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Help with final Lighting Decision

1028 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  FSM
I will be comming into a small amount of money in the next couple of weeks and with it, I want to buy a new light set up for my 75g tank. After researching, I settled on T5 HO lighting. I've been told PC lights are also great. So, I guess the first question is which do most people prefer. I plan on growing low to medium light plants and my tank is 24" deep. I've read that Catalina has a great deal so I've attached a link to the fixture I'm looking at. PLEASE let me know what you guys think. I have to make a decision soon. Thanks:
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Good price. Not sure about the reputation of the product. Personally I'd re-consider unless it's got two independent on/off switches, given that 4x54 might be more than you want by the time you've got everything together.

Individual strips with independent parabolic reflectors would be better yet; you could control the spacing to get better light spread, which is far superior to more wattage.

I've read, on other threads, mainly that the price is great. I'm not sure about the rep either. Recently I spoke to another member of this site and he told me that Catalina was the place to go. It does have 2 lights switches though. I've been struggling with the 4 bulb or 2 bulb choice for awhile. Most recommend 4 bulbs cause there are more light output oprions. And, again, I'm unsure about T5 HO or PC lights. There are alot of choices and it gets a bit confusing for a begginer. In my situation, keeping in mind that I cant go too expensive, what would you recommend I get?
T5 High Out put bulbs are cheaper and last longer than PCS. Also, they run alot cooler. Get the 4 bulb, I bought a two bulb for a 46 gallon bowfront and wound up buying a 4 bulb version 6 months later. No, they are not Catalina unfortunately. I didn't hear about Catalina until recently. I went to a meeting with the local Aquatic Plant Club and the host had a Catalina on a 90 Gallon, 6 bulb I think. The Catalina is nicely built and stays cool to the touch even without fans. I think if one of the ballasts in my Current Extreme were to burn out, I would have to tell the wife that it is irrepairable. :hihi:
the catalina lamp is the way to go,but the stock bulbs are not my favor
I have an extensive collection - in use - of PC fixtures. Any new purchases are and will be T5. T5 bulbs are easier to source these days than good PC bulbs.

Both need cooling fans or good ventilation when you get into four bulbs in one fixture.

Catalina makes good lights and they will work with you. Call them to work out 'your' solution and that is what you will get.
Thanks guys. You all answered my question perfectly. I'm going to go with the 4 bulb T5Catalina. I also heard that they will work with you when you call. And hbosman, its comforting to know that someone else has to um.......bend the truth alittle bit with their wife :)
If you're not using CO2 the 4 bulb fixture is a lot more than you need.
Yea FSM, thats what I've been finding out. One goes hand and hand with the other. I am getting CO2 also. I was actually asking advice, on another thread, about that too. Thanks
Here's another question. I've noticed that alot of the better lights come with "legs". I assume that allows people who have open top tanks to secure their light on. I have a glass top. Seeing as the T5 HO lights are more powerful (and hot) then my stock lights, is it OK for me to just lay the fixture directly on the glass top, like my old lights? Or, do I NEED legs to provide a space to disipate heat?
Using the legs to elevate the fixture a few inches prevents having a region at the surface of the tank with ridiculously high intensity.
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