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FAQs about Fluorescent Light and Lighting for Marine Systems, T-5 Lamp Selection

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There are no zero sum games in this universe

T5 lighting/Reef Lighting 2/12/13
Hi crew!
<Hello Jennifer.>
I recently upgraded to an 80 gallon frag tank (48x24x18). Currently I am running AquaticLife 4 bulb T5 fixture.
<Not enough lighting for a two foot wide tank.>
 I have mostly softies in the tank but I have a couple of Montis that have lost color but are growing.
I am looking at upgrading the lighting.  My question is should I add another 4 bulb T5 fixture (there is room) or go metal halide with 4 T5s? My goal is to get color back into the Montis and I don't know if the additional T5s will be as effective in achieving that goal.
<No guarantee the additional lighting will get the color back in the Montis but you will need more coverage.  The color is created by the Zooxanthellae algae that reside in the corals and a difference in intensity and/or spectrum can have an profound effect on color.>
 Also I have been reading about the difference in T5 bulb brands and am understanding that ATI is top of the line.  I am using UVL and am wondering if just switching to ATI bulbs will help to increase the color.
<It's best to look a spectrum charts of the lamps and look for a spectrum that closely matches the PUR spectrum corals require which is 400-550nm and 620-700nm.  The UVL's produce sharp spectrum peaks in many of their models but none have what I would call a good spectrograph.  Their Actinic White and Aquasun are the better choices of all their models as far as covering the PUR spectrum but not great.  Follow this link  which will show the spectrographs for UVL lamps. http://www.uvlco.com/AquariumT5.html
Now look at the  attachment which shows a spectrograph of a well known LED fixture.  Can you see the difference in the PUR spectrum coverage, the smoothness of spectrum transition?  It is much better for coral growth. 
Before I would invest in metal halide lamps I would strongly consider LEDs and eliminate the heat, power consumption, and lamp replacement costs.>
Currently I am running 2 Aquasuns, 1 indigo sun, one actinic blue. Thank you for your help! I have been researching this for over a week and can't a lot of information.
<As far as ATI lamps, there doesn't seem to be a big difference in overall spectral quality over UVL lamps but if I were to use ATI lamps I would choose their 12K Aqua Blue as they do peak in the right places.  James (Salty Dog)>

Re: T5 lighting 2/18/13
Thanks James for the fast response.
<You're welcome.>
 I had this T5 on a 55 gallon so I realize it's not enough for the 80 gallon. I guess what the bottom line is will T5 lighting be enough to sustain SPS corals? If so how much is enough in the 80 gal? I would like to get LEDs but it is not in the budget right now and also I've been told that there are so many fixtures out there that are just junk.  I am going to research out the Orphek pendant fixture.
<I would recommend a six lamp T5 fixture.  Two of the Orphek PR72 Reef Pendants would light this tank nicely and I just happen to be an Orphek sales rep.:-))>
Thanks again!
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re T5 lighting 2/19/13

Hey James! I have been doing a TON of research on LEDs and it appears the budget can afford it:) And the Orphek looks promising. I guess you would be the person to ask: Is there a way to mount them other than hanging, like a gooseneck? And since you are a rep do you give discounts to WWM patrons..haha;) Where is a good site to buy them?
<Hi Jennifer.
I answered you through the Orphek site.  I don't believe Bob would appreciate me conducting business on his site. :-)
I will say that I can give a nice discount to WWM patrons.>
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting question, T5's for corals, clam      3/31/12
<Good Morning Paul>
I write to you reference lighting for my red sea max 250. I am due to replace the lamps that came with the stock system and was hoping for your inputs on the same. I currently run them with 3 white and 3 blue stock but was looking to enhance this a bit. I find the stock lamps a bit too white and was looking for a bit more of a color pop. The plan was to go with the following:
1 Fiji purple
1 Giesemann 6.5K
2 ATI Aquablue 12K
1 ATI true actinic
1 ATI blue plue
<These are all high quality bulbs and will provide a better look than the stock bulbs. Understand that the more you lean toward the 10K side of the equation, the less 'pop' you will have. This does not mean the color is more or less accurate, just less of the florescence. As with anyone else, you will have to experiment over time with different combinations to get to the one you like>
In terms of coral, mine is a largely LPS tank (Mussids and plates largely) but I was looking to move to some select SPS as well. Am also planning on adding a crocea or maxima clam in due course. Does the above sound like a reasonable mix? I was looking for 10K bulbs instead of the 12Ks but did not see that in the ATI range. One additional consideration is that I do not run a chiller on the tank. The fans running 24/7 keep the temperature in check. Would the change of bulbs impact the amount of heat produced thereby making a chiller necessary?
<I wouldn't expect it to. Watts are watts and the cooling capacity of the existing fans are what impacts it. Brand is not going to make a difference>
Appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.
<You are welcome, Bobby>
Re: Lighting question   3/31/12

