Confused: T5 or VHO lighting

balto777

New member
I am just beginning to start my first reef tank. (I have had FOWLR tanks before.) I have finally decided to go with a 55 gallon, but I am a little confused on the type of lighting I should use.

I researching this topic, I have found the vast majority of people like the T5 lighting, however I am not completely sure why. I am shooting for about 6 watts per gallon, which means about 330 watts for a 55 gallon tank.

The two ways I can reach this (I have decided not to go with MH.) is to use 6 T5s or 3 VHO's. Both of these configurations would give me about the same watts per gallon. So that is where my question comes from, what is better about the T5s that I would not be able to get with the VHOs.

I appreciate any responses to this thread and also welcome any oppinions that you might have. Thanks again in advance.:)
 

Bathypelagic

New member
First thing you have to do is decide what you want to keep. If you are looking at soft corals the VHO will be perfect. If you want to do mixed or hard corals you will have to keep those near the top of the tank with VHO lighting. Do not let the total number of watts sidetrack you. It is not about the watts. It is about how much light is being driven into your tank. T5's with the individual reflectors will provide far more light at the bottom of your tank than the same or more wattage of VHO's.
 

horkn

New member
6x54 of t5ho will not fit on a 55g, and would be too much light anywyas. 3or 4x54 will be sufficient with t5ho.

with UVlighting coming out with super actinic bulbs soon (hopefully this month) there is no reason to use vho instead of t5ho, if you are getting a new setup.
 

gussy

New member
I have 4x39W Tek T-5 on my 55G and it was a hard fit. Should be more light than any VHO that you can throw inside that space.
 

Bathypelagic

New member
Still doesn't change the fact that first you must decide what you want to keep in the tank and design your lighting needs from there. I have no experience with T5's first hand so if you could forward the information as to what type of corals you are interested in, you could probably get a few replies of the correct number of T5's that would work, if that is the route you wish to take.
 

balto777

New member
First, I would like to thank everyone for their replies. My previous SW tanks have been 29 gallons, so forgive me if I do not know exactly what will fit above a 55 gallon.

Next, because I have never had a reef tank before, I am not quite sure what type of corals I would get. I figured I would get a decent system together and put what would work into it. However, I do know that I would like to keep some hard corals in the tank. (I have only done a little research on corals since it will be some time before I get all of the equipment a go through my cycle.) At this point, I am thinking that I would like to keep about 1/2 soft corals and 1/2 hard corals. I am not planning on doing any clams, but would like to know what the lighting requirements are for those. Also, I do want to keep at least one bubble tip anemone for a clownfish that I always have to have.

I hope this helps, and am eagerly awaiting your responses.
 

izzy_real

New member
Lighting

Lighting

Balto,

If you haven't already purchased your 55 Gallon tank, maybe you should reconsider for something with a little more depth, like a 40 gallon breeder, a 58 gallon oceanic, if you can find it, and maybe even consider the 18" of depth with a 75 gallon. 55 gallons are quite limiting on space because of it's 12" depth, and often poor choices for reef tanks in general.

If by soft corals you mean Xenia, or Leathers, then perhaps T5 lighting is your best bet. You were saying you would like to keep bubble tip anemones. I have three, two of which are under 192 watts of power compact lighting, and one under metal halide lighting. All of which are fed three times per week, and do well, but the bubble tip in the 75 gallon under halides is much happier.

Too much lighting can sometimes be an issue for Lobophyllia, Scolomia, and some other LPS animals, often times causing bleaching, and higher water temps. But if by hard corals you mean SPS, I'm under the assumption that there's no such thing as too much lighting, no one that I know of, has replicated the power of direct sun light!

It's awesome that you have taken the time to research before you buy, you are a true reefer!

Good luck....
 

balto777

New member
I had been considering using MH for this tank setup, but I decided to go with something a little less expensive and something that (hopefully) runs cooler. I was hoping I could get good light using something other than MHs.

Anyway, I was wondering why the width (depth?) was so important. As you can see from my post above, I have only had non-reef experiance, and width really did not matter. What are the benefits that a 18 inch wide tank would give me for a reef that a 12 inch could not give me.

Finally, I am considering drilling my tank myself. What is the benefit of putting a closed loop in the tank rather than just putting powerheads into the tank. Is it only asthetics.
 
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