Bulb choices for a VHO and T5 setup?

arc eye

New member
So I have two retrofit kits on the way for my standard 55g.

One is a 2 lamp 48" VHO kit and the other is a 2 lamp 48" T5HO kit.

The tank is not setup yet and will be my first crack at keeping marine life. It will therefore be stocked with only "easy" invertibrates not requiring too much in the way of water quality and lighting for the first round of bulbs.

My initial thought was to get ctinics for the VHOs and daylights for the t5s.

Any and all suggestions welcome!
 

DarG

New member
Depending on how blue you want it, that's what I would do. As discussed the VHO super actinic still bests the T5 atleast in terms of color. Then add a couple of either 10000K T5's or for a little more blue, some Aquablues which are white with just a hint of blue, around an 11-12000K.
 

arc eye

New member
I was just afraid that with two actinic VHOs and two daylight T5s I might not be getting enough "useful" spectrum light (not that there is any one size fits all spectrum anyway) or that the tank would come out too blue.

DarG, which T5s in specific would you recommend pairing with the super acts?
 

DarG

New member
Corals care about par. Aquablues or Daylight 10K's have plenty of it. If you used two good 10K T5's I highly doubt the two VHO's are going to make the tank too blue. Standard VHO combination was two super actinics and two actinic whites which was a 12000K VHO and the tank never looked too blue. It made for a crisp white with slight actinic / blue tint. With 2 T5 daylights and slr reflectors you are going to get even more of the white light in the tank. Thats why I listed aquablue T5's as a possibility. They have a very slight blue tint. With two VHO super actinics I would probably start with having ion hand 2 10000K and 2 aquablues or similiar 12000K or so. You could try the UVL Aqua Suns which are 10000K with very good par. Or the UVL actinic white 12000K or Giesemann aquablue which i believe is 11000K.
If you want a warmer look then maybe T5 Midday type bulb which is, I believe, around 6000K. You are going to have to play around to find combination that you like. But two T5 10000K daylights and two super actinic VHO's are not going to give you a blue tank. You may think so because you are skeptical on how much light the T5 reflector throws. All I can tell you is that the 4 54 watt T5's with SLR reflectors that I ran visibly whooped up on the 4 110 watt VHO system that I ran for 10 + years beforehand.

Aside from that, the light that is usable to corals is PAR, Photosynthetically active radiation, not what color the bulb is. T5 white bulbs and blue bulbs like the ATI blue + have a load of par for the corals to utilize. For example, a 12000K bulb with a white with blue tint look has nearly the same par as a 6000K ATI sun pro , 336 to 357. The ATI blue plus which is about as blue as it gets isnt far behind with 311. It's really only the T5 super actnics that drop off in par with the UVL brand being the best. Thus the VHO super actinic vs T5 super actinic debate. That is probably the, concensus, only remaining superiority of VHO. Times have changed.
 

engine

New member
arc eye, I will be doing the same set up as you. 2vho super actinic/2 t5 daylight on a 660. Should this be enough light for pretty much any corals?
 

arc eye

New member
Engine, I think that is a better question for DarG. My guess and hope is that we wouldn't be too restricted (assuming you are going to run it on a similar size tank).
 

DarG

New member
4 T5 with individual reflectors should be plenty enough for a 75, being a shallower tank especially. With 2 VHO actinics in place of two of the T5's it should still be fine. Not too long ago when alot of folks were running all VHO set-ups plenty of people had success with 2 actinic whites and 2 VHO super actinics. If that was enough, throwing 2 T5's into the mix, especially overdriven, in place of two of the VHO's will be plenty. T5 HO lighting with good individual refletcors is pretty impressive coming from using VHO. Overdriven, even moreso.
 

