Best lights T5 - T8 - Other? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-18-2012, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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Best lights T5 - T8 - Other?

Hey everyone. Thought the new tank came with lights, well upon installation, it came with light fixtures only. I am headed going to headed to LFS to get some lights. The tank is for cichlids, no live plants. What is the best bulb to get? I am not sure the differences between the T5 or the T8. Should I get something totally different? I only keep the light on for about 5 hours a day (when we are home at night) so I am not worried about it creating algae. Thanks for your input.
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-18-2012, 02:22 PM
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the 'T' number for fluorescent bulbs just refers to the diameter of the tube in eighths of an inch, so a T8 is 8/8 or one inch diameter, the pin arrangement at the ends of the tube are same (medium bipin) for T8, T10, and T12, but different for T5, which is miniature bipin

T5s and T8s are not interchangeable, so you will need to get the one that matches your fixture, and if T5, either High Output or not

watts are standard, e.g. a tube of a specific length will be of a certain wattage (but different for T5, T8, T5HO)

for appearance, look for Kelvin (or just K) rating and 'full spectrum', a full spectrum bulb of around 6500K approximates daylight, at least as best as can be achieved with fluorescent lighting, which has interupted spectral output rather than true full spectrum like incandescent sources, higher K ratings will be 'cooler' in color (bluer) and lower K ratings will be warmer (yellow, orange, red)

Last edited by Quantum; 03-18-2012 at 02:25 PM.
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post #3 of 6 Old 03-18-2012, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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WOW, glad I asked! That was a whole lot more than I was expecting. With this being a fresh water tank with cichlids, would you recommend the Higher K rating for the cooler look or the lower K rating for the warmer look? I want whatever is going to both make my fish color POP and ensure they are comfortable as well.
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-18-2012, 03:01 PM
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largely personal preference since no live plants are planned, but anything lower than 6500K can impart a yellowish hue, on the other hand, I find the real high K ones (10000K or so) a bit too blueish for my taste, though others do prefer these, you may just need to try a few to see which you like, the 48" T8s are just a few dollars at Home DepotLowes
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-18-2012, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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I need to 24" The tank uses two 36" fixtures that use a 24" bulb in each. I will check out home chept. Prob a whole lot cheaper than PetSmart.
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-18-2012, 07:07 PM
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The Home Depot type stores carry one of Phillips, Sylvania or GE usually, and all three make a daylight tube with a 6500K kelvin rating. I use the Phillips, previously used Sylvania. Have not tried the GE yet but intend to when my Phillips are done. They should have these in 24 inches, my HD does. These are good tubes that render fish and plant colours true.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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