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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm still deciding what to get. I have narrow it to two options.
- 72" fixture with 3 MH HQI 150w each. The light with this I believe is the best I can get but then I'll have a heat problem.

-72" fixture with 6 t5 80w each one. I believe the light from t5 is very high quality also, so it'll be close to the hqis. I also believe the heat (in the water) wont be as much of a problem with this fixture, right?

I don't want to use a chiller and I don't want to build a canopy because either fixture will be suspended above the tank, I like the open top tanks.


any suggestions or ideas are welcome.
 

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T5's use far less electricity. In a properly ventilated enclosure, T5's don't need fans to cool them. T5's are cheaper to replace $240 vs. $180 for T5's. T5's last longer than HQI.

T5's are far more practical, but HQI is always a nice light.
 

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Consider the fact that T5's last longer, are cheaper to replace and they stay cooler.
Some people say that MH's are by far the best, but many also agree that T5's are a close 2nd. I just upgraded from PC to T5 and the T5s are much more intense, although I've never owned MHs or seen them side-by-side.
If you want a great light, I'd say to get T5's, but if you want the absolute best according to most and don't mind paying a lot more, get MH.
 

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Are they tek t5's?
i think teks are the best t5's except some really expensive german brand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm gonna go with the t5 because all the reasons given plus I read that mh dont bring out the red colors very good.
 

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I just upgraded from PC to T5 and the T5s are much more intense, although I've never owned MHs or seen them side-by-side.
Which PC did you upgrade froma dn which T5 did you go to.

I have had 250 watt HQI's for about 1.5 years now. I am considering going to PC. The HQI makes a very pretty tank, and I have never had any heat issues (other than plants going crispy after they grew emergent right under the bulb). That said, the tank has never been BRIGHT. The point source nature of HQI's causes a lot of shade in your tank. This is natural, fish like it, and it looks nice - but it just does not look BRIGHT. Right now I have just reached the end of life on another HQI bulb (my setup had issues, the first 2 bulbs lasted 1 month each, the last bulb has lasted a year). My 2x odno shoplight makes the tank look a lot brighter than the HQI did. I guess this is also why many metal halide fixures have pc blubs for fill light.

Multiple metal halides would decrease the shading issue, so my issues would be less intense on your proposed 3 bulb setup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
what about plant color with mh? is that what you are refering to when you say bright?
 

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It is hard to explain, but it deals with shadows. Imagine how dark a shadow outside in the sun can be, and compare it to how dark the shadow is in an office. The flourecent bulbs provide a lot of "fill" lighting since light is coming from tons of directons rather than from a point source, the shadows with the shop light are not as dark and or sharp.

In viewing it, the whole tank kind of glows with the flourcent light, while a couple plants are very bright, and the rest are poorly lit with the metal halide.

Oh, I have a jungle, If I had a nice lawn I would probably not notice this as much.

A lot of my tank pictures I used extra fill lighting and flashes to help with this issue. A picture w/o would be dark ecept for where it is washed out.
 

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I upgraded from 2x55w ah supply kit on my 20g (5500k and 6700k bulbs) to a Tek T5 HO 6x54w fixture on my 90g. I say "upgraded", b/c I moved over the UV and Co2 system. The 20g is either coming down or going to be very low tech. If you want to know more, see pics, etc. take a look at the thread on my sig. The T5's are BRIGHT. I am getting excellent growth and the tank is pretty darn bright with just 4x54w on for 8-9 hrs. I can only imagine how it would be with all 6...well, I've seen it. It's crazy bright.
I've never heard of MH and T5s having different plant color issues. I don't know much about MHs, but it would seem that color would depend on temp and light intensity mainly (low No3 too, in some cases). I'm not sure if that would be true for any reason other than MHs are a tad more intense.
-Ryan


Which PC did you upgrade froma dn which T5 did you go to.

