated! I have a 9 month old SPS reef with around 5 Acros and 4 Montiporas. I run a current Nova Extreme 8 bulb fixture'¦ 8 54 watt ATI bulbs without individual reflectors. My growth has been extremely disappointing! I see pictures on RC of Monti caps that grow an inch a month'¦ time have grown half inch in 5 months. Some of my sps are showing decent growth though..My birds nest sits on the bottom and grows about 3/8" per month(it's in low flow, most of my other corals are in high
flow). My Acros are sitting high up, all are growing at a snails pace minus my red milli, it's grown about a ½ inch over the last 3 months. Colors are great and all parameters are in check(minus salinity that I address later) I'm considering upgrading to the new ATI sunpower. It's only 6 bulbs but has great individual reflectors. Will this be a lot more intense light than my 8 bulbs under 1 big reflector? Last question is about my salinity. I recently purchased a refractometer and calibrated it using the provided instructions. Last week it measured my salinity at 1.31!!!!! I've slowly been bringing it down and it's currently at 1.26-1.27. There's no telling how long my salinity has been this high..I've been using a hydrometer. Can high salinity slow growth? Thanks so much for your time and help!
<Seth, don't make the mistake of going out and buying more equipment to fix a problem with poor husbandry. Shedding more light on your corals will only lead to more problems with algae or worse, bleaching. 8 bulbs on a 75 gallon tank is PLENTY. I run only 8 54w bulbs on my 150g reef and have great growth on my SPS. To answer your question YES salinity is a HUGE problem for corals if it is as high as it was in your tank. That could be the singular problem right there. Since you didn't provide tank parameters I can't comment on what "all parameters are in check" means. But, you should also be testing for Phosphates in addition to Alk, Ca, and Mag. Get your salinity in order and make sure your tank is healthy and you'll see growth. Don't waste your money on new lights. Jessy>

Lighting Cnidarians, 75 gal., T 5s 1/7/09
Hi crew,
<Hi Marc, Minh at your service.>
Real quick one. Just would like your opinion. I have 220 watts of t5 lighting on a 75 gallon tank. One actinic bulb, two 18k bulbs, and one 10k bulb. Do you think this would be enough lighting for mushrooms, and leather corals? Cauliflower, Finger, and Toadstool leathers. Also do you think it would be sufficient for some LPS, mostly would like to add a Frogspawn, Torch or Hammer coral.
<Although there are many varieties of T5 lighting each with different performance capabilities based on the brand of bulb, type of ballast and reflectors used, the average T5 set up should be more than adequate for the corals you want to keep. To find out performance data on your particular set up, you can visit this excellent lighting information page:
Thanks again,
<You're welcome. Cheers, Minh Huynh.>

T5 Lighting 11/17/08
Hi guys. Ben from Sydney Australia here once again.
<G'day mate ;) Jessy here>
So sorry to post this question kind of twice but I made a mistake.
<Its okay. Let's see what you got>
Ok, so I finally got my 8x 54 watt T5 tubes over the top of my 120 cm 120 gal reef tank. And am running 2x 36 watt T8 tubes as well in between the two T5 fixtures.
<Now that's a lot of light!>
Now what I thought were 10000k tubes are not. There actually 14000k tubes.
I'm struggling to find an answer to this so here I go again. I have two questions.
The configuration I have done is 4x 14000k tubes and 4x 20000k tubes in a mix. so one of each beside each other. With 2 x T8 actinic tubes.
What do you think of this configuration? Will it keep corals growing nicely and is it enough light?
<Light is PLENTY and it should do its part in growing corals nicely, although lighting is not the only element in growing coral... water quality and flow should also be on your top priority list if your corals are to grow at peek efficiency>
Or should I add some different tubes? I have another 4x 14000k tubes left over as spares also.
<The color combo you have now is fine for healthy corals, any adjustments hereafter would be for color spectrum preference. I too have 8 T5 bulbs over my reef and have opted for 4 blue bulbs, ONE 12K bulb, 2 purple (true actinic) and one pink pro color bulb. This is a much bluer spectrum and it is how I prefer my reef to look. I still get great coral growth under this lighting system.>
Now my other question is can I keep SPS coral under these lights? Any ideas are much appreciated.
<Yes, you should have no problem at all keeping SPS under it. Just be careful if you are transferring any existing livestock to this new lighting set up. T5s are very intense and you don't want to bleach your corals.
Start them low and work their way up.>
Very sorry to rehash my question but I've been confused and found it hard to find a answer.
Thank you very much guys.
<Hope that helps>
Also I recently got back from my yearly 2 week fishing and diving trip on a remote island on the great barrier reef. As I work in a fishing tackle shop and love fishing as much as my aquariums. Both seem to cross over nicely.
It really is spectacular and I'm blessed to be able to spend time up there. We got some massive coral trout and large Trevally and other large reef fish.
All released as well to fight another day as we practice catch a release fishing as well as crushing the barbs.
<Sounds like fun!>
Anyways I'm rambling. Cheers for your time.
Thanks . Ben Smith.
<Regards, Jessy>

Lighting Help'¦T5s On A Deep Tank? -- 10/16/08
Hello everyone.
My question is, I have a 155 gallon saltwater tank 4 feet long by 2 feet wide by 2 ½ feet deep. Would I need metal halide to keep anything other than softies or could I get high output T-5 lighting?
<<Though this tank is considered 'deep' at 30' for reef keeping, the T5s can work. By maximizing the number of bulbs over the tank (use as many as you can)'¦keeping 'blue' bulbs to a minimum (no more than 30% to maximize useful light penetration)'¦and utilizing careful placement of livestock in regards to their height within the water column (e.g. -- lower light demanding species toward the bottom and higher light demanding species toward the top)'¦I think you could keep just about anything you could otherwise with MH lighting. Regards, EricR>>

T-5 Lighting Fixture'¦More Bulbs for Deeper Tanks -- 08/12/08
Thank you for the great information Eric.
<<Happy to help Jeff>>
I will consider everything before pulling the trigger I assure you.
Now, I must ask your opinion on another extremely important item; lighting.
I could not help but fall in love with this light, and it seems to be a good price at this time. You can view it at http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=12772. Would you recommend this fixture with eight bulbs , as opposed to a fixture with six bulbs?
<<T-5 lighting is a fine technology'¦and I have seen some beautiful tanks lighted this way. Considering the depth of your 120g tank, I would certainly go with the eight-bulb fixture for greater flexibility. EricR>>

Re: T-5 Lighting Fixture'¦More Bulbs for Deeper Tanks -- 08/12/08
By the way Eric, I have a nice clam that I would like to keep, and perhaps transfer into this new tank eventually. Will this type of lighting allow it?
<<It will'¦ As stated earlier, I have seen some wonderful tanks using this lighting method, to include some spectacular SPS/Clam displays. And even though the bulb selections were 'more blue' than I would have initially chosen, the tank inhabitants all looked healthy/vibrant and were growing well>>
The tanks depth is 24 inches, so what exactly will I have for limitations if I choose this type of lighting over halide?
<<None'¦as long as you can place enough bulbs over the tank. Hence my suggestion in the previous exchange to maximize this number>>
I am trying to get away from halide lighting for the obvious reasons.
<<Mmm, metal halide is still my current fave lighting option. Cheers, EricR>>

T-5 lighting? -- 06/29/08
I have a 90 gallon marine aquarium. It is 24 inches tall. How many 54 Watt T-5 bulbs do I need on this tank to keep lower light corals, such as
mushrooms, yellow polyps or green star polyps? Is four of these bulbs on this tank enough? I do not want to get into keeping the higher light corals, because I do not want to have the trouble of trying to keep the tank cool.
<I do believe this would be sufficient light for mushrooms and some polyps. For good pigmentation more may be needed for things like GSPs. Ultimately, color temperature of the bulbs will play a big part- 4 10k bulbs will go a long way toward photosynthesis, as opposed to a mix of color temperatures. Benjamin>

Yet another T5 lighting question 6/27/08
Good evening WWM crew.
<Hi Jo Anne, Pufferpunk/Jeni here with you tonight.>
I wrote a few days ago about my two maxima clams. Just a quick recap: We have had them for approximately 6 weeks. They seem to gape slightly after the lights have been on for about one hour. The tank is 125g Acrylic tank. (60X24X18 if I remember correctly) We currently have 4 80w T5, 2-10 or 11K Aquablue and 2-Actinic plus. The brand of light is Giesemann. A. Nixon felt the problem was our lighting. Being they were under T5's at the store and from reading about the clams, I learned that although MH is preferred but T5's can work. I believe WWM's recommendation is 4w/gallon of light, which we fall short of. I want to remedy the situation and give these clams a fighting chance. Our tank was originally a FO tank, so it is in a cabinet with a matching wooden hood. My husband decided he wanted a reef tank and we've slowly made changes. I have since become what he calls obsessed with this tank. I am not sure how I could modify this for MH lights economically. I also am not sure I how I can jam at the least 500w of T5's as this would be the minimum to meet the 4w/gallon rule, without starting all over with lighting. (And possibly being served divorce papers) Any ideas? Also I read in Dana Riddle's book that T5's actually have higher PAR than MH. Is that true? If that is the case is can 500w of MH be compared to 500w T5 or PC for that matter.
<It is my experience that T5s are just as good as MH. I am a big fan of T5s & keep clams & SPS under them. I do think you need more of them though. You need at least 1 Daylight bulb. I would think with a DIY kit, you should be able to fit several more bulbs under that canopy than 4. I have 6 bulbs over my 90g & probably room for 1 more. Be sure though that each bulb has an individual reflector above it.>
One more quick question, I read that keeping the cover over the top of the aquarium also can decrease lighting. I would pull them but I do have a blue tang. I read they can be jumpy. I want to do what is best for my charges.
<If you're speaking of a glass cover, then yes, remove it--the canopy should prevent your fish from jumping. Not only will it diffuse the light but it will cause your tank to overheat. You can screen in the open back of your canopy if you wish with nylon screening, although I haven't heard of tangs being common jumpers.
Don't forget to dose calcium for the clams. ~PP>
Thank you for your time, Jo Anne

Re: Upgrading from PC to T5?
Bye Bye PC- Hello T5 (cont'd.)
Hi again...
<Hey there!>
I have been looking on eBay and found this fixture which is a T6HO... http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=330239301797&_trksid=p2759.l1259 ...Do you think this would work fine?
<Not familiar with this one.> Also, I've been reading that using individual reflectors for each bulb is extremely beneficial.
<Most good quality T5 fixtures incorporate individual reflectors. This is one of the keys to the quality of T5 lighting.>
Do you know if any are available for a T6 light?
<Good question. I'm really not sure of that one. You'll have to do some searching among online vendors and lighting specialty companies.>
Would the TEK light reflectors for a T5 work?
<I don't believe that the clips will work with T6's. I would contact the helpful folks at Sunlight Supply for more support on this one. Regards, Scott F.>

Lighting Choices, N.O. VS. T-5 -- 04/16/07
Hello to all the crew!
While reading some of the articles I noticed that Bob states that NO Fluorescent Full Spectrum Daylight/Sunlight in the 5000 to 6000 K range are the best light systems to use.
<Mmm...this is very dependant on the size and type of the system. And if there will be photosynthetic animals in the system, what type?>
Metal Halide and Actinic do not seem to impress him much.
<I haven't seen that myself in his writings, but I do think he tends to warn people against over lighting aquariums.>
I was wondering if this is still Bob's view?
<See my first comment...>
And if possible can you tell me what he thinks of T-5 lighting?
> what I have seen of his comments on these systems, I would surmise he finds them favorable. I think T-5 HO systems are great personally. The bulb life makes them economical, they don't produce much heat, and their low profile allows them to be paired with "awesome" reflectors.>
I am building a 24"L x 24"W x 22"H plywood system and the lights are the next thing to buy. If NO will work this will save some cash on the fixture I need. The option I am considering now is a T-5 retrofit kit from Nova Extreme using four bulbs.
> the height of the tank, and the proposed photosynthetic livestock you mentioned I would not go with the NO, go with the VHO or T-5 HO lighting..>
The Livestock, which are currently in a 55 gallon non-drilled system with no sump, will be Zoanthid and Mushroom Coral, fish will be a mated pair of Clarkii Clowns and a Bicolor Blenny.
<See above.>
Thank you in advance.
<Adam J.>

Shedding A Little Light ON T5 Fluorescents
Hi folks,
<Hello! Scott F. with you today!>
Thanks for your excellent website ... it's become daily reading and I'm in serious danger of 'late arrival' if I treat myself to a quick (ha!) look before leaving for work in the morning.
<I can relate!>
Can I ask a very basic question? In the near future (I hope) I'm going to treat myself to a 5' x 2' x 2' tank to replace my Rio 180. This will be for soft corals and fish...
<Sounds like my kind of tank!>
and so I'm going for T5 fluorescent lighting, built into the hood. My LFS makes excellent tanks, and they come complete with sliding cover glasses. Providing I keep these algae free is their impact on lighting quality (e.g. filtering out UV) to be ignored. Thanks, Brian
<Good question, Bryan. I have not personally used T5's yet, but if we use some of the common "wisdom" applied to the use of VHO fluorescents, I'd venture to say that you might lose some qualities of the light (perhaps some spectral characteristics or intensity) if it is filtered by a cover glass. May be a better route to use water proof end caps and go sans cover glass. You may want to post on the WWM Forum to see what other T5 users are doing...Be sure to share your findings on this! Regards, Scott F

Lighting across the pond: T5 technology 8/7/03
Hi Team,
<cheers my friend>
Graham from Scotland here, I have been reading all your fantastic items on fw-sw conversions and have now changed my tank over and cycling at present,
<excellent to hear, mate!>
Tank is 42"x22"x20" with Fluval 404 filter, I will be purchasing an Aqua -c Remora in Orlando in September (holiday),
<ahh... very nice>
300w Visitherm, single 36" Aqua Glo tube, Substrate is coral sand and tufa rock, I will be adding LR as soon as I sort out my lighting which I am totally confused after reading so many articles, I fancy the Power compact route but we don't have such a thing here in U.K as far as I know,
<actually... it is my least favorite technology of the modern choices. While PC does produce very good quality light... it has very poor penetration of water at depth... and lamps are a poor value (lifespan). MH are a very good bang for your buck... but those brilliant T5s you have in the UK may be best of all!>
I don't want to go into MH system as I don't intend to go into sps corals, but I do fancy a couple of anemones for percula clowns which will be my first purchase when ready, We have over here ' T5' lighting which im not too clued up on, Do you know much about this,?
<yes... quite excellent by all measures. You would only need to use MH for a deeper tank (say 70 cm or deeper) and especially so with clams and sps corals>
would it be suffice or can I just buy another Twin starter for Actinicx1 & Marine white x1 (ordinary fluorescents), my tank is built into a wall in my living room with access to tank via a cupboard in hall, so I can make up my own method of hanging lights when I decide what to use. Many thanks in advance, Graham Easton
<alas... the standard output fluorescents really are dreadful for even the least demanding marines. Do consider those delightful T5s. With kind regards, Anthony>

