The Planted Tank Forum banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So I recently received a Finnex Ray2 and it sure does live up to it's slogan of "Let There Be Light."

However....I'm not sure if it is the right kind of light. I am a total noob on all of the technical lighting stuff but I have read my fair share of discussions here regarding requirements for red plants. I realize that the old school folks were able (and still are) to grow red plants under tube lighting. I also realize that a multi-bulb t5 fixture would allow me much customization in order to achieve this...so I'm considering picking up a t5 ho fixture and testing this out on my 20 long.

I was previously able to plants to turn red near the surface with spiral CFLs....having switched to LEDs I am seeing better light penetration near the substrate and a better spread and coverage of light throughout the aquarium, however I have not yet seen the plants turn red like I was hoping. This could be because before I received the Ray2, I trimmed all of my stem plants (R. colorata, R. indica, R. macranda, P. stellatus, L. aromatica, L. repens)...I'll wait a little longer to see what happens near the surface of the water.

So on a quest for an inexpensive quad fixture that would offer more flexibility over a one or two bulb fixture, I found this



Specifications:
Dimensions - 24.00" x 13.00" x 3.00"
Includes 4x 6500K Grow bulbs
Supports standard T5 HO 24W bulbs
Total power - 96 watts
Power cord - 5 ft
Contoured reflector for max light output
Can be hung horizontal or vertical
Built-in electronic ballasts for high energy efficiency
Plug and play ballasts saves time and hassle
Built-in hanging wire for easy installation
Convenient access door to replace parts.
Body color - textured black
110V compatibility only
24W - 2000 lumen per bulb for 2ft
90 Day Warranty



I know that this is not a "aquarium safe" fixture so obviously I would be hanging this somewhat above the water since I have an open top. My questions are:

1. Would this be a good idea in replacement of the finnex ray2? Electricity consumption is not an issue here, and I understand the expense of replacing bulbs ever so often
2. I'm assuming using all 4 bulbs would be too much lighting, unless I raised the lighting enough. What are your thoughts on this?
3. If this is a good fixture to go with, what lighting/bulb combination would be the most ideal to run with?

I appreciate any advice,

Garrett


*Edit* Forgot to add, YES I am running pressurized CO2. haha I wouldn't even consider the Ray2 without CO2.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Also, if I were to get this fixture...my only concern for my 20 long is that there is an additional 4 inches of tank on either side of the bulbs...I assume that raising the fixture would help spread the light to these areas?

The fixture is $64 shipped with 4 6500k bulbs included. I could pick up a Giesemann Aquaflora and UV Red Sun to replace two of the 6500ks - reefgeek.com has both bulbs for $19.95 each.

- Garrett
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well I went ahead and purchased one of these and a variety of bulbs to try out. I'll post pictures tomorrow when it arrives and I can get it set up and hanging above my tank.

I guess when no-one speaks it is time to step up to the plate and try it out yourself!

The Finnex fixtures, although very nice, were not providing the right spectrum. My plants that had previously been red started turning greener and greener with nothing else being changed (co2, ferts). I guess I'll need to wait on LEDs for now...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,528 Posts
Well I went ahead and purchased one of these and a variety of bulbs to try out. I'll post pictures tomorrow when it arrives and I can get it set up and hanging above my tank.

I guess when no-one speaks it is time to step up to the plate and try it out yourself!

The Finnex fixtures, although very nice, were not providing the right spectrum. My plants that had previously been red started turning greener and greener with nothing else being changed (co2, ferts). I guess I'll need to wait on LEDs for now...
"wait on "that" LED for now..;) Too early for a blanket statement..
One thing though.. (actually 2) 1)LED's are very short on UV, something most tubes have some of.. 2)Neutral to cool white LED's are short red...



Not to mention a "quantity" difference.. Out of curiosity how many "watts" of CF were you running???
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,855 Posts
The hydroponic T5HO fixture will work just fine. You're increasing the light intensity but you'll do a lot better by mixing bulbs. Maybe a rose colored bulb, with a 10k, and two full mid day 6500k bulbs from giesemann, and you should get nice red colors. Otherwise four 6500k bulbs alone will make the colors look washed out.
 

·
Plant Whisperer
Joined
·
2,550 Posts
I highly recommend the hydroponics T5HO, they are spectacular units. Cheap, well made, huge amount of light output, even with the stock bulbs. You don't really need to buy specialty bulbs for the unit to produce high light.