Thank you for your reply Bobby.
<You are welcome>
I do appreciate your insights. My concern about heading 10k heavy was to do with it providing the right PAR levels for the coral and clam. Do you think the lamps I planned will meet the requirements for the corals I have/plan to have (as previously described)? I am no expert on the subject but my amateur assessment was that the 6.5k and 2 12k lamps would give me the high PAR while the blue and Fiji purple would add more pop than I have now.
<The PAR reading for T5's work a bit differently in respects to the old MH philosophy you are trying to equate it to. Suffice to say the bulbs you are talking about with the specific tank you are using will be fine. I use a very similar set up 18" above a tank housing a 10" Squamosa. I feel very comfortable you will be fine if you want to lean more towards a 15K-20K look with the bulbs.>
Would you agree that this is accurate?
I much appreciate the great work you and your team are doing. A quick FYI, had written to you previously about moving some coral and fears related to ich. Happy to report almost zero casualties. Just lost one frag of a cats paw but rest survived and are doing well!
<Glad to hear!! Bobby>
Re: Lighting question   3/31/12

Thank you ever so much. Just one clarification, did you mean that the lamps I have picked will be a more 15k to 20k look or that I could head further that way?
<The latter> I felt that these would be more 'blue' and hence closer to 20k than the stock lamps. Either way, like you say, I have got to mix and match and see what work. Thanks again for your continued guidance.
<You are welcome. Bobby>

Re: Frag Question, now actually T5 lamp temp. (relative to black body radiation)      2/22/12
Thank you Bob, I appreciate the help and one last thing, in your opinion is there benefit to 6700 vs. 10000 T5's for coral growth?
<Mmm, maybe some... the organisms grown under 6700 K seem sturdier (less likely to break) to me>
My lfs thinks I am crazy for using the 6700 and your site seems to like the 6700, just want your opinion... Once again thanks for your help.
<Welcome. BobF>

T-5 lighting question for a 110g tank, choices in length/fixtures  -- 10/07/11
Hello all,
<S. Bay...>
I just purchased a 110g tank (60"L x 18"W x 24"D) and am looking to set up some good T-5 lighting so that I can run a mixed reef tank. I'm hoping to eventually grow some softies, some LPS and some SPS corals. I'm also trying to keep the canopy on over the top of the tank because I like the way it looks. That being said, which might be a better route to takeÂ. A DIY T-5 retrofit kit that uses six 60" bulbs or would a DIY T-5 retrofit kit that uses six 48" bulbs work just fine for the 60" tank?
<Either will do... Am siding on the latter, as being easier to fit in the canopy mostly>
I am looking at an LET Lighting retrofit kit because the reflectors are only 2.5" wide and thus I would be able to mount them in my canopy because the total setup would only be 15" wide. (my tank is only 18" wide). Plus, I'll have a coast to coast (c2c) overflow mounted on the rear wall that will be approximately
50"L x 4"W x 5"D.
I was just wondering if it's worth paying the extra money to go with the 60" T-5 bulbs (which only a couple of manufacturers make ­ Geismann & ATI)
<Yes; and expensive... I have these in a couple units at home here>
or would a 48" T-5 setup work because the 48" T-5 bulbs are much easier to come by and, of course, the overall kit is lower (by approximately $100).
<Yes... again, the 48" wide are my choice. Some minor shadowing, PAR drop-off at the ends of the tank (unless you stagger the fixtures left and right...) but no big deal>
Also, I've been reading your info regarding which types of bulbs would work best, however, most everyone talks about either a 4 bulb setup or an 8 bulb setup. So, I would appreciate your suggestion on which brand and type of bulbs would you suggest for a 6 bulb setup? (Geismann, ATI, etcÂ.and 6,000K,
10,000K, 420nm, etcÂ.) Also, from front to back, what would you suggest the order of the bulbs be?
<Mmm, this really comes down to personal preference. I WOULD run the higher K lamps over/near where you intend to mount/place the SPS... and likely would NOT use/employ any "very blue" (actinic) lamps here period>
Your insight is greatly appreciated as I'm hoping to just buy the setup once instead of going through different fixtures and bulbs and finding out what doesn't work and wasting money.
Take care,
<IF you have the opportunity to visit a shop... or online where you can gain an appreciation looks-wise what these lamps appear... I'd use this as a guide. Bob Fenner>

