t5ho vs MH vs Par 38 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 06-15-2013, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 395
t5ho vs MH vs Par 38

Hello everyone,

Currently I have a 2 bulb 24" Catalina T5HO fixture above my tank which has a staggered bulb set up to get better coverage over a 29g tank (30 x 12 x 18). I really have grown to dislike this set up as stems near the corners of the tank bend inward to get the higher light in the double tube areas and my HC does not grow as well on the sides. I also dislike the flat looking light T5s produce especially because this is my first real freshwater tank and all my reefs have had MH or LED lighting.

I have a 70 watt MH fixture left over from a nano I had back in the day before LED lighting and Im wondering if this will provide better lighting and coverage? How high would I have to hang the fixture in order to have good coverage vs intensity? Would I need two to have full coverage? The Fishneedit 70w light is ~100 dollars right now so that is a pretty good looking option atm even if I needed two.

I was also wondering if anyone has experience with using Par 38 leds to light a tank. I have a par38 over my 8 g reef and it works/looks great. I think having the shimmer of a par38 over a freshwater tank would look amazing but havent really seen many par 38s not made for reef tanks. Would 2 Par 38s with 120 degree optics over a 30 inch tank be enough? I looked at the finnex fixtures but I have heard they produce a flat light due to only using two types of LEDs and that they dont produce alot of shimmer since the LEDs are too close together.

If worse comes to worse I might try to upgrade to a 4 bulb fixture to get better coverage. Any opinions welcome.


I just heard back from the people who made my Reef LEDs (LEDtric) and they replied that they will be coming out with a new freshwater line soon. This is very exciting news for the planted tank community as LEDtric makes amazing full spectrum sets for reefs and if they could do something similar for planted tanks I think it would take Freshwater LEDs from the dark ages to modern day reef tank standards

Last edited by Qwedfg; 06-15-2013 at 07:36 PM. Reason: asd
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