T-5 Standalone (im told T-5 is assist lighting only) ?

05TurboS2K

New member
Hi, my LFS was selling a 4 bulb x 54watt T-5 Setup. My PC light bulb was getting old so I figured hey for 200 bux used this thing would solve my lighting problems. Things are doing ok. I've had a crocea clam for a few months that looks great and most everything else looks good too for the most part.

Now another LFS told me "your running T-5 without a halide or PC as well? You shouldn't do that bla bla T-5 is not for use by itself. " Now I'm a bit lost. I'm hoping their wrong.

55 Gallon Tank: Softies/fish

216W T-5 54x4 2 actinic / 2 10k
VS.
220W PC 54x4 2 actinic / 2 10k

This is 4watts per gallon either way. My understanding is that WATTS = nothing since the efficiency of lighting is not all the same. HID lights on a car consume WAY less then regular lights but put out far more light. I would assume then T-5's are more efficient so that watt is now not a good way to measure but instead PAR would be better. Physically looking at the two the T-5 is FAR brighter by my eye site. Perhaps thats cause i had old bulbs in the PC setup though and I just made stupid assumption. Certainly both setups ontop is too much light right?

I still have my PC setup, should I slap that on top too? I would think not. Thx for everyones help by the way.

-Greg
 

bpoore89

New member
Thats totally not true. I have the Current Nova Extreme Pro 6 bulb fixture over my 55 and I keep SPS and my crocea on the sandbed. T5's can be compared to MH but some will disagree
 

crossi92

New member
That other LFS has no idea what they are talking about. You can absolutely run a tank with T5 only, and is going to be way better than your PC setup. What you have on there now is plenty for nearly anything that you would want to keep.
 

saveafish

New member
I got 8 bulbs on my 115g 5' long and it is wounderful. T5's rock. Though I have a few sps's and a lot of LPs's, anamones and a ton of softies. they all love it and the old T-5 stinic are great for tanning your self.
 

sirreal63

Go Spurs Go!!!
Premium Member
"216W T-5 54x4 2 actinic / 2 10k"

That is how you know they are T5HO, 54 watts on a 4' bulb is HO.
 

MrRoo

In Memoriam
My question is if I have PC lights that is 2x96watts and I have a 55 gallon tank why can't I use those? 4x54watts of T5's lights is basically the same amount of lighting so what whats the big difference?
 

sirreal63

Go Spurs Go!!!
Premium Member
The same reason 2-100 watt incandescent bulbs won't work. It is still 200 watts of light. The difference is the strength of the lighting. PC's are not efficient, the reflectors are not efficient and they don't put enough light down to the tank. It may look bright but our eyes are inept at judging light intensity.
 

ReefRockerLive

GHL Mitras LX7 Club
I would not go back to that LFS if they are going to be giving you false information like that. Anyways, a good Retro kit for T5 would be the IceCap retro from ReefGeek.com

The only thing you have to be aware of is that the IceCap ballasts overdrive the T5 bulbs making them run hotter than usual so make sure you properly cool them.
 

GSMguy

New member
one of the stores around here sells anemones and corals to people they know dont have any lights at all.
 

silverwolf72

New member
You can get the Icecap retro with a standard ballast from reef geek. You want the SLR reflectors, if you go with the IceCap ballast it over drives 4x 54W bulbs to 80W a piece. Prob go with the ATI blue+ and Blue special bulb (14K look)or replace one of the blue specials with a aquasun if you like less blue(10k look)
 

05TurboS2K

New member
sorry to be such a n00b. Ive had the tank 6 months and done fairly well with coral/fish. Had a stupid store sell me a mandarin to early but otherwise I've lost no fish. Did have a frogspawn come loose from its skeleton that looked otherwise healthy. I think low scrontium ? Anyway.....

