Another lighting question. (Current Nova Ex)
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Old 03-29-2006, 07:25 PM   #1
dogdoc
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Another lighting question. (Current Nova Ex)


I have heard that the Tek HO T-5's are awesome, but right now they are not in my budget. Surfing around last night, I found these http://www.bigalsonline.com/catalog/...tegory_id=3797 and they seem reasonably priced.

Would this be a better option than a 4x65 watt CF system such as the coralife or JBJ?

Anyone have any experience or opinions on these fixtures?

TIA

Mike
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Last edited by dogdoc; 03-31-2006 at 03:47 AM..
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Old 03-31-2006, 03:47 AM   #2
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Anybody out there?
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Old 03-31-2006, 04:18 AM   #3
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I was researching this light, or rather a 36 inch version. You prolly know you will need to pull the two actinics and put in some 6500K or 10000k. Or possibly one Aquamedic "planta" and one of the aforementioned. Yeah, its a good light. Its a bit of a stretch calling it a true parabolic reflector. The Tek's have an individual parabolic around each tube (although it rolled out of one piece). I believe the Current is on one big parabolic with the four HO T5s in there. But a good light for sure. I think its probably better than the JBJ PC and a bit more effiecient than PCs too. Its really nice they have the four white moonlights, something the Tek lamentably lacks. Current USA makes good quality products (more reef than FW) and this is a good price/sale. What size tank do you have-a 75G? Another option would be to build or buy an enclosure and put in four 55 watt from AH Supply. That would be about the same brightness. But I prefer HO T5s which are the light of the future IMHO.
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Old 03-31-2006, 09:36 PM   #4
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Yep, it is a 75g. I've been reading/researching everything I can find. I think I'm almost to the point of paralysis by analysis.

I really like the Tek lights, but I'm not able to fork out the kind of $$$ they go for. And almost everyone recommends the AH supply lights. I like them too, but I don't think they would work for me. I want something that is either suspended or on legs above the tank. And I'm not nearly handy enough to build my own enclosure.

So my front runners right now are mostly fixtures like the 260w CF's from coralife, jbj, etc. And now this Current Nova setup. I just haven't heard much about the Current USA products. I know those that use the Tek t-5 HO's say they will blow away a regular 260w CF. I just don't know if this 216w fixture is up to it. It's about the same price as the 260W CFs.
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Old 03-31-2006, 10:57 PM   #5
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What kind of plants are you wanting to grow? If you want hot reds, you might want to go the 4x55 watt AH Supply route. And they have really nice wood enclosures pretty reasonably priced. But you might be advised to add some fans depending on the ambient room temp in the summer etc and adding fans is easy, but a chore just the same.

But I really think the 216 HO T5 watts on a parabolic reflector will do you fine over a 75G. Over a deeper 90G it might be pushing it. And sometimes its easier to have a light which is not ridiculously bright, regards algae anyways. Current makes quality products for sure.

My Tek only has 216 watts of HO T5s and I can grow reds fine in a 90G which is 4 inches taller, if I have the 6500 or 10000K lamps. BTW, I just talked to my LFS contact (on a new tank I just ordered) and I'm helping him figure out some options on a 240 gallon he is going to start as a planted.

He just sold the same Current light you are contemplating to a client who he said was very happy with the light. If you decide its not enough, you could sell it pretty fast on swap and shop. I bet its brighter than the JBJs because of less restrike. 4X54 watt T5s on a parabolic reflector are bright. And the JBJs and Coralifes just use a cheaper basic reflector, not a parabolic.
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Old 04-01-2006, 12:09 AM   #6
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Would this be an alternative solution for you:
Coralife NO-T5: 2X28watt; 48in (three or four of them)
Advantages:
- Lower purchase cost
- Lower bulb replacement cost
- at a width of 3", you could spread three or four fixtures (6-8 bulbs) over the top surface for a broader coverage spread than 4 bulbs of the same size/thickness.
- You can get it right out of the box with the right plant bulbs you want.

Here's a BigAl's link and a manufacturer link:
http://www.bigalsonline.com/catalog/...tegory_id=2543
http://www.esuweb.com/cardfile.asp?I...lationship=370
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Old 04-01-2006, 12:42 AM   #7
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I would not go with (NO) normal output. (HO) High output is used by power compacts and the better lights like the Tek. And why mess with 4 four foot fixtures. That would be a big hassle every time you have to dive into a planted tank. Plus you would have to buy twice as many lamps for comparable wattage, so no savings there.
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Old 04-01-2006, 12:51 AM   #8
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I'm not trying to grow anything spectacularly difficult. In fact, right now, most of my plants are thriving under an all-glass triple tube strip (3x32w T-8). Since I was originally planning a low-tech/low light setup. Most everything in there are low light plants. I do have pressurized CO2 and ferts now, so I might as well upgrade the lighting. But I would like to be able to diversify my choices a bit in the future. I would like some kind of foreground plant. And most of those seem to fall into the med/high or above category.

In short, I just don't want to be limited to just the low light section. And I don't want to be sorry later that I still don't have enough light.

Would the Current Nova fixture at least get me to the "high" lighting category?
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Old 04-01-2006, 02:03 AM   #9
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With a 20 inch tank, I would have to say yes. Screaming highlight, no. A plant like HC might be harder to grow/establish in the foreground. But there are lots of other foregrounds that would do fine such as HM or Marselia and probably dwarf hairgrass and subulatas etc.

But a super hot light brings on its own set of problems, like constant trimming & high dosing ferts to keep algae in check, and high ambient temps in the summer.

If it was me, I would get this light on a 75G over a JBJ. I have seen JBJs in person that were not near as bright as 4X55 watt AH Supplys. I have seen one HO T5 made by Current at a LFS and it was very bright. Times four, you got plenty of light. And built in moonlights is really nice. Remember, these were really designed for highlight reefers. Just my opinion.
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Old 04-03-2006, 02:00 AM   #10
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Decisions, decisions. I'm trying so hard to talk myself out of wanting that TEK.

They are at least $100 more expensive though. Not the biggest deal. Just have to save a little longer.

What I'm really afraid of is the algae issues. More than one person has said that you really have to be on top of your game to run the Tek and not fall prey to algae. Since this is my first planted tank, that alone makes me nervous. I do have pressurized CO2 and I have a pretty good fert routine right now.
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Old 04-03-2006, 06:42 AM   #11
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Doc, Get the Tek! Timers and two banks of lights give you plenty of control... You won't regret its legendary quality. And the best thing about this light is the gliding hangers to raise and lower quickly to work on the tank with the lights on. This is an add on optional kit designed by Griplock systems, who primarily sell to museums to display fine art. No lifting fixtures off or listening to JBJ's noisy fans. You can save some bucks by having a local glass shop cut the acrylic shield too.

You can start out with two of the Cheaper GE Starcoats (with two 10000Ks) to save on initial purchase. The GEs grow plants fine but look a little yellow, but really not bad at all. Have you seen Scolleys thread? Lots of pics of a hanging Tek. My only caveat is: "Why, why didn't they incorporate some moonlights in this quality light?". But it can be juryrigged with some special angled boxes or bent metal hangers. I'm working on that right now. And I'm ordering another Tek for my new 65G. HTH bob ( I work for Sunlight Supply... just kidding) LOL
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