Lighting, T 5 lamp sel., LEDs...    1/19/11
Hi Crew,
<Hello Sam.>
I have an Aquapod 24 gallon with a glass top and 96W of T5's. The bulbs are 2 daylight and 2 actinic and I have LPS only, Acanthastrea, candycanes, hammers, torches and a very large Trachyphyllia. The next time I change bulbs should I leave it as is or go for all daylight.
<Most will not like the look of all daylight, not blue enough.>
My corals seem ok but for the most part they do not grow new heads. I feed them at least once a week-finely chopped silversides. I don't notice the blue that much except when I have the daylights turned off which is the last 2 hours of my lighting time.
<Turn off just the actinics to get an idea of what all daylight would look like.>
And it does look very different at that time, but everything starts getting smaller. Can I get the blue effect with LED's.
<Sure, that is another way to go. All daylight with the T5s and blue LED's. You could just order two new daylights and then play with them along with what you already have to see what look you like. One actinic and 3 daylights will increase your lighting a good bit while still giving you the actinic effect. Do realize the placement of the actinic can make a big difference too. You will usually notice the actinic much more when placed towards the front of the tank where you view it than you would towards the back.>
<Welcome, Scott V.>

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)>

Lighting... colour/temp. of T 5 lamps   6/21/10
Hello again crew. I recently bought a T5HO light for my 29g LPS and softy reef system. It is 4 24w bulbs without the parabolic reflectors. I currently have the 12k bulbs that came with it in the fixture but it seems too yellow
<Strange... I would contact the manufacturer re these lamps>
for my taste. I have two 14w NO T5's running actinics but it still does not help much with the yellow color. I was wondering if I switched out one of the four 12k's for an actinic would it harm my corals.
<Will likely be fine>
I have done my research and it's hard to tell if more actinic light would harm my corals  or slow their growth most of my research pretty much says that actinic does not do much for the zooxanthellae in the corals.
<Will moderately slow growth>
Your input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again Zach
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

New Setup, Lighting... T5 lamp sel.  4/20/10
I am thinking about buying the Sunlight Supply Tek Light T5 fixture (48"; 8x54W) for my 150G mixed reef tank and would like your advise on bulb selection. UV Light offers the following bulbs:
- super actinic
- aqua sun (10,000K)
- actinic white (12,000K; 50/50)
- aqua blue (14,000; 75/25)
The fixture has two switches and allows to turn on/off four bulbs at the same time. Could you please recommend the best combination of the light bulbs? Do I need to use Super Actinic bulbs at all? Can I replace them with Aqua Blue's? On one hand I don't
<You do not need the Super Actinics.>
I am thinking about the following combination:
- 2 aqua blue 14,000K
- 2 actinic white 12,000K
- 4 aqua sun 10,000
<Sounds good to me.>
Thank you for your help,

T5 bulb manufacturers and combination of bulbs  4/1/10
I am planning on changing both the bulbs, and combination of bulbs in my Nova Extreme fixture (8 54 W bulbs-4 10,000 K daylight, and 4 460 actinics.
There are several companies that produce these bulbs. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions as to which brands, and which combination of lights to use in this fixture.
Recently, I read here that actinic light's in themselves are not necessary, strictly aesthetic.
<Pretty much so with a good daylight bulb.>
The light produced by actinic bulbs is also produced in daylight bulbs. The blue light is nice aesthetically, but a combination of 50/50 is not the greatest for growing many hard corals that I would like to grow in my 120 gallon reef. Please correct me if I am wrong (I know you will).
<You are correct, but the fixture you have is powerful. Running a few actinics will not hurt your growth.>
Geissmann has a bulb called the PowerChrome Actinic + T5 lamp that looks appealing.
<My favorite T5 actinic.>
Aqua Medic also has a bulb called Ocean White which is a 10,000 K bulb as well.
<Also my fave for daylights.>
As you know, there are countless manufacturers out there, which are the best.
<You got them for my money.>
Also, what combination of bulbs would be best for general reef keeping? I know that is a very vague question, but am I am least on the right track in thinking that I should replace some of those 4 actinic bulbs with more white light?
<With this fixture I would personally run 3 actinics. Four at the most, two at the least or the tank will be too yellow
for the taste of many out there.>
Thank you as always,
Jeffrey Castaldo
<Welcome, Scott V.>

