T5 HO or traditional fluorescent fixtures and bulbs? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 6 Old 05-27-2014, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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T5 HO or traditional fluorescent fixtures and bulbs?

Is the hobby dying off? There seem like fewer and fewer choices.

Today's question: for 36" long aquarium, is it better to use the old standard fluoresent plant bulbs or the newer T5 HO bulbs. {the full spectrum led at about $300 are poor price value solution}.

My go to used to the All-glass but their 36" uses 24" bulbs. I don't know what advantages there
are to the T5HO for fresh water. For salt water, no brainer. But concerned since it's HO the fish will think it's too bright and hide all the time. The 36" dual bulb hoods are difficult to find. My 48's would stick out 6 inches and so that is unacceptable except for temporary emergency lighting.

I haven't found a lumen comparison and only discussion I have seen talks about how much brighter the fish are.
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post #2 of 6 Old 05-28-2014, 11:04 AM
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hobby dying off because the bulb selection is less varied? Nope.
What you are running into are U.S. federal energy mandates and the discontinuation of older technologies such as the incandescent bulb and the "standard" T12 (1" diameter) fluorescent bulbs. Manufacturers are moving toward the T5 size. My hypothesis is that the T8 also is going away eventually (not anytime soon), although I really likeT8 bulbs!

Regarding the T5HO. Great lights, but unless you are running high pressurized CO2, too much light! I have a 125g w/CO2 and have a T8 single bulb strip light across the back. Plants at the rear do great. I'm using T5HO (single bulb) in the front and, if I'm not careful, I get BBA. Other issue is I can't find a great T5HO bulb that I like - they are either too "blue" or too "red" unless I mix two bulbs and then, it's too much light!

Short answer: T5HO will work, but you may need to use window screen to cut the light levels down. Better to go with a T5 "normal" output or a T8 if you are worried about algae and not using CO2. The T5 fixtures/bulbs are metric, and I think they come in a 34" size?

18 species/varieties of fish, 15 species/varieties of plants - The fish are finally ahead of the plants!
*560 gallons (2120 liters) in 5 tanks -> you do the math.

Last edited by DKRST; 05-28-2014 at 11:07 AM.
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post #3 of 6 Old 05-28-2014, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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Again, thank you. The T12 is 1.5 inches diameter, 12x1/8th.

Found this though, which explains the mandated changes:
"T-12's are disappearing. After 2012, they will no longer be manufactured"

I just don't get why people think LED is so great. Petco has them, but for 36" and 25w would cost $170. A T5HO is just 90 and bulbs should run about 36K hours. Heck by then LED will have advanced in effeciency and cost that it would make more sense than just novity today. Replacement bulbs are only $15.

It appears hoods for just T5 are already hard to find. So best bet seems to be T5HO and either get single strip or double and expect to disable one light.

I thought I would be ok with dual as I was running dual T12's. I even bought 2 duals, but soon discovered all 4 did was grow algae. The bacteria, non algae type. Other sites were saying that 3200 lumens each and 28w T5HO gives 5000 lumens, or about 36 PAR.

Ah, I see, two would be 10,000. Way too much. So either double for 2 bulb types and switch which is active, or one bulb hood and switch bulbs.

Thank you for getting me thinking.
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post #4 of 6 Old 05-28-2014, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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Actually, think need to go with double.
From GE/Philips specs
T5h0 39w 3500 lumens 34" length, so two would be 7000, just slightly above the 6400 for two T12's
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post #5 of 6 Old 05-31-2014, 09:51 AM
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I am at the very beginning in understanding light for aquatic plants, so any criticism is welcome.
First: lumens per square meter is a LUX and is a measure of light intensity as it is perceived by human eye. Plants are different. Plants don't need full spectrum of light for their photosynthesis. That's why we have PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) to measure what's important for plants. Further complicating things is that light travelling through water (quite different than air) is losing PAR faster as the distance from the source increases.
New T5HO lamps, are designed to emit more in the red (650-700 nm) and blue (440-490 nm) out of the entire spectrum (400-700 nm). Therefore , T5HO make better use of less light. T5HO fixtures uses reflectors to redirect wasted light into the water. Led light does not need reflectors or ballast, uses less watts and lasts longer than T5HO.
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post #6 of 6 Old 05-31-2014, 10:37 AM
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a 36" fugeray,fugeray planted+ and finnex rayII run between $110-$140.the first two are for low-med light plants and the rayII is for high light. they have the necessary par rating. i have 2 fugeray and a fugeray-r. love these lights. i am constantly trimming. tanks look awsome. read up on them,they are a very popular choice on planted tank forums. the par data is available online.

bettas-goldfish-shrimp-snails-planted tanks
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