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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)>

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