T5 Light bulb Suggestions/Reef Lighting 3/11/10
I am planning on replacing all of the bulbs in my T5 fixtures. The fixtures
are as follows:
Nova Extreme 48" T5 Fixture 8 x 54 W
Nova Extreme Pro 36" 3 x 10k/3 x 460nm
The light bulbs that come with these Current fixtures are less than ideal.
I would greatly appreciate any suggestions as to what combination/brand of replacement bulbs would be best. Two of the fixtures are 36" for use on 30 gallon tanks, and have six bulbs. The other is for a 120 gallon tank which is 24" deep.
I would like a combination of lights that will allow me to grow just about anything.
I am pretty unfamiliar with the choice of bulbs available, and would greatly appreciate any suggestions.
<Mmm, in that regard ("unfamiliar"), I suggest reading here. You will also find many links leading to informative articles written by Sanjay Joshi. After reading/absorbing these articles, you should have a good working knowledge of which type of lamps will be best suited for your particular system.
As to a brand suggestion, my preferences would be UVL, Hamilton, and Ice Cap.>
Thank you, and thank you for a great website to learn from.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Jeffrey Castaldo

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)>

Re: Beginner Reef Tank Corals, & lambda f'   7/15/2009
Hello WetWebMedia Crew,
Thank you for the advice regarding beginner corals,
< Your welcome! >
I now have a 4 bulb t5 fixture as you suggested for my 75 gal 20" deep tank. I've been searching
for info on what type of bulbs to put in it which would be best for corals.
I ended up purchasing 2 - actinic blue and 2 - 18000k, but then my husband read an article saying 6700k is what the sun is and highest k rating you should use.... Could you recommend the 4 bulbs I should run with, or will what I purchased work?
< The 2 18000k with 2 actinics will have a very blue look and not much usable light. I would swap one of the actinics for a 6700K and a 18000 for a 10000K . >
Thanks for your assistance!
< Anytime..... GA Jenkins >

Re: Beginner Reef Tank Corals, & lambda f'?? T5 Bulb Set up 7/15/09
Thanks GA.
< That's why we are here. >
So, even if I returned all the bulbs and got 4 new, the best configuration of bulbs would be 1-18,000k, 1-actinic blue, 1-10,000k, 1-6700k ? Or would you have gone with anything different in a 4 bulb T5 fixture ?
< The great thing about T5 lighting is the wide range of bulbs. The bulb setup above will get you great growth but not the POP that a lot of people like. For pop and growth I would go something like:
1 Aquablue (11,000 K )
1 AquaSun (10,000 K )
1 Pure actinic
1 super Actinic
With that being said( or typed ) don't hold yourself to what I like. You may want a more blue or white look. If so I would suggest changing the Aquablue to a higher or lower K rated bulb depending on the look you want.
GA Jenkins >

T5 Bulb Selection 6/30/09
I'm planning on purchasing a nova extreme t5 for my 36 inch 40 gallon reef... It comes w 2 10k daylight and 2 blue 460 nm.. I was wondering if it is possible to change the bulbs with different bulbs from a different name brand...
<Surely are.>
I really want to keep sps and hard corals, do you have any suggestions for the right bulbs?
<Of all the T5 bulbs I have seen the Giesemann line is by far my fave. I would opt for 3 10000k and one actinic with this setup.>
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: T5 Bulb Selection 6/30/09
Thank you very much for the swift reply... Just to clarify.. You are saying I am able to run a different kind of t5 brand without messing with the ballasts ?
And also you recommend the Giesemann line for a replacement bulb....sorry for being redundant, I just wanna make sure..
<I do personally very much like the bulbs they offer in T5.>
Thanks again...... Btw one last question, if I was to get a same type of fixture but with only two bulbs, and replace with Giesemann bulbs, am I able to raise hard corals - at least Montiporas??
<Not really, this is very low lighting for any SPS.>
Thanks very much again
<Welcome, Scott V.>

