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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
can anyone recommend individual high performance parabolic reflectors that will fit over 48" T8 bulbs that are thin enough to fit 4 inside of my 18 in. wide hood, or two reflectors that will each hold 2 bulbs?
 

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mylar

yes the cheapest and very good reflective properties would by mylar reflective film.do a web search you will see.and if the film starts to not be as reflective just replace it.:angel:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the suggestion. I agree that mylar is highly reflective - believe it or not white gloss paint (which I use now) is almost as reflective. Problem is I would need to build a frame for a shape to direct light downward. Right now the inside of my hood is just a rectangular box. Much more light could be pushed down with the same bulbs with a parabolic shaped reflector. It would be nice to have the reflecting material and frame (shape) in the same item.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I need a solution that will work for at least 2 T8 bulbs at a time, or for all 4 of my T8 bulbs. I found this Coralife Aqua Mirror Reflector- 48" $34.99 which should be fine (I would need two of them), but I wonder how much better it will be than the gloss latex white paint inside my hood, which already does a pretty good job:

http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsUS...rorreflector48

Anyone have any experience with this reflector?
 

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I've heard that Mylar becomes brittle after being exposed to the heat from your T8 bulbs,and will be messy to clean up .I would say your other choice (white paint)would be a much better alternative.
 

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If you want mirro (aluminum) reflectors for t8 fixtures where the bulbs are mounted 2 3/8 inches apart from their centers, PM me, I have a good source, and he's quite reasonable. I use these with good success.

-DK
 

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I just read about someone over at APC that uses an English Wheel and polished stainless steel to make his own parabolic reflectors for his light fixtures. He might be able to make one for you. His name is furbaldy or something like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi Wasserpest,

I thought of doing the same thing with the AH Supply parabolic reflectors. I've never handled one - are they easy to bend? How wide are they edge to edge? The key is that I want to be able to fit the refelctors inside my 18" wide hood. The AH reflectors look wider than the Ice Cap T8 parabolic reflectors. If each AH reflector can only be used with one bulb, it may be a tight squeeze to fit 4 reflectors without cutting or bending back the edges of the reflectors.

I already get so much good high quality light with the 4 T8 bulbs I have and a hood painted white gloss on the inside, that with proper reflectors I'll have all the light I need for my 75 gal. to grow anything. I already have plenty enough light to grow most red plants, but a little more light from the reflectors should help with the most intense red plants. I'm amazed at how much light and good quality photosynthetic wavelengths I get from my current 4 bulb T8 setup, which I believe has a lot to do with the quality of the Phillips Aquarelle TLD89 and Phillips Advantage ADV850 bulbs.
 

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They are about 4 inches wide, so you should be able to cram 4 across an 18 inch wide canopy. Keep in mind that the longest reflector they sell is about 35" long, just a bit too short for 4" bulbs.

They are easy to bend, and you can cut them with some decent scissors to get the full length of your bulbs covered.

I know you seem to be very happy with T8 bulbs. However, give T5 bulbs a thought as well. The HO flavor shines with much higher intensity than regular T8 bulbs, good for bigger tanks. Two T5 bulbs will probably give you similar light levels as 4 T8 bulbs, at lower total wattage.
 

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Well, one option I have thought of (I am running 4 T8's on my 75g but overdriven 2X each) is to swap the T8 bulbs for T6 bulbs which will work on the same ballast and endcaps, but T6 bulbs should be close enough to T5 that you can use the individual clip-on reflectors designed for T5's like the IceCap and Tek reflectors. But the main reason I am using T8's is because I can get em locally for $3.50 a pop, T6's would be mail order and over $10 ea.

Seems like i have heard on here before that AHSupply relectors dont work well with standard tubes... because I had inquired about using them and was told they dont work well due to being designed for CF, but I guess if you can bend them to better suite the different bulb sizes then maybe they will work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Wasserpest, I don't disagree with you about T5s. I might have switched except for:

1) I have a good supply of my two types of T8 bulbs for the next 2-3 years. They are low heat and high efficiency, but while the T5 might be even a little more efficient, they give off more heat, which I like to keep to a minimum. So no bulbs for me to buy.

2) The higher heat of the T5 bulbs make the use of a glass shield necessary, and prefer not to use a glass shield because you have to clean it constantly and it cuts down on gas exchange at the surface.

3) The combination of the bulbs I use, the Phillips Aquarelle TLD89 and the Phillips Advantage ADV850, give off beautiful visible light to highlight the plants and fish colors AND offer the best photosynthetic spectrum I've ever seen (I switched from four Verilux 6700K full spectrum 94.5 CRI bulbs to these bulbs and there was an immediate growth benefit and much more pleasing visible light which really shows off the plant colors and fish).

