to get the best bang for buck, its good to get a light measuring device which measures somthing called LUX (unit is the lumen i think) and see which has the highest output of lumens and get that.basicly ur measuring the brightness of the light which will be able to give more illuminance.a multimeter with light measuring capabilitys would be a start
To loaded of a question to even possibly begin to answer.
Go back and read the stickies. You'll understand why it is important to give outlines for every question.
Is this for a 100g tank or a 1g pico? Is the tank an odd shape like 12"x 12"x 36" deep?
What if neither are enough light for the tank?
If the tank is long and narrow about 20g I'd say get the T5's. If it's a 20g cube, get the halide. If it's larger then 20g, well...... then either will only support the simplest of softies up to about a 30g or a fish only set up.
sorry its a 20 gallon tall, im planning on getting rid of the 10 gallon and fitting a 20 gallon there, might need to talk to the landlord about weight and stuff. I dont know what corals yet but i want the best light since they both cost the same.
you would need 4 bulbs to get 96watts which means you probably won't have room for individual reflectors so thats not good.t5's are way brighter than other lights watt for watt.the metal halide penetrates deeper but thats not a concern in an 18 or 20 inch deep tank.the halide will use more electricity and burn hotter.people with monster tanks don't like t5's because they won't burn through 30 inches of water to light a clam at the bottom of their tank like a large halide may.if i were you,i'd just buy a power compact and save your money for your next upgrade.you'll get hooked on the hobby and need a new light again for your bigger tank that will will need t5's or mh lighting over.another bit of info is that i think the 96watt t5 will be way brighter than the 70mh in that shallow tank.way brighter.
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