T5 or MH 4/4/09
Reef Lighting

Hi :)Hope all is well with you folks :))
<Still kickin'>
My tank specs
52"x30"x18" (LxHxW)
Substrate is 4"-5" DSB so the actual depth of the tank would be 23"-24".
Further, the water column is only 21" since the top 3" is occupied by the brace.
Photosynthetic life I look to sustain (some already existing in the tank)
* Leather coral
* Zoanthids
* Mushrooms
* Palythoa
* Moon/Pineapple coral
* Xenia
* Bubble coral
* Turbinaria
* Fungia (disc corals)
* Montipora
T5 seems to be quiet popular with reefers.
I was wondering if replacing my current 2x150W MH with 4x54W T5 is a good idea.
<I would not, you are only reducing the wattage by 84 watts, and trading off excellent
lighting for corals/clams and just to save a few watts, isn't worth the change, yet alone the cost of
the new lighting at $350.00 a pop plus shipping. Would be a long time before you would recover the
savings on your utility bill to make up the cost of the new lighting.>
The fixture I had in mind is the Giesemann Razor.
I would be using 2 of these and a line of high power LEDs (DIY) in between both Razor units to get a bit of shimmer lines :)
I need to change my existing light setup due to HEAT. Room reads 40 degrees
C with existing 2 MH and the chiller.
This is causing a vicious circle where the chiller runs more to reduce the temperature and throws more heat in the air and back again. All this totals to higher electricity bills.
<Are you running cooling fans in your hood? Is necessary and will help much in keeping the tank
temperature down and reducing cycling of the chiller along with adding more life to the lamps.>
The whole point of thinking of T5 was because it will not generate heat more than standard NO tubes. Am I correct in this assumption or am I way off?
<Watts produce heat, no other way to look at it. The T5 platform just provides more
lumens per watt, but they are still throwing off 54 watts of heat per lamp.>
I plan to screw the Razors to the top of my hood and put regular 8mm glass below them.
The distance between the bulbs and the 8mm glass would be half an inch.
The glass would be left open in the ends (short sides) to allow airflow.
Each of the Razor units would have independent 8mm glass panes below so I can service them independently.
End result, the bulbs would be 4"-5" above the water column. Would this be ok considering the above livestock?
<It likely would be fine. The most light loving corals may have to be placed at the mid level of the tank.>
Do I really need to have cooling fans with the Razor units (since they are in a closed hood)?
If I need cooling fans, which option would you suggest?
* 6 CPU fans above
* 4 CPU fans above pulling OUT air and 2 CPU fans (one on either side)
PUSHING in air.
* 2 extractor fans "http://www.cataindia.com/Fan-X-Mart-Matic.php"
model X-MART MATIC 10. I would hook these up to a thermostat so they would run only when the temperature would get to 40 degrees C.
These are high powered ones that are rated [ by the company :) ] each to ventilate a 10x10 room.
The fans would be mounted on top of the hood in the middle such that they pull air from the enclosed tubes which would get air flowing through the open side.
Please can you have a look and let me know what you think.
<Ah, this tells me you are running no cooling fans, not good, and is not helping your problem. If it were me, I'd go with two Ice Cap fans and mount so the air is blowing in, providing your canopy has an open back, and most do. The Ice Cap fans come with a temperature sensor that regulates the speed of the fan in proportion to the heat it senses. Use them myself and they are virtually silent. See here.
As to your lighting idea, I think your money would be better spent investing in two Ice Cap Electronic Ballasts, and along with the fans, would be much less than the cost of the T5 system you are contemplating, and should save you some money on your utility bill. The maximum current required for this ballast to drive a 175 watt MH lamp is 1.56 amps. They will also extend your lamp life, and the lamps tend to run a little cooler with electronic ballasts. The ballast can be found at the above link.>
<Ditto. James (Salty Dog)>