T-5's... yes - seeing the light 4/28/04
Hey guys,
I currently run power compacts on my 100 gal tank. My question is are the t-5 light setups worth the money for my reef?
<they are a much better quality and value IMO... yes>
Lighting now is 260 watts the t-5 I want are 440. Erik Lobe
<yes... likely to make a tremendous difference. Even with the 440 watts of t-5, you are just beginning to approach the average light needed for most inverts (4-5 watts per gallon). Your 260 watts at present is modest/too low for most corals. Anthony>

Lighting opinion - T5s for aquaria 3/26/04
Anthony, Thank you for your response. So it sounds like you are saying that T5's would provide better quality ( more intense ? ) light than the VHO's? Matt
<I feel that T5 lighting is the best fluorescent choice presently. Anthony>

Hi what do you know about the a/m. Is this comparable to metal halide or VHO? Is it suitable for a marine reef system? Brent D. Johnston
<I am not sure what you are specifically asking about, so I will answer very generally. As long as the spectrum is acceptable (mostly an aesthetic choice, in my opinion) T-5's are excellent reef tank lighting. Do keep in mind that the lamps are not yet widely available and I would suggest that you compare the replacement cost to that of VHO before choosing.
All fluorescent technologies get about the same amount of light per watt. T-5's simply emit that light from a thinner lamp. This makes them look more intense to the eye. A thinner lamp also casts less of a shadow on it's own reflected light and allows for more efficient reflector designs. More lamps can also be placed in the same amount of space. If you choose T-5, look for an enclosure that is designed to capitalize on these advantages.
By using enough lamps, you can match the intensity of Metal Halides with any light source, but some T-5 fixture more accurately duplicate the "point source" nature of halides by packing a lot of lamps into a small area. Hope this helps! Adam>

VHO, T5, PC Lumen Comparison
Do you know where I can find a lumen output comparison of VHO, T5 & Power Compact? Can't seem to find one anywhere. I was told the new T5 lamps actually have more lumen output than even Power Compact bulbs. Would love to see some stats on this. Thanks, Rob
<I am not sure that such a comparison exists, and if it does only a few brands/models are probably compared. The bottom line is that the differences in efficiency between types of florescent lamps in terms of lumens/watt is probably trivial. PC's and especially T-5's are brighter because they pack the watts into a smaller package which also allows more lamps to be placed in the same amount of space and permits more efficient reflector designs. Smaller lamps also cast a smaller shadow (this is not a trivial consideration), and double ended lamps (as opposed to the "horse shoe" design of PC's) allows light exiting the sides of the lamp to be reflected downward as opposed to shining onto the adjacent tube. I hope this helps. Adam>

T-5 Lighting
Dear Crew,
Firstly, love your site. After keeping freshwater tanks for over 30 years I've finally taken the plunge and have just set up a marine tank. Marine systems are so much more confusing than freshwater (i.e. there are so many different opinions as to how to set up a marine system), and your site has provided lots of information to help me understand what the alternatives are. << You're right, they are far more complicated. >> (Deciding which alternative to go with however was still confusing, but your help was wonderful!)
In the end I decided to go with a set up suggested by a LFS as I have been frequently admiring their marine display tank for the last 16 years. (Many of the LFSs in my area have only been carrying marines for a few years, and so I took comfort in a shop that has such a successful decade and a half old display tank!)
I have a 48x14x24 inch (length, width, depth) tank with live rock which accounts for about 15-20% of the volume of the tank. My filtration is a trickle filter with bio-balls and a protein skimmer. (I considered a DSB, but my wife freaked out at the thought of having a quarter of the tank taken up by sand. I'll see how things go, and may in the future get a much larger sump into which I can put a DSB or plenum filter if the current set-up doesn't keep the tank chemistry satisfactorily.) << I really like this idea. >> I plan on making a 5% water change every week (or 10% a fortnight). I also use RO water for evaporation replacement.
Anyway...after nearly a month of cycling I have just added my first fish 2 days ago, a coupled pair of clownfish (Perculas). The LFS suggested that I add an anemone as, although it is not essential, in their experience these fish are happiest (and healthier and more colourful) if they have one to play in. << I'm still not really buying that argument. >> I don't remember the name of the anemone (I know, I should have
written it down!) but its pink/purplish with bright purple ends to the tentacles which are themselves about one inch or more long. The anemone itself is about 10 inches wide. The clownfish seem very happy with it and don't stray very far or long from it. The anemone quickly moved itself to the side of the tank (half anchored to the bottom glass, half anchored to the side glass) where it has stayed.
Finally, onto my question. Lighting is the one thing that I haven't finalized yet. I currently have a single T8 Fluoro tube which is only a very short term stop-gap measure until I decide what lighting to get. (I hadn't bothered finalizing this issue as I wasn't originally planning on getting any invertebrates until several months later.) After a bit of research I thought I should get some MH lighting, but wifey is again adding her aesthetic 2 cents worth and does not like the idea of large lights suspended or lofted above the tank. << She needs to see halides on a tank and beautiful the tank will look. >> After reading up more about them, the need to add a chiller and the probability of much higher evaporation has also given me a few concerns (although I do love the light ripple effect that they give off!). After more research, I came across T-5 lighting and have been wondering if this is the compromise that will keep both my wife and anemone happy. << T-5 lights are fine, but you need a ton of them. >> I live in Australia and currently we only have NO fluors and MH in
common supply. T5 lighting is just starting to become available here and should be more common in the coming months. I was thinking of getting 4x55w T5 lights. I have been doing as much research on these as I can but most of the available info is from manufacturers. The only WWM references I could find were a couple of forum opinions, one stating T5 life is much shorter than claimed, and another stating that they are useless beyond 18 inches. In a question to WWM about a year ago, Andrew (or was it Anthony - I couldn't refind the question) stated that T5s should be fine up to a depth of 60cm.
As that reply was a year ago when the lights were very new, has any further information/views/opinions been formed on this lighting? Will 4x55w T5s keep << You can do just fine with T-5's but you need to fill your canopy with them. I would recommend like 8 of them at 48 inches long on your tank. When you add that up, you may be better (and I would advise you) to get 4 VHO tubes. I really think you will enjoy them more than the T-5's. >>
my anemone happy in a 24 inch deep tank?
Thanks very much for your thoughts. << Good luck. >>
<< Blundell >>

How Many T-5 Lights
Thanks for the quick feedback. Unfortunately we don't have VHO down here, only NO fluors and MH, with T5s just starting off. You suggested that if I use T5s I should have 8 of them. Again unfortunately I don't think I can fit any more than 4 T5s (with reflectors) under my hood. Would 4 T5s keep my anemone (a radiatus I've been told) alive, or do I really need to go for MH. << You don't need metal halide. Four t-5's is fine, but I would still try to get as many bulbs in there as you can. >>
Thanks again. << Good Luck >>
<< Blundell >>

T-5 Lighting on a 72 gal
WWM Crew:
<< Blundell here. >>
Hope all is well.
As I hunt for my lighting answer my LRS explained that PC actinic bulbs loose useful blue spectrum very fast, and that VHO or HO would be a better choice for my goals (Hammer, Frogspawn, elegance). I am wondering what your opinion would be on the sunlight supply t5 fixtures over these corals in 20" deep 72 gallon tank. << I think they are excellent additional lights. I would go with VHO for actinic, or even a 20k halide. A 72 gal tank is big enough to warrant larger lighting systems in my mind. I do like T-5's, but would recommend you have 8 of them over a tank that size. >> Will the corals thrive on 4 of these HO bulbs?
<< I wouldn't say thrive. They may live, but to thrive I would definitely up the lighting. >>
<< Blundell >>

How many T-5's for my 40 gal?
<< Blundell this morning. >>
I heard you were somewhat up to speed on the newest T5 HO bulbs. << I have had a few of them. >> I am trying to decide on a 4x39W unit or to spend the extra dough on a 6x39. My objective is to add a little more light than I have with my 2x96W pc and change up the spectrum a bit with the 4 or 6 bulbs. My tank is 36x18x16 and from the top of the water to the top of the sandbed is only 12" or 13" to top of edge. I only have soft, LPS and rose anemones in there now. However, would like to put in some moderate light SPS too. Would the 4x39W be enough light for my 40 gallon? Hard to judge with the lower wattage bulbs. I am afraid that the 6 bulb fixture being too big considering my tank is only 18" wide. << Well here is what I would do. I would go with four. You can always squeeze more in later if you want to. With that being said, you can't have too much light, so adding six is fine. But even if you add six, I would add four first, then add two more later. That size tank (similar to what I have) is difficult to light. You're correct that the small width of the tank will make it challenging, but I think adding four bulbs is a good idea. >> What is your opinion on the 4 or 6 bulb. Also, do you believe that the lumen output of the 39W T5 bulb is in fact more than a 96W PC as rumors say? << No, I don't. But, you can fit lots of T-5's in a small space, so that makes up for it. >>
Charlotte, NC
<< Blundell, in the lab >>

T5 Lighting and Corals
I have a question about light intensity of T5 HO lighting.
I have 29 Gallon 18" deep tank with 4 24W T5HO bulbs with highly polished reflectors. Bulbs I have are 2 6000K sun, 1 Blue and 1 Actinic. How many watts per gallon is 96 watt of T5 equivalent to or 3.3 watt per gallon of T5 light equivalent to. Most of T5 HO lighting discussions that I've read say that T5 Lighting has more light intensity per watt then other fluorescent lighting and I like to know exactly how much more light is more.
<Equivalent in terms of intensity... compared with VHO, HO fluorescents? PAR values? More by double...>
Actually, I wanted to know if I can add corals with moderate lighting needs in my tank with my current lighting.
Thanks you,
<Yes... even high light and quality stony corals will do well under your light regimen. Bob Fenner>

PC's or T-5's
Hello Crew,
I have a 55 gal. tank with a pair of false Perculas, a pair of Firefish and some basic corals (mush, polyps leathers). The tank is currently lit with 4 - 55 Watt PC's. The lights will need replacing soon and I would like to get a bubble tip anemone for the clowns. I do not want to get into MH's for various reasons and have seen conflicting info about the feasibility of keeping anemone's without them. Question is as I need to replace the bulbs soon anyway (cost about 100$) would it be worthwhile to convert to T5 lighting? << Only if you can fit more bulbs in there. Otherwise, I don't really see an advantage to this. >> Cost for retrofit kit w/ 4 54 watt bulbs is 329$ I looked for Q & A onT5's earlier and could not find anything.
<< Well if not halides, you may consider VHO. But since you already have ballasts and a fixture, I'd go with replacing the pc's. >>
Thanks again - Kevin H.
<< Blundell >>

Assembling a T5 TEK Retro System 5/2/08
Hi, I just found your site and I need help.
<Hello, ok.>
I recently decided to upgrade from just power compacts on my 55 gal. saltwater tank. Making a long story short
I got a deal or thought I did) on a 36" T5 system retro system. Unfortunately, it arrived unassembled and I wondered if anyone has assembled one as the system arrived without instructions. Any help would be
appreciated. Thanks, Mark
<A link below with the manufacturer's step by step instructions. Have fun, Scott V.>

Acrylic Cover and Lights 4/9/08
<Hello Mick.>
First, thank you for this wonderful site. I have picked up many helpful tips in the past.
<Good to hear, the site is an honor to be part of.>
I plan to upgrade my aquarium setup with a new acrylic tank. The acrylic tank has an acrylic cover (of course). My question is this...can I use a normal T5 light fixture (216 Watts total), sitting directly over the acrylic cover...such as the Nova Extreme T5 fixture, but without the mounting legs?
<I would use the mounting legs here.>
My concern is the heat of the lamps and the acrylic. Will it warp or discolor the acrylic, or worse....melt or catch fire? As you can tell, I am a total novice, and I don't have any experience with acrylic tank or T5 lighting.
Thank you for your time,
<These lights don't produce the intense heat in one particular spot that the MH bulbs produce, but do generate a fair bit nonetheless (any lighting will per the wattage in the bulb). Mounting the lights on legs just a few inches of the acrylic is a good idea. Not only for the sake of the acrylic, but also for heat transfer into the tank, a few inches can make a huge difference. Welcome, Scott V.>

T5 options
Reef Lighting 3/31/08
Hello everybody, thanks for your website, and time, you guys are awesome!
<Thank you.>
I have what seems to be an uncommon T5 problem. I have had a Current USA 4-54 watt 48" fixture for 2 years now, and have enjoyed it overall. My problem is that it has a single fan on one end, so it pulls cool air in through the opposite end of the fan, across the bulbs, then out the fan end. The light has literally cooked and burnt the plastic connectors on the fan end, and parts of the plastic pieces have cracked and fallen out. It still works, but I don't like the overall way things are going in there!
<Mmm, the fan blades do need to be cleaned, at least monthly. Dust does accumulate and can hamper the efficiency of the fan.>
Up to now, the lights were on a mildly planted 90 gallon tank, but I got bored, and switched it back to salt a couple weeks ago (my real interest :-)). I want to keep it relatively simple. My last salt tank was relatively full blown with an AquaSpacelight 550 watt HQI halide setup, and it hung from the ceiling. I want to keep my system much simpler this time. I like the output of the T5s and want to keep enough light that I can handle some corals that aren't too light hungry (no clams or sps etc). With my light destroying itself, I have looked at potentially switching brands to one that has better cooling etc, or switching to the Current PC 4-65 watt fixture. The connectors in the PC lights seem very durable and I like how they connect better than the T5 connectors. BUT, how do the PC lumens compare to the T5 lumens? I've read on your site that most people think the T5s put out much more light than PC bulbs and I don't want to downgrade.
<Watt for watt, I feel the T5's put out more light/lumens.>
Are there any other comparable 4-54watt T5 fixtures that I should look at that have separate controls so I can control actinics and daylights
separately, and also have a fan?
<Most fixtures do have separate controls along with a cooling fan.>
I've scanned all over the internet looking for options and it doesn't look like I have many. I've looked at the Current USA Nova Extreme fixture, but I would kind of like to stick to a 4 bulb fixture for size and cost. I've also looked at Sunlight Supply Tek lights but I want to
keep it simple and want a "sit on tank" fixture.
Any opinions would be great.
<Have you looked at the Marineland fixture. It has 4, 54 watt T5's, two daylight and two actinic, two cooling fans and an electronic ballast. It also incorporates a four position switch which is top-mounted. It must be used over a glass canopy as no bulb protection is provided. The cost is very reasonable at $187.00 through Foster/Smith.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Scott Heck

