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Discussion Starter #1
I've got a 22" deep 33gal hexagon tank, currently using a Coralife Aqualight T5 fixture (28 watts total). I want to upgrade, or combine if possible, a 48 watt T5 HO fixture or a 65 watt PC fixture. Question is, which is better for penetrating the depths of my tank? I plan on keeping macroalgae and perhaps some softies if possible, but these two types of fixtures are all I can afford right now. Ideas and advice?
 

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PC's are not very efficient (due to the shape of bulbs/reflectors)...bulbs don't last very long (appox. 6 mos. before they start to loose PAR and shift color)...and the bulbs are becoming harder to find/expensive.

That make T5 the clear winner in my book if we have to choose one of the other.
 

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Lost At Sea
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+1 on the T5HO. If you purchase ATI brand bulbs for the T5 unit, you'll get far superior penetration. You'll still have to be careful about placing some of the more light demanding corals at the very bottom. Zoas and most mushrooms seem pretty happy in my 24" deep tank.

I've also managed to keep a frogspwan happy at the bottom too. This is with a 156watt T5 unit over a 65g tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
+1 on the T5HO. If you purchase ATI brand bulbs for the T5 unit, you'll get far superior penetration. You'll still have to be careful about placing some of the more light demanding corals at the very bottom. Zoas and most mushrooms seem pretty happy in my 24" deep tank.

I've also managed to keep a frogspwan happy at the bottom too. This is with a 156watt T5 unit over a 65g tank.
The only HO fixture I can afford is a 2-bulb 48watt...Could that somehow support softies? XD I'm thinking no...Could I use it in conjunction with my other fixture? (coralife aqualight)
 

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Lost At Sea
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56Watt of T5ho with will allow softies. You may have to keep them higher up, but they'll be ok. You could get away with LPS but those too would have to be near the top.

If you have any zoas, they are easy to gauge. If their stems are stretched upwards (really noticable, look more like flowers with longer stems) then they need more light. So you can use them to tell how far down you can place corals. It'll take a little research, but there are also many non-photosynthetic corals that don't need much light and rely more on filter feeding. Those would be great closer to the bottom. But you'll have to ensure you make a nice blender mush that includes zooplankton and phytoplankton so they can feed.

The only reason I can confidentally say softies will be ok is that 2 months ago, I lost a ballast on my 4 bulb unit so I was only running 2 bulbs (78w total) on my 24" tall 65g. My mushroom and zoas which are near the bottom were not affected at all during the 3 week stint at 2 bulbs. I moved my frogspawn up midway as he wasn't too happy.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Oh then that's great :) what types of bulbs do you use? My fixtures come with a 10k daylight and an actinic, but what would you recommend?
 

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Doc Holiday
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Deff the t5ho if money is an issue look on line for something used.. If you have a canopy it may be a lot cheaper to buy a ballest and and wire it up your self..
 
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