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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey everyone. First post. I would like some opinions on the best way to light a 55 gallon tank given the following options - T8s or spiral CFLs pointed vertically.

I currently have a 48" shop light with 2 32W daylight bulbs and two 24" single bulbs with 15W bulbs. All are sitting on the glass tops.

Would I be better off to get a 4-light fixture and hang it? Or would hanging four 26W CFLs in reflectors be better from a PAR standpoint?

I have a 30 long that has 3 of the CFLs over it and it is doing great. That tank is a lot more shallow, though.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. I can't afford to buy expensive T5 lighting so that is not an option. If T5s can be done for the same price as the others then I am game to try it. The 4-light T8 fixture is $39 at Lowe's and the CFL fixtures are $6.98 at Lowe's.

Thanks in advance!!

Photo of tank below. Plants on the right have all been moved to make sure they are getting plenty of light. I normally wouldn't place them like that.

 

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You can find a coralife T5 light for around $50 depending on where you are located. I had to pay $150 for mine because i am living in an overpriced place but its an option for you.

It comes with 2 28 watts for the 48" inch option, thats what i have.


I have always struggled with lighting, but thought i would post this since you mentioned interest (apart from price) in T5's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I don't that's possible here. Every one I've seen has been $150 or more for the 48". Even the 24" are $74.

I have been reading everything I can find on different types of lighting. I still don't see how 2 28W T5 bulbs put out more light than 4 32W T8 bulbs - even if they are more efficient. I'm not saying it won't. I just have a hard time wrapping my head around that.W
 

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If you ever consider injecting CO2 then you could use this dual T5HO light. Although with it only being a 55 then you might want to suspend it about 6 inches over the tank. This is probably over kill, but here it is for 66 bucks with free shipping.
The forum automatically deletes ebay links but go to:

cgi.ebay . com/48-T5-HO-Aquarium-Light-Strip-Hood-Plant-6500K-108W-/300582856455?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item45fc226707

Just remove the space between ebay and com
 

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If you have no plans for co2, save yourself the trouble and go with a T8 or T5NO fixture. Unless you can reduce the intensity of the T5HO fixture, you'll most likely grow all the algae you can dream of. I once had a 55 with a two bulb T5HO fixture and no co2. It was just an algae farm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That was why I asked the original question. I'd like to know which would provide more and better light. Four spiral CFLs vertical with good reflectors or a 4 bulb T8 fixture. Based on all the info on the forum T5s would be too much at this stage of the game. I'd like to take a step up toward that - just a little more light.
 

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So, is a single T5HO bulb on a 55g too much without Co2? I was thinking about switching from my twin bulb T8s to a single bulb T5HO...someone told me they would be nearly the same - more efficient lighting )electric costs) with the T5. The bulb would be about 20"-24" above the substrate...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Any opinions on the spiral CFL vs T8 question? I know visible light isn't really relevant. With that said, the CFLs on the 30 seem a LOT brighter than the two T8 tubes on the 55. Any experience with the penetrating power of the CFLs and a 55 gallon?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Here is what I would get.

OPPS no ebay links, LOL oh well. Item # 270793475367


SolarMax T5no 48"

This will do the JOB!!!
But haven't we already had people state that a single T5NO bulb is really no different than dual T8s other than being more cost efficient?

I still want to know the answer to my question. Take T5s out of the equation.
 

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But haven't we already had people state that a single T5NO bulb is really no different than dual T8s other than being more cost efficient?

I still want to know the answer to my question. Take T5s out of the equation.

The Par levels are TOTALLY different..

Study these:
 

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Read the entire Thread over...The Lowes T5 are good.

I think when you start playing with four 26W CFLs with reflectors, unless you have co2 in place, the height above the tank (hanging) is very important. It might be something you'll have to play with to get the right height.

Question I have is, are you wanting to plant more LIGHT dependant plant? Or generally a Brighter tank?

I think the hanging plan is best.
 
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