Questions:
A) Do you use a glass shield with you T5s and how thick is it? Is it under the T5 as part of your T5 reflector/fixture, or over the surface of your aquarium?
B) If you could suggest a T5 combination that would have the same benefit for photosynthesis AND pleasing visible light, I'd really appreciate it for future use.
C) Would you know if 2 T5 48" bulbs would give off more light than 4 high efficiency T8s like my ADV850s and Aquarelles?
D) Would you know if 2 T5 48" bulbs would give off more heat than 4 high efficiency T8s like my ADV850s and Aquarelles?

Thanks!





Perhaps two T5s would give off less heat than 4 T8s.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi Crazy Loaches,

I have a similar situation - I stashed a good supply of super high quality T8 bulbs - and believe me if you saw how beautiful the visible light is that is thrown by my light combo (you can see an example on a website that compares how different bulb combos look with great color photos - I forget the URL now but I once mentioned it in a post) and if you saw the growth advantage offered by this light combo, you'd understand. I got robust very colorful and super healthy growth with this bulb combo at relatively low wattage and heat. Much better than the Verilux full spectrum 6700K 94.5 CRI bulbs I used before (which also make everything look super green and dull other colors).

With higher quality bulbs like mine, you really wouldn't have to overdrive your bulbs. I find no need to, but I'd like to offer a slight boost with reflectors. Right now I just have gloss white paint inside my hood - good parabolics would probably give me a little more light, though I'm not "starving" for extra light. My lights just hit those photosynthetic wavelengths right on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
BTW Crazy Loaches, thanks for the idea. Because of my bulb supply, I'd like to stick with the T8s for now. I was told the same thing by AH Supply about their reflectors being made for CF bulbs, and based on their shape, I'd agree. I think the best fit and best value will be offered by the Ice Cap T5 reflectors or by the Helios T5 reflectors which are on customeaquatic.com for $24.99 each (per bulb). If I get them, I'll let you know how it appears (I don't have a light meter so can't take a scientific measurement).
 

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Wasserpest, I don't disagree with you about T5s. I might have switched except for:

1) I have a good supply of my two types of T8 bulbs for the next 2-3 years. They are low heat and high efficiency, but while the T5 might be even a little more efficient, they give off more heat, which I like to keep to a minimum. So no bulbs for me to buy.

2) The higher heat of the T5 bulbs make the use of a glass shield necessary, and prefer not to use a glass shield because you have to clean it constantly and it cuts down on gas exchange at the surface.

3) The combination of the bulbs I use, the Phillips Aquarelle TLD89 and the Phillips Advantage ADV850, give off beautiful visible light to highlight the plants and fish colors AND offer the best photosynthetic spectrum I've ever seen (I switched from four Verilux 6700K full spectrum 94.5 CRI bulbs to these bulbs and there was an immediate growth benefit and much more pleasing visible light which really shows off the plant colors and fish).

Questions:
A) Do you use a glass shield with you T5s and how thick is it? Is it under the T5 as part of your T5 reflector/fixture, or over the surface of your aquarium?
B) If you could suggest a T5 combination that would have the same benefit for photosynthesis AND pleasing visible light, I'd really appreciate it for future use.
C) Would you know if 2 T5 48" bulbs would give off more light than 4 high efficiency T8s like my ADV850s and Aquarelles?
D) Would you know if 2 T5 48" bulbs would give off more heat than 4 high efficiency T8s like my ADV850s and Aquarelles?

Thanks!





Perhaps two T5s would give off less heat than 4 T8s.
T8's are cool running for sure. However, comparing fluorescents with similar efficiencies, the temperature of the bulb and brightness are closely related. The more amps you push through a bulb, the hotter and brighter it gets. The question is, what is better - a larger number of dim bulbs, or a smaller number of bright bulbs. I don't mean that literally, and I don't have hard numbers to prove that so many 32W T8 bulbs will equal so many 54W T5 bulbs... just some food for thought.

There are cover glasses on all my tanks, mainly to prevent evaporation, and keep excess moisture out of the hood and away from bulbs and reflectors. Just personal preference.

Just as personal, I like a combo of 6700K and 10000K bulbs as aesthetically pleasing. I believe plants can grow under a wide range of bulbs, and the whole PAR discussion is overrated. I'd love to see a capable and affordable "pink" T5 bulb, if only someone would finally straighten out that GE 9325K bulb.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
T8's are cool running for sure. However, comparing fluorescents with similar efficiencies, the temperature of the bulb and brightness are closely related. The more amps you push through a bulb, the hotter and brighter it gets. The question is, what is better - a larger number of dim bulbs, or a smaller number of bright bulbs. I don't mean that literally, and I don't have hard numbers to prove that so many 32W T8 bulbs will equal so many 54W T5 bulbs... just some food for thought.

* I'd love to know how 2 T5 54W compare with 4 T8 32W...but it's probably close. Do 2 T5's in a well ventilated hood require a fan? I would think they are not enough to need one.

There are cover glasses on all my tanks, mainly to prevent evaporation, and keep excess moisture out of the hood and away from bulbs and reflectors. Just personal preference.

