Ok I need some help, but...

I need answers in simple plain english for dummies!!!
I was given a 55 gallon tank and stand. I want a mixed tank of SPS and LPS. It comes with a standard strip light 48 inches long. Can I just buy T-5 lights and place them in the strip light?

I have a 20" long satelitte system on my 75 gallon hex (we are taking this down to sell) should I use this and maybe get a 24" satellite system to go with it? This would be 44" of satellite lighting. Or should I just sell it and use T-5 bulbs?

I am just confused. The strip light that comes with the 55 is just one of those standard light strips.

Please, please answer in dumb down ways, I am not electronically smart. I have read so many posts on the T-5 bulbs and am more confused then when I started.

Thanks, Kristin
I am not too familiar with T5's but they will need a larger ballast then what the standard fixture comes with.

You can use other lighting other than T5's, Are you trying to save money and use what you have? Or is the T5's the only lighting you have looked into.
I am trying to save money

I am trying to save money

a 24" sattelite system would cost another 123.99. I just didn't know if the T-5 fit into a regular strip light. Or really understand the amount of light needed for SPS. My brain is fried from trying to make heads or tails of the other topics regarding lighting!!!
wanted to add

wanted to add

I also found a T-5 series fluorescent lamp fixture for 49.99. This includes a 10,000k daylight and one true antic blue bulb. Would this be enough light for a 55 gallon with sps and lps?
Re: wanted to add

Re: wanted to add

<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=6975920#post6975920 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by fours2many
I also found a T-5 series fluorescent lamp fixture for 49.99. This includes a 10,000k daylight and one true antic blue bulb. Would this be enough light for a 55 gallon with sps and lps?

You must be lloking at normal output T5 lighting. You'd need T5HO for SPS.
this is what I am talking about,

this is what I am talking about,

what is the difference in T-5 and T-5HO?

Every bulb I look at just says T-5. Help!
Here is an example of the T-5 lighting


and different bulbs that they say fit right into the strip light with NO modification


this is the 20" satellite set up I have now, I am also thinking of buying the 24" to make up the difference in tank size .

please advise me on what to do. And please explain in idiots terminology what the differnce between HO and non-HO means.

thanks, Kristin
LOL...you're not an idiot.

HO=High Output. A 48" T5HO bulb is a 54 watt bulb.
NO=Normal output. A 48" T5NO bulb is 28 watts I think.

A HO system needs a properly matched ballast to run the bulbs, as does a NO system. Naturally, a T5HO ballast will be more expensive. NO bulbs have no place on a true reef tank, although NO T5's with a good reflector will probably support some leathers and polyps just fine.
If you are serious about SPS corals, you'll need adequate lighting. I ran a 4 x 54 watt T5HO setup on a 4' tank and it was great.
The important thing to remember with T5HO bulbs is that they are best used with individual reflectors. I assume you are decided on using a fixture (a self contained lighting system) as opposed to a canopy with bulbs mounted inside.
Greg at www.reefgeek.com can help you make a decision that will suit your needs.
The satellite fixture you have uses PC (power comapact) bulbs. Although the wattage appears to be higher (65 vs. 54 for a T5HO) the bulb is designed much differently and the T5HO's are a lot brighter.
T5 just refers to bulb diameter (each bulb diameter decreasing with the number, i.e. T12 (big), T8 (smaller), T6, T5 (very small). Then, as twkenny explained, there are varying intensities within those sizes, like VHO t12 bulbs and HO T5 bulbs.
If you want to get real specific, the number represents how many eighths of an inch. Any T5 bulb is 5/8" diameter. a T8 is 1" in diameter...but, we dont' need to discuss that too much since you're on the T5HO track....which, in my opinion, is where you should be!
The Nova fixture you linked doesn't have individual reflectors for the bulbs. To keep SPS corals, you'll really need the individual reflectors.

Take a look at the Tek Light hoods from Reef Geek:


You would also need the feet or hanging system and acrylic shield. They kind of screw you on the feet.

The complete setup will cost about $40-65 more than the Nova but is much better.
Ok, I am getting more confused as the day goes

Ok, I am getting more confused as the day goes

the reefgeek setup will run me about 350+ with shipping.

Now if I were to spend that much money wouldn't it be best for me to go MH?

Any descent prices on MH set up for a standard 55 gallon tank- 48" L X 13" wide(deep) X 20" high?

I live near TFP that is why I was looking there, save on shipping. But if there is a place that any of you could recomend that will fit my needs, I would be happy!!


Also what is the strength of the MH I would need for this size tank if I went that way? Gosh this is getting pricey!

Maybe I will just stick with the T-5 HO set up.
Research the Odyssea fixtures before you buy. They have mixed reviews. Again, the one you referenced does not use individual reflectors for the bulbs. The individual reflectors are what makes the T5HO really usefull. I believe there is a T5 Q&A thread that may be of help.

Also, I'd expect to pay no less than $500 for a decent metal halide retrofit kit, more if you want a full hood. The Tek Light would be cheaper and produce less heat.
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=6979190#post6979190 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by bassnman11
You may need to keep them in the upper part of the tank, but should be fine.

If you put 4 x 54 T5HO over a 55 you could keep SPS anywhere. Been there done that.

I have MH now....and I'm going back to T5HO soon.
If you are not going to have a canopy the post suggesting the TEK fixture is dead on. If you decide on a canopy, a 4 x 54 watt rerofit kit will do you nicely.
Thank you

Thank you

After researching more, I found out odyysea lights are junk as well.

I will most likely be going with the reefgeeks.
I am begining to understand this a little more. All because of you guys!!!! Thank you for being so patient and understanding and most of all, for not getting rude.



You left out one other type of light! What in the world is a VHO????? Is this as good or better than an HO???

Just wondering, I am still gonna go with the reefgeeks set up!

Hmmm, now to memorize all these letters, VHO, HO, MH, and then numbers and letters!!! LOL!! I feel like I just did algebra for 2 days straight!!!

Thanks for all the help, Kristin