Re T5 or MH 4/4/09
Reef Lighting

Hi James
Thanks for the pronto response :)
<You're welcome.>
I am running two 6 inch exhaust fans in the current setup.
They are both pulling air out.
The hood is not open from behind.
<Are you also drawing air in from the sides of the hood? You need to be able to draw air into the hood while exhausting warm air out. Simply said, the air in
the hood needs to be exchanged.>
The problem is where I live!!
The ambient temperature is 41 degrees C in the day and 35 at night.
This is summer so will drop in 2 months but only by 5 degrees respectively.
<Where do you live, in Arizona or the Gobi Desert.>
When the MH are on they heat the water and the chiller needs to cool the water and thus adds to the heat.
<I do understand.>
One can't even remain in the room to enjoy the tank :(
<Unless one wants a sauna bath.>
That is the reason why I wanted to get out of MH.
Are you saying T5 will be no different?
<Oh, there will be some difference, but I'm thinking not enough to warrant the expense. Have you considered an energy efficient air conditioner for that room?
Even keeping at 32C would be much better than 40C.>
At present I have the MH 3-4 inches above water level in a wooden canopy/ tank cover.
There are 2 exhaust fans 6" each running when the MH come on.
They are attached near the MH and the canopy top is cut to fit them.
Basically, the hole is sized to slip the fans through and they vent the air pulled.
Standard setup.
My question is, will any kind of ventilation to push air out of the room help since the ambient temperature is so high ?
<Exhausting the air to the outside is an idea running through my mind, but I think it might be difficult to make it a decent looking set-up unless aesthetics are not a problem in this room. I'm thinking along the lines of a clothes dryer set-up. I guess if you flex hosed it from the back of the canopy down and to the outside would be a fairly clean looking install.>
Please help. I can buy one light setup and want it to work.
Staying away from clams or acropora is not a problem.
Just need a solution for the heat.
<The T5 system will help, but I'm wondering how much of an effect losing +/- 90 watts would be. I'm hoping my mentor/protégé will chime in here as I am not comfortable telling someone to go out and spend near $800.00 on lighting without being sure this is going to be a solution or even a drastic
improvement to your heat problem. The least expensive fix would be venting the warm air to the outside. That I feel would help you very much.>
<And to you my friend. James (Salty Dog)>

Re T5 or MH 4/4/09
Reef Lighting

Sorry I missed one more question
Why do people say T5 runs cool??
<Maybe they mean the term like LL Cool J:)
Likely because it does put out more light per watt than NO/HO or VHO lamps.
I'm going to contact Steven Pro at Ice Cap lighting. A while back I was attending a Marine Conference in Detroit and was talking to Steve about the T5 system and he did make a comparison as to how many T5 lamps would be needed to obtain the same light output as a 175MH, but do you think I can remember, nope. I will send this along to him and get his input.
Wait a minute, would be much better turn around time if you did this.
Contact Steve here.
<Ditto my friend. James (Salty Dog)>

Opinions on lighting. Reef, t-5 lamp sel., colour   02/23/2009 Hi crew, <Hi Marc, Mich with you tonight.> Looking for a quick second opinion. I have a 75 gallon tank with LPSs and assorted soft coral. <Ahh! Sounds nice! I like seeing tanks that aren't dominated by SPS's.> I have 220 watts of t-5 lighting, right now I have one 10k, two 18k and one 6500 bulb. I'm looking at changing the bulbs, do you think the combination I have now, or 3 6500 and one actinic bulb would have more useful light for my corals? <I would not go with 3 6500 unless you are planning on doing a planted marine tank.> Or the same, <The same is fine, but if it was mine, I would go with at least 2 and perhaps 3 of the 10k. The lighting is more full spectrum and you will get better growth on your corals. I would not do the 6500 unless you have an interest in growing sea grasses or ornamental algae, and if you do, by all means go for it!> just preference? <Of course your own personal aesthetic plays a part as well. But I say more 10k!> Thanks again, <Welcome!> Marc <Mich>