* I am thinking of going with a glass, but a) I wish I had thinner glass or acrylic sheeting than the glass I have now, which is on the thick side. b) I'm thinking of placing the glass in a sliding sheet directly under my lights but higher than the top of the tank, so that the glass doesn't have to be cleaned as often.

* Do you know where I can get thinner glass sheeting or plastic that can take some heat, transmit full spectrum and not scratch easily cut to size?

Just as personal, I like a combo of 6700K and 10000K bulbs as aesthetically pleasing. I believe plants can grow under a wide range of bulbs, and the whole PAR discussion is overrated. I'd love to see a capable and affordable "pink" T5 bulb, if only someone would finally straighten out that GE 9325K bulb.
* I agree with you - that's pretty much what I do - my ADV850s are 5000K and my TLD89 Aquarelles are 10000K. What kind of bulb is the GE9325 and what's wrong with it?
 

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What kind of bulb is the GE9325 and what's wrong with it?

Its a compact fluorescent bulb, one that produces excellent growth and most agree a pleasing color, and cheap to boot!

Overdriving is a fairly cheap way to increase brightness. Some of the measurements made in the sticky actually denounces the myth that overdriven bulbs are inherently less efficient, in fact they found most bulbs peak in efficiency when overdriven - most even at 4X. I will be switching to either or a combination of MH, CF, and T5 for the tanks I am setting up now. My ODNO canopy on my 75 has served its purpose well and I really would not want any more growth than I have. Even my Java Ferns have been growing like nuts, coming right out of the top of the tank. I am upgrading to two larger tanks, and the ODNO setup will be a lot of hassle to get as much light as I will need (lots of bulbs, lots of ballasts, etc.) and lack of an optimal reflector is defiantly one of the factors. I have calculated it many times, the cheapest way for my tanks to light them will be AHSupply. The slight bit of efficiency lost to CF design does not add up to the +hundred dollar difference it will be IMO. But I think one of the slickest rigs is using T5's with Icecap Reflectors and Icecap VHO ballast. An Icecap 660 ballast will drive 4 T5HO bulbs at 80-85W each supposedly. Thats a lot of intensity, especially with the good reflector, but will generate more heat obviously and quicker bulb replacement.

BTW the Icecap reflectors are 20.95 on diyreef http://www.diyreef.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=55_66&products_id=172 not sure if their cheaper anywhere else I havent looked into it (the individual Tek reflectors are the same price there too).
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Wasserpest,

Sorry some of my questions/comments got lost in my quote box for you - running around doing this in between sessions at a conference

I'd love to know how 2 T5 54W compare with 4 T8 32W...but it's probably close. Do 2 T5's in a well ventilated hood require a fan? I would think they are not enough to need one.

I am thinking of going with a glass, but a) I wish I had thinner glass or acrylic sheeting than the glass I have now, which is on the thick side. b) I'm thinking of placing the glass in a sliding sheet directly under my lights but higher than the top of the tank, so that the glass doesn't have to be cleaned as often.

Do you know where I can get thinner glass sheeting or plastic that can take some heat, transmit full spectrum and not scratch easily cut to size?

Now I remember - the GE 9325K bulb is supposed to be very similar in effect to what I have now mixing the TLD89 Aquarelle and the ADV850 bulb. I've heard great things about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi crazy loaches,

Thanks for the heads up on the GE bulb, I remember it now, gives off a quality of light and visible color that's very similar to my mix of ADV850 bulbs and TLD89 Aquarelle bulbs. I would consider it for new tank setups.

I already get such good growth for my 75 gal with only 4 T8 bulbs, that short of adding reflectors to counteract the light blocking of a glass screen to protect the end caps from moisture, I can't imagine wanting more light now. Also, I have another issue - I have a planted Tanganyikan tank, and I like to keep it with more open swimming spots than an average planted tank to give the fish more swimming and digging room, so I'm always in a growth control mode rather than trying to drive growth wild. And with my C02 going, I trade enough excess plants every month to our LFS to pay for our all of our other pets' needs. I also want to keep heat to a minimum because I have a lot of computer/office equipment in a home office with the tank. I have enough heat being put out already, especially in summer.

What is entailed in overdriving T8s? Is it safe? How much extra heat does it generate?

Why would you want to go with MH? So much extra heat and power required. And there are so many great T5 and CF bulbs available now. I would stick with those.

With 2 T5 48" bulbs, would I need to run a fan, even with a well ventilated hood? I would think so.

For two T5 bulbs, which two Ice Cap ballasts would you use to drive them? I'd want each bulb on a separate control so I can have a high intensity time in middle of the day and lower intensity at the beginning and end of day.

Please let me know where you think I can get some cut-to-measure clear thin glass (not too thin to be weak but not too thick to block too much light) or clear hard plastic - I want to cut two sheets to slide in my hood, one on each side, right beneath the lights and reflectors.

Thanks for the heads up on the reflector price - that's a great price.
 
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