The FugeRay 2s are also nice, but I don't think they are on the same level as the hydroponics lights which have much better light distribution, more options and better light output.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
"wait on "that" LED for now..;) Too early for a blanket statement..
One thing though.. (actually 2) 1)LED's are very short on UV, something most tubes have some of.. 2)Neutral to cool white LED's are short red...

Not to mention a "quantity" difference.. Out of curiosity how many "watts" of CF were you running???
I was running 3x23 watts of CFL in the biggest brooder lamp reflector domes that I could fit over the tank's top. It turned plants red/pink/purple/whatever the color was other than green....but only at the top 2 inches of the tank. So this suggests that it was high light....but not enough at the bottom of the tank. However, my glosso and dwarf hairgrass carpet was chugging along quite well. I'll take photos tomorrow of the before and about a one week after to compare growth and coloration.

That's true about the blanket statement...I know there are the...as someone described...Cadillacs of LEDS out there like BML but I still need the customization AFTER ordering one...not to mention...they cost A LOT!

The hydroponic T5HO fixture will work just fine. You're increasing the light intensity but you'll do a lot better by mixing bulbs. Maybe a rose colored bulb, with a 10k, and two full mid day 6500k bulbs from giesemann, and you should get nice red colors. Otherwise four 6500k bulbs alone will make the colors look washed out.
Yeah the fixture comes with 6500k. I plan on keeping two as you suggest, and using one Giesemann AquaFlora and one UV Red Sun. I got a 3000k for a $1 with my order of the two red bulbs - I might try it out...I'm not afraid of a warm looking tank ;)

I highly recommend the hydroponics T5HO, they are spectacular units. Cheap, well made, huge amount of light output, even with the stock bulbs. You don't really need to buy specialty bulbs for the unit to produce high light.

The FugeRay 2s are also nice, but I don't think they are on the same level as the hydroponics lights which have much better light distribution, more options and better light output.
Thank you for the reassurance. I think I've seen you advocate for the hydroponic units somewhere before. If in the least I have myself a nice hydroponic light system if I feel the need to use it for such purposes (or start seedlings in January as I did a year ago with T8 shoplights)

I like the Ray2. It is bright...it just turned my tank into the incredible GREEN hulk of plants in a matter of two days....that was even with the supplemental reds in the Planted+ I had sitting right next to it. Reds were either washed out (if remaining on any leaves) or stopped producing all together...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,528 Posts
I was running 3x23 watts of CFL in the biggest brooder lamp reflector domes that I could fit over the tank's top. It turned plants red/pink/purple/whatever the color was other than green....but only at the top 2 inches of the tank.
you'd need 2 RayII's to be equal or better than 3x23W CF's...Even adding the planted plus you would only be close..
As to the statement:
but I still need the customization AFTER ordering one.
not sure what you mean by that.. but yes they aren't cheap..
Dutch planted 3W leds is $219... 24"..
Ray II's are $92.32x 2= $184.64.... price diff is minimal..

Last 4 tube good T5 was around $100... plus new bulbs..

Still the red thing is an unknown..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
you'd need 2 RayII's to be equal or better than 3x23W CF's...Even adding the planted plus you would only be close..
As to the statement:

not sure what you mean by that.. but yes they aren't cheap..
Dutch planted 3W leds is $219... 24"..
Ray II's are $92.32x 2= $184.64.... price diff is minimal..

Last 4 tube good T5 was around $100... plus new bulbs..

Still the red thing is an unknown..
Well I had $130 in Amazon giftcards so my two LEDs were $174-$130 = $44 from my pocket - I was thinking of getting the "Dutch" BML but it was $239? On top of that I would probably need a dimmer...there's extra spending.

What I meant about the customization was having the ability to change lighting spectrum once receiving a unit. I know the Current Satellite LEDs allow you to tinker with lighting, but after seeing their low PAR....The storm effects were cool though.

I made myself an LED bar with those cheap 5050 SMD strip LEDs on eBay. They have a little remote, can do all kinds of neat things - hopefully I can program those one day with an arduino and mimic a sunrise/sunset/random electrical storm ;)

Anyway, back to the T5s - I can swap bulbs out here and there to see how they affect growth. As far as I know with the Finnex/BML I can either raise or lower height or add a second fixture which I have learned is too costly compared to swapping a $14-$19 bulb. I'll gladly buy an LED fixture that surpasses T5s in all of these aspects...when that day comes.