T5 Bulb Selection 3/30/08
Hello all, thanks for fielding a question from an ambitious yet still budding reef keeper.
<Heee, me too!>
I've decided to put together a new reef tank (about 22 inches from surface to sandbed), and have decided on the ATI Powermodule ( 10 lamp X 54 watts ) to light my reef.
<Nice choice.>
My question is on bulb selection. ReefGeek.com sells the combo of fixture with bulbs, and I can't decide on a combination for my tank. I'm leaning toward staying with all ATI bulbs, but need advice on a good array of ten bulbs for a mixed reef.
I know that ideally I should limit my selections from one area of the reef, however like most of us, my budget will allow only one tank and I've always liked a challenge. I'd like to keep mostly LPS (Acan, Micromussa, Chalice etc. ) and a few SPS that don't need extreme lighting ( Montipora, Acropora Lokani ). I may attempt a Crocea clam in the future.
<This will be fine with this lighting, especially towards the top half of the tank.>
Any recommendations on bulbs would be appreciated. Thanks again, you guys and gals are life savers.
Baltimore, MD
<Well Shawn, this is a kind of loaded question. For the most usable light possible to your livestock, all daylight (10K or even 6500) spectrum bulbs will give you the most light. The reality of things is that some actinic bulbs will be needed to provide the bluer look that is desirable nowadays. I would opt for two or three actinics with the balance being the 10K bulbs. Keep in mind this is highly a matter of personal choice, and you do have the ability to swap out to find what suits you. The ATI line of bulbs are fine. Welcome, I hope this helps you decide, Scott V.>

Aquactinics solar flare, T-5s for a two feet deep, high intensity lighted reef? 3/15/08
Let me say in advance, I appreciate all the information you provide all of us who enjoy our own little pieces of the sea. I will be upgrading my current 46 gallon bowfront reef to a 120 gallon (4ft. by 2ft. by 2ft) tank. My current fish stock includes a purple tang, 2 tomato clowns, and a lawnmower blenny. Corals include a Australian Duncan, Acan Lord, Pulsing Xenia, Acropora Lokani and a Chalice coral. My question is actually a series of questions about the Aquactinics Solar Flare T5 light system. First, do you have any knowledge of the quality of the product.
<Have "heard" mostly good about it... As usual, for product surveys, best to cast ones net far and wide (the BB's) for first hand accounts>
Second, if it is a quality product, would it be suitable in the larger system for my current coral stock, and possibly moving into the more light demanding Acroporas and possibly crocea clams.
<Could be used... though, if it were me/mine, and my intent to maximize growth, color AND appearance, I'd go with two smaller wattage MHs here... the depth of water, livestock mix calls for it/this>
I'm not really sold on the metal halide lighting idea, due to cost to run, possible chiller, etc.
<As stated, the smaller wattage...>
Also, could you give me an idea of what combination of bulbs and from what manufacturers you would recommend. Any info would be
greatly appreciated before I drop $850 bucks on it. Thanks again! You guys and gals are always my first source for the best info.
<Take your time here... I am a big to huge fan of advanced fluorescent (and LED for that matter) light technology... but again, the size/shape of this tank, mix of described life... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm
Towards the bottom of the page. Bob Fenner>

Which T5 (Kelvin Temperature) Bulbs Are Best? (Little Useful Info'¦Generalized Responses) -- 03/07/08
I have a 4 bulb T5 light fixture. It has 2 10k white and 2 10k blues.
<<Mmm'¦if these 'blue' bulbs came with the fixture they are likely 'Actinic''¦a shorter and less useful wavelength than those provided by the true 10K bulbs>>
All the bulbs are 54w. I want to grow zoos and other easy corals.
<<Too general'¦you need to research your selections/be more specific as I have no idea what you mean by 'easy corals'>>
There are so many different bulbs to get. Which combo of light bulbs would be best for me to get?
<<More 'white' than 'blue''¦generally speaking>>
I like the tank on the bluish side.
<<Then keep what you have>>
Should I change a 10k white to an 18k purple?
<<I wouldn't suggest this here'¦at least not without more/better information about what you plan to keep. But to generalize (again), if keeping deeper-water organisms (most Corallimorpharians, many Zoanthids/Palythoa), a mixture of 10K and 18K bulbs would likely be fine>>
I have a 72 bowfront with a SeaClone 100, 18w UV, sump rated up to 150g, 110 pounds of live rock, and 50 pounds of live sand. I don't know if this matters.
<<Is all germane'¦ And with the noxious mix of corals you have/will have, a better skimmer and some purposeful chemical filtration are highly suggested. EricR>>

Sad little corals
T5 Bulb Upgrade? -- 03/01/08
Thank you for your help.
<<Let's hope it is'¦>>
I have a 4x54w Nova T5 fixture that is not overly nice. It has been a disappointment, but I am now looking for a replacement.
Before I commit to the IC 660 4 bulb retrofit, I was wondering if upgrading my current unit from the "Current Bulbs" to ATI would be a significant improvement.
<<Quite possibly'¦I seem to recall seeing/reading similar statements re>>
I would like to grow SPS at the top of the tank, but last time I tried it quickly bleached out and died.
<<This does not automatically mean the lighting was inadequate; many things could be responsible for the demise of the coral. It is even a possibility the coral was 'shocked' from too much light/improper light-acclimation>>
It was a Montipora digitata.
<<Mmm, the output from the Nova fixture should have been 'plenty' adequate for this species>>
Please advise if I am wasting money in upgrading bulbs or if I should simply change my entire system.
<<Upgrading the bulbs will be a much smaller investment'¦and quite worth trying, in my opinion>>
I am also concerned about the performance of the Current Nova fixture inside of a canopy that will be on top of the 75 in the next two weeks.
<<As related to what'¦heat buildup? No more of a concern than any other 'fixture' I would think'¦and probably alleviated with the use of fans for ventilation through the canopy>>
Thank you again for your great service.
<<Happy to share. EricR>>

New Lighting Fixture T5? 2/26/08
Hi WWM Crew,
<Hello Ian.>
I've just today purchased a new light fixture for my reef tank. I was planning to get a combo T5/Metal Halide fixture but have ended up with these apparently new T24 Fluorescent lamps.
<Hmm, T24 fluorescent lamps would be very large in diameter. The T rating is based on 1/8' scale. That is, if it is a T5, it is 5/8'; a T8 is 1' and so on.>
The large brand name on the packaging as you can see in the photos attached is Aqualina and it also says on the package High Output Mini Lamp (made for Aqua-Life products). My question is; Does anyone have any experience with these?
<Not first hand, I have heard they are fine bulbs.>
Wondering if the results are as good as other types of lighting?
They certainly do produce a bright light, much brighter than I had previously gotten with four T5 High output bulbs, and if the packaging is correct they are supplying the correct spectrum. (two x 10K Sunbright and two x 420nm UV marine actinic). I'm also thinking positively about them so far as all of my corals/inverts have responded by expanding more, including the Acropora. As you can see in the photo of my tank, everything looks quite happy. I've searched the web for any reference to these lights and can't find a thing. I've used search terms such as T24, HO Mini Lamp, Aqualina etc. The other good thing I've found so far is that these lamps seem fairly cool. Much cooler than the T5 lamps even. As you can maybe tell by the pictures they are also very thin/compact so can fit a lot more in a small space.
Thanks for your time and interest,
Ian Mackenzie.
<These do appear to me to be T5 lamps with different than normal ends on them. The increased light/decreased heat output is likely from new bulbs and a higher quality fixture/reflector. What length and wattage are these? Welcome, thank you for writing, Scott V.>

Re: New Lighting Fixture T5? 2/27/08
Hey Scott/Crew,
<Hello again Ian.>
It doesn't actually specify anywhere on the packaging or the tubes themselves a wattage for these lamps. I got the T24 bit from the LFS price
tag on the packs which I guess must instead refer to the length. They are 24 inches after all so it has clicked where they got the T24 bit from now. They are however still thinner than the T5 tubes I had in the previous fitting and that I have seen in stores. (I got out the tape measure and they are 2/8 of an inch), so I guess that makes them T2 24 inch tubes.
<These lamps are out there, though not too common in aquarium applications such as this.>
Well with T2 in mind I've searched the web again and there are references to T2 Fluorescent lighting everywhere. (here I was looking for T24). One of the sites claims they put out 70% more light than T5 tubes while being cooler/lower wattage, which I tend to maybe agree with looking at the tank.
<You may perceive and increase from new bulbs/better reflectors, but likely not 70%. The color spectrum can also make the fixture seem brighter. These will likely work out fine (you did mention before these are High Output lamps), but do keep an eye on your livestock. The corals expanding/opening more can be perceived as a good thing, but it can also mean your corals are spreading out to get more light.>
Sorry for yet another lighting related question. I think I'll just enjoy the fact that these look good on the tank and the corals are happier with more
light rather than trying to think too much about what sort of light they are.
Hope you have a good day/night for the rest of it....
Thank you,
Ian Mackenzie.
<Thank you for writing back with the update on the bulbs, happy reefing. Scott V.>

T5 or Halide 2/15/08
Good day, Rogie here.
<Hello, Scott V. with you today.>
I'm in the middle of planning my 90gal SW tank. The tank will housed my current corals (zoas, mushrooms, LPS and few SPS) and will be adding more SPS in the future.
My problem is on the lighting. I can't decide which type of lighting will suit my coral needs. I am being torn between 2x250W MH (14k and with moonlights) or 48' 6x54W T5 HO. I have been doing my research reading posts/threads at different forums and the more I read, the more I become confused on which to get. To settle this dilemma, I need your professional advice.
<This has been a growing controversy over the last few years. The fact of the matter is that either will work, although if you go the T5 route you will likely need 8-10 bulbs to get the same intensity as the halides you propose. I personally like and use halides (primarily because of the shimmer effect they provide) over the T5, but others are just the opposite. You can have a very successful tank with either. Do keep in mind that you may need a chiller with the halides, although there is no guarantee you won't anyway. >
Thank you in advance and more power.
<Welcome and thank you Rogie. I am sorry I could not be of more help here. This comes down purely to personal choice, you must decide. Have fun, Scott V.>

T5's or T8's and Arcadia? 02/10/2008
Dear Crew,
<<Hello Andrew, Andrew here>>
I've just been reading on your site about marine lighting, and it seems that I've been a bit stingy, so I'm rectifying this. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like I can get the light you've suggested (Vita lite), here in Australia, but I have found a popular brand - Arcadia, just double checking to make sure that this is a quality brand. Also, in your opinion, are T5s or T8s more appropriate?
<<Arcadia are a well established brand, and have to say, they are very popular and have a good reputation here in England, so, that brand is fine to purchase in my opinion. On the lighting type, T5 is your best choice>>
I appreciate your help, Andrew
<<Thanks for the questions. A Nixon>>

T5 or T6 1/12/08
Hello, my name Matthew and I'm reaching out to you guys for help again. I'm confused on the differences between T6 and T5, and if either one is better than the other. I have four tanks and three of the four have Sunlight T5 systems. As of late my LFS is trying to sell me on T6, but to no avail I cannot find any facts at all in the T6 field. Please help. Thanks Matthew
<You can't find anything because the T5 is just way more common. The output between the bulbs will be very similar per the wattage of the bulb. The T6 bulbs are becoming more common, but for now at least the T5 is just easier to find with a greater number of bulbs to choose from. There will be quite a difference in output if your LFS is talking VHO T6. These will use more wattage and output more light compared to a HO T5. Again, the bulbs will be harder to find (but if your LFS is committed to stocking replacements?). If you want to try something different, go for it. Otherwise the T5's are easier to find, likely cheaper bulbs, and you all ready have three systems with them, making things uniform and easier for you. Welcome, I hope this helps you decide, Scott V>

Re: T5 or T6 1/13/08
Thanks, you guys are always a great help. Take care and Happy New Year. Matthew
<Welcome, happy to help. Have a great new year also, Scott V.>

Re: T5 or T6 1/13/08 01/13/2008
Scott, a real quick question before I let you go.
I have just bought a Elegance "Aussie" coral. Hence the reason I'm worried about light.
<Rightly so, and other tank conditions.>
In your professional opinion what do you think the right light would be for this Coral?
<As far as lighting, either of your previous options can work, with proper placement of the coral.>
I now know why you don't see this coral a lot anywhere.
<I personally see it (Catalaphyllias) much more than I would like to in my area.>
It seems to be quite hard to keep.
<Yes, they tend require conditions different than what most other corals require. Even with the correct conditions for the coral, success is limited.>
These are the dimension of the tanks 55gal 22D 38W. Thanks again.
<I strongly encourage you to return this coral if at all possible. Otherwise please read through the following link and many related FAQ's per this coral's requirements for long term success. Welcome, good luck, Scott V.>

Re: T5 or T6 1/13/08 01/13/2008
Scott, I have read this article and see that this particular coral needs more of a lagoon type setting.
I love expensive mistakes. "NOT". How's that old saying go. "Know a little more, think a little less" LOL. Take care.
<That is the world of reefing, AKA: expensive. Keep in mind that these corals have a low success rate, but there are some that manage to keep them. Keep reading through the related FAQ's to find out what it takes. Good luck my friend, Scott V.>

T5 Lighting 1/3/08
Hey there,
<Hiya! Scott F. in tonight>
I wanted to ask you guys for some advice about my new lighting. I have a 90 gallon reef tank with mostly SPS, but still has a few LPS and softies. I am planning on putting in T5's to replace my current metal halide setup, for several reasons. Electricity is too much, it evaporates to much water, and generally I think these lights are over kill.
<I would tend to agree...halides are great, but often overused.>
My first question is how many of these T5's do you think I will need to satisfy the needs of my SPS corals? My LFS told me 6 48" T5's with 54 watts per would be enough for what my tank requires, would you agree?
<Over a 90, this would be okay, but I would try to squeeze in 8-10 if you can. They are pretty darned efficient, and you get some serious "bang for the buck" with a T5 setup.>
Another question I have is my current canopy which I am planning on mounting these T5's in has about a 4 inch panel added to the bottom of it to give it extra height for the Halides, do you think I should remove these for the T5's? In other words is there an average heights that these lights should be off of the water? I appreciate your input...
<Well, AJ, I mount my T5's about 4-5" off the water surface. This seems to work well for me.. The reflectors are of paramount importance, so use quality ones. Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Lighting Question, T-5 Lighting -- 12/30/07
<Hello Art, Brenda here>
I enjoy reading the information in your site.
<Great to hear!>
I have a question regarding the most efficient lighting for my 45 gallon FOWLR tank. I started my tank Labor Day weekend of this year. The tank has 45 lbs of live rock, a wet dry filter, a simple protein filter, 200 W heater, Mag three pump, 70 gal. aqua clear hang on filter converted to a refugium, 50/50 24 inch tube light. The tank is stocked with 5 damsels, 1 small clown fish, 1 black urchin, 1 Flame Goby, 1 bottom Goby, about 12 assorted hermit crabs, 2 large snails, 1 crab and a few smaller snails. I am switching to a simple reef tank.
<You may want to consider getting rid of some of those crabs. They have been known to eat coral and small fish. Keep an eye on them. Is the Mag 3 and the Aqua Clear the only thing providing flow?>
For this reason I am seeking your advice for the most efficient lighting for my conversion to a simple reef tank. It has been recommended that I purchase a multi tube T5 light. What are your recommendations?
<I personally am a huge fan of T-5 lighting, if they have individual reflectors. Without individual reflectors, they are comparable to PC lighting. What are the dimensions of your tank? What type of coral do you plan to keep? Do you have a canopy over your tank?>
Thank you, Art
<You're welcome! Brenda>