Shade00

New member
As long as you have independent reflectors the T5s will do very well. Stick with UVL Super Actinics for the VHOs, then get the 2 T5 daylight bulbs - personally I would go with an ATI Aquablue or ATI Blue Plus and a GE 6500k bulb, which would give you a pretty nice, white look. As for keeping SPS and clams... you may have success with some montipora at the top of the tank and some of the lower light clams (derasa, squamosa), but I would hesitate to recommend anything else. Anything else should do all right. If you're really interested in SPS and clams, though, I would suggest adding two more T5s. If you did, two ATI Blue Plus bulbs would be an excellent choice.
 

arc eye

New member
would one ATI midday and one UVL aqua sun make the tank too yellow or pinkish?............assuming I use super actinics for the VHOs
 

DarG

New member
The UVL Aqua Sun is a white bulb, 10000K. The Giesemann midday is a 6000K and does have a yellowish look next to a whiter or bluer bulb. Those bulbs will be brighter than the VHO Actinics. I dont think they will make for a yellowish tank though. Probably not what I would choose because I like more of a slight blue. It may look white more than anything.
 

Shade00

New member
Actually I would disagree - the Aquasun is not truly white. They burn with a pinkish hue in almost every fixture I've seen. I like the Aquasun in certain situations - probably not this one, though. You would need too much blue to offset it. With the two VHO Super Actinics, I think your best bet for bulbs would be something like the ATI Blue Plus or Geissemann/ATI Aquablue and the GE 6500k bulb. The 6500k puts out incredible PAR and is much whiter than the color temperature implies. I think that will give you excellent color. IMHO you will be unhappy with the 6000k/Aquasun combo. I was unhappy with an Aquasun/Current 10000k combo with 2 Super Actinics. With a bulb like the Aquablue you do need a little bit more yellow bulb so that the blue doesn't wash out the colors - which is why the 6500k bulb is so attractive.
 

arc eye

New member
I actually run a 15watt GE 6500k daylight bulb in one of my desk lamps. It looks comes off pretty white, I wonder if it uses the same phosphorus mix as the bulb you described above...........
 

DarG

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=10490042#post10490042 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by arc eye
I actually run a 15watt GE 6500k daylight bulb in one of my desk lamps. It looks comes off pretty white, I wonder if it uses the same phosphorus mix as the bulb you described above...........

I agree with shade on nixing the aquasun and 6000K. I'm not sure I would describe the aquasun as pink though. It appears pretty white to me but could be right, up next to another bulb it could have a pink tint. I dont agree on the Midday though. Again, on it's own it appears white, just like your desk lamp and my daylight circline bulbs in the laundry room and garage and my daylight spirals, they actually appear white with some blue on their own. But next to a higher spectrum lamp you can see the warmth in the bulb and see that it isnt nearly as pure white as it looks. It does have good par, Giesemann Midday, but the Aquablues are actually higher in par and so is the Aqua Sun.
But judging color is very subjective. One mans pink is another mans actinic, one mans white is another mans yellow and one mans blue is another mans white. All you have to do is listen to the different color descriptions of aquariums under Phoenix bulbs and you can see how widely perception varies.

Arc eye ... I think that you will end up accumulating several different bulbs and finding the combination that you like the best and provides good light to your tank. Thats what most of us end up doing I think. Whatever you do, spend the few extra bucks and always buy the good bulbs and you will end up with good par pretty much no matter what combo you go with.
 

arc eye

New member
where would be a good place to order all of the above? some of the sites I went to had only T5 bulbs and others had VHO and cheap/limited selections of T5s. I am hoping to get them all from the same place to save on shipping. Unfortunately none of the LFSs I have been to up here carry T5s yet.
 

DarG

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=10491811#post10491811 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by arc eye
where would be a good place to order all of the above? some of the sites I went to had only T5 bulbs and others had VHO and cheap/limited selections of T5s. I am hoping to get them all from the same place to save on shipping. Unfortunately none of the LFSs I have been to up here carry T5s yet.

I dont know of any but maybe try premium aquatics or marine depot. DIY Reef has all the T5's. Hello Lights has all the VHO's.
Champion lighting I believe only carries the UVL brand and some cheaper brands. I dont think they have ATI or Giesemann.

One important note ... The 48" T5 and the 48" VHO are NOT the same size. The VHO is longer. the 46.5" UVL VHO's ARE the same size as the 48" T5. I'm not sure how the sizes match up between VHO and T5 in the other lengths but they may not match up size for size either.
So, if keepiong the two types the same length is important or necessary, order the 46.5" VHO, not the 48" VHO. This is for UVL brand VHO only, I have no idea how the other companies VHO lengths match up. Not like it's a major issue as UVL has the majority of the market on VHO.
 
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