15" T8HO Bulbs?

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Lisa MacAlpine, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. Lisa MacAlpineValued MemberMember

    I'm setting up a new 30 gallon tall tank and got some awesome advice on filters from this site, and am now hoping that someone out there would be willing to rescue me from my lighting confusion.

    When I bought my tank, the lfs owner told me the matching fixture would support plants, but she was out of bulbs. I went off, did my research, printed off Hoppy's Lighting Chart, decided one T5HO bulb would be just the ticket and hit Home Depot, Orchard, and finally the lfs again. At the end of my search, I found out that I have a T8/T12 fixture and no single bulb that fits it can provide even low light for a tall tank.
    Is my only option to modify it for a second bulb? There's probably room, I'm just a cheapskate and sorta mad at the lfs lady for lying and at myself for expecting her to know anything.

    Thanks much!
  2. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    Find a 15" T5HO fixture. That's my advice.

  3. Lisa MacAlpineValued MemberMember

    You don't think I'll find anything right for the one I've got?

  4. scotty bWell Known MemberMember

    seems like new fixture would be the way to go

  5. Lisa MacAlpineValued MemberMember

    I'd probably modify the current one since it's got a wood finish to match the tank.
  6. outlawWell Known MemberMember

    I couldn't find much in the 12"-15" length under T5 or T8.

    It looks like the T8 15" is only 14watt and T5 12" is only 9watt. Even if you were to fit 2 bulbs, it would still fall short of the 1wpg plus you have to have it reach 20+ inch down.

    Personally, I think you would need 3 or 4 bulbs before having OK light for plants

    I did find on another forum someone running 4 T5NO planted on a 30 tall

    I'm sure there will be others with some more help.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
  7. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    The T5 puts out more light for the wattage, so the watt-per-gallon rule does not apply there.
  8. jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    Look at doing a PC retrofit.  
  9. outlawWell Known MemberMember

    I agree.

    And maybe it's just me but I couldn't find anything in the HO under 12" or 15". And with a 24" wide tank, wouldn't a 24" fixture be a better fit?

    Do you have any pictures?

  10. Lisa MacAlpineValued MemberMember

    The guy running 4 bulbs on the other site says they're not HO. I could just build a new hood and do that. My dad says wood veneer could be bought to match the tank so I guess that would be an option.

    Would that be better or worse than the PC retrofit jetajocky suggested?

    Neither hardware store had the 15" T5 bulbs. Both had 12" and 16" which were too long and too short respectively. I measure 14 1/4" from the inside of the bulb mountings and 15" from outside of to outside of mounting. The fish store had a T8 in the right size, but it wasn't HO so I failed to write down the name.

    The tank itself is 21.5" across from point to point. It could handle a slightly wider fixture than the current one, but nothing wider than 17 total.

    And Pics as requested.
    Photo on 2012-12-04 at 14.01.jpg
    Photo on 2012-12-04 at 14.01 #2.jpg
  11. outlawWell Known MemberMember

    Sorry, I didn't realize it was a 30hex

    OK, I think I understand these bulbs now.

    1. It is a 15" bulb like you said
    2. It is not an HO in the same respect as T5 and T5HO. T8 is a T8, the difference is the HO has a longer life before losing its light/color spectrum.



    Some T8 bulbs

    Based off the fact that they are ~14w bulbs, I would look into fitting another bulb at the minimum or a DIY fixture.

    If you don't mind the look and probably slight over hang at the corners, here is a  . I can't speak for the performance of it though.

    Hope this helps,
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012
  12. Lisa MacAlpineValued MemberMember

    Thank you so much for all the research! Everyone on this site has been so awesome!

    Based off what you've said, I guess a DIY fixture will probably yield the best results. I think. I like making things. It's just going to take me a bit to get there cause school's crazy right now.
  13. outlawWell Known MemberMember

    Np. glad to help!

    If you are looking at DIY, probably on the easier side, but may not fit... What if you get another fixture like the one you have and do 4 bulbs (2 per fixture).

    or and this is a big OR, lol

    LEDs? Unfortunately I dont' have any real world results yet but I have had to turn down my leds because algae actually started to grow. lol This would probably give you the most flexibility because you can mount them as needed in whatever order and not a straight line like a cfl bulb.


    customize fixture to take standard house bulb/cfl.
      (I've never used but pictures and parts look like they would be good fit)

  14. Lisa MacAlpineValued MemberMember

    I could do that. If I'm going to do the whole kit and kaboodle, it might be more aesthetically pleasing to put them all together in one hood and just have it take up more space. Unless there's a downside to that I'm not aware of...

    That actually sounds kinda awesome. I worked with LEDs once before so it doesn't sound particularly scary. Though I found your thread and it looks like you went through a pretty meticulous construction process... with impressive results.

    If one were to do it, how does one calculate the amount of LEDs in terms of tank depth?
  15. outlawWell Known MemberMember

    Thank you and hopefully I will have some plants soon to get real world results.

    If your looking to do a single hood. Option 3 may be the better or at least easier route to go, it will give you a dual cfl or single SHO setup to give you the options of wattage bulb to use (without exceeding limitations of socket/wiring of course)

    For the LEDs and freshwater, there is still a lot up in the air. I did a lot of reading and research. I originally started my questions on a popular saltwater diy forum.

    There really isn't a calculator to tell you how many leds you should have or the color spectrum you'll need to be successful. The ones I used where my on preferences and based of what I read.

    The thing with your tank is going to be the depth. How deep is it? Depending on your mounting location of an led fixture + depth, may require optics to focus the light and penetrate the water. If this is the case, you may need a few more than "usual" to reduce/prevent the "spotlight effect".

    Before trying to figure out how many you may need, what would you plan for the housing/fixture for the leds?

    Building a hood
    Use existing fixture
    hanging system

    Do to the shape and usable area, I would start there.

    Also with that 20" t5, you would likely only have the corners sticking off the tank, not sure if it would overlap the opening/closing peice of glass though.

  16. jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    This thread has a wealth of information on fixtures, definitely worth a read.  
  17. outlawWell Known MemberMember

    I remember reading that doc as I was leaning toward the led build. It's a nicely detailed piece of information.

  18. Lisa MacAlpineValued MemberMember

    Thank you so much! I've gotten totally swamped with teaching stuff the last two days, but I'll read through all of this tomorrow!
  19. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

  20. Lisa MacAlpineValued MemberMember

    Hm... Per all that information LEDs are sounding like a more complicated way to go. I love the effect but perhaps it is better saved for once I have the tank up and running and have time to experiment - which judging by my ability to respond over the weekend is not right now.

    The tank is 24" tall.

    I feel like a 20" wide fixture would stick out too far and bug me. Would 2-4 12" T5s be enough light? 16"s would also be short enough. If not, I should wait, get through finals week, and then do more thorough research to make sure I really understand what I'm getting into.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012

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