Re: Lighting Question, T-5 Lighting -- 12/30/07
<Hello Art>
My tank is 36"Lx24"Hx12"W. I guess I would get T5 lighting with individual reflectors?
<Reflectors surround the bulbs to reflect light down. With individual reflectors, each bulb has its own reflector. You will likely be able to fit 4 T-5 bulbs with reflectors in your canopy. You would need to use a retrofit kit if you plan on using your canopy. Be sure to double check the dimensions on the inside of your canopy with the dimensions of the lighting system before you purchase. This is similar to what I am using on one of my tanks. http://www.reefgeek.com/lighting/T5_Fluorescent/Sunlight_Supply/Tek_2_Retrofit_Kits/36_inch __4x39W_Tek_2_T5_High-Output_Retrofit_Kit_w!_Bulbs_by_ReefGeek I couldn't be happier with them. All of my tanks are being switched over to T-5. All future tanks will also have T-5 lighting. I am really impressed with the amount of light they provide (with individual reflectors), and the low heat issues compared to metal halide.>
I plan on starting with easier corals for someone who is a new reef aquarist. I am open for suggestions for corals!
<I would start with soft corals. Zoanthids are a good choice. They come in many different colors, and many are breathtaking. There are many different mushroom and leather corals to choose from also. As you become more familiar with reef keeping, you can try some LPS such as Frogspawn, and possibly some SPS. You will need to maintain your calcium and alkalinity for LPS and SPS.>
My tank came with an oak style cabinet with a matching canopy and a folding glass top.
<I don't recommend the use of glass tops. The surface is where the gas exchange takes place. Some fish can be jumpers, so you may need to protect any openings in your canopy.>
Thanks, Art
<You're welcome! Hope this helps! Brenda>

Re: Lighting Question, T-5 Lighting -- 12/30/07
<I'm sorry Art, I didn't see that you had sent another e-mail until I had already sent my last response.>
My tank is 36"Lx24"Hx12"W. I guess I would start with easier corals as a new reef aquarist.
<Great! Be sure to research their care before purchase. I provided some suggestions in my previous e-mail that I believe you will enjoy keeping.>
My tank has a canopy. I would answer yes to your statement the T5 unit with individual reflectors.
<Great choice!>
Yes is the answer to your question about the flow in the tank. I do have a hydor2 turbo circulator head in my tank.
<I have not used this pump, but do know of many that have and are pleased with it. You will have enough flow for soft coral and LPS.>
Thanks for your quick response! Art
<You are welcome! Happy New Year! Brenda>

Re: Lighting Question, T-5 Lighting -- 1/02/08
<Hello Art>
Thanks for your e-mail response to my questions.
<You're welcome!>
It makes sense that you don't recommend the glass top to my tank for gas exchange. What would you use to keep the jumpers from coming through the slots in the canopy?
<Eggcrate or netting will work. Just be sure that it is not going to be near anything that will get too hot. How big are the openings that you need to cover?>
What brands of T5 lighting fixtures with individual reflectors should I consider?
<I am using the Tek 2 by Sunlight Supply: http://www.reefgeek.com/lighting/T5_Fluorescent/Sunlight_Supply/Tek_2_Retrofit_Kits/
Icecap also puts out an excellent product: http://www.reefgeek.com/lighting/T5_Fluorescent/IceCap/SLR_Retrofit_Kits/ I was able to order my Tek 2 lighting with the upgraded of the Icecap reflectors.>
Thanks and Happy New Year!!!!!!! Art
<You're welcome and Happy New Year to you also! Brenda>

T-5 V-HO Lighting 10/16/07
Dear Crew,
I was looking at replacement bulbs for my Nova Extreme fixture, which uses 4 SlimPaq 54W T5 HO bulbs. I noticed that URI makes a T5 bulb that is designated "V-HO", or variable high output. This is not the same as "VHO", or very high output. The "details" of this bulb show the wattage as "54W/85W". I can't find any mention of V-HO on WWM. Would you please provide some insight as to what a variable high output bulb is, why it is (or is not) better than the SlimPaq bulb, and whether it's compatible with my fixture? As a supplemental question, I notice there are a few manufacturers of HO T5 bulbs out there, but I can't find much information on which, if any, are compatible with which fixtures. For instance, I can't tell whether a 48" D-D Geissmann bulbs will work in a 48" Nova fixture, etc.
<Andy, this is new technology again and I'm not familiar with these lamps. I have contacted Trevor at Marine Depot who etail these lamps, and he has provided information to help answer your questions.
I've pasted his reply below. James (Salty Dog)>
I appreciate the help.
<You're welcome.>
Hello James,
Thanks for contacting Marine Depot and its good to hear from the Wet Web Media. The new URI (UV Technology) Variable High Output T5's are compatible with any system currently running T5's. The Gieselmann T5's will also work with any system running T5's also. Both companies state the bulb length differently as URI's short bulb is a 22' and Giesemann's a 24'. These are the same length bulb and are intended for a 24' fixture.
The URI V-HO's have a variable output meaning that they can be overdriven. If a URI 46 Inch T5 V-HO Super Actinic Bulb 420NM (54W/85W) was added into the Nova Extreme fixture mentioned below the ballast will run the bulbs at 54w just like any other T5 and just like the SlimPaq T5's that were included with the fixture. If the same URI 46 Inch T5 V-HO Super Actinic Bulb 420NM (54W/85W) is wired into a ballast like the IceCap 660 it can drive the lamp to 85w each allowing a greater output.
I hope this helps explain the V-HO's a little better. Please feel free to contact us at any time and let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you for choosing Marine Depot, we are always available for any type of support that you may need.
Trevor H.
Marine Depot Customer Service

Re: T5 V-HO 10/16/07
Thanks. That's very helpful and what I thought might be the answer, but always good to get the facts before frying my fixture, fish or house.
Do you have any experience with SlimPaq vs. Giesseman vs. URI vs. any other T5 bulb as to which is "the best"?
<No, but I've always respected URI products and used their VHO's at one time.>
I'm trying to create the best environment for my fish and inverts without replacing my lighting gear, as it is fairly new (less than 1 year old) and wasn't cheap. If I had to do it all over again and I had done a little more research when setting up my system, I probably would have considered more seriously a metal halide fixture or an 8-bulb T5 fixture, but that's water under the bridge now and my wife is now on to my fish spending habits.
<Yikes, another wife problem!>
My tank is a 100g show that is 30" high, so that creates a bit of lighting challenge.
<With that deep a tank, MH/HQI would be necessary for SPS corals and Tridacna Clams.>
My sessile invert stock is limited to various mushrooms, a BTA that is doing very well (it stays at the bottom and has actually darkened from tan to deep red/purple in the 5 months I've had it), and a few tree corals.
I do not intend to try my hand at SPS or LPS. I really find mushrooms and tree corals to be very attractive/interesting and don't mind a tank that is limited to various flavors of the same.
<I've saw some pretty nice tanks with just softies.>
So, the thing I'm trying to work out is what I can do with my existing equipment to provide the best lighting possible. I was chatting with Brenda (of Crew fame) and she was telling me about the differences between fixtures with one parabolic reflector (like mine) and fixtures with individual reflectors for each bulb, and how the latter is favored because they can significantly increase the intensity of the light that gets projected downwards. She provided this info in connection with a question I had about my BTA's health, and she mentioned that she was surprised that the BTA was so healthy given my lighting fixtures and the fact that it has parked itself at the bottom of the tank for 5 months.
I am running 6x54W T5 HOs via 1 Nova Extreme 4-bulb fixture (two 54W 10,000Ks and two 54W 460nm actinics) and 1 Nova Extreme 2-bulb fixture (two 54W 10,000Ks). Again, I'm pretty much stuck with my gear, but if there are superior bulbs out there (or better temperature configs, like removing all actinic lighting or swapping one or more 10,000K bulbs with 12,000K bulbs) that would maximize favorable characteristics, that would be good to know.
<I'd probably leave well enough alone for now. If T5's become available in 14K, I'd replace all old tubes with 14K's and no actinics. As for the intensity advantage of the T5 V-HO, contact Marine Depot and ask what their opinion is on these lamps vs. T5 standard lamps. The T5's are relatively new technology and I haven't heard enough feedback on them to even form an honest opinion. For my money, for what it costs to set up enough T5's for growing SPS corals, I'd just as soon go with MH/HQI, besides, I like the shimmering effect.>
Thanks again.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: T5 V-HO 10/17/07
Thanks again for all your help/insight. URI does make a 14,000K T5, and Marine Depot does sell it.
<Ah, great to hear, wasn't aware anyone was producing the T5, 14K lamp.
In a recent email, URI tells me the T5 V-HO lamps run their best using the Ice Cap ballast.
James (Salty Dog)>

Do you know if they make a 54W T5 bulb with internal reflectors that is compatible with the Nova Extreme setup? -- 11/13/07
<It is not a compatibility issue. There are no bulbs that come with internal reflectors attached. Individual reflectors surround each bulb (like a lamp shade surrounds a bulb) and reflect the light throughout the aquarium. The fixture houses the reflectors. They are two separate entities. Some fixtures have them, some do not. The same bulbs are used for fixtures with and without individual reflectors. Most likely your fixture can not support the space needed for these reflectors. Brenda>

Re: Query On Internal Reflector Lamps 10/16/07
Hi Brenda,
I was reading the query you answered on above subject. There are no T5 lamps with internal reflectors as you say, but I'm thinking the querier was relating to URI VHO tubes which have 180 degree internal reflectors.
Probably wanted to know if the same was available in T5's.
James (Salty Dog)

Lighting/T5 Question 8/8/07
Hi gang,
<Hi Chuck>
I have a reef with PC's. . . and am thinking about changing over to T-5's.
One thing I wasn't sure of in my reading of the FAQs. . . are the terms T-5 and VHO interchangeable? Or is the T-5 a subcategory of VHO's??
<T5 is another type of fluorescent lighting, a newer technology.>
Lastly, I know some of the larger Oceanic tanks come with VHO's standard. . . does this mean T-5's in this particular case?
<No, VHO's are "Very High Output", T5's are much smaller in diameter, 5/8" to be exact.
They do provide high intensity lighting and offer longer lamp life, generally 16 to 24 months, and emit less heat than the VHO's.>
Thanks in advance for any help on
this. . .
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

T5 Lighting For A 20-Gallon Nano With 'Moderate?' Lighting Requirements -- 08/05/07
I am planning a nano reef in a 20-gallon long (30" long, 12" wide, 12"
high). The corals I would like to keep are mostly low to moderate light (mushrooms, zoos, LPS, Montipora)
<<A quite noxious mix in such a small volume of water'¦>>
and are currently in my 125 under PC lights. I am interested in retrofitting 24w T5's into a canopy, but am unsure how many I should use.
<<Mmm, my preference is metal halide for most any setup, but I also think the T5s are a good choice here/for this tank. I would place at least four bulbs, more if there is room. Different bulb configurations can make this setup quite versatile>>
I want lighting that will sustain the corals I have in mind and also that will make the tank look bright and crisp.
<<75-percent 10,000K bulbs and 25-percent Actinic bulbs>>
I never felt like my big tank had a bright enough look under the PC's.
<<Indeed, just not enough 'punch''¦though you might be surprised at what a difference T5s would make here as well>>
I recently saw a 19" deep tank under 4x54W T5 and it looked great - that's about the bright look I'm hoping for. Would 2x24W be enough to do what I'm looking for? Or should I go for 3? 4?
<<Four bulbs I think'¦three 10,000K bulbs and one Actinic bulb at this wattage should work well here in my opinion. You could even experiment with swapping out a couple of the 10,000K bulbs for 20,000K bulbs (i.e. -- 2ea. 20,000K, 1ea. 10,000K, 1ea. Actinic) for a more 'deep water' look'¦but be cautious about adding any more Actinic bulbs. These may look nice to your/my eye but do little for the corals themselves>>
Thanks for any help you can give.
<<Hope you find it useful. EricR>>

Re: T5 Lighting For A 20-Gallon Nano With 'Moderate?' Lighting Requirements - 08/06/07
Thank you for the quick and helpful response!
<<A pleasure to assist>>
If mushrooms, zoos, LPS, Montis are a noxious mix for this small tank, perhaps I need to leave some of them out - which of these would be most problematic?
<<Hmm...you don't state which species of LPS corals you plan to keep but speaking in generalities, the Corallimorphs and Zoanthids are your worst offenders/most problematic here. Regards, EricR>>

T5 or T6?...Marine Lighting Q -- 07/06/07
<<Hi there!>>
I have searched your FAQs for any info on T6 lighting and came up with little.
<<Not one of the 'chosen few' in the trade as I'm aware>>
Here is my question. I have a 55-Gal marine tank with a typical 48-inch Perfecto hood single 40-Watt light.
<<Fish-only I hope'¦>>
My tank is currently just fish only, as live rock doesn't seem to grow well, because of the low lighting I think, and I'd like to have some soft corals/anemones also.
<<Best to 'leave-off' the anemones for now, these animals are not for 'mixed' tanks'¦require specialized systems/care>>
I need to get new lighting, but I'm a little confused on what's available.
<<Metal halide gets my vote for most any application'¦can be quite adaptable and offers the most 'bang for the buck' in my opinion>>
I know T5 is very popular,
<<Indeed'¦and well 'supported' in the hobby>>
but I'm seeing T6 light fixtures now that claim to be "the next generation of T5" lamps which operate slightly cooler than T5.
What is your opinion on T6 fixtures?
<<They seem to provide no more output than the T5s with fewer selections re Kelvin temperature>>
I am deciding between two. A 48-inch 4 fixture (216 W) T6 or a 48 inch two fixture T5 (108 W). What would you recommend?
<<I would stick with the T5s for now, mate (and do consider a four-bulb configuration re). The T6s may or may not be better, but I would give them a bit more time to 'prove' themselves/expand their options>>
Shayne McKean
<<A pleasure to share. Eric Russell'¦Oh yeah! I didn't have to correct any spelling OR grammar'¦many thanks for that!>>

