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Romad 06-01-2013 11:25 AM

It's time to bump up my lights & need suggestions/experiences
I've got a 75 gallon 48" long, 24" high planted tank. It's a jungle of swords and crypts at the moment but I want to bump it up a level so I can grow med. light bushier and taller plants mostly in the background.

Currently, I have the standard hood single bulb flourescent with an Aquaray F40 T12. I know this isn't optimal but it was the only thing I could find locally when my T5 burnt out and I needed something to keep everything alive in the interim.

So I've been looking at the dual T5HO setups because I have the hinged glass hood cover on the tank and these look like they'd work pretty well - some have the adjustable legs. My question is, should I go with 2 6500k tubes, 1 6,000k tube with 1 650 mn, or 1 10,000k daylight and 1 54w T5 Actinic.

I don't have a Co2 system so I'm wondering if any of these will cause an algae problem. Plust I don't want to buy fishy sunglasses.

Thanks and I look forward to your input. Here's a few that I've been considering:

Aqualight Dual Lamp T5 HO Light Fixtures |
T5-ho 4ft / 2LAMP Aquarium lighting
Aquarium Lighting T5 Fluorescent Light Fixture: AquaticLife T5 HO Dual Lamp Light Fixtures

JDM 06-02-2013 09:30 AM

I don't know about fluorescents, just LED.... So I can't comment on your upgrade hardware question.

If you are concerned about too much light, you can adjust this with more floating plant cover. I am looking as bumping mine up as well (Marineland Aquatic Light System for a Doublebright, it's a lot more light) but I like the low light plants and don't want o melt my crypts. While I wait I am growing more surface vegetation and pulling it off into another container so the day I change my fixture I will have tons of coverage. This avoids the fishy sunglasses as well.


jennesque 06-02-2013 10:38 AM

I went from a single t8 to a double t5no and got considerably more light. I don't know that it would constitute medium light.. You may want to just try that or a single t5ho.. I don't know much, but I'm repeating the sort of advice I've had. Not sure how much wider your tank is in comparison and mine is also a couple inches shorter at 22" tall.
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Byron 06-02-2013 10:59 AM

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Romad, without CO2 diffusion a dual T5 with 4-foot HO tubes would be way too much light for your system. I have much the same tank, and when the old fixture gave out two years ago I got a dual-tube T5 with HO tubes and it was too much even for my 5-foot 24-inch deep 115g; after a week I took it back.

For the method you are intending, in fluorescent tube light, stay either with a single T5 fixture (taking a 4-foot tube), or go with a dual T8 fixture (two 4-foot tubes). I have the latter, photo below shows this tank. I limit the duration to 8 hours max, or brush algae explodes. The tubes are one Life-Glo 6700K and one GE Daylight 6500K. The much less expensive GE tubes (or those by Phillips or Sylvania) work fine with two of them.

This is moderate light, which will allow you to grow most plants. Generally speaking, anything that won't manage under this light will probably be better with CO2 as well as higher light. A dual-tube T5 would work if you used NO tubes, not HO. T5 NO is roughly the same intensity as T8 in the same type of tube (6500K, etc). But T5 is more expensive initially. Where I am, NO tubes are non-existant.


jennesque 06-02-2013 11:06 AM

I got my T5NO.. Or T5HE (high efficiency.. About the same output as NO I think) light and bulbs from Deep Blue.. That's the main brand of fluorescent lights that my LFS carries. They also have single T5HO fixtures made by the same brand. Deep Blue sells replacement bulbs for them too.. They have I think 6700k? Might be 6500k.. As well as 10,000k bulbs. I run two of the 6700k or whatever they are, but when I bought the light it came with both and that worked perfectly fine as well.
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Romad 06-02-2013 08:03 PM

Thanks everyone.

I was looking into LED units but ouch on the pricetag :shock:

I initially had the single tube T5 but felt that maybe it wasn't sufficient enough? I never considered T8 so will check those out.

As for replacement bulbs, all I can find locally in the 6500k range are smaller in width than the standard bulb in my light unit hence the T12 I have in there temporarily purchased at Home Depot. All of the bulbs in the fish stores are thinner for the more contemporary light hoods so that's why I was leaning toward an upgrade.

I'll also check out the dual T5NOs and do some pricing on all. Thanks again for the input!

Aurie 06-02-2013 11:06 PM

Might I make the suggestion of: A shoplight. They are very cheap (probably less than $30 for the fixture) and you could hang it above your tank via hooks and chain from the ceiling. Some are very nice looking. I've seen t5 normal output and t8 at home depot. I noticed they sell bulbs for both in 6500k range but .. and I say this with a grain of salt, that the GE bulbs are good, but as Byron said, the Lifeglo or other brands are better and you probably won't find them in T5NO . T8 would be your best bet.

I have also noticed that, if you want to go this route, and have some extra cash to spend on "looks" alone, You can get those lights that go above pool tables. Those are basically shop lights but you can have a variety of different logos on them . I noticed this because I'm on a pool team and looked at many of them and noticed they're T8's.. If you're just in it for basic shop lights, check out home depot. I just checked out their website and many are under $30 depending on looks. There's even a 3 bulb one.

Hey Byron - what is the grass plant you have in the front? pygmy chain sword or dwarf sag?

jennesque 06-02-2013 11:15 PM

Another cheap option is using those clip on shop lights and putting some CFLs in them. I did that before I purchased the light I have now. You can even spray paint the outside of the lights if you don't like them.

I've considered switching back to this since a good two inches of my light is blocked by the support bar in the middle of the tank.. I feel like this is less of an issue with two or more seperate bulbs. The only annoying part for me was having to plug a whole 'nother surge protector into my timer since I had three small lights going at once. A small annoyance though, really. And the whole set up was very, very cheap.
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Aurie 06-02-2013 11:25 PM

hehe forgot about those..

I want to do one for my 5.5 or one for my 20 but my husband doesn't like their looks.

They are at home depot too, in the contractors section.. lighting maybe? I've seen them.

This is what they're refering to,0,38,50_.jpg

Byron 06-03-2013 09:04 AM


Originally Posted by Romad (Post 2223849)
As for replacement bulbs, all I can find locally in the 6500k range are smaller in width than the standard bulb in my light unit hence the T12 I have in there temporarily purchased at Home Depot. All of the bulbs in the fish stores are thinner for the more contemporary light hoods so that's why I was leaning toward an upgrade.

Not sure if I detect a question here, but will explain anyway just in case. "T" refers to the tube diameter in eighths of an inch. The old original fluorescent tubes were T12, meaning 12/8 in diameter. Then along came T8 which are 8/8 or 1 inch. These usually (but not always) work in very old fixtures [won't go into this]. The T8 are now being made more efficiently, so they produce more light intensity with less energy (the watts is the measure of energy a tube uses).

The T5 are obviously 5/8 inch diameter, but here more changes, as these willnot work in T8 fixtures so a fixture for T5 is required. These are more expensive, and so are the tubes which still need to be replaced regularly. But they produce a lot more light (the HO and now VHO anyway) which is why they are not comparable to NO or T8.

Something else. One advantage to dual tubes in T8 over a single T5 is that you can use a combo of different tubes. A 6500K for one and the second can be warmer or cooler. I used to do this when I was able to get good cooler tubes locally, as it gave me a bit sharper and cooler white light. I'm now using two 6500K tubes with the less expensive types. Good light for plants and colours.

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