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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I was wondering what I would upgrade to, if I decide to upgrade lighting from the basic 2x54w I have now.

The perfect fixture for me would:
  • maximize concentration of light INTO the aquarium, minimizing leakage around the aquarium
  • have multiple power options so bulbs can be turned on and off independantly
  • have built-in timers (with battery backup)
  • have legs that permit it to be tilted out of the way for maintenance
  • be very quiet
  • have lunar light option
  • a plus would be availability in silver/aluminum to match other components.
Thanks,
AB
 

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Have you thought of a dimmable T5HO? Having read a recent thread here about them I find that idea to be very interesting.

A fixture that will tilt out of the way also requires that it be firmly mounted to the tank or something else. I think that is the biggest problem that light manufacturers face in trying to design such a fixture. There are a few DIY fixtures that do that well, but I don't recall a pre-made one.

The ability to keep the light directed at the tank is just a matter of fixture size - the deeper the light bulbs are in the fixture the easier it is to do that. But, no one seems to make that type of fixture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Hi Hoppy,

Yes, I've noticed that no one seems to make a deep fixture. Seems like an obvious thing. I guess its hard to make a deep fixture look sexy. Maybe indiv. reflectors help.

The Coralife fixtures have a tilting leg option. Haven't seen that feature elsewhere though. Another feature that seems obvious.

Still wondering which come closest - Tek, AquaticLife, Catalina....?
 

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I think that all of the features you listed would be great to have in a light. As of yet, nobody is doing that. The only feature that I'd drop is the in-light timer. If somebody like Coralife did that, for some reason I feel like they'd cheap out on the quality of the timer and it'd end up breaking, only to be one more thing that costs too much, breaks too soon, and costs even more to fix/replace.

I'd only trust a fixture like that from a high end manufacturer.
 

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You need to clarify your list.

Whats most important? Whats less important?

For me, its performance and aesthetics. Extra features such as timers and moonlights are a non-issue for me but for some, its a big deal.

* maximize concentration of light INTO the aquarium, minimizing leakage around the aquarium
* have multiple power options so bulbs can be turned on and off independantly
* have built-in timers (with battery backup)
* have legs that permit it to be tilted out of the way for maintenance
* be very quiet
* have lunar light option
* a plus would be availability in silver/aluminum to match other components.
As far as concentrating light, individual reflectors help. The closer place the lights to the tank, the better it will be in preventing spillover. But individual reflectors are almost too good as most of the light will be sent straight down. If you have a tank with a lot of depth (front to back), then you might find your coverage a bit spotty with most of the light concentrated directly underneath the fixture. Raising the fixture will help with coverage but then you have to deal with light spillover.

Most T5s are built with bulbs in banks of 2. You don't say how many bulbs you eventually want to use but if you are going for a 2 bulb fixture with individual power switches, you're gonna have to DIY.

I only know of a couple companies that use built in timers. I don't know if they have battery backups. Take a look at aquatic life or Current USA. I suspect these fixtures will also lack a lot of features that you want.

Only one major manufacturer I know of has built in legs. Coralife. And Catalina as they use Coralife-ish housings. To be honest, I'd rather hang fixture off a light bar. Looks better and way better access to tank.

Quiet = fanless fixtures. Although even Tek is moving towards fans in their T-5 fixtures now so I am unsure if this is really something you want.

Built in lunar lights are all over the place. Interestingly enough, high end fixtures tend to not have them whereas the middle and lower end fixtures do.

Many high end fixtures come in a variety of colors. Giesemann, ATI, and Elos come to mind. There is also a new T-5 fixture from Icecap that has a lot of features you talk about. You might also want to look at Hamilton and Aqua Medic as well.

-Charlie
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the input. Here's the list re-prioritized. I would want a 2 and 4-bulb fixtures. Understood no one has all of these features.
  1. maximize concentration of light INTO the aquarium, minimizing leakage around the aquarium
  2. have multiple power options so bulbs can be turned on and off independantly
  3. be very quiet
  4. have built-in timers (with battery backup)
  5. have legs that permit it to be tilted out of the way for maintenance
  6. have lunar light option
  7. a plus would be availability in silver/aluminum to match other components.
ANyone see the Finnex fixture? http://www.aquacave.com/finnex-48-ledt5-combo-br-aluminum-light-fixturebr-4-x-t5--21-x-led-2552.html

Looks interesting.

AB
 

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Arcadia have most but not all of your features, they come at a premium though, not entirely sure they're available stateside either but would be entirely suitable and have what I'd say is the most important feature the foldable legs.
 
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