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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Starting to play with lighting a bit. Considering pulling CFL's and running a single 36" HO T-5 fixture over twin 18x18x24 Exos. The CFLs are fine but I can't help it and must play with stuff.

Will a dual tube fixture provide enough light if I have it suspended 4-6 inches above the glass tops or do I need to go with a quad?

Also, do I need to anticipate heat issues or problems, meaning a rise in tank temps ?

Thanks in advance for any commentary or advice.
 

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I have pretty much the same set-up. I am running a quad on mine and my mid to high level broms have kept pretty good color. My lower broms are mostly green, but they are shaded a little. The heat isn't bad. My fixture has an internal fan that keeps things cooler. I haven't noticed heat being an issue.

Here is a pic of my ZooMed(I put another one next to it this week). The broms have been in there over a year. The "Purple Stoly" in front is a dark purple. The Fireballs in the middle have decent color. The "Andy Ann" at the bottom is a green brom to start with, but it lost its red tips and highlights.
FWIW: I replaced the glass top I had with plastic overhead transparency sheets and that seemed to help the color on the "fireballs".
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Phender, fantastic info. That is exactly the detail that I was looking for.
So I either run two twins or a quad.

I really need to buy a Par meter and see what's really going on. I miss all of the detailed lighting tests that have been done in the reefing community.

Anyone else interested in piping up?
 

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I run a quad T5 over one of my 40breeders and love it! Plants grow WAY faster than my tank with CFL's. I do notice a little heat from the lights, but mine are suspended so I can adjust them up and down as needed. I also have a twin fixture that lights a 20l and it works great also!

As far as PAR I have no idea, but I'm sure it's way higher than CFL's, especially if you have individual reflectors on the bulbs. I've slowly been converting all my vivs over to T5's just to the growth factor that i've seen with my plants. Can't say enough good things about them.
 

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really depends on what setup you go with. configuration, quality, and construction play a huge roll in overall light output. if you are running a custom fixture w/ 2 giesemann midday lamps, icecap SLR reflectors, a fulham workhorse ballast, and a decent cooling fan, it would probably get more par at the substrate than a crappy coralife quad t5 fixture. I have no scientific data to back that up tho haha. Just have to play around with stuff. Not to mention a 36" quad coralife fixture is ~$240 and you can piece together a way better fixture for about 150 or so haha. Do you have a tight budget for this experiment? :p
 

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I vote quad.. Take a look at revolutions 36x18. I think he runs a 6 bulb though if I am correct.

I too came from a reefing background.. I think a lot of us did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ZC3 - Thank you !

Ryan - I am right with you on trying to find something of quality versus something craptacular.

Budget wise, I'd be comfortable up to about 250.00. Some evil unknown entity is whispering in my ear about a 36 x 18 x 36 build for Variabilis. I keep trying to ignore it, but no luck so far. Lighting this pig is going to hurt, so I do need to go easy for these tanks.

I put together my MH system on my old reef tank. It was a pain as finding enclosures was tough. Can you even buy nice, neat housings for t-5 without having to custom build an enclosure? Open to any suggestions in this price range so lets here about what I can do in this price range !

Deboardfam - I saw Revos build. I may or may not have /peed pants. A remarkable build!

I miss reefing. I do not miss doing water changes, hauling RO, and mixing salt while bringing it up to temp. :D
 

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ZC3 - Thank you !

Ryan - I am right with you on trying to find something of quality versus something craptacular.

Budget wise, I'd be comfortable up to about 250.00. Some evil unknown entity is whispering in my ear about a 36 x 18 x 36 build for Variabilis. I keep trying to ignore it, but no luck so far. Lighting this pig is going to hurt, so I do need to go easy for these tanks.

I put together my MH system on my old reef tank. It was a pain as finding enclosures was tough. Can you even buy nice, neat housings for t-5 without having to custom build an enclosure? Open to any suggestions in this price range so lets here about what I can do in this price range !

