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rjwwrx 01-17-2012 12:35 PM

wondering about Aqueon dual T5 NO fixture
I'm just wondering if anyone has any experience with this light fixture. It will be used over my 55 gallon planted tank.

Aqueon T5 Dual Lamp Fixture | Products

My main question would be about my limited bulb choice. I was unable to locate any appropriate T5NO bulbs other than the ones aqueon sells. This fixture comes with two bulbs. The colormax and the 6700k. I am hoping that the 6700k bulb will be suffiicient for plant growth. Would it be recommended that I replace the colormax with another 6700k bulb as well?

I am growing amazon swords, anubias nana, java fern, and anacharis ok with my current lighting of two 18" t8 bulbs. I tried dwarf hairgrass and most that I planted died off, or is showing little to no growth. I'm assuming this is due to the low light. I recently added crypt parva, and am unsure whether it will grow ok with my current lighting.

Any insight on this fixture and bulbs would be great. Thanks!

Byron 01-17-2012 12:57 PM

You can save money by going with a dual tube T8 rather than T5. Plus, you will have a wider choice of tubes.

T5 NO tubes are basically the same intensity as T8 tubes of the same type (spectrum, etc). But T5 is more expensive as a fixture, and the tubes if you can find them. No one around me carries T5 NO, and I suspect this is because it is no benefit over T8 so people won't spend the extra money. T5 was introduced as a means of getting considerably more intense lighting over marine tanks by using fewer tubes, and in that application T5 HO (and now VHO) works well. But over freshwater, the light is very bright.

Two 48-inch T8 tubes will be more than adequate over a 4-foot 55g. When I had this tank years ago, i had a single T12 tube and it worked. The dual tube will give you more options in plants, if you go beyond those mentioned. What you have listed will manage with a single T8 48-inch tube in a good spectrum.

On the Aqueon tubes themselves, I can't say as I've never used them. I do know that the Aqueon tube that came with my hood for the 29g which was stated to be "good light for plants and fish" was garbage, and went straight to recycling. I can't remember if it had a name like :colourmax" or something. It cast a purplish hue and was very weak light. The T8 daylight tubes from the hardware store in 6500K for $6-7 for two will work fine, I use these.

Hope this helps.


rjwwrx 01-17-2012 01:16 PM

Byron, in my case I can't find a better option. I can get this t5 fixture from petsmart for $90, or get a dual t8 fixture from my LFS for $120. I would like to avoid ordering on line for the fixture if I can. I was hoping that the 6700k bulb would be sufficient for plant growth, but there really isn't any reviews to reference. I might just have to jump in and hope for the best, or decide to order online. Thanks for your input.

rjwwrx 01-17-2012 01:43 PM

On second-thought, the price difference becomes a non-issue after the first replacement bulbs are purchased. The aqueon bulbs are about $20 a piece. Still don't know what I want to do.

Byron 01-17-2012 01:57 PM

I can't decide for you, but I have beeen at this game for more than 20 years and wasted money on fluorescent tubes that never got used. Sometimes I could return them, but not always. Looking at that link you posted, when I see "intensifies the colour of tropical fish" or "ideal lighting for live plants," I am immediately suspicious, and the stack of new but unused tubes in the corner of my fishroom is proof that my scepticism was well founded.;-)

beetlebz 01-18-2012 12:43 PM

rarely you can find stand off end caps for a florescent bulb at the hard ware store, but if not drs foster and smith sells the endcap kits. ballasts are readily available at any major home improvement store, and for a total investment of around $50 you can make a light fixture either out of an old 4 foot strip light or a piece of rain gutter. pm me for a link to the thread where I built one, and also where Zof built one. I can send you pictures of the several home made strip lights I built and use every day.

the home built approach lets you make exactly the light you need, and you can tailor it to use exactly the bulbs you want that your hardware stores carry. All but one of my 5 current tanks uses $5 (or less) home depot bulbs, and 4 of them are planted tanks.

byron is right... (has he ever not been?) most anyone with multiple tanks and at least a few years into the hobby has a drawer, corner, nook, or closet full of junk bulbs that cost between 15 and 50 bucks that were worthless. I myself have a whole pile of T12 bulbs that only lasted a few months.

FWIW, my fun tank is a planted 55g thats doing well with 2 24" T8 bulbs, and my 110g has java moss growing like crazy and its only got 1 48" T12.. id say its even brighter than my 55.

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