I have had 250 watt HQI's for about 1.5 years now. I am considering going to PC. The HQI makes a very pretty tank, and I have never had any heat issues (other than plants going crispy after they grew emergent right under the bulb). That said, the tank has never been BRIGHT. The point source nature of HQI's causes a lot of shade in your tank. This is natural, fish like it, and it looks nice - but it just does not look BRIGHT. Right now I have just reached the end of life on another HQI bulb (my setup had issues, the first 2 bulbs lasted 1 month each, the last bulb has lasted a year). My 2x odno shoplight makes the tank look a lot brighter than the HQI did. I guess this is also why many metal halide fixures have pc blubs for fill light.

Multiple metal halides would decrease the shading issue, so my issues would be less intense on your proposed 3 bulb setup.
 

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150w HQI with ADA bulb is the best of the best ^^
ive had all kinds of light before and i came to a conclusion that ADA MH bulbs are just too great. I got the 150w on my 40 breeder and 2x 150w ada green hqi on my larger 120g. the green version really brings out the color in carpet plants and i just saw that they have an ada 250w green bulb now....
 

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I always have run either compact florescent or T5s and both are fine and do the job well. I have always wanted to try MH myself as I do like the look of the point source of light and the rippling effect. There are many combos now such as the Coralife which have both PC and MH and moonlights to boot.

One does have to consider the temperature (room's ambient as well as tank) etc with MH. For efficiency, T5s do rule.

That said, my next big tank will be a MH with T5 - probably with the T5s for morning and late afternoon light and MH for full sun midday (~ 6 hours for MH).
 

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If you are speaking purely about quality and quantity of light, none of the current flourescent technologies can realistically compete with MH.

My next tank will have Lumenarc III's with single ended 175 watters on sunlight supply ballasts. Choosing a good reflector is one of the, if not the most important aspect of setting up an MH system. Not to go off on too far of a tangent, but the HQI hoods sold by multiple manufacturs use reflectors that are way too small, IMO.

Pros:
-Point source adds a whole new appeal including a gorgeous rippling effect
-Wide variety of component (DIY, pre-built fixtures, etc.) and setup options
-Watt for Watt, MH is almost always more efficient (counter intuitive, I know)

Cons:
-Can run hot
-Expensive (but doesn't have to be)
-Majority of the gain will be aesthetic when compared to a high end T5 setup. You can grow most plants just fine with either.
-MH can put a LOT of light into your tank, creating the potential for an algae farm if CO2 and/or ferts are low
-You'll be a bit of a pioneer. You pretty much know what you're getting with flourescent. MH is a different animal. Then again, when I started using T5's about 3 years ago when they first hit the market (aimed at reefing), people thought I was nuts for not going with PC like everyone else.


I wonder what the owner of this place thinks about MH for planted tanks.
 

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Running 2x250W with ADA green bulbs right now. It grows plants very effectively and my only caveat with it is the color. Using it on a tank with thick glass gives it a very green/yellow coloration overall. It helps with having the T5HOs on, but I'm gonna go with some regular 250W ADA bulbs next time.

Also, having a short tank where only 39W T5 bulbs are being used to penetrate 24" of tank, I find that the T5s are much duller than the MH. It causes plants to grow leggy.
 

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Which PC did you upgrade froma dn which T5 did you go to.
I went from an ahsupply 2x55w setup (on a 20H) to a 6x54w Tek T-5 HO setup on a 90g. On the PCs, I ran a 6700k and a 5500k, but on the T5's I run 4-6500k and 2-10,000k. I really like the color of the T5's -- it may be the 10,000k bulb. Brings out fish and plant colors real well.
I don't find that the T5's cause my plants to grow leggy. I'm using ADA aquasoil though, so that may have something to do with it.
 

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In my 55 with nova extreme t5 HO 216w, my plants do grow leggy. but it's not a plantted tank really, but i like to keep some fast growers for the cichlids to munch. The t5's are 2 10k's, and 2 460nm actinic. but i also have 44" worth of bubble bar in their too. it's not an ideal plant inviroment, so i don't know if this post is much help.
 
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