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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I recently went to Home Depot to try to build a less expensive light hood for my 50 gallon aquarium. I picked up 2 fixtures w/ 2 T-5 NO ballasts running 2 - 28Watt bulbs each and made a hood and wired em up. They are running fine, the color seems to be kinda strange, but I will get some 6700k/ 10k bulbs soon (debating on the 10k) Normal output T-5 bulbs for aquariums are kinda hard to find, so I was wondering if I wired the 4 ends on each side of the ballast, to 2 ends, in theory shouldn't this mean that I could just run 1 T-5 HO 54Watt bulb per ballast? So in total I would have 2 54Watt HO bulbs rather than 4 NO bulbs... Any Suggestions??
 

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Coralife makes a 10k NO bulb, but you could also run any HO bulb in your fixture as well, they just won't be driven to their full capacity. Does this fixture have any reflectors? The key to T5 lighting is having quality reflectors to push all that light down into the tank. As far as your wiring question goes, I'm not so sure about chaining ballasts together, sounds like a fire hazard IMO.
 

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If you don't mind me asking, how much did you pay for the individual 2xt5 no fixture? And what length are they?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
They were about 30.00 a piece, came with 2 bulbs too... Idk if they are the right spectrum but they are a good temp. hold over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
They do not have any reflectors... I have heard they are very very important... so on the fixture I made I made a front and back to direct the light downwards. Today I will be painting the inside white to get more reflection.
 

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If you can find an hydroponic store around you, they typically have T5HO fixtures there with reflector kits for about $30-$40.
 

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The Home Depot two tube T5 fixture uses a double socket that very much limits the options for a reflector. While you could swap the ballast or over drive it, you'd be further ahead money and utility wise, to purchase a fixture and reflector designed for T5 HO. One T5 bulb with a good quality reflector will produce good lighting for a standard tank. Two T5 HO bulbs with good quality reflectors will light an 18" (front to back) tank.

A hydroponics store, particularly the local ones, understands people on budgets. Just tell them up front what you want the lighting for so they don't get distracted by what they think you "really" want it for. ;-)
 

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i have one of those fixtures. you can easily fit a reflector behind the bulbs. i've got a hagen retro kit reflector in mine.

looks like this:



not the most efficient thing in the would, but it works.

the main reason i went with one of these was the length. the hydroponic units don't come in 3'. at least i couldn't find one. (well... i take that back. my local hydroponics store could order me a 36" tek fixture but that kinda defeated the purpose.) if i did it again i would just cut down a 4 footer from the hydro store.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well I have decided to not go this route... NO bulbs/ fixtures are starting to become a thing of the past. Besides... I spent 74.00 for the 2 fixtures alone, I could get a dual HO T-5 fixture w/ the right bulbs for 150.00... So I will take advantage of the 90 day return policy
 
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