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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. I'm starting to assemble the pieces for a planted tank. I will be using a 50 gallon rimless tank, 36x18x16. Not sure about plants yet, but would like to have some type of foreground carpet. I have all the co2 stuff for injection.

Being a rimless tank, I would like to have a fixture that mounts above the tank, not a canopy style hood. I already have a Icecap 430 ballast. If I buy one of these fixtures http://cgi.ebay.com/36-T5-HO-Aquari...ultDomain_0?hash=item19b86818dc#ht_1932wt_941 and re-wire it with the Icecap ballast running the bulbs, would it be pointless? Would I get the same light output with it's stock ballast?

Thank you, Mike
 

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A 'better' ballast might help a bit, but the largest limiting factor on T5HO is the reflector.
A bad reflector does little but a good or great reflector can put 200% - 300% more light into the tank. Another negative is that fixture has standard sockets, not water (splash) resistant. You'll be replacing them in a few years.

Since you asked, If you have something else to use in the interim, save up a bit longer and aim for a better brand with good reflectors.
 

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A 'better' ballast might help a bit, but the largest limiting factor on T5HO is the reflector.
A bad reflector does little but a good or great reflector can put 200% - 300% more light into the tank. Another negative is that fixture has standard sockets, not water (splash) resistant. You'll be replacing them in a few years.

Since you asked, If you have something else to use in the interim, save up a bit longer and aim for a better brand with good reflectors.
+1 and also make sure you use quality bulbs as that will improve the lighting. I have always felt that Current and Slim Pac brand bulbs are fairly cheap, low par and dont last very long especially if you over drive them with a IC ballast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for the suggestions. I've decided to just buy a descent new fixture. I've been looking at a couple. They are both dual bulb, 36" t5 ho fixtures. These dual bulb fixtures only average 5" wide. Will that be enough light coverage for my tank? It's 18" deep.
Are any of you using a two bulb fixture over a tank that's 18" deep?

Mike
 
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