Re: T5 or T6?...Marine Lighting Q -- 07/07/07
<<Please'¦just Eric>>
Thank you so much for the quick response.
<<Quite welcome>>
I think I have decided on the lighting.
I am looking at a Marineland or Current Nova. Each are 48" with four T5 54W (2 actinic, 2 10,000K) and 4 lunar LEDS.
<<Should be fine, though were this me'¦I would trade out one of the Actinic bulbs for another 10,000K bulb>>
My tank is 48" long, 12 1/2" deep and 14" deep.
Will 216W be enough?
<<For what?... but, very likely yes'¦depending on placement within the system>>
Will this create enough heat to require a chiller?
<<Likely not'¦but a small fan placed to blow across the surface of the water provide some evaporative cooling if needed>>
I don't have a refugium where I could set one up, but I plan to have a refugium in the near future.
<<Always an excellent addition'¦in my opinion>>
When you say "mixed" systems, let me clarify. I have 3 Percula clowns,
<<Will likely become 'two'>>
1 Watchman Goby, 1 Cleaner Wrasse,
<<Is this fish eating prepared foods? If not it will likely starve and/or pester its tankmates incessantly>>
1 Fire Shrimp, 1 Chocolate Chip Star,
<<The Sea Star is NOT a reef-/coral-safe organism>>
and 1 Black Brittle Star. My tank has 6" of live sand, a canister filter, a protein skimmer, and two powerheads for mechanical filtration and water movement. Am I able to keep any type of anemone (assuming I get the lighting) with this setup?
<<Possibly (sans the Chocolate Chip Star), but I urge you to spend some time learning/researching these organisms and their requirements yourself beforehand'¦so much to be learned/understood that I cannot possibly hope to pass on here>>
Thanks so much for the help.
Shayne McKean
<<A pleasure to assist. Eric Russell>>

T5 Lighting 6/5/07
Hi all. Your site has become my new favorite place to spend my hours avoiding work.
<Impressive! :) Scott F. with you tonight!>
I have a T5 lighting question that arises due to a hitchhiker that came on a piece of live rock I purchased over the weekend and to which I couldn't find a good answer on the forum (boy, is there a lot of confusing info out there!).
<That's the ULTIMATE understatement!>
My display tank is an Oceanic 110 gallon "show" that I don't think they make anymore--48" long x 18" deep by 30" high. When I set up my tank, I had read Bob Fenner's book and noted the general advice that you go for 1-2 watts per gallon
in a non-reef tank, and I purchased the Nova Extreme T5 4 x 54W HO fixture (2 460 nm actinics and 2 10,000K daylights), because I intended to keep only fish, live rock, and some shrimps, crabs, etc. So, I have 216W total, or just under 2W per gallon.
<I'm not really concerned about the watts-per-gallon factor. I'm more concerned about the quality of the light, the light temperature. PAR value, really. T5 is a fine lighting source, but is dependent upon good reflectors.>
Well, I bought I really nice piece of live rock this weekend that is covered in all kinds of macroalgae. When I got home, I noticed that this rock was harboring a small bubble tip anemone that I (and the shop owner) had not noticed (what a find!).
<Well done, sir!>
I'm concerned, though, that my lighting may not be sufficient to keep this guy happy. When I first introduced the rock to the tank, the BTA moved around a bit trying to find a good fit--spent some time facing up, on the side, etc.
<Not uncommon at all.>
Currently, however, he is parked upside down under a ledge of live rock out of any direct light, tentacles extended and a waving' (but not outstretched like he's looking for light) and seems perfectly happy. He has not moved in 2 days.
<Any change in lighting requires acclimation. Fortunately, anemones are capable of movement, and have the ability to seek a situation that they like. Trust me, T5's are bright! Corals can and do bleach out from light shock when introduced into tanks with T5 systems without proper acclimation.>
Last night I fed him a small piece of shrimp, which he readily took (on the third attempt, after my cleaner shrimps stole the other two pieces). Do you think my lighting is going to be a problem for this BTA?
<Hard to say, but time will tell. Personally, I'd switch to all 10,000 k bulbs for their useful spectrum, or "11,000k" bulbs if you have to have the aesthetics.>
If not, I will purchase a new fixture if I absolutely have to, but I was wondering if I could instead switch out one or both of the actinic bulbs for another 10,000K bulb to make a difference?
<Ahh- we're on the same wavelength here.>
Although the wattage wouldn't change, the temperature of the light will. I know you guys generally think that actinic light is useless, and I have no affinity for it one way or another.
<I would not say "useless"; just not necessary! Try the all 10,000k or 11,000k configuration and see how it goes.>
As always, I really appreciate the personalized help that you guys offer.
<Glad to be here for you! Regards, Scott F.>

Tek 2 T5s 6/5/07
Hi WWM crew,
I recently purchased the Tek 2 T5 retrofit kit and am wondering what types of inhabitants I can keep. My set up is two 20 gallon tall tanks put side by side. One is a freshwater planted tank, and the other is a soon to be reef tank with 35lbs of live rock in it. The lights are two 54watt 48"long t5's. I don't know if you are familiar with the different types of t5 bulbs but they are ATI, one is Aquablue and the other is Blue +. Are these lights sufficient for most SPS/anenomes/LPS, or am I going to be confined to softies.
<Will support most all Cnidarian life offered in the trade>
I would really like to keep some SPS and maybe a BTA
<Uh, not in this same small volume, no>
because my other tank is a 100 gallon softie. The tank will also be very lightly stocked with just one firefish and maybe one more small fish.
Thank you in advance, and I hope I didn't write too much.
<Read on my friend... This and so much more related information is archived on WWM... the search tool, indices... Bob Fenner>

How Much Light Is Enough? 5/30/07
Hi Crew!
<Scott F. your Crew member tonight!>
Thanks for all your help in the past. I have been working on my upgraded tank and had a question about lighting. The tank is a 160G rectangular acrylic. I am going with retrofit T5 bulbs with reflectors.
<Excellent lighting sources. I use T5 myself extensively, and am very pleased with them.>
Right now, I have a pure actinic 54W and 54W midday in one bank, one 80W actinic blue bulb in a single strip, and a bank of 3 80W aqua blue bulbs. This gives me 428W or 2.7W/gallon. I can't fit more bulbs in the canopy but my watts/gallon seems low vs. the suggested 4 to 5W/G.
<I'm personally skeptical about "watt-per-gallon" rules in regards to lighting. Really, in my opinion, the most important measure is the PAR value of the lighting system. Borrow a PAR meter if you're skeptical. I would really simply look at the way the animals under your care react to the lighting, and use that as a determining factor. You can always increase feeding to compensate for less intense lighting.>
At the same time, I would prefer more blue in my tank and visually, the tank seems quite bright. Any suggestions of what I can do? Thanks.
<I really like the Geissmann "Aqua blue" bulbs myself, and fins T5 actinics to be well- ugly, if you ask me! I'd eliminate the Actinics and just use the Aquablues, maybe with a mix of UV 10,000ks for visual balance. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Adding a T-5 fixture, Which bulbs to get? 4/21/07
I have finally decided the lighting fixture I am going to purchase. I chose a 36 inch Nova Extreme fixture with 4 bulb sockets and moonlights. My tank is 30 inches long though and 18 inches high, so I not only need to support it above the water level, but support it somehow on the sides since 3 inches of the fixture will stick out on each side.
<Mmm... I'd rather go with a shorter fixture, lamps... 24 inchers will/would do here>
Since the whole fixture is on there, will it affect the light being sent into the tank?
<Mmm... affect? It will not "look" good... too much light on the outside edges...>
The tank is 36 gallons by the way. The bulbs part confuse me. I know I need an actinic light,
<Mmm, no...>
but not sure
whether to purchase a 50/50 or all actinic light, nor do I know if I should get a 7k or 10k bulb. I have four sockets, and believe that the more blue the better for a reef.
<Again... not really>
The corals I plan to keep will probably we low light and easier maintenance. I have only some corals in mind, and need to purchase a good book
about corals to help me out.
<My choice? Eric Borneman's Microcosm/TFH work on Aquarium Corals or Anthony Calfo's self-published tome on Coral Propagation>
I so far like Ricordea mushrooms, brain coral, Sun coral, and zooanthids.
<Mmm, do read re the Compatibility, Systems of these on WWM:
I was suggested to a T-5 fixture, since people I have talked too have had much success from using it.
Here is the fixture
_ http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Product/Prod_Display.cfm? pcatid=12772&ref=3969&cm
_mmc=LiveAquaria_DFS_Links-_ -Fish_Supplies-_-LiveAquaria
( http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Product/Prod_Display.cfm?pcatid=12772& ref=
Thanks again,
<Do read Joe... also re marine light, lighting on WWM... You'll do fine. Bob Fenner>

Re: Adding a T-5 fixture, Which bulbs to get? 4/22/07
Hello again,
Hopefully you will be able to read the re: applied message since you are know what I am talking about, since there are a bunch of you answer e-mails.
<Mmm, better to use carats... doubled, inverted... but can remember this from yesterday>
If I go with that 24 inch fixture, it only gives 96 watts, which means I would need to have multiple 10ks and without actinic, of which I would like to have at least one in my tank, because wattage is so low.
<Mmm, the actinic is more aesthetic than functional... for looks>
I will purchase a book for deciding what corals I am going to keep, but still will keep ones with moderate to low lighting. It has been difficult for me to find a 24 inch fixture that provides the necessary amount of like that I need for around 4 watts a gallon. I don't know the difference between T5s, PC, and VHO.
<Mmm, then read... posted on the Net, WWM>
I saw a good power compact system and VHO system which would provide around 4 watts a gallon, but don't know how more efficient they are.
<Posted... NO, HO, VHO, CF/PC, T5... T N... are the order of "efficiency" in terms of useful photonic energy per cost of fixture and energy...>
I also figured that VHO and PC would overheat my tank, and therefore having to result into a chiller, something I don't know where to fit since a fuge will be taking up the space and don't know where to pick up the extra cash.
Thanks once more,
<Good considerations... Which will you choose and how? Bob Fenner>

Re: Adding a T-5 fixture, Which bulbs to get? 4/23/07
Hello again,
I found a fixture on eBay. The person who sells it has sold many other products and has had much approval rating. The fixture is a 24 inch Metal HQI Halide 150 watt and 2 x 24 watt T5 sockets. He said it is a Jebo 2007 model, new, and tested to see if it is functional. I Googled Jebo and found nothing but his post on EBay. Not sure if he is a company of some sort or what. It appears as if it would be great for my tank. But the problem is mounting it on my tank. Since its width is 11.5, my tank is exactly 11.5 in width from the sides and right up to where the tank bows. I can support it in the back, but was wondering whether or not I can find legs or something to support it on the sides. I asked the guy questions, and seems like many people have be satisfied with what they purchased. I am trying to be very careful and asking him questions, so far it looks good. But I have never purchased anything on eBay. How do you think the fixture would do for my tank? Would it be sufficient?
Link to the fixture -
_ http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem& item=330110552662&sspagename=ADME:L:RTQ:US:1_
( http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem& item=330110552662&sspagename=ADME:L:RTQ:US:1)
Thank you again Bob, or whoever will help me with this e-mail. I am very grateful for all of your assistance.
<Can be clipped on... but is going to overheat your system likely... Bob Fenner>

Lighting; MH and T5 - 02/07/2007
Hi Adam,
<Hey Gin Josh.>
Thank you for the fast response.
<We try our best.>
I probably would be looking at going for a shallow water bio-tope. If I went with the 175 or 250W pendant, how high above the tank should it be hung?
<Mmm...depending on how bad/good your heating problems are about 12"+...at least 8"...you don't want to cook your animals.>
I would be interested in the "more reputable models/brands out there" that you mentioned.
<Mmm...Sure I will list a few: Hamilton, Giesseman, PFO, Sunlight Supply (Just a personal plug I love the simplicity and effectiveness of the S.S. pendants)....>
Yes fluorescents would be tough on this but I may ask, What about T5/HO instead of metal halide?
<Ummm, I think they are different types of lighting for different types of applications but without going into too much detail...I am a huge fan of T-5's, great bulb life, very efficient when paired with the proper reflector.>
Thanks again.
<No prob.>
Josh Rosenberg
<Adam J.>

T-5 lighting choices 1/29/07
I have a 125 gallon tank. For lighting I have a six bank HO T5 fluorescent fixture. It's a FOWLER setup. I have mainly Zoo's coral wise and appr.
<So not completely a FOWLR'¦..>
120lbs of Live rock. What would be the best mixture of lighting?
I have available 56 watt 6500 k's,10,000 Ks and actinics. What would be the best combination for both growth of Zoo's and LR along with some aesthetics reasons...
<For growth wise lighting 10,000K and less would be fine and 20,000K would meat the aesthetic needs, 4 of the 10,000/6,5000K and two of the 20,000k would be my choice.>
I like the bluer look.
<Most do, if the bluer spectrum is more appealing to you utilize 14,000k'¦.would be an ok compromise in this case.>
How would you place them in the fixture?
<The actinic/20,000k on the outside, (daylight) bulbs toward the middle.>
My LR and Zoo's are pretty much in the back 2/3 of the tank. Thanks for your time...appreciated...Pete
<Welcome, Adam J.>

Re: Ich, Low pH, Low Calcium, Possibly Elevated Magnesium, system improvements... lighting now... 1/24/07
<Hello again Jennifer!>
No way! That would be great but each bulb is only 15 watts so that gives me a grand total of 30 watts...blinding.. I know.. haha!
<Yes, I'm pulling out my sunglasses just to reply to you! This minimal amount of light is sufficient for a FOWLR set up.>
It would save me a bunch of money (not to mention my marriage).
<Hopefully both are good things!>
I'm going to check into that. The LFS here said that I need to have at least 1 white and 1 blue bulb for live rock even if I didn't want corals.
<This is incorrect.>
I was looking at a Nova Extreme w/ T5 bulbs and lunar lights at Drs. Foster. It gives off 216 watts...which I believe is a little more that what I have now.
<Yeah, just a tad...>
Have you heard of these?
<T5's...yes, Nova Extreme...no>
If any one had told me I had to be a chemist, mathematician, electrician and plumber in order to do this hobby I would have rethought it!!!!
<Yes we do tend to become Jack's of all trades!>
Thanks Mich!!
<Welcome! -Mich>