Deboardfam - I saw Revos build. I may or may not have /peed pants. A remarkable build!

I miss reefing. I do not miss doing water changes, hauling RO, and mixing salt while bringing it up to temp. :D
haha deep tanks are a real pain to light. well to get light to bottom plants at least. Seems like a lot of premade lighting systems are craptacular these days. I'm just waiting for LED's to evolve to the point where they are affordable to the average person haha. If you want a nice pre-made quad fixture, I would go with a TEK-LIGHT by sun system. They are pricey, but i've heard nothing but good things about them. I just looked and you can get a 36" for ~$230 if you want to go that route. If you did do a custom fixture, i'm thinking you would have to build your own enclosure. Thats what all my lights are, and they don't look half bad honestly. Just some quality pine 1x6"s a biscuit joiner and some stain/polyurethane and you're good to go! I've tried sheet aluminum, but i'm not a great metal worker ahaha
 

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I just purchased 2 Odyssea 36" Quad T5 HO strips from aquatraders. $160 shipped including 6500k bulbs. I know they have a questionable past, but I'm confident their problems were associated with older metal halide ballasts. For the price I'm willing to take the risk. A local guy buys these, debadges them, and sells them on craigslist for about 1.5x retail. I like that they have external ballasts and 2 plugs so I can have a split lighting scheme where two lights will be on for 12 hrs and then 2 more on for 6-8 hours.
 

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I am a hardcore odyssea advocate. I have had several of their fixtures and researched the issue with the metal halide ballasts. It was the old magnetic ballast and could only find proof of like two instances and just eveyone retelling the same story over and over. A few years back they went to electronic ballasts and had no issues. I have had several Halides and a couple of their t5 fixtures. Cheap and great. Another reason people hate them I believe is we get similar performance out of our $130 fixture that they get out of their $700 fixture. People can argue better reflectors blah blah and I dont deny that a tek fixture does have better reflectors and probably puts out more par but for our needs the cheaper fixtures work just fine. Never had an issue with shipping or anything. Everything has been great. Now their bulbs are cheaper (for reefing that is, I replaced my bulbs with ATI (top of the line) bulbs and was amazing and still $300 cheaper than another fixture). Ok I am done ranting.

Zoomie, check out aquatraders! lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks everyone. I am all over all of the suggestions. I'll let everyone know how it pans out!
 

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Phender, fantastic info. That is exactly the detail that I was looking for.
So I either run two twins or a quad.

I really need to buy a Par meter and see what's really going on. I miss all of the detailed lighting tests that have been done in the reefing community.

Anyone else interested in piping up?
Zoomie,

I am not well versed in the technical aspects of lighting, and what I will say may seem a little simplistic, but it works for me. I use 12W and 16W LED's from one of the Sponsored Suppliers (I will PM you the details), and have switched these on all of my tanks. I have (2) 24 X 18 x 18 Exo-Terra's and have had these LED's (yes, they screw directly into the Exo-Terra Hoods) for a couple of months. I am getting bloom response from miniature orchids (lots of spikes), broms coloring up that were before just green, and good vibrant growth on a bunch of other plants, including Jewel Orchids. The orchids at the top of the viv's are coloring red-edged on their leaves, which is good for blooming, and means they are getting plenty of light. Froggies (thumbnails), seem fine with the lighting. Best of all, these are MUCH cooler than other bulbs, and hoods are sitting directly on the glass.

Just another perspective, OK?

Mike
 

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My nano tank has a 4 bulb Odyssea T5 over it, I love it... the mounting brackets suck in my opinion but that is easily taken care of. There are better fixtures out there, but it works very well for the price... and will definitely be more than sufficient for brom colors.

I was getting good brom color on my 125G with twin bulb T5's, so I'm not sure if 4 bulbs is really necessary... maybe for some broms that enjoy BRIGHT light, but my fireballs were just fine with two.
 
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