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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have had my 29 gallon for a few years now. I have been using Coralife T5NO fixtures. They really don't seem to be efficient, I always believed this and now people have been backing this up. I have used up to 3 fixtures, providing 108 watts of T5NO, 6 bulbs total, with no issue. Right now I am using 2 fixtures, 4 bulbs, along with a spare 10 gallon hood with some 23 watt CFL screw ins.

I haven't decided on a budget but I know I should replace my current bulbs. I rarely find them for less than about $18 a pop or more so I am already in about $80ish dollars in bulbs (all four are pretty old, some more than 2 years old, maybe all, can't really remember).

First things first. I want to go down to a 24 in fixture because of bulb choices. Nobody really makes 30 in (27.5in bulbs) and I don't know of any great fixtures. I don't want to have to run out to a variety of stores to find a 30 in bulb, be forced to order online, and not have the ability to use cheaper, off the shelf bulbs in a pinch. I am thinking about possibly doing the opposite and going with 36 in bulbs on the flip side because I may want to go with a 40 breeder in the future.

I am thinking T5HO because of efficiency. I also would have no problem hanging the light up to 20 in or more over the tank. Any light that doesn't hit the tank is not wasted, especially at that height as I don't have the best lighting in this room. I want about 12 inches minimum.

This leads my to believe that a 4 bulb T5HO isn't out of the question. I would like to be able to use 3 bulbs if need be.

Other things:
I would ideally like that 2 bulbs are on one switch an the other 2 bulbs have their own switches (if I go 4 bulb).

If I only need 3 bulbs, I don't mind buying a 4 bulb fixture, assuming I can take a bulb out if it only has 2 switches.

I would like good reflectors for once in my life. I don't necessarily need individual reflectors but I want something where reflectors played a role in the design of the light, or I can add them later.

White moonlights would be a plus, blue I don't really care for.

I would like to either have my choice of bulbs, or it comes in a freshwater "series" if bulbs are included. If bulbs are not included, I need to consider that into the cost.

My budget isn't set. Honestly, I don't have a bunch of money but I am willing to save. I can sell my old lights but not before I get my new ones. I also have some studio gear I can sell right now.

I would like to know if I am on point for a high light tank fixture wise and I know many of you can tell me something off the top of your head that would take me days to research. I have not looked into new lighting in 4 years or more so I don't really know of any new brands, new technology or updated models. I was limiting myself to what my LFS had when I was looking around 4 years ago anyway.
 

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A 2 bulb T5HO at 4" above the tank is high light and at 12" above the tank is medium light. Any brand with at least a formed reflector will work with the above specs. The Odyssea will need 4 bulbs like you are using since it powers the bulbs at normal output level and uses a flat reflector still I believe. Aquatic Life has a very nice fixture with some sweet options. Coralife and Current are solid fixtures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I definitively don't want to max out at medium light, first of all. I want to be at "high light" at 8 in above my tank minimum in an ideal world assuming every light was equal. That would be 26in above the substrate. I atleast want "high light' at the tank level.

I have not really liked my Coralife T5NO fixtures. I was running 3 fixtures (6 bulbs) and that didn't give me any algae issues until I neglected my tank. I could just do that again, or supplement my current light but I just want something better.


One other thing, if I go down to a 24 in fixture, using say Hoppy's chart, or just by going off of the wattage of the bulbs per length of the tank, I would be getting only 80% of the light per bulb compared to a 30 in fixture. It works out both by just calculating length, and by calculating the difference in watts. I think that would be correct to assume that using Hoppy's chart, by stepping down to a smaller fixture, a 4 bulb fixture would be equivalent to about 3.2 bulbs (or 3 using wattage).
 

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I definitively don't want to max out at medium light, first of all. I want to be at "high light" at 8 in above my tank minimum in an ideal world assuming every light was equal. That would be 26in above the substrate. I atleast want "high light' at the tank level.

I have not really liked my Coralife T5NO fixtures. I was running 3 fixtures (6 bulbs) and that didn't give me any algae issues until I neglected my tank. I could just do that again, or supplement my current light but I just want something better.