T5 How much is enough? 1/10/07
Hi there,
<Hi Michael, Graham T. here!>
I've a question regarding a rather confusing issue. I'll try and make it as simple as possible. I have 2 reef tanks right now (29 gal and 46 bow tank). Both of these tanks are lighted by PC lighting. In these tanks, I have LPS, Softies and a RBTA in each. I'm getting ready to set up a 75 gallon system and want to have more flexibility with inhabitants. I originally wanted to go with MH lighting but after doing some research, I've come to the conclusion that I really don't want to deal with the heat issues, the cost to run issues and the cost to purchase issues...lol. I've come across T5 lighting, which I'd never heard of. The actual system I'm looking at is a 48" Tek Light: 6-54W T5 HO Fluorescents manufactured by Sunlight Supply.
http://www.reefgeek.com/lighting/T5_Fluorescent/Sunlight_Supply/Tek_Light_Fixtures /48_inch__Tek_Light:_6-54W_T5_HO_Fluorescents_(Black)_by_Sunlight_Supply
<I know there are other manufacturers out there that specialize in aquarium lighting rather than greenhouse and others, but I think Sunlight Supply is a great company. Back in 2000, I purchased a hood from them that had been CAD-built and the light spread was incredible! This light looks very capable.>
The tank is a standard 48"X18"X20". I would like to be able to keep LPS, Softies and Anemones as I do in my other tanks, but I'd also like the option of keeping some types of SPS and maybe a smaller clam or 2. Do you see any reason why this lighting set up wouldn't work? I do understand that I may have to keep the SPS a little higher in the tank. I've also thought about a possible addition of a clamp on style MH fixture of some kind to "spot light" a specific area in the tank for SPS. However, the MH would come in the future. For now, would the T5 fixture work? I will also add that there's a 8 bulb fixture option available as well but I'm thinking that may be a bit overkill.
Any help or advice you're able to provide would be appreciated!! Thanks so much.
<Mike, I see no reason why this fixture would be insufficient for your needs/wishes. That is a lot of light, and well built as far as I can tell. You will probably wish there was a moonlight option, but that's something you can look into later on anyway. One thing I like to push, is up-selling lights, skimmers, and tanks. If you can, get the 8 bulb strip and leave some bulbs out unless you need them. The only problem with the 8 tube light is that it is actually bigger than the top of your tank! Even the 6-bulb model is 16" to your 18". The bottom line: Six bulbs is enough in my opinion, as long as you pick the right bulbs.>
<Stay bright, buddy!
-Graham T.>

Which T5 bulb to buy? 1/5/07
Hello, I am getting t5 bulbs for my tank and was told that JBL t5 bulbs are the best in the market, the problem is that here in Mexico they cost about $50dlls for each 80watt bulb.
But I could also get the following 80watt bulbs by ATI for half the price:
T5 ATI 60" 80w Sunlight
T5 ATI 60" 80w True Actinic
<I would definitely go with the ATI's here for the money... Do make sure they are of a "higher" Kelvin rating... like 11,000... Please see here: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-43,GGLD:en&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=80+watt+bulbs+by+ATI&spell=1>
So I was wondering how do both brands compare, which one is best?
Thank you.
<Mmm, chances may be that they're made by the same manufacturer... just labeled differently. I would skip on much of actinic... Please read here:
the last tray at the bottom... on Marine Lighting. Bob Fenner>

Lighting Combos- Many Bulbs-Many Possibilities 1/3/07
<Hello to the Wet Web Media Crew
<Hi there! Scott F. here today!>
I have a 55g aquarium with a 400w 20,000K bulb for lighting. All of the corals that I am keeping are mainly Acropora and really like the bright illumination. I am looking to upgrade my lighting a bit by adding some T-5's. I am constantly researching about reef aquariums and read that corals prefer and grow better under 6,500-10,000K lighting.
<Well, many of the high-light-loving corals do; the PAR values afforded by 6500-10,000k lighting is important to many for growth.>
My plan right now is to keep the MH and then add 4 48" (54w) T-5's, but I am not sure what combination and Kelvin ratings to use. There are 3 different K ratings I would like to fit into the hood 6,500K 10,000K and actinic. What combination do you think would be best? Right now I am thinking either a 6,500K MH with 2 10,000K and 2 actinic T-5's or a 10,000K MH with 2 6,500k and 2 actinic T-5's
<I like the one with 10k halide with actinic better. In my opinion, the 6500k halide is just too visually yellow, and the addition of T5's in actinic "flavor" will add a nice touch.>
There are really too many combinations that I could go with and was wondering if you could give me your input to help finalize my decision.
Thanks in advance
<My pleasure! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Overheated Lighting Fixture...Dangerous Situation -- 11/20/06
Hello Cam here again.
<<Hi there Cam!>>
I would like to thank you guys and girls for replying to all my previous messages (except when I add a picture as an attachment, but I can understand, bandwidth and all).
<<Am sure all would say you're quite welcome>>
This might seem a bit weird, but I think my lights are fuming, because there is a burning smell coming from my canopy's (Jebo R119) light switch.
<<Mmm, not good...you may want to consider discontinuing use of this unit until it can be checked out>>
I am a bit worried that the 2 new T5's (about 30W to 100W, can't remember the actual amount of Watts) are too close together, about 5mm from each other, and there is a risk that the T5's will explode or fracture, because of the heat.
<<I wouldn't expect the bulbs being close together to be a problem. But...are you using bulbs of differing wattages? The unit should specify which wattage bulbs to use...if you are mixing/exceeding wattages this may be the problem>>
I also think that the wiring could be the culprit here.
I have used normal security wiring.
<<Hmm, I'm a bit of a DIYer myself, but 'security' wiring is not familiar to me. I hope you aren't referring to the 'very light gauge wire' used to for some security/alarm system connections, sometimes also referred to as 'bell' wire, as this is not appropriate for wiring an AC light fixture such as you have>>
The smell is coming from my light switches (on the left side of my canopy).
<<I think you should disconnect/replace this fixture>>
I also can't remember who the manufacturer of the T5's is, so please give me the safest estimates (I have a small canopy (1200mm x 60mm x 60mm).
<<Estimates of what? The safest thing to do at this point is not use this fixture>>
My real questions are:
1) What is the minimum recommended distance between T5 lights?
<<Shouldn't be an issue>>
2) What sort of wiring should be used for T5's?
<<As a minimum, 14-guage copper...in my opinion (I am not a licensed electrician)
3) Should I change the light switches to some that can take the heat or current or is there no such thing as to much current when using digital/electronic ballast?
<<If these switches came with the fixture they should not be heating up. You need to have someone who is qualified to do so, assess the problem with this fixture>>
I know that these questions seem a bit silly, but I am in quite a pickle here.
<<Not silly...and you have a potentially hazardous situation. I would stop using this fixture and get it fixed or replaced immediately>>
Thank you so much for your time.
<<Happy to assist, EricR>>

T5: An efficient Lighting Alternative? 11/7/06
Hi Bob,
<Scott F. in tonight>
I currently have a 36 gallon bowfront tank. It's 30w x 15d x 21h. Right now, I have 130w of PC lighting over the tank. The tank has been running for about 7 months. I don't have many corals yet, but I'd like to start adding more soon. I'm afraid I won't be able to keep many of the LPS corals I like
so much with the current lighting setup.
I've looked into MH lighting, but I'd like to keep the glass top on my tank to keep my Firefish from carpet surfing. I'm also afraid of the heat issues (my tank is in my basement and there is no A/C). I've recently been looking
into T5s. There is one fixture in particular I've got my sights set on. It's the 4 x 24 Tec light.
<A nice system from a good manufacturer, IMO. I like this brand/model.>
I've received many opinions on this setup and I'd like to know what you think. Will the 4x24w of T5 lighting be stronger / give me more PAR than my PC lights did? Can this be considered a lighting "upgrade"?
<I'm speaking strictly from personal experience here, not from scientific data or PAR tests, but I would consider it more powerful than PC's. I love PC lights, but I think that you get greater efficiency from T5's, in part because of the efficient individual reflectors. PC's seem to "waste" a lot of the light they emit because the reflectors are not all that efficient, IMO. Nonetheless, they are one of my favorite light sources. I am currently using T5's on my new system with very nice results. I'd compare them to lower wattage halides in terms of aesthetics, but no where near the heat!>
Will I be able to keep LPS corals including bottom dwelling brains?
<I would think that you could...You can always compensate for the possible lower light with increased feeding.>
Thanks in advance!
Best regards,
<My pleasure! Regards, Scott F.>

T5 Performance 11/4/06
Hi guys and gals, quick question.
<Sure! Scott F. your guy tonight,>
I have a 75 gallon reef tank that has been set up for 9 months. I recently bought the Nova extreme T5 fixture. 432 watts. 4 10k and 4 true actinic. Would this be enough light to support any species of SPS?
<I think it's impossible to state that any lighting system could handle ANY coral that we want to keep. I am a big fan of T5's, and use them regularly, but they are definitely not perfect. They can, however, keep many species of SPS corals and clams alive and thriving. You can always compensate for slightly lower light levels for demanding corals by feeding them. Placement of corals is very important under T5's, as it is with any lighting regime.>
I have read that this T5 fixture might have problems because it does not house individual reflectors. Does that make such a big deal? Thanks, Derick
<Well, Derek, one of the strengths of T5's is the reflectors that are utilized with them. The fixture that you're working with is a nice one, and I'll wager that the possible drop off in intensity or PAR that you'll see in a shared reflector rather than individual reflectors is not immediately noticeable to most of us. Sure, there is probably some difference, but I would not worry excessively about it! Regards, Scott F.>

The 411 On T5's - 10/18/06
Hi there,
<Hiya! Scott F. at the keyboard tonight!>
I have a quick question that I could not find a specific answer to. I have a metal halide fixture with 2 X 250 watt metal halides and 2 X 95 watt VHO's. The VHO's do not give me any heat problems. The halides, of course, generate a lot of heat. I had a 4 X 96 watt power compact fixture (Current USA) I was using when it was real hot out. The PC's had two fans running through it, I was told that those fans are mainly for the ballast to increase how long they last, and the heat still transfers to the water from the light because of the energy from all the watts. I am going to get a Tek Light 6 X 39 Watt, it has no fans but they say it runs cool. How do you think the heat transfer might compare between the two fixtures? Will the 6 X 39 watt t5 fixture run cooler than the 4 X 96 watt Pc fixture?
<I can only speak from experience. My new system is a 40"x40" cube, and I have a total of 12 39-watt T5's over the tank. Heat is way less than the PC's that I have used in the past, and noticeably cooler than halides, IMO.>
I know it should definitely run cooler than the halides. I was told that because the t5's are less wattage they put off less heat while still providing more light. Could you please give me kind of a break down between heat transfer compared to wattage? Thank you very much!
<Wow- good question; one which I am not qualified to answer. Again, speaking from experience, I can assure you that the heat generated by these lamps is far less than any other light source I've used previously. I'd recommend seeking the work and sage advice of lighting expert Sanjay Joshi, who is very well qualified to answer such questions. All in all, I'd highly recommend T5 as a possible alternative to halides and other light sources. Regards, Scott F.>

Options in Saving Coralline in a T5 Lightning Upgrade (2X26) to(8X54) in a 55g 10/1/06
Hi there,
First off, thanks for all your great information here and also in your book The Conscientious Marine Aquarist. I have a recently set up tank (6-7 weeks ago) which originally was going to be a FOWLR but now I want to include a Percula Clown and a BTA in my system.
<Mmm, okay>
I recently added a powerhead ~ 350gph (bringing total to about 700gph in the display) and a 20g in sump refugium (with about 100gph turnover) with a 3.5" DSB put on an alternating light cycle with a few species of Caulerpa and about 9lbs of Live Rock. Also I just purchased new lighting T5 (8X54W 4 actinic and 4 10K)
<Some nice improvements>
My current setup is a 55g which has 80lbs of Live Rock in the display a Coralife t5 (2x26W) assorted hermits, turbo snails, 3 emerald crabs, 2 skunk cleaners, 1 scarlet cleaner, & 1 blue damsel. Testing (8.2ph 0ppm across the board) I haven't tested for calcium etc... yet. But I do change 5g of water a week assuming it will replace my elements.
Almost all my rock is encrusted with coralline ranging from deep purple to light pink and I really want to keep as much as I can in the display during this lighting upgrade. I have read here that I can put layers of fiberglass and take them away little by little.
However I was wondering if I could simply start with 2 t5's and every 3rd day add another t5?
<I'd add one every two weeks>
Or would this not leave enough time to acclimation?
Is there any way to save my coralline or will I just have to wait and hope for it to grow back?
<Most should make the transition... will shift in color as time goes by...>
Also, out of curiosity with almost 8w per gallon what can/can't I keep as a general statement as far as corals go?
<Is posted on WWM>
Thanks, Manny
Gainesville, FL
Go Gators!
<Bob Fenner, Go Reality!>

To T5 or not? That is the question. 10/1/06
I'm rather confused regarding the lightings for a marine aquarium.
<Greetings, and who could blame you? With so many choices and opinions it can be confusing.>
I currently have a 120 litres marine tank. (30cm by 90cm by 45cm) I'm planning to upgrade my current standard fluorescent to a better lighting as I'm intending to go into simple reef keeping like keeping corallimorph & zoanthids.
I do not want to get into metal halides for various reasons.
<With the depth of your tank and the creatures you intend to keep a halide setup would not be a necessity. I run a 150w halide on my 196 litre "shroom and zoo" tank mainly because the tank is 72cm tall, and also because I like the shimmer effect.>
My question is: a T5 fluorescent light falls under HO or VHO or compact fluorescent? My LFS didn't say much regarding this.
<If the question is regarding output per watt you can compare T5 to PC and VHO.>
So, is a light with 2 T5 fluorescent bulbs, (1 actinic, 1 full spectrum) suitable for my tank?
<2 39W T5 bulbs as close to the waters surface as possible will provide enough illumination to keep your Hexacorallians alive and probably provide for a moderate growth rate. If you do not get the growth desired with one actinic and one full spectrum you may consider going with 2 full spectrums or a 4 bulb system. I suggest going with a 4 x 39w system to start.>
Pls advice. Thxs.
If not, what do you suggest?
<This comes down to your desired outcome. If you want rapid growth then 2 39 watt T5s may be a little on the dim side for 45cm depth, but can definately work. I wish you the best. - Emerson>

