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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 75g with a fixture that came with and matches the tank, so I'd like to keep it. It takes 2 sets of 2 T8 bulbs. I have plants ranging from low light to fairly high light in the tank. For the moment I have a T5 HO sitting in top, and my fish look washed out. I'd like lighting that makes the colors look prettier. So between 4 T8 bulbs, I need good lighting for plants, but also good lighting for fish colors. Anyone have a suggestion what combo of bulbs would best?
 

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Dwarf Fish Lover
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Wow old school guy lol. I can't answer your question about T8s cuz I don't know how many of the T8s still left on the market. But if you used the wrong tubes, color can be as bad as T5s. What tubes do you have on your t5 unit? Maybe a better way is to change your bulbs on your t5 unit.
 

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I know, right?? The whole tank is old school. And Korean. All electrical is the wrong continent, so I'm actually rebuilding the fixture- ballast, wiring, and bulb plug-ins. The whole reason I want to keep the fixture itself is because it's designed for the tank. I wonder, though, since I'm rebuilding anyway, could I go with a T5 ballast? Would the heat difference be any great amount, like that the bulb housing couldnt handle it? Other than that, I can't see why I couldn't do it. When the light is seated, it's actually very close to the water. HO T5s might be too much, but would regular T5s be okay? Lord knows I don't want a tank full of algae! What are your thoughts?

Bush, since I'm really not familiar with T8s at all, aren't they a little weaker than T5s? How many plant growth one, or ones in the color range for plants, would I have to use out of the 4 slots?
 

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Quite a few companies make T8's and most aquarium shops still carry them. I currently use T5HO's in several of my tanks, and I use one 6500K (Ultra Sun), two 5000K (Flora Sun) and one 10000K (Ocean Sun) in my fixtures. I like the way it looks. It really is personal taste. The Flora Sun is a "plant bulb" and the maker recommends combining it with the Ultra Sun. I use one 10000K bulb, just because I like the look. My bulbs are ZooMed because that is the brand that is carried by my local fish store. Seems to work well.

As for the watts T5NO (normal output) 22" bulb that fits 24" fixture - 14 watts
T5HO (high output) 22" bulb that fits 24" fixture - 24 watts
T8 24" bulb that fits 24" fixture - 17 watts

T5 bulbs are 2" shorter than T8's.
 

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I use two overdriven T8 on my 75g and think it looks great. I just use the cheap 6500K daylight bulbs from Lowe's. It grows everything I need and my fish look great. Very cheap!

Ben
 

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Sky, that baffles me about T5s being shorter. I never noticed but just assumed that 48" was 48". Now you're going to make me break out a tape measure! If it is a fact, though, then I guess that would put a crimp in my idea of rebuilding the light with a T5 ballast.

And ben, I've heard of overdriving a light. But what exactly does it mean? Google is normally my friend but the first few sites I checked were either over my head or I'm just too tired to make sense of technical details....sigh
 

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Believe me, it surprised me, too, the first time I went to the store to replace one of the bulbs in my T5HO 48 inch fixture. I stood there and looked at the package and it said 46 inches. I asked an employee and they assured me it was the right bulb. I also have two T5NO fixtures for my 24 inch tank, and the bulbs are 22 inches. I have the packages here from my bulbs, and it says on the front 46 inches :)
 

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Overdriving a light just means that instead of the bulb receiving the power from one regular ballast, it received the power from a ballast meant to power 2,3, or 4 bulbs. The fluorescent tubes that you can buy can produce a LOT more light than they are rated for. Some simple wiring can boost the output from a single bulb.

If you really interested, let me know, I can direct you to appropriate instructions. However, if you are not familiar with wiring etc., you may want some help.

Ben
 

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I run an old school tank with a t-12 and a t-8, 2 bulbs total. It is still easy to find the t-8 bulbs; hardware stores generally have 48" t-8 bulbs in ~6500 K and 10,000 K which is a good combo ime, and you can order them online too. I usually run a 6500K or 6700K and a 10,000 K (or sometimes a 50/50 10,000 K actinic, as although actinic isn't apparently useable by freshwater plants, it makes a lot of fish look really great). What light you like comes down to individual preference; I prefer the tank to look yellowish to whitish and don't care for predominately pink or blue tones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, snakey, for the info. Mostly I was worried about getting enough light to the plants with T8s, so it's reassuring to know it shouldn't be a problem while still leaving room for a bulb to highlight colors if I need.

Ben, not so great with anything but *basic* wiring, but it sounds doable. I found an instruction guide that is pretty detailed and actually seems to make sense to me. If I run into a stem ling block, I may take you up on the offer of the other site!

I appreciate the help and info, everyone!! It's nice to know you can pretty much always count on people here to come through with good answers for the clueless! lol
 

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Just because certain bulbs are no longer "popular" in the aquarium industry doesn't mean they cant be found. You dont need a bulb specifically geared towards aquarium use to get the proper kelvin rating and will probably find the aquarium specific bulbs are quite expensive compared to their (identical) household use bulb. You might be able to find a good supply of bulbs at any local hardware store but just have to look at the fine print on the packaging. If you've got any kind of horticultural supply store, or indoor gardening or hydroponic supply place I'm sure you could find what you need.
 
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