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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So... I bought a coralife 54 watt T5 fixture for this tank (48"), but I'm not entirely happy with it. I use excel in both of my planted tanks, but the growth in my other tank (5 gallons with 27 watts) is MUCH faster and the plants look healthier in general. I dose EI in both, so the only difference between the two tanks is...lighting!

Considering that I'm almost 100% sure I'm going to be getting a CO2 set up in the next 6 months or so, I want to make sure that I get enough lighting to grow anything I want! Any suggestions? My current fixture is brand new (got it about 4 weeks ago), so I'd like to just add to it if that's possible. I don't know if adding another coralife T5 (54 watts) will be enough. That's what I want to know. If it's not enough, what can I replace this with?

Thanks
 

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So, those are T5NO bulbs, and I suspect not as good a reflector as the T5HO lights have. You probably have about 40 micromols of PAR from your light fixture, which is low light or a bit better than low light. If you want to grow faster growing stem plants, for example, using T5HO would be a better choice. Adding pressurized CO2 will also cause the plants to grow faster even with the existing light. Excel is good, but not nearly as good as pressurized CO2 is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So, if I gather this correctly, you're saying that adding another one of the same fixture wouldn't be good enough.

I've been thinking about a Catalina fixture. Should I get 2x54 watts, or 3x54 watts (assuming that I'll be using CO2--I can always keep a bulb off until then)?
 

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Two 54 watt T5HO should be plenty of light. Even adding a second 2 x 28 watt T5NO would be plenty. If you use a 3 x 54 watt T5HO be sure to suspend the light several inches above the top of the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks, Hoppy. I'm going to clarify, just to be absolutely sure that I'm buying something that's adequate.

So...if I choose either 112watts T5NO OR 108watts T5HO, that would be enough to grow anything I want, provided I use CO2?
 

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If your goal is to get your plants growing as quickly as possible, then go with the T5HO. The 2x T5NOs should grow just about anything as well, just not as quickly, due mostly to the reflectors being so different from the T5HO fixture. (I own both Catalina Solar T5HOs and Coralife T5NOs)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks! I'll have to think long and hard then! The dilemma exists simply because I already have the coralife fixture and it's new. If I get the catalina fixture, I'd be paying $65 more than if I had gotten it in the first place (since I already bought the coralife). This is another one of those instances where I should've made the right decision in the first place... Don't you hate it when that happens?
 
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