One other thing, if I go down to a 24 in fixture, using say Hoppy's chart, or just by going off of the wattage of the bulbs per length of the tank, I would be getting only 80% of the light per bulb compared to a 30 in fixture. It works out both by just calculating length, and by calculating the difference in watts. I think that would be correct to assume that using Hoppy's chart, by stepping down to a smaller fixture, a 4 bulb fixture would be equivalent to about 3.2 bulbs (or 3 using wattage).
what are the dimensions of the tank?
 

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well my two cents here.....I battled light, co2 and fert issues in my 36 gallon bowfront tank for months. I was running a 24W Double fixture (48W) and a 39W Double fixture (78W) T5HO and was having issues with stunted growth, and algae issues.....first I decided to go to pressurized CO2 with a paintball setup....this helped up my CO2 in the tank....it helped the growth a bit, didnt touch the algae issues at all....I then started to EI dose the tank as per the instructions, still no change in growth and algae....then after asking several times on the forum for advice, I realized I had way too much light for the tank and thats where my problem was. As a result, I took down the 39W double fixture....took my 24W Double fixture, raised it 4 inches above the water, and ran the lights 4.5 hours on....3 off, then 4.5 on....within weeks, I noticed a HUGE difference. For one my algae was all but gone...all that was left was green spot algae (took care of that with a credit card, glass has been clean for weeks)....and my plants have shot up like crazy, to the point where I needed to do a major trim. My point here is that my tank is just as wide as yours (30 inches), yet about 4 inches deeper than yours.....If you are going to go with T5HO bulbs with reflectors (I use Hagen Glo T5HO and am really pleased) then a 24W Double fixture would definitely put you into the high light category....I think anymore than that and you will be battling algae issues on a constant basis
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I first want to make it clear I don't know what I need.

That said, there is a huge difference from going from a non co2, crazy light algae farm with no ferts than a CO2 equiped tank with EI dosing already in place. I don't plan on just blasting my new light fully until my tank is ready. I don't want to go overboard but I don't want to add light later.

I also don't plan on running more than 2 lights the entire length of my photo period. I have had great luck doing a 2-4 hour "noon burst".


Lastly, and the most confusing part to me is I would love the light to be very high over the tank. As I said, I wouldn't feel like the energy is being wasted as I don't have good light in this room.

I wish I had a PAR meter but right now, I have 72 watts of T5NO in a fixture that is notoriously bad for it's reflectors (with very old bulbs) and 46 watts of screw in CFL's with no real reflectors to speak of. This is not giving me issues but I feel like I could do better and do it with one light fixture.
 

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I went through the same thing a few months back, so maybe I can help.

I have a high tech 29g. I was running one or two 48" shoplights with 5000k bulbs, with good results.

I wanted to upgrade my lighting and move the tank to a smaller shelf. I bought a 4 bulb t5ho aquaticlife 24" fixture. It wasn't cheap, but I did it for a couple of reasons. 1. It had all the features I was looking for: moonlight led, individual timers for each pair of bulbs and the moonlights, the bulbs are staggered sets, so two adjacent bulbs run on separate timers, and each timed sequence can run 1 or 2 bulbs, so I can run 1 to 4 bulbs
2. I was trying to prevent myself from buying too large of a tank! I don't want to get into a large tank until I'm more settled, plus I have other hobbies for my $s but not too many $s for my other hobbies. The thought was that if I spent the dollars I wouldn't want to take the hit on the fixture to upgrade tanks...its worked, well sort of. I've already started running tests and it will give coverage to a 36" tank, though not sure about par. Oh well. Trying to make other puchases, like new glasses, before I have to scratch the itch and buy a bigger tank...and I tell myself this will be the last one for a few years! Ha!

Performance: I am having some bba and staghorn algae. I'm thinking the light cycle isn't right, too long on, too long of a noon burst. It's only been a few months since rescape and I went through a settling period before. I am having trouble keeping ferts up to the power of the lights, I will try soil next as I'm not the most consistent with adding ferts. I will adjust, but even hanging at 36" above substrate most of the plants pearl when all 4 come on. Glosso is growing in flourite.

It provides a lot of flexibility, but can take time to get right. It also looks sweet. Makes me wish I had a dedicated stand and a rimless tank!
 
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