Question: Here are the bulbs that I will have: 4xstock 6500k (I'm sure there are better 6500ks out there but I will use these for now in combo with the red bulbs that I ordered from reefgeek), one 3000k, one Giesemann Aqua Flora, and one UVL Red Sun. Not sure if I'll use both reds or even the 3000k (only $1 extra), but should I just I just alternate the bulbs as such: 6500k, Giesemann, 6500k, UVL? Is there any rhyme or reason to how they should be placed?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,901 Posts
I use hygroponic T5HO light fixtures on all my tanks basically. There cheap, provide tons of light. And have a great warranty. Its even better when you have a store near you so any problem can be fixed asap. But havent had any issues with them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I use hygroponic T5HO light fixtures on all my tanks basically. There cheap, provide tons of light. And have a great warranty. Its even better when you have a store near you so any problem can be fixed asap. But havent had any issues with them.
The only issue I expect to ever have would be a ballast going bad...I'm good with electrical work and saw that the unit that I purchased has "plug and play" ballasts. What's your experience with replacing ballasts? I'm sure it varies from brand to brand?

Edit: GLAD to hear that you use them too, because I've seen your plants H4N!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,528 Posts
Well I had $130 in Amazon giftcards so my two LEDs were $174-$130 = $44 from my pocket - I was thinking of getting the "Dutch" BML but it was $239? On top of that I would probably need a dimmer...there's extra spending.
I get it.. But this was way cheaper because of your specific situation. I was just pointing out for some the cost is not quite as extreme.. you stated BML's were "costly" which is true and not at the same time.. Costly compared to one fixture (which can't compare really) Arguably cheaper on a PAR by PAR basis.
As to a dimmer ..cheap screen works just fine.. So how much does it cost to to dim t5's??? I suppose pulling a bulb or 2 (light loss) is an option.


What I meant about the customization was having the ability to change lighting spectrum once receiving a unit.
That is an off the rack issue.. but some 2 channel Chinese LED fixtures allow this.
p6 in particular.. gives layout for the 2 channels and cost for 3 programmable panels.. no not cheap but it can be adjusted from low K 5000-ish to high 10,000-ish and maintain a high level of light (one channel is "good enough" matching your "color change w/ out any added cost.. Yes there is a compromise.. (If you only ran one channel you only use 1/2 of your light)
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=533178&page=6
LEd's are evolving.. T5 is pretty mature....

Anyway, back to the T5s - I can swap bulbs out here and there to see how they affect growth. As far as I know with the Finnex/BML I can either raise or lower height or add a second fixture which I have learned is too costly compared to swapping a $14-$19 bulb. I'll gladly buy an LED fixture that surpasses T5s in all of these aspects...when that day comes.
My personal opinion LED's have surpassed t5's in all aspects except cost..
(AND the possibility of exact spectrum to create exact results, which leads to the red thing)
$600 of custom BML's w/ timers/dimmers and I can mimic any color temp under the sun.. But as I said there is a cost of "efficiency" involved (not to mention COST, which if you went w/ the DsunY is not as big of an issue:( 1 24" 2-channel panel 50w, fully programmable $239).. Over "watting" each channnel eliminates that ..Say your target output is equal
to 2 BML's @ 50% each.. running up/down each channel to adjust "color" avoids light loss..and creates "headroom" for increasing light w/out cost.

any light.. be it t5, MH/HPS ect . is a choice by the user..and each has its differences and advantages/disadvantages and can be very specific for a user.. for you it looks to be the best choice..but I wanted to point out options.. (I even left out DIY, though custom commercial is still in the mix)

THE MOST fun thing to watch in LED's is seeing DIY "ideas" from controllers to drivers to spectrum.. being incorporated in "commercial" products. (to the frustration of some i.e the "creators).. as we speak.. so to say..


END of soapbox.. ;)

Oh fleabay number for the UT-1RC
11122030849

does it match or exceed a t5HO 4 fixture? W/ the right choice of "colors" I suspect yes.. a very close horse-race.. still it is 2x the price..
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,901 Posts
The only issue I expect to ever have would be a ballast going bad...I'm good with electrical work and saw that the unit that I purchased has "plug and play" ballasts. What's your experience with replacing ballasts? I'm sure it varies from brand to brand?

Edit: GLAD to hear that you use them too, because I've seen your plants H4N!
I've had them for over 1 1/2 years no problems at all.
The units I have all come with a 2 year warranty on the ballast and year on bulbs.
I currently use the bulbs that come with it 2x 6.5k and 2x 10k. I can pick between 3k, 6.5k, 10k bulb when I bought them.