Lighting Question For a 125 9/19/06
Hi Gang!!
Thank you again for providing such a wonderful site for newbies (like myself) and veterans of the hobby alike! I have a 125 (72"x 18" x 22") that's done it's cycle... been up and running for 6 weeks now. In the main tank I have live rock (bought from an established 7 yr old reef tank), a DSB (ranging from 4.5"-6.5" as the current has shifted in over time). The live rock has been seeding the base (dead) rock over the last few weeks and it also had a few hitchhikers (worms and pods and such) and a few polyps that are open and looking good. The tank is 6' long with 2 overflow canisters built in... I have a sump (with carbon sock), 220 Super Skimmer (with pump) and a 40gl refugium also with live rock, 4" live DSB, and Chaeto. the only inhabitants at this time are a few hermit crabs (red, blue, Halloween) and a purple lobster who was hidden in the live rock when I bought it.
<Keep your eye on this animal... predaceous... night time stalker of fishes, more>
The lighting right now is just some cheapo fluorescents but I'm now ready to get serious with my lighting and desperately need help!. Hate to admit but I'm one of those folks who needs to have their hand held when they're new at something! lol I also have a tiny false perc and a larger black and white perc who were purchased at the same time and have been in quarantine for over 3 weeks now.......all is well with these guys and am looking forward to introducing them to their new home in about another week or so once I get my lighting set up. I'm only interested in keeping mushrooms, polyps (just so many pretty colors!!) and "maybe" a toadstool leather or something that the clowns might possibly host. I started out just wanting a FOWLR tank but started falling for all the lovely mushrooms and other "easy" soft corals that I figured I'd go for it! I think I've decided to go with T5 lighting as I have done a little research. My problem now is finding the correct "amount" of lighting, how many bulbs and of what wattage, etc. ALSO, the way my tank is set up is a bit tricky. The tank is built into a wall...viewed by both sides. The front of the tank is in my clubroom...back is in my office. The hardware and other components are housed below the main tank and are hidden in a cabinet. The top is accessible through a pull down door which runs the length of the tank. Problem being, the way the tank had to be mounted and framed...I only have 4 feet of "open" tank space, instead of being able to reach the full 6 feet length. Soooooo, I know I can only use a 48" bulb fixture. Someone told me not to worry because the light will bounce around enough to light the far ends of the tank but I don't know about that.
<Mmm, me neither... though in time, you'll likely not notice...>
Also, the lighting will have to be suspended of course....and I just wonder how far from the water surface does the lighting have to be?
<Depends on type... the T5's a few inches is fine... but I'd put in a device where they could be elevated out of the way... for maintenance in the tank, or mount to the upper ceiling space...>
Unless my husband can rig some sort of pulley system
<Ah, yes...>
to raise the lighting fixture when I need to feed and get my hands in the tank; I think I'm screwed here! He's pretty handy so that might be a possibility; just have to find the right fixture. At this time I have been looking at the T5 fixtures with 54watt bulbs...either 6 or 8 bulbs ( I also found a place to make a 5 ft which we may be able to use if I can handle the added cost) this is an example of what I was thinking of using:
http://cgi.ebay.com/T5-T-5-HO-Aquarium-light-48-inch-8-X-54-watt-new-Hood_ W0QQitemZ250027907204QQihZ015QQcategoryZ46314QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
<Ah, yes... And I believe I know this fellow/dealer... Honest and competent>
I am also attaching a few photos of the set up...these are from the first week it was running. We modified things a bit from the beginning as we now have the sump and skimmer, then water passes through the fuge and back into the tank. At first we made a wet/dry trickle with a bucket and egg crate and rock....that's gone now! Lots of cool "life" is crawling about now in the fuge and the main tank....this is too cool! lol
<Very nice>
I just really need to make sure I know how much lighting...what "color" bulbs (I prefer a white/daylight" look to a tank rather than a blue or purple cast) and how far from the water does the lighting have to be for these type of corals.
<This light will work... and look very "white" with most any "white", 6,500 K or higher lamp choice>
Thank you so much for the help....and I hope I haven't been too confusing by trying to explain what my needs are.
<Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner>

T5 or MH, Heat Issue... 9/2/06
Hello Crew,
I'm upgrading my 100 gallon tank into a reef tank. Currently I'm planning on removing my closed canopy and replacing it with an open lighting fixture. I've set my mind on either Metal Halide or HO fluorescent T5 lighting.
The thing is, I don't know which lighting will be better for my setup.
My tank dimensions are 58" wide and 18" deep. I would like to keep Bubble-Tipped Anemones and Tridacnid Clams (I would place the clam at the bottom of the tank). My preference in Corals is still not clear, but I would like to be open to a wide range of possibilities.
I've read through your FAQs that Clams prefer MH (and so do I, due to the pleasing shimmering effect), but heat is an issue to me. My room temperature is 25 C, but my tank is around 27 C and I think it's mainly due to the trapped heat in the closed canopy (with three 40 watt fluorescent lamps, will remove soon). I'm also adding more powerful powerheads that will add up to the heat. I'm not sure if T5's will provide enough lighting for the intended inhabitants while emitting low heat, and need your inquiry.
Thank you. Have a nice day.
<<Mohammad: While there are some people who like T5's the vast majority of people that have anemones and clams (including me) have MH lighting. If your canopy is open, I don't thing the MH lighting will significantly increase your temperature. Some day, we may be able to light our tanks with LED's; but, the technology is still being tested. Best of luck, Roy>>

4ft T5 Lighting Placement
Hey guys.
Great web site! It has helped me out a great deal in the past.
Just a quick question.
I have just picked up my new 4ft T5 with 4 tubes for my brand new 4ft x 2ft x 2ft tank (FOWLR). The light came supplied with small (but not small enough) stands to mount the light on. However the hood (which I have installed fans in, thanks to your FAQ's suggestions) will not fit, due to the light being too high with the side stands fitted. Will it hurt if I simply place the light straight on top of the tank, with lids etc fitted?
<Mmm, likely will be okay... do take care to not knock the whole thing in... If it were me/mine, I'd fasten some sort of "wings" to the ends to prevent this>
If this is a "no no" can I simply use some strips of wood placed at either end of the light to elevate the light unit off the glass? If so, how high do you think?
<Oh... yes... an inch or so... maybe with some sort of extension in the front to diminish the blinding effect on viewers, of the light there>
Or do you have a better suggestion?
A big thank you from down under!
<Mmm, not really (haven't quite woken up...), other than fashioning a whole new canopy. I'd try what you have listed above first myself. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

"I'll have the plasma rifle, with the..." T6, N lighting 7/10/06
I have been reading about t-6 lighting. I could find nothing on your site when I searched with google. Have I overlooked something?
<Mmm, nope... just not part of the current technology. "I'll be baaaack, Bob Fenner>

T5 VS. Halides...The Great Debate! 6/19/06
Hey everyone,
<Hi there! Scott F. here today!>
I am looking to purchase a new lighting system for my aquarium and wanted to ask your opinion.
The tank I have is a 72 gallon bow front with 2x55W pc bulbs (quite poor lighting for my tank, I know). The depth is ~19' from the water surface to the top of the sandy substrate. It is a reef tank with live rock all the way from top to bottom so I can position my corals at various heights.
My tank is mostly comprised of soft and LPS corals. In my current setup, I have: 2 well established bubble corals (Plerogyra Sp.), 1 small Galaxea Sp., 1 Open Brain (Trachyphyllia Sp.) which is currently in my hospital tank, 2 Clove Polyps (Clavularia Sp.), 1 Leather Coral (Sarcophyton Sp.), Some green and brown star polyps, and 1 coral which you guys identified as a Stylasterina Sp.
In addition to these, I would be looking at keeping Anthelia Sp. (I had one but I don't think my current lighting could cut it and it slowly died off) and Octobubble corals (Euphyllia Sp.).
<Interesting mix...>
There are two lighting systems that I have been trying to decide between, but any other input you may have would be helpful.
I am currently looking at a T5 HO system by Tek Light, which has either 4 or 6 T5 HO 54W bulbs depending which one turns out to be better for my setup.
The other lighting system I am looking at is a mix between metal halides and pc bulbs. It has 2x150W metal halides in the center with 2x96W power compacts at the sides (which I would probably have as actinic bulbs). This system also comes with 3x1W moon bulbs, but that won't do much for the corals (It's more for aesthetics). The model I am
looking at is a Coralife AquaLight pro.
<Both are excellent systems from well-regarded manufacturers. They are different in terms of flexibility, though, IMO.>
In terms of price they come pretty close (comparing the MH system with the 6 bulb T5 system), with the MH system costing a bit more (but not so much as to be my deciding factor).
My local store owner says that the MH system would be of no more benefit than the T5s unless I am holding SPS corals.
<I would tend to agree. T5's are amazing lights, and watt-per-watt are some of the most efficient available, especially in a well-designed reflector (like the SLS/Tek or Icecap units). However, I have seen a number of SPS systems maintained with T5's, and they are amazing. I suppose if you were comparing the T5 setup to a 250-400 watt halide setup for SPS, I would say hands down, go with halides. On the other hand, it's my personal opinion that a well-designed T5 setup can equal the efficiency of 150 watt halides, with less energy consumption and heat production. Sure, halides can do some cool things, such as provide "glitter lines", but the T5's burn cooler, are less expensive to replace, and offer an ever-increasing variety of bulbs. In your situations, I'd be inclined to go with the T5 setup, myself.>
He recommends me to get the T5 system he sells, but I want a second opinion as he might just be saying that so I will buy the system from him.
Much thanks for the input,
John D.
<I'll second the recommendation, for the reasons outlined above. Do ask around on some of the hobby message boards; ask to see some pics and hear some testimonials, but I think that you won't be disappointed with the T5 setup you're looking at! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

T5s, Depth, and Corals - 06/14/2006
<Please let me preface this reply by stating that I am NOT a lighting/coral genius, but it seems that your message has arrived to us in a format that very few of us are able to view. I am one of those lucky few (two?) of the Crew that can view your question, and it's come to me. So.... I'm hoping that if my statements here are wrong that Bob might correct them before he places this reply on the dailies tomorrow. Please do be watching the dailies to see what, if anything, is amended.> <<Hotay. RMF>
I have a 50 gallon breeder tank 18" high with 5-6" of sand (aprox 120 lbs) and 127lbs of LR.
I am in the midst of a purchase on a 8X39 watt Teklight.
<Aside from T5s being my "favorite" aesthetically, I think this is a good choice for your system.>
The bulb combination is going to be 50/50 between 10,000k and 03's.
<I'd go a little heavier on the 10Ks rather than a half'n'half mix here. The 10Ks will be of more use to your photosynthetic life. Actinics are more or less for our viewing pleasure, though they do also have some good benefit.> <<Agreed>>
My questions and/or worries is what kind of corals I can keep at what depth, and also what distance I should keep the light from the water surface.
<I'd keep the lights as close to the water surface as practical for you; the farther they are, the more light lost.>
The average depth of the water is 11-12 inches from water line to sand bed surface, with rock pile up to 2" from surface. The opening on the tank is 36"X16" and the light will fill 36"x15-3/8" of that opening. My friend selling it to me said I could keep just about anything. Would that be your assessment?
<Providing you're cautious to go with a mix of compatible species, yeah, I think you've got a lot of options, here.>
Live rock
Skimmer aqua-c
I am hoping I can keep some Acro's and the like.
<I think you can, yes. I'd try to keep them close/r to the surface; say, halfway up or higher, but some of the more tolerant animals may even do well/okay closer to the sand. If you do consider any low-ish light animals, like shrooms and such, you may even consider tucking them in a somewhat shaded spot.>
No anemones.
<Good. These are ultimately quite incompatible with corals.>
Thanks for your time.
<Glad to be of service.>
Thanks, Tim Wagner
<Wishing you well, -Sabrina Fullhart> <<Sounds good. RMF>>

Anemone Lighting/T5 Lighting 5/14/06
Hi Bob, <James today, Ron.> there's a lot of confusion out there on lighting. <Yes> Locals say that these new T5 are the strongest fluorescents out there. Is it possible to keep a bubble tip anemone alive and healthy with four T5's on a 75 gallon tank, total of 216 watts.
<Ron, I've been doing some investigating lately on the T5 lamps and the best comparison I can make is that three 54 watt T5's are comparable to one 150 watt metal halide in light intensity. If your 75 gallon is a "tall" model, you will probably be at the edge of having enough light to support the BTA. The beauty of the T5 system is that the bulbs are rather compact and many of them can be incorporated into a hood and they do emit less heat than VHO's of comparable wattage. My suggestion would be to use a six light system which should give you more than enough light for BTA's.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Bulkhead Misery, And fluorescent lambda - 05/07/06
Hey Bob,
<<EricR here...Bob's off at another "fishy" event>>
Took the tank back in today after talking with him on the phone. He's just going to redrill and fit a new 2" bulkhead on there.
<<Great to hear>>
He was really apologetic about the whole fiasco. I'm just glad it was so easy.
<<Indeed... As Bob stated, sometimes best to "cool down" and present in a calm manner>>
On another topic, I am trying to determine what type of lighting would be better for my setup. I was going to go with 4 x 110watt VHO's with 3 being 10k and one being Actinic, but I've also had reefers suggest T5 HO's.
<<The current "fad"...the VHOs will be just fine>>
The cost for T5's is quite a bit higher from what I've seen and it seems I would also need more like 6-8 T5 bulbs.
<<Agreed...VHO gets my vote/is what I use/have used for years>>
As far as what these will be lighting, I plan on keeping mostly softies and maybe eventually some LPS or SPS and a Tridacna derasa. Which would be more appropriate for this?
<<Not saying the T5s wouldn't work as well, but I have a good friend who keeps all the critters you mentioned under VHO lighting with great success>>
Thanks again,
Joel F.
<<Regards, Eric Russell>>

Lighting/Canopies - 03/28/06
Hello again, <Hi>
Read the FAQ in the canopy/hood section and just want to make sure I interpreted everything correctly.
Plan on buying a 90 gallon with an oak stand and oak canopy. After reading about covering the tank itself, it seems that you propose no
glass covers for various reasons.. greenhouse effect, salt creep, light refraction etc. So my question is won't the water that will be
evaporating be trapped by the canopy? <Will be humid to say the least.>
I plan on mounting a 6 bulb T5 fixture inside the canopy. Is there anything I need to do other than
painting and sealing the inside of the canopy? <It will require a cooling fan to exhaust this air out of the canopy. It's a DIY project and the fans are inexpensive.> Anything I should watch out for in buying the canopy? <I prefer a canopy where the entire top opens for ease of cleaning, etc.> Anything I should look out for in buying the T5 fixture? <No. James (Salty Dog)>
Thanks for your help. <You're welcome.>
Jim McDonald

T5 lighting - 22/03/06
<Hello. John here this morning.>
I have a quick question regarding T5 lighting. I currently have a 55 gallon
tank (48x20x13). I have 2x55watt 21" 50/50 compact fluorescents with a 48"
actinic light across the back as well. I am looking into purchasing T5
lighting that has two bulbs, one white and one blue. The man I am dealing
with said that would give me about 7 watts/gallon. I am not sure how the math works with T5 lighting.
<Number of watts power input / number of gallons. How else? :P And how does he get 7? Each tube draws 200W??>
I have about 2.7 watts/gallon right now. In my tank I have 2 Percula clowns, a Foxface rabbitfish, some snails and hermits, and a hammer coral and button polyps. I purchased the tank from a friend so it is well established (for 2 1/2 years), I have only had it for about a month and I am loving it, including the research involved. My only issue is trying to figure out the lighting so I can figure out what other types of coral I can put in my tank.
<Watts per gallon is not a useful measure. A watt is simply a measure of the power used. Standard 55g tanks are not too deep, and so the lighting you mention should be fine for zoanthids and some soft corals. I can't be more specific without knowing what the specs of the two T5 tubes you're getting are.>
Thank you so very much for your time. I have used this website for a lot of
my questions and find it very helpful, and will continue to use it as a reference.
<Me too! Look forward to talking again. Best regards, John.>