T5 Spectrum  1/13/09 Hey guys, <And gals of course!> I was wondering what is the best bulb combination for growth and aesthetics. <Depends on what you want aesthetically!> I have a 55 gal aquarium with approximately 50 pounds of rock. I am running the current nova extreme 48 inch t-5 with four bulbs, 2 10,000k, and 2 actinics totaling 216 watts. I have xenias, bubble coral, green open brain, daisy clove polyps, yellow polyps, green star polyps, various mushrooms, button polyps, and a frog spawn. Water parameters are all good and tank has been running about 8 months. Everything is doing well but not spreading too much. I was just wondering if the lighting was too blue and a different combination of bulbs would help growth. <Well the two 10000K bulbs are not too intensive. You could swap one of the actinics out for another 10000K, giving your corals more usable light. Keep the actinic you will have left in the front and you will notice little difference in the look of your tank.> Thanks, Doug <Welcome, Scott V.>

T5 lighting   10/20/08 Hi guys. Ben from Sydney Australia here. <Hello Ben.> Just a quick question. I have a 120 cm tank by 60cm by 60cm (115 gal). Complete with large sump and refugium and octopus skimmer all running nicely. It houses a few LPS corals. Now at the moment I have a row of 4 54 watt 120cm T5 tubes over it, all 4 tubes are 10000k. I also have 2 36 watt T8 actinic tubes on top also. Now I've gone ahead and ordered my self another row of 4 54 watt T5s. And I also ordered 8 54 watt T5 20000k tubes. Now my idea is to run 4 10000k and 4 20000k tubes amongst each other and the 2 36watt actinics. As I will have spare tubes because my new T5s also come with 4 10000k tubes already in it. <Okay.> Now I've searched and can't find too much regarding my configuration of both 20000k and 10000k. So I'm just interested on your opinion of what you would do if you were me with this configuration? <I would try what you have planned. You may find it too blue, if so you can always swap a 20000K or two for a 10000K.> And do you think my plan is good for LPS coral growth? Whilst also giving a nice over all tank look. <Yes, should be.> Thanks guys and really appreciate your comments on this one. Ben Smith <Welcome, Scott V.>

T5HO Lighting confusion... I really need some help. 10/19/08 Hey guys, <Ivan.> I have exhausted every search term I could think of trying to find the answer to T5 lighting. I've found a lot of information and I've learned a lot, but I've also in the process found a lot of conflicting information. It seems that no matter how many people you talk to or how many LFSs you go to everyone has something different to say based on their experiences. <As with every other aspect of aquariums'¦and life. > What I need help with is this. I have an 80gal 'reef' aquarium. (I put reef in quotes because I can't seem to get it to even resemble a reef in the slightest) I installed a Current USA Nova Extreme 48' T5 retro @ 54Watts x 4 using 1(6700K), 1(18000K), 1(420nm) and 1(460nm) Water param.s: Tank life = 1 year old Temp = 78 -- 79 PH = 8.4 Ammonia = 0 Nitrite = 0 Nitrate = 0 Specific Gravity = 1.026 I use Tropic Marin mix that I buy from my LFS for 10% weekly water changes, 30gal sump with 2 x Mag Drive 1200 pumping up to 4 returns and using a Hydor to create extra circulation in the tank. Also have a Coral-life Protein Skimmer in the sump. Livestock (1 blue tang, 1 Sailfin tang, 1 Tomini tang, 2 Percs, 1 Mono, 2 Cleaner shrimp, 1 coral banded shrimp, 1 Crocea Clam, 1 green BTA, 1 ribbon eel in the sump because he ate all my original Percs( a whole nother story) <This is severely overstocked, incompatible..> My problem is I can't keep any kind of coral alive. Pagoda (comes out more with less light), Xenia(never grows and melts after a few months), Zoas, Leathers(wilt), Colt coral(Wilt), frogspawn(dissolve), hammer(dissolve), star polyps(diminished on the top of their rock and started growing on the underside away from light). Now when I try talking to my LFSs, one said that my 6700K bulb is not a good spectrum and too bright for corals. <It is good, perhaps the best bar aesthetics.> But when I search online I find people saying that 6700K is ok. Others I find say it's better to have 6700K to 10000K versus the 18000K that I have because the 18K is too close to the blue spectrum and does not produce enough usable light along with the 2 actinics that I have. <True, the 6500 to 10000K is better from a coral heath POV.> Is there any validity to either of these theories? <Yes.> One of my LFSs says all my equipment is perfectly fine and that maybe I have traces of copper or something else toxic to corals. I never use copper for anything so I doubt that is the culprit. <Have you tested for this? Unless you have used copper, I doubt this. Some copper is always around, it takes an artificially raised level to cause issues. Buy a test kit or have one of them test for you.> He also said I could try turning off my skimmer as it may be removing a lot of the elements needed for coral growth. <Some corals appreciate 'dirty' water, but I do not think it is the case here.> I don't know what to do anymore. I've spent so much money and so much time and I really want to make this work, but I'm getting to the end of my rope. Any thoughts or advice or ANYTHING!!! J Please help. I hope I've given you enough information to at least give me something. Thank you in advance for any assistance. <You do not have enough light, these bulbs do need to be replaced with a lower K spectrum bulb to give your photosynthetic livestock what they need'¦.your Crocea and BTA will follow suit in time. Also, your corals have likely been affected by allelopathy with the mix listed. Research on the needs and compatibility of what you have and add in the future is strongly advised.> Ivan <Scott V.>