I'm going slow change them out with the name brand bulbs and a red bulb per unit. But you've seen it grows plants and red also :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Alright. Got the T5HO set up yesterday. It appears to be a very well built and high quality unit. The only uncertainty that I have is the quality of the included 6500k bulbs being that they were labeled as Odyssea brand. They appear bright enough, I just don't know anything about the brand. Again, I will be replacing at least two of the bulbs with a Giesemann Aqua Flora and a UVL Red Sun. Has anyone found T5s at a Lowes before? I have never had a need to look for them...I know they carry Phillips and GE in every other shape and size.

Here are some pictures. My iPhone 5 autoadjusted for each photo so that didn't help, but at least you can see how the new fixture looks above the tank. I did a pretty hefty trim the other day before I got the T5s in. I hacked back all of the green growth that was near the surface underneath the Ray2 and Planted+ and in a week's time or less I'm hoping that the growth near the surface will be colorful..hopefully closer to the substrate as well. All in all, I like the way this light looks above my tank with the ADA style light bar that I made (that's what took most of my day - that and hanging the braided wires)

Ray 2 ON


Ray2 & Planted+


T5HO with 4x6500k



I'm already getting my A. gracilis to recover from what was a month long battle of stunted growth. No idea if it's from the lighting or what... I haven't changed my water parameters any, at least intentionally...maybe the water company did something ;)


Edit 1: If you see any red in the pictures with the LEDs, specifically the L. aromatica, that would be the old growth near the top. If I took a top down photo you would be able to see the bright green new leaves, but they are covered up in these photos by the larger old leaves that were colored from CFLs a week ago. My L. aromatica is one of my slowest growing plant in this tank.

Edit 2: Also, the tank appears slightly crooked with the wall..that's because it is. Old house, old crooked walls. I know......
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Where did you get the T-5 quad light from.? The price sounds very reasonable.
I PM'd you the link. I bought it through an eBay aquaponics seller. I believe the branding might be different depending on who is selling it, but for anyone else interested, search on eBay "2ft T5HO" and you'll see it within the first few listings. $64 shipped, ordered on a Wednesday and arrived Friday morning. Not bad. I just had to get additional bulbs elsewhere to break up the quad 6500k spectrum.

I have the 6 bulb 48" version. I am very impressed with the quality and price. I will be ordering another very soon.
Yeah I'm seriously considering getting one of these for my younger brother's aquaponics build. His outdoor garden is getting shaded now that leaves have grown in....so I told him to check into aquaponics and "take the sunshine indoors" ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Ok so it has been about two weeks now. I just wanted to say that I really like this fixture. It's easy to work with, easy to swap bulbs out, simple to hang above my tank. I might invest in some pullies so that I don't have to re-do the braided steel line each time (it's a pain to un-crimp ferrules...someone please share some better way!)

However, I am still trying to figure out this red plant problem. I'll give you a rundown. My Ludwigia repens is orange underneath, the Rotala rotundifolia is oranging up, the N. sp red off to the right is orangish red (only on the new leaves)...old leaves turn brownish after a few days. That plant has been tough. The L. aromatica is nice and green except the tips which are 1" from the surface...they are showing some color...but not like I'd want them to.

Lighting was lowered a couple of days ago to 5" off the water.
Bulbs are like this from front to back: Giesemann Aqua Flora, Zoo Med Ultra Sun 6500k, UVL Red Sun, Zoo Med Ultra Sun 6500k.

Here is what I am going to try next: place the two Zoo Med bulbs together in the center, or remove one of the pink/red bulbs and place another 6500k that I have (Odyssea brand) in. I have no idea how much PAR the red and pink bulbs give off...but that may be my problem.

I have as much CO2 running and diffused through a cerges reactor. If I dial it up the smallest bit the neon tetras will spend the whole day gasping. Plants start pearling at 30 minutes after lights come on each day

Lighting is on for 3 hours in the morning, off for 5, then on for 6 in the afternoon/evening. I wonder if this might be a problem?

Ferts are per EI to meet PPM for a 20 gallon. I lowered and then stopped dosing KNO3 for a week to see if that would help. Turns out my fish and snails keep levels at around 15-20ppm if fed regularly. I dose extra CSM+B and DPTA 11% Iron.



Don't mind that funny looking strip of black in front of the lights. It's my DIY LED light strip that also serves as a blind to save my eyes from the 4 T5 HO lights :D

What do you all think?
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top