Retrofit lighting or not - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 12-20-2009, 01:23 AM Thread Starter
Mean Harri's Avatar
Retrofit lighting or not

I've been reading on lighting. I searched the forums here and saw some recommendations about the retrofit kits from ahsupply. I learned of this company just about an hour ago from a mention by Rex Grigg. While their product sounds good and all with the highly polished reflectors, is this type of lighting available in a mass produced/retail light?

I just got a 55g (48" wide) and I plan on live plants. I didn't get a light for yet until I learned more about lighting and live plants. I'm thinking low to med light requiring plants as I'd like this aquarium to be a fun hobby more than it is a full time job to care for it. While lower light plants can do well with higher output lighting I'm keeping my options open. I have not totally ruled out co2 although I'm not completely sure if I want to go that far. But it's a possibility for now.

Does anyone know if there are higher end polished reflectors such as provided in ahsupply's retro kits in these common brands? Should it be that much of a concern? I prefer the look of the compact T5 fixtures with the legs that raise them above the glass top on the tank. Doing a diy retro kit requires using a fixture which I don't have. And if I'm going to buy one of those lower profile compact fixtures with the legs it's stupid to rip the guts out and replace them.


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post #2 of 5 Old 12-20-2009, 10:15 AM
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I already posted you an answer in your other thread about CO2 / Lights.

Pers I'd not wanna spent the money and pref closed hoods (had jumper fish before so I learned my lesson lol)
And / Or built my own to the exact looks I want (See under my aqauriums "New 55g).

But in the end its really a matter: What do you like to look at?! And how much you're willing to pay for it!?
Any hood will do, or strip of shop lights with reflectors for that mater, its the tubes/ bulbs that matter most to the plants

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post #3 of 5 Old 12-20-2009, 01:36 PM
Byron's Avatar
I think I've also commented in that other thread on lighting. All I'll say here at this moment is be careful with T5 HO lighting. T5 is one thing, but T5 HO (high output) is much more intense (bright) lighting and not what I would recommend except over much larger tanks. I bought a dual-tube T5 HO fixture this past summer to replace a worn-out regular T8/T12 fixture, and after a week I took it back. Even over the 115g which is five-feet long, the two 4-foot tubes produced far too much light. I now have two regular T8 tubes, full spectrum of the same type as the T5 were, and it is fine. The fish appreciate less light, and the plants don't need as much as some would have you believe. A good guide is still the one watt per gallon provided it is regular T8 or T12 fluorescent. I've never seen them myself, but I understand the regular T5 are comparable; the HO are not though.


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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post #4 of 5 Old 12-20-2009, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
Mean Harri's Avatar
Yeah I was up late obsessing over lighting. lol. I'm done with the retro ho theory for now.

“He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors”
Thomas Jefferson quote
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post #5 of 5 Old 12-21-2009, 09:10 AM
WisFish's Avatar
T-5 HO are more intense by 20-25%. It depends also on who makes the bulb.

I did a little research and here's what I found. First instead of wattage let's compare the bulbs based on lumens which measures the bulbs brightness. A 4' 54 watt T-5 HO bulb produces 4400-5000 lumens. A T-8 40 watt bulb produces about 3600 lumes. So comparing a 2 bulb, 4' fixture for both, the T-8 is 7200 lumens compared to 8800-10000 for T-5HO.

So the T-5HO could be up to 25% brighter than a standard T-8 fixture.
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