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Gruff But Lovable Reefer
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next question for you guys. tank will be alot of fish with soft corals, mushrooms, polyps, leathers etc. (and does anemones require straight mh's)
t-5 or mh? i understand that they do not make 6 ft. t-5's correct? if not what do you use two three footers?
or should i use 3- 250w mh's? i think the 180 is 24" deep.
and if that is overkill would pc's work well?

signed,
confused in angryland
 

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For sure not PC's. That tank is too deep. I have pc's on my 150 and can't keep too many corals in there.
I have T5's on my 55 gallon and do really like them but for a big 6 ft tank would prolly go with MH if you can afford them.
With T5's you would either have to get 2 3 ft or a 5 ft and not have light on the sides.
Anemones require strong lighting and alot of types are bottom/sand dwellers.
3 MH would not be overkill in that big tank.

kass
 

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Currently I have a 6ft T5HO system by aquactinics on my 125 tank and my anenome and soft corals are doing fine, but then again I am a newbie to corals and maybe the MH will be the next for me to try
 

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I think T-5's for the following reasons (as long as the tank is not too deep)
1. cost t-5's will be cheaper to run.
2. softies do not require as much light as a SPS or LPS

Fred
 

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fchidsey said:
I think T-5's for the following reasons (as long as the tank is not too deep)
1. cost t-5's will be cheaper to run.
2. softies do not require as much light as a SPS or LPS

Fred
Agreed. MH's provide very harsh light. Long strip light sources illuminates the softies very evenly - IMO looks a LOT better.
 

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CT Reefer:

Where did you find your 6 foot T-5 lighting unit??? I am interested in looking into T-5s for my 180 i will be setting up soon...

Thanks!
 

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I would do the T-5 based on what you want to keep (lower light corals). Here are the reasons: initial cost, bulb replacement costs, heat, power consumption. You could probably do this for a T-5 setup - get two icecap ballasts and drive 6 bulbs, 5 ft long with individual reflectors. The icecaps will overdrive the bulbs and you would have plenty of light down to the sandbed. Not enough light for clams or anemones, but plenty for softies and shrooms. You could also keep any lps you wanted on the rocks and most sps if up high enough on the rocks. If you are the DIY type, here's your cost: 2 icecap ballasts $320, 6 encaps $75, 6 5ft T-5 HO bulbs $150, 6 reflectors $130. That's a total of about $675. Now you wouldn't have to replace bulbs for 18-24 months. I don't know if you could do a DIY metal halide lighting for the same amount but you would run into heat issues and may need a chiller as well. T-5's are not perfect, so don't get me wrong, and I'm not saying they are better than halides. Just wanted you to hear that they could and would work for what you want to do. HTH
 

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Agreed. MH's provide very harsh light. Long strip light sources illuminates the softies very evenly - IMO looks a LOT better.

WOW....Harsh?? no way! even 400w MH's don't come close to the sun still!

Plus MH shimmer effect is much nicer looking.

either way a lot of T-5 or 3 250w MH's will work.

My vote is MH....unless heat will be an issue.

I have tons of softies that love my 250w MH's :dance:
 

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NFMAS
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what about T-12's you can get 6 foot VHOs on an icecap 660 ballast. You wont need reflectors either.

I would go MH, you will want sps sooner or later trust me.

The shimmer effect is the best part
 

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i think you could do the MH's for cheaper if you went DIY. a ballast and coil for either a 175w or 250w MH is about $70. then $30 for the sockets. bulbs are all that are needed after that. XM's go for about $60 a piece now. so that is $180. that seems to come to about $400. that leaves a lot of extra money for all of those extra bulbs you will need to buy since they wear out so much faster than flourescents. :rolleyes: this is also between 525 and 750w of light. the T-5's as suggested is only 480w and not near the penetrating power of the MH's.

not sure i am seeing the advantages here of the T-5's. :D

G~
 

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Well, I'm not saying that T-5's are the best, but I think that some legit benefits would be less heat and probably less energy consumption than metal halides. Just to play the devil's advocate here with the cost estimate above, I think that most people would supplement their metal halides with some form of actinic lighting, whether it be VHO, PC, or T-5 so you have to take that cost into consideration as well (ballast, endcaps, bulbs). VHO and PC bulbs are not cheap to replace and they are usually replaced fairly often (I think every 6 months). T-5 bulbs can last well over a year and many people have seen usable lifespans of up to 2 years which I think is the same for the XM bulbs. Cost to replace 3 XM bulbs - $180, cost to replace actinic bulbs for metal halide combo - $100, total cost over 2 years - $280. Cost to replace 6 T-5 bulbs over 2 years - $150-$200 (depending on how often you replace actinics and how many you have). As for the watts, a 5 ft T-5 is rated at 80 watts, but I believe it is overdriven by an icecap to about 100 watts - so that would be 600 watts of lighting. Correct me if I'm wrong, but is it fair to compare watts when we talk about different forms of lighting? If you compare halides to halides, then watts is a good way to compare how much light two different bulbs will produce. But each type of lighting has it's own efficiency in producing light. I think I read somewhere that T-5's are more efficient at producing light per watt consumed than halides.
 
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