Yet another "Help me pick my lighting for my 29 gallon reef" thread...

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Premium Member
OK, I 'think' I've got the OK to upgrade the lighting on my 29 gallon reef, along with building a stand and canopy for it, so I can move it from my office to the living room. Currently I have 130 watts of PC lighting on it, softies and LPS. Here are my 'requirements' for the new retrofit lighting system:

Want to keep a clam or two.
Would need to fit into a custom canopy for a 29 gallon tank.
Lower electical draw would be great.
Low noise.
Would like to keep the cost to no more than $350, lower if possible.

So, VHO only? T5 only? MH only? MH/PC combo? MH/VHO combo? MH/T5 combo? What web sites have good prices? Which have lowest heat output while still providing enough light for clams (so no or few fans)?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


New member
if you want low electrical consumption, and clams, as well as low heat made... t5ho is your only choice. mh would work as well, but even a 150w mh would use more electricity than 3or 4x24 of t5ho with proper reflectors, and it would make considerably more heat thana t5ho unit.

btw, i have a clam, and many sps in my 35g lit by 3x39w of t5ho..

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Premium Member
That's what I was thinking, going with 3 or 4 T5HO lamps. I've been assuming they would be sufficient for clams, but was looking for 'verification'. Would that much light be too much for my current corals? They are:

Green richordia
feather duster
Open maze brain
orange sand polyps
green zoa's
green star polyps
Red mushrooms
Green favia (moon coral)
neon green claustrea
red lobo
Pulsing xenia
Kenya Tree
tooth coral
Pink zoa's
mint green zoa's

Pic of my current setup:


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Premium Member
Anyone have any idea how my current corals would do if I switched to 3 or 4 T5HO lamps? Also, what online stores sell 24" t5 retrofit kits?


New member

get all the parts separately, and you will save money over the tek retrofits, and they will be better quality as well.. i call that the DIY retro from aqualux. its what i have on my 35g reef.

all together it was ~170 dollars shipped to my door...

you cant beat that anyhwere for quality stuff.

as far as how your tank willl respond to it, well,
i would get 2 aquablue and one blue+ if you want it whiter
or 2 blue+ and onne aquablue if you want it bluer with 3 bulbs.

4 bulbs, well, pick another one, but if you dont want sps, dont get the ge day bulb, its got a lot of PAr for a t5ho bulb, and your current corals may react to it badly.. well, unless you acclimate it really slowly, which you should do when changiing lights..

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Premium Member
Thanks for the reply, I'll definately look into Aqualuxlighting. So, 3 t5HO bulbs would be enough for keeping a clam or two in a 29 gallon tank?


New member
yep. but make sure you get one ge day bulb. they put out the most PAR of any t5ho bulb.

you might want to get a 4x24 retro though, if you wnt the tank more blue, the ge is yellowy, so 2 or 3 blue+ may be needed to make it blueish.

i run 2 ati blues(not blue+, they were not available when i got my retro) and one ge day, and i have about 6 kinds of sps, and one clam

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Premium Member
I think I'll get 4, I don't want to limit myself, I might do sps in the future. Only worry is what will having 4 T5's do to my current stock of corals? Will they be OK if acclimated slowly? And how would I go about a slow acclimation?


New member
I don't think 4 x 24" t-5s will be much better than the 130 watts of PC. I e-mailed Current USA about their 4 x24 T-5 light and the tech said it would be about 30% brighter than the 130 watt PC. I realize the Current doesn't have the best reflectors but thats not much. I added a third 65 PC bulb to the light you show in the photo and it works great. R

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Premium Member
rickh, that's interesting. Two questions come to mind. First, if a third 65 PC bulb is added to my current 130 watt's of PC, is that sufficient to keep clams healthy and happy? Second, if good reflectors are used with T5 bulbs (Tek, for example), does that add much to the 30% brighter figure Current USA quoted? And now that I think about it, is that 30% brighter enough to keep clams (healthy and happy, of course)?


New member
i wouldnt listen to what current has to say.

i would trust a PAR meter myself. All the readings i have seen from PC compared to T5ho with proper reflectors have the t5ho on top PAR wise by a large factor. then figure in less watts used, and longer bulb life. oh yeah, less heat made from t5ho than PC... t5ho rules PC...

or look what you can keep under each type of light. how many sps/ clam tanks have you seen lit by PC...

none that i can remember

and how many sps/ clam tanks are lit by t5ho.. a lot


New member
Well, I think it depends on what type of clam you want to keep. I kept a derasa under 2 55watt PC's for two years in a 20 gallon and then a 37 gallon tank. It did okay and survived but really took off after I put a 175MH on with the PC's.