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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New to the site and loving all the helpful information you guys provide. I have a 55 gal set up with a Tomato Clown, a Watchmen Goby, 3 Green Chromis, 1 Peppermint Shrimp, a few crabs, a Snail, 1 Mushroom, 1 Featherduster, a couple of patches of Zoas, and of course about 45 lbs of Live rock with about a 3 inch bed of Live sand. Not interested in adding anything other than more Zoas and mushrooms except for maybe a Condi anemone. Which lighting would be better, T5 or Compact Flourescents? Can't afford Metal Halide so those are not an option. Been offered a really good deal on some CF (a 48" Quad bulb unit) for only $75. Your input is appreciated.
 

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Carpe Noctem
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9,817 Posts
PC is most likely going to dwindle in the hobby. T5HO are good and will support a anemone. But grab a fixture with individual reflectors or else your just not getting the full punch the T5s are capable of;)
 

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spaceman spiff
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yep, agreed with Hop. If you're really interested in an anemone, that should be driving your light choice. Get a good T5 fixture with individual bulb reflectors and you should be in good shape.
 

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Perfeshunal Hikk
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Parabolic Single Lens Reflectors. T5'es with anything else are less efficient. Skip the Compact Flourescents. Just the bulb replacement versus T5 makes them not worth it, not counting the loss in efficiency in the reflectors ont hem.
 

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Yep T5HO
That way in a few months when you want SPS your ready to go ;)

Look into a DIY with a Icecap Ballast or similar that way if you upgrade you can still used some of the equipment. and the SLS TEK fixtures are also nice. But like said above Reflectors can make or break any lighting setup.

Dont be too tempted by the $99 ebay fixtures... you get what you pay for...

And one last thing. If you go T5 Beware there are LOTS of different bulbs out there today and trying to choose the right combonation can be overwhenming. Find someone with T5 experience and pick their brain for a while...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hey guys, thanks so much for your help in this matter. I decided not to purchase the CF's and to just save some more until I could buy a good T5 set up. Will a T5 unit with only 2 10,000 and 2 actinic bulbs be sufficient for my 55gal instead of having 6 bulbs like one of you suggested? I know that one with 6 bulbs would be better but just trying to save as much money as possible where I can.
 

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if all you intend to keep is zoas and mushrooms and other soft corals, then yes you will be fine. Some LPS and deffinantly SPS will require more lighting though.
 

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I'm not sure you can even get 6 bulbs over a 55 as most individual reflectors are 2.5" - 3" wide...I would think a 4 bulb would do fine if you get a good setup...as all the others have said good individual reflectors are the key here...I only have six bulbs on my 125 and although it's specifically setup as soft coral/LPS tank I do keep maxima clams and nems under them with nice growth...I recently switched my bulbs to 4 ATI aquablue special (more of a 12k -14k color) and 2 actinic plus which yields a bit more PAR than the old 50/50 mix...on the subject of bulbs I have to add my plug for good bulbs...I only use ATI or Giesemann bulbs these days...they are only a bit more expensive but well worth every penny IMO.

One last comment on the IceCap setups...these overdrive the bulbs significantly, which is awesome if you want more light...but it also cuts the bulb life by at least 25% and creates substantially more heat...unless you plan to keep a lot of really high light animals you can probably get by with normal wattage T5HO ballasts...if you overdrive you'll probably need some type of fans to blow accross the bulbs.
 

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I'm not sure you can even get 6 bulbs over a 55 as most individual reflectors are 2.5" - 3" wide...I would think a 4 bulb would do fine if you get a good setup...as all the others have said good individual reflectors are the key here...I only have six bulbs on my 125 and although it's specifically setup as soft coral/LPS tank I do keep maxima clams and nems under them with nice growth...I recently switched my bulbs to 4 ATI aquablue special (more of a 12k -14k color) and 2 actinic plus which yields a bit more PAR than the old 50/50 mix...on the subject of bulbs I have to add my plug for good bulbs...I only use ATI or Giesemann bulbs these days...they are only a bit more expensive but well worth every penny IMO.

One last comment on the IceCap setups...these overdrive the bulbs significantly, which is awesome if you want more light...but it also cuts the bulb life by at least 25% and creates substantially more heat...unless you plan to keep a lot of really high light animals you can probably get by with normal wattage T5HO ballasts...if you overdrive you'll probably need some type of fans to blow across the bulbs.
I agree about the ballasts. I had 4 bulbs on a Current ballast originally before i bought a IC660 ballast and, wow, a lot more light. My LPS corals had better color and growth almost immediately. I do strongly recommend fans as well. I have two on my hood designed for entertainment centers, work perfectly, tank never exceeds 79.5 degrees.
 
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