I'm not familiar with the term RETRO in the case of lighting. Icecap is a brand? I recently spent the 200 bux on a friends T-5 setup that I have now so I'd like to NOT have to spend money AGAIN since I just upgraded to this from my PC lighting. I know there are 2 actinic and 2 whites (10k?). They say 54w on them I don't remember what else It's a 55gal so I think they are 4ft bulbs, the balast takes up the full length of the tank perfectly.

ATI blue+ ??? ATI is a brand and blue+ is to replace an actinic?

I understand the special blue 14k or aquasun 10k is a preference. I guess i have the less blue look right now since they are both 10 k.

Am I in need of more lighting? 54x4 is 216w which is 4watts/gal. Isn't that fine for even my crocea clam? Everything looks fairly healthy I think.

What is my best option for what I have now without spending a lot of money. The icecap retro is just a kit to overdrive my system? Or is it a complete ballast?

Sorry for so many questions, I want to learn all this as throughly and quickly as possible. I thought www.s2ki.com had some in depth stuff going on.... I wish this was as simple as turbochargers are :)

-Greg
 

lark

New member
Nobody yet has asked the single most important question for this discussion, IMHO (or, if they have, I've missed it):

Is the T5 set up that you purchased one that has individual reflectors for each bulb? That is one of the reasons that t5 lighting is and can be used solo -- the size of the bulbs permit multi-faceted single bulb reflectors. I don't have any science or stats on the difference made by individual reflectors, but it is significant.

"Retro" means "retrofit" -- it's to be contrasted with a fixture. A retro set up is one that you install yourself inside your canopy. Basically, you screw the end caps into the underside of the canopy -- usually wood -- and then clip individual reflectors to the lights. You wire the end caps to ballasts that are located somewhere nearby -- in your stand (away from potential water drippage!) or screwed onto your canopy, etc. A fixture, on the other hand, is an all-in-one unit that houses the bulbs and the ballasts and that you simply plug into the wall (maybe with more than one plug). Some of them have fans. Some of them don't. Some of them are to be suspended above the tank from the ceiling. Some have feet on them that sit on the edge of the tank, etc.

Some fixtures have individual reflectors. Some have a single reflector for all the bulbs. With respect to the original poster's question -- for $200, my guess is that this does not have individual reflectors, but it might. Even without them, this is still good lighting. Depending on the depth of your tank, you can keep a decent amount of stuff with that lighting, although I wouldn't be putting SPS or clams near the bottom.
 

05TurboS2K

New member
Excellent info... ok so my assumption about retro was mostly correct but that provides some excellent detail.

My unit is a FIXTURE with one reflector built inside. I guess I could modify this unit then to some kind of retro fit by just lengthening the wires and then screwing end caps in etc. to the top as you stated? Or does this involve some kit and special items other then wire? I'm not sure if it's worth doing or not. Currently the unit has feet and sits on the tank.

THX FOR THE INFORMATIVE POST!!!!!

-Greg
 

lark

New member
Greg -- I wouldn't recommend trying to take apart a fixture and making it into a retro. Just not a good idea when there's all sorts of electricity around salt water.

You pretty much have to pick. Either you go with a retrofit design, where you put in individual reflectors, or you buy a fixture. There are manufacturers that make fixtures that have individual reflectors. Some are very nice. A standard 4x54 set up like you have would start at about $350 -- a company called tek makes a nice one that can be purchased at a company called reefgeek.com. You can spend more that too, up to $1,000 or even more on a t-5 fixture with individual reflectors.

A retro fit kit for what you have would be about $200.

It sounds as though you have something sort of like this: http://www.aquarium-supply.biz/Current_USA_Nova_Extreme_T5_Aquarium_Lighting_p/rcu01122.htm This is excellent lighting, albeit it does not have the individual reflectors. I would give it a shot for a while and see how it does before you go ripping it apart or sinking more money into things. If you want to keep SPS or clams, you will be not providing them the light they need and will need to supplement. But for many many things, this will be good, high quality light.
 

05TurboS2K

New member
yes ethats very much like what I have. I have a clam up half way currently... hope he does alright. He has the past couple months thus far.
 
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