I am trying to figure out how I want to do my lighting for a 75 gallon tank I am setting up. The lights will be retrofit into a canopy I am building with good reflectors around each bulb. I have several ballasts meant to drive multiple T8s, a Vossloh Schwabe ballast (EXVr 245.004) for T5, and a workhorse 5 ballast. I know if I overdrive T8 bulbs they will burn out faster, but they are also considerably cheaper than T5. I am looking to get med-high light and I have injected co2 and the lights will be about 5 inches above the water surface. Can I run T5NO bulbs on the workhorse ballast or can I only do T5HO? I am planning on 4 bulbs with either the T8 or T5. Will overdriven T8 be enough light. Id like to get the best light for the cheapest price and lowest power consumption if at all possible, I know a lot to ask for
Lowest cost and lowest electric power usage are not compatible. The lowest power usage is with LEDs, but they cost the most up front. The lowest cost is with T8 shop lights, but they use the most power for a given light intensity. I would use two T5HO bulbs widely spaced - 108 watts of electricity, and good low medium to medium light.