Types of T5 lighting bulbs -- 09/08/08 I just recently received my Nova Extreme 8x54 lighting fixture, and am impressed with its lighting capabilities. However, upon looking at the Drs. Foster and Smith website, (the page address is http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/pet_supplies.cfm?c=3578+3733+13821) I realized that there are several types and manufacturers of T5 bulbs, their selection is probably far from complete in both size and manufacturer. <Mmm, yes> My tank is 120 gallons (24" tall), and I would like to be able to keep SPS, clams, etc. <Mmm, the SPS likely placed "higher up", and some species of Tridacnids would go here> The fixture comes with four 10,000 K. daylight bulbs, as well as four 460nm actinic tubes. Would I be better served by replacing these lights with, say for example, 12,000 K. Actinic white (although I do like the blue color), or T5 HO Reef White? <IMO/E, yes... I would switch out at least two of the actinics for the "white" lamps> I am a little confused regarding the choices, but have read that the lights supplied with the Nova Extreme fixture leave something to be desired. What brands are considered to be top choice for T5 bulbs? <Mmm, I know naught... and refer you to the better/more popular bulletin boards, e.g. Aquarium Frontiers, Reefs.org (NOT ReefCentral as they censor, even ban such folks for product discussion) for broader hobbyist/actual user input> As always, I welcome your opinion and advice on this matter. Regards, Jeffrey <Mmm, perhaps James Fatheree, Sanjay Joshi and Dana Riddle's names could be searched as well for information here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Types of T5 lighting bulbs  9/10/08 In retrospect, while I have the opportunity to make the exchange, would I be better served in general by purchasing the 48" Outer Orbit 150 W x 2 halide/T5 actinic fixture? <Mmmm> Would the halide lighting give me more diversity as to what I will be able to keep without being so particular about placement? <Yes... for a 120 gal. 2' deep tank...> 150 Watt halide bulbs will not give me as much difficulty with problems of heat, but will probably give me more photosynthetic benefit than the T5's, correct me please if I am wrong. <I would switch out at least one of the actinics myself... See WWM re... BobF>

Mercury/CF Lamps -- 07/14/08 Hi Bob, Am wondering how many aquarists are aware of the higher mercury content of Compact Fluorescent and T5 lamps. <Doubtful many> One T5 lamp contains 3mg of mercury and Compact Fluorescents even more. As you know, mercury is a potent neurotoxin and handling these lamps should be done with care to avoid breakage which leads to mercury contamination of the area. There are some states that have made it illegal to dispose of these lamps in normal trash pickup...they must be recycled. Have a nice day, James (Salty) <... Will post, share... B>

T5 HO Bulb Selection 6/5/08 Hey guys! <Justin> I so glad this website is around to answer all my questions. I've been trying to look for the answer to this but am still in question. <OK> I just bought a 6 x 39W Catalina Aquarium Solar T5HO light fixture. It came with 3-10000 K and 3-6500 K bulbs. The light in the tank looks very yellow and was wondering what bulbs I should use (brand and temperature) I should use for the best coral growth? <Any common aquarium brand bulb will work fine. If it is growth you are looking for, what you have is great. If you want to blue the look a bit, swapping out two of the 6500K bulbs for actinics will drastically change the look.> I currently have just some softies and LPS corals, but would like to upgrade to SPS very soon. I am looking for more of a blue hue but it can still be fairly white. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. <The above will work, with the SPS placed closer to the top/light.> Thanks. Justin <Welcome, Scott V.>

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