Lighting/Inverts/T5 lighting for 180 Reef - 02/20/06
There's a lot of great information on the boards but I've been unable to locate guidelines for T5 lighting. <Relatively new system.> I'm in the process of upgrading from
a 65 reef to an Oceanic 180 RR. I've been using a Nova Extreme 4x39w fixture on the 65 which is not bad but not great. I'm considering using
the Icecap 6x80W retro kit with 3" Aqualux reflectors but I'm not sure if it's going to be enough output. <Not if you want to keep "anything".> I'd like the flexibility to put
pretty much anything in the tank with the understanding that depth will be a consideration based on the animal. I may be able to fit 2
additional 80W bulbs in the canopy but until it arrives I won't know (Oceanic can't/won't provide inside measurements). <Don't they know what they make?> Any advice on the T5
arrangement or lighting in general would be appreciated. This is a Greenfield scenario though ideally I'd like to avoid MH and the
associated heat challenges. <With six 80 watters you will have a heat challenge as it is, yet alone adding two more. To keep most anything in the 180 you need to be looking at two 250 watt HQI's. Eight T5's is 640 watts. The two 250's (500 watts) will give more intensity than the eight T5's and more economical to operate/maintain.>
Thanks very much! <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Roger Sher

Lighting/Ballast Size 2/8/06
Hi! pals, <Hi Andrew>
wetwebmedia has been a great help to me in advancing my hobby in reef keeping :) thanks to all of you guys for your hard work. <Much appreciated.>
I have recently purchased a T5 lighting system. The package states that it is a 4x28W lighting system, however when I replaced the tubes
with 56W lighting, it works and the lighting given off is much brighter than the original 28W tubes.
Is it possible to connect HO (56W) tubes to LO ballast, <Now you ask?> or it is possible that the original lighting comes with HO ballast but
the company included in the package LO lighting? <First of all, you should never use tubes of different wattage than what the unit was designed for. The ballast is not going to last too long yet alone the possibility of a fire. I suggest putting the 28 watt tubes back in very soon, like after you read this.>
Thanks for answering my questions. <You're welcome. In the future please do cap all "i"s and beginnings of sentences. Saves us much editing time. James (Salty Dog)>
Cheers to fellow reef keeper and cheers to the team

T5 HO question 1/7/06
Alright its time for me to bug y'all again. ; ) <Ready to be bugged>
Well I have been looking at upgrading lighting for awhile now. I have an LPS, softie tank and I want to try a clam and SPS but I cannot do that with 4x65 PC lamps as I just cannot get enough PAR over my tank to sustain it.
I have been looking at MH and can get a hood for around $390 or so or 2xMH retro's for around $340 or so.
I recently came across a 8x54 T5 fixture for $349.99. I was wondering if 8xT5HO would be enough to keep any SPS, Softie or LPS animal (or photo inverts) that I wanted? <John, please provide tank dimensions so I can properly assist you. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: T5 HO question 1/7/06
55 gallon at 48 long 12 wide and 21 tall.
Alright its time for me to bug y'all again. ; )
Well I have been looking at upgrading lighting for awhile now. I have an LPS, softie tank and I want to try a clam and SPS but I cannot do that with 4x65 PC lamps as I just cannot get enough PAR over my tank to sustain it.
I have been looking at MH and can get a hood for around $390 or so or 2xMH retro's for around $340 or so.
I recently came across a 8x54 T5 fixture for $349.99. I was wondering if 8xT5HO would be enough to keep any SPS, Softie or LPS animal (or photo inverts) that I wanted? <Although the 8x54 will work John, if you can get 2x175 MH's for $340.00 that would be the way I would go. SPS's and clams just seem to do better under MH lighting. I also like the effect MH/HQI gives to the water. James (Salty Dog)>

Old PC's to T5 lighting 11-25-05
I have asked many questions on this site, and have always received a helpful answer.
<Great to hear.>
Now I need you guys more than ever. I recently discovered that I need to buy knew reef lighting due to the dying of my old lights. I use to have 2 Aqua Medic 250W on my 72g bowfront, and was never able to keep anything alive, so I got rid of them and went with a 4x96W fixture from Current USA, and loved them.
<I bet.>
Everything I bought after that was kept alive and flourished, but never seemed to grow much, and the light color was always an ugly yellowish color, instead of the blue hue I like.
<Hmmm You might want to switch bulb companies or styles.>
I was thinking of just getting the same one, but they have released these new T5 bulbs, and everyone I talk to say they are brighter, and smaller.
I'm afraid that might be too much light for my tank, and will I have to set the timers for a shorter day so as not to shock my corals.
<In my opinion you can have too much light. Ever looked at the sun on a reef?>
If they are brighter than the power compacts now on the tank, I really don't know if I should just stick with what works or if I should bump it up to 432W on a 72g?
<A bit of a tough call. If you ballast still works I would just keep the PC's and change to new spectrum bulbs. There are a few companies out there and you should be able to make you tank look more blue. If the ballast is dead then it is up to you if you want to pay to play with a new light set-up. The T-5's look promising, but expensive. You will be fine either way, so go with your gut and good luck. Travis>
Thank you

T5 lighting 11/23/05
Hey all,
Thanks again for all the help you've given to myself and other hobbyists around the world! I've just ordered a 4 bulb T5 retrofit kit for a 48X18X18 tank (2 X 10000K and 2 X actinic @ 54W each). These are to replace my current 3X30W NO fluoros. I'd just like to know:
-Has anybody heard of or dealt with the brand, 'Aquaz'. Are their lighting products reputable?
<I'd try the BB's here>
-Will the colour combination stated above give a bright natural appearance, or will it be too blue?
<I'd skip one or both of the actinics>
-Will it make a hell of a difference in terms of brightness and coral growth compared to my current lighting?
-What sort of corals am I able to keep with these T5 lights?
<Most any photosynthetic cnidarians>
Thanks for all your help, its very much appreciated.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

75 gal. light system 11/20/05
Hi there Bob, I was wondering if a light fixture that will have 4 54w t5 6,500k will be sufficient lighting or not. I plan on having some fish and some corals not exactly sure on which corals just yet but have been working on coming up with a list which I know has to be done first and also the fish list.
The fixture will have a reflector that is 95% reflective and it will be scalloped to reflect more light into the tank.
Thanks, Manodano
<Is likely sufficient for most any mix of photosynthetic life you'd like to keep. Bob Fenner>

T5 on a 90 gallon? 11/20/05
Hello WWM Crew.
<Hi there>
I have had my 90 gallon (48"L x 18"W x 24"H) FOWLR and Inverts w/4.5" DSB, sump, closed loop manifold, 2 powerheads (total of about 2400 gph water flow) running since May of this year.
Parameters: ammonia, Nitrite = 0, Nitrate = 10 ppm, pH = 8.2, Alk = 5.5 meq/L, calc = 360 ppm, 78 degrees F, steady.
Livestock: 5" yellow tang, 5" brown-barred goby, 1.5" neon goby, 2 A. percula clowns, 2 firefish gobies, 1 banded coral shrimp (well-fed!), 1 skunk cleaner shrimp, 1 red serpent sea star, 1 blue linckia (have had him for 2 months now
and he travels all over the rocks - I have high hopes!),
<Me too!>
1 featherduster worm, 2 Turbo snails, 2 Astrea snails, approximately 20 Nassarius snails (great sand sifters!).
Quick question: I have recently acquired a Nova Extreme T5 Lighting system (4 x 54W 460nm Actinic and 4 x 54W 10000°K T-5 HO lamps) for what seems to me to be an unbelievably low price.
<Will be coming down... and should>
I am interested in LPS corals and mushrooms, maybe some small polyps. Although I've read the lighting FAQ's (over the past four weeks!) I'm not sure: is the 432 watts of T5 lighting enough for LPS, or will I need to supplement this?
<Will likely be "enough"... more T5 or intensity could be useful, but not necessary>
That's the quick question. Here's the rest of the information you're probably looking for: In the FAQ's and on other message boards I'm hearing two different things: one faction says that it's not enough at these depths, and another says T5's are enough for a clam (no specific species named) as long as the clam is in the middle of the tank. The corals I'm
looking at are bubble coral (Plerogyra sinuosa), hammer coral (Euphyllia ancora), candy cane coral (Caulastrea furcata), fox coral (Nemanzophyllia turbida), hairy mushrooms (Rhodactis sp.), red, green, blue, purple, mushrooms (Actinodiscus sp.), and polyps (Zoanthus sp. and possibly Anthelia sp.).
<These should be fine>
The corals, mushrooms, and polyps would be on the live rock between 7" depth and 19" depth depending on aesthetics. I have not purchased any corals or corallimorphs yet as I am letting the current inhabitants get used to the new lights for a month or so. I also am interested in a happy reef tank, but not necessarily propagation (if it happens, it happens, when it happens). I have read so much controversy on the T5's that I'm confused beyond belief. Will I be okay with this lighting for these specifics? Thanks - Bekah
<I would go ahead with your plans here. As time goes by, issues of measure, provision of PAR rather than raw watts of energy consumed will become clearer. Bob Fenner>

T-5 Lighting And Sizing A Tank For A Hippo - 10/28/05
Hello crew, John here.
<<Hello John...EricR here.>>
I have a couple of questions, which after perusing the FAQ's, I could not find an answer for the particular situation.
Perhaps you can shed some light?
1) Currently, I have a 90 gallon reef (softies and LPS) which is lit with 4x110 watt URI fluorescent tubes on an IceCap 660 ballast (2 actinic white and 2 actinic).
<<Way more actinic than you need/want.>>
I have seen some references to using this ballast to run a quartet of 54 watt HO T-5's, suggesting the bulbs would run at 85 watts and would be brighter.
<<Would likely overdrive the bulbs, yes...which also shortens their already short life (in my opinion).>>
This suggests that the lumens/watt would be higher than with VHO's. Do you have any insight on this? Is it just rubbish or is it an easy and worthwhile upgrade from VHO?
<<Not and "upgrade" at all in my opinion, I consider the VHO's to be better "bang for the buck" than PC's. I think if you were to replace all but one of the Actinic bulbs with either 6500K or 10000K bulbs you would be much better off than switching to PCs (even overdriving the bulbs, 85 watts is still less than 110 watts).>>
2) Speaking of up-grades, I am starting to plan my next tank, looking towards providing enough room for larger fishes (not huge, but things like hippo tangs and 'reef-safe' BF's).
<<Hundreds of gallons in size I hope.>>
The FAQ's suggest a minimum of a six-foot tank. Unfortunately, due to placement and space considerations in the home, a 5 foot tank would be much more do-able. The standard sizes for these seem to be 150 and 190 gallons.
<<You might get away with a single Hippo Tang, but not more. These are very active (even twitchy) and robust animals that can reach a foot in length. I prefer to see them in larger quarters myself. As for "reef-safe" Butterflies, of those considered as such, this tank should be fine for a specimen or two of different specie.>>
Would such a tank be adequate or will I be looking at the tank in a few years and pitying the plight of my poor charges?
<<The latter I believe...>>
<<Regards, EricR>>

Light reading 8/17/05
Hi crew, <Hello>
I purchased some new T5 Deltec (2 * 10K white 1 * 20K blue) lights and the reading on the quantum meter was 550 PPF does was done a few millimeter from each tube.
A friend that uses Triton's had a reading of 160 PPF also few millimeters from the tube and its new light.
He has been using Triton for years and has no problems with his corals.
The T5's are new to us and the reading of the Deltec is high in comparison to the Triton and based on the read it seems as if the Deltec is a good light to use in future.
We also know that Tritons have been used for year by many with great success but why is the reading so low in comparison to the T5's?
Does this mean that the T5 Deltec is a far better light than the Triton? <Yes>
I need to understand why such a difference. <The T5 is the latest in fluorescent technology from Germany. It is a High Output (HO) lamp, and as you know, only 5/8 of an inch in diameter. This light will put out almost twice the brightness of a standard lamp such as the Triton.
Thanks <You're welcome, James (Salty Dog)>

T5 Lighting, good or bad?? 8/2/05
<Hello ol' buddy - Ali here...>
Every once in awhile, I find a question here about T5s from your readers and I am shocked by some of the misinformation in regards to your answers. I understand that you guys don't have a lot of experience with T5s (and I wish that you did), but to tell people T5s are less powerful or even equal to VHOs or PC's is flat out ridiculous.
<Ugh...doing a simple search on our site, I found MANY instances where the opposite of what you state occurred.>
4 - 54W T5s over a 20-24" aquarium gives lighting output equivalent to 250W Metal Halides.
<I wouldn't say "equivalent">
T5s totally blow away the watts per gallon rule and totally
blow away VHOs and PCs. Test them if you don't believe it. but make sure the bulbs have individual reflectors. I can give softies all the light they want at the bottom of my 20" tank (75 gal) with only 2-54W T5s running.
<Very easily done my friend. No one is stating this is not possible, what's up with the attitude? Rough day buddy? Check this link out: http://stress.about.com/od/relaxation/ >
Moving them up the tank folds them up under the intense
par.. SPS is happy under 4 T5s at the middle and above And to say that people can't have clams or anemones with T5s (even only a few of them) is not correct either....check out some message board pictures and you will be surprised.
<Ahh, the coveted anemones. These are actually in the garden gnome family and require frequent watering via a sophisticated sprinkler system device in order to thrive. I'm actually quite certain they can't be kept under any lighting, let alone T5. Now, anemones on the other hand'¦ <G> >
I would prefer you guys just say, "I don't know; I don't have experience with that type of lighting" instead of telling people they need to go with MH, PC, or VHO just because you guys are more familiar with that lighting. T5s have a unique color, they save electricity and have a heck of a lot more par than you think. I wish the crew would experiment a little bit with T5s and give good information or just not give any at all. I'm sure you remember a time when metal halides were new...and look at them now. T5s could be the next VHO or PC...but you need to give them a chance.
<I do? hehe. For what it's worth, amazing results can be achieved utilizing the proper ratio T5 bulbs with the proper reflectors. I would highly recommend running tanks with T5/Halide combos. Intensity combined with a unique color richness. In my honest opinion, probably the best way to light a reef aquarium if your goal is to maintain stunning Acropora coloration. If your goal is to keep basic LPS or Softies, utilizing pretty much any form of lighting, whether PCs, VHO's or T5s will work. There's no need to get "crazy" over this. Much, much more important than lighting are water quality factors, (balanced and stable calcium/alk., zero nitrates, zero phosphates, etc. yadda etc. yadda)>
Just my 2 cents. keep up the otherwise good work. -Cody
<Thanks for your input Cody. You rock my friend, however, please consider a few cups of freshly made Green Tea per day. - Ali>

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