Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Looking for T5 planted lighting for 50g 48" tank. (

Aqua Jon 05-28-2013 03:47 PM

Looking for T5 planted lighting for 50g 48" tank.
So I found the perfect lighting set up for my tank, problem is that the company is Australian and the shipping costs to the US west coast would cost 3x more than the light set up.

Ideally I'm looking for a 48" length set of T5 HO that holds 4 bulbs and has a chest drawer opening hinge function to allow easy access to the tank. With fans and heat dissipation and such.

Hoping that there is some community knowledge to help me find what I'm looking for.

- I do realize I could go DYI on this, but would like to buy a prefab set for convenience and the fact that its going to look much better than what I build.

Thank you for anyone who took the time to read, and a bigger thanks to those who post! AND a big hello to anyone who remembers this calcium crusted forum member.

DKRST 05-28-2013 10:32 PM

Did you want the normal output or T5HO?
I only have experience with the T5HO 48" fixtures.
A quad T5HO's going to be way too much light for a planted tank , but Zoomed has a (relatively) inexpensive quad T5HO, that "sort of" hinges up. I think it also comes with hanging cables that aren't bad at all and adjust very easily if you don't mind installing a couple of ceiling hooks. Very low visual impact hanging system. If you like the T5HO, you'd only need one (low tech tank) or two (CO2 high-tech tank) T5HO bulbs over a 50g. The Zoomed light and reflector is not high-end by any means, but it has 2 on/off switches and you could use only 2 of the bulbs (you'd have to do some minor rewire to select which bulbs were controlled other than the default pairing). The Zoomed fixture is ok, but if I had the funds I'd prefer to get a dimmable T5HO built.

Doesn't get hot enough to need fans, uses a magnetic ballast, so some units are quiet, some are noisy...kind of random. Of 8 Zoomed lights I have only one buzzes.

Aqua Jon 05-28-2013 11:31 PM

Really like the zoomed, but still looking
Any dimmable rigs you could suggest that you had mentioned? A quad dim rig with individual control would be absolutely perfect!

Hmm I like the Quad zoo med. Really great find and pretty much what I was looking for!
And I know how do to my lights DKRST but I appreciate the due diligence in cautionary advice! :) Good on you for looking out for me fishes. I plan to have two sets running for a more "mock sunlight" where you have different variations in spectrum through different portions of the day with blackout periods of course and CO2 and the lot. I'd only be running one or two bulbs without the CO2. And maybe night lights, but probably going to stick to LEDs for those. So you'll understand my interest in the dimmable lights.

JDM 05-29-2013 08:09 AM

Have you considered just going LED? The Marineland unit for plants, not the double bright, allows separate control of the coloured lighting from the white light on a built in staged timer affair. Dawn, day, dusk and night settings. I wouldn't choose to run the colour light as a night setting as they are too bright for that.

The other advantage is, depending on your tank setup, if you put a glass cover on it the light will span the tank on it's edges and you just slide it back to get access to the opening lid or lift the fixture right off if you need the whole tank open.


Aqua Jon 05-29-2013 09:26 AM

I'm unsure about LED for plants. I am not convinced that they cover a tank well enough for plants and have heard others that say the same. Also the wavelengths of color that a plant needs are seldom discussed by the LEDs manufacturer at least in tr ones that I've seen. And they are still quite expensive by comparison, but maybe long term costs are cheaper...?
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JDM 05-29-2013 09:52 AM

Anyone who downplays them actually tried them I wonder?

I currently use a Doublebright for low to medium light plants and it is working fine. I use a 24" fixture over a 30" x12" tank and the coverage is perfect. This fixture is a little underlit if you want heavy floating plant cover and light needy plants for certain but the next level up is an "Aquatic Plant System" or something. Triple the light output and they list the lumens, lux, kelvin etc. Some definitely don't really list the appropriate info but many do.

I like the cool operation, focused light without needing the whole hood assembly (look at my tank in my profile, that is the fixture) and light weight fixture with adjustable mounting options.

The aquatic 24" version is $290 canadian, so it is a bit pricey but I shouldn't have to mess with bulbs for at least 10 years. That's probably around $170 in bulbs and maybe one ballast on top of that.... plus timers and the original fixture... if it is a good one another $50 minimum (OK not GREAT, just good). I'd say it's a break even venture with a better total experience. Oh, I forgot the possible electricity savings... seeing as they are supposed to be as much as 80% more efficient (or what ever number applies, not really sure about this one) there is the factor that ends up tipping the cost scale in their favour.


Aqua Jon 05-29-2013 11:05 AM

Great points Jeff.

My 50g is 20" deep and I am lookin to place some higher need plants in the tank. The initial costs for an "aquatic plant system" have been cause for me previously to overlook that route, but you are giving me a hard sell on LED! Haha great information though. Perhaps I will explore LED with a smaller tank especially if bulbs last ten years without major decay to spectrum and lumen output.
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JDM 05-29-2013 11:09 AM

Well, it wasn't meant to be a hard sell.:roll:

I happen to have zero fluorescent experience so I cut my teeth on LED

The doublebright is not rated for 10 years, it's more like 5 based on 8 hour photoperiods... the aquatic with 8 hour periods would be closer to 17 years. I happen to have a 14-15 hour light period so my life expectancy on bulbs and LEDS would be shorter than most.


DKRST 05-29-2013 04:35 PM

Sounds like you know what's what with the high-tech, so I won't beat that to death.

I don't know of any off-the-shelf dimmable T5 fixtures, but I know I've seen a post somewhere regarding one of the (more high end) light providers who will customize a dimmable ballast, BUT they are not recommended for use with GFCI circuits. Unfortunately, something about the electronic ballast tends to trip GFCI's and I always recommend that tank equipment be plugged into a GFCI-protected circuit for safety - I like to plunge my arms into the tank without unplugging stuff.

Aqua Jon 05-29-2013 04:59 PM

Jeff - Im glad you do know your LED, im a foreigner in that realm. Thank you for sharing your knowledge of it. Feel free to throw out any info or interesting reading on them.

DKRST - Hmmm that's a good point. I like not cooking my fish or myself. I started looking around and you can get a grounding rod to dissipate any free standing current. but I'd rather play it safe too. Any dimming I do will now be LED!

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