So which one would you choose and why?

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HitchHiker

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I am going to be building a custom hood for my 55 gal tank. So I figure that it would be the perfect time to upgrade my lighting. I am going to be planting my tank, and so I need to be sure that there is enough lighting for then plants. Here are the two that I kinda settled on. So I was curious what your opinions are of each.

***edited to include the 48" link***
1st:

I would be getting it in 48" version, they don't have it in stock at moment, but it has the 4 blue moon LEDs for at night, a big plus as that is when my Raphael Catfish is most active. It also will give me about 260 watts.

2nd:

I would get 2 of these, but I would have to then add the LEDs latter for the cat. Or I would be able to replace one of the T5 bulbs with a black light to really show off my GLO Fish. Also it seems that I would have a much more varied selection of bulbs.

Any way I was curious about what you all thought. So thanks in advance, and I look forward to hearing your opinions.
 
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Nutter

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I'd go with the T5HO personally. Just one of them though. That would still give you intense enough light to grow pretty much any aquarium plant you feel like. 108w T5HO is roughly equal to 216w standard T8 lighting, giving you around 4wpg if you wanted to work it out that way. For $150 less than the PC fixture you can't go wrong. That's enough money saved to buy a half decent co2 injection system. (which you will need)
 

ryanr

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+1 Nutter

I would go T5HO, with one tube (bulb) of 6700K and the other tube 10000K. Giving you a really bright tank, with a great spectrum of light for plants.

If you really want the blue moonlight, there are fixtures out there that twin tube with LED built in. I use the Octopus Litemaster LED, but not sure if you can get in the USA
 

Jaysee

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seems you and me are about the only ones on right now ryan. no, that was for the OP who is making a custom hood. it was a joke - there is a thread where a friend of a member made a DIY hood out of cardboard.....its worth the search

Im with you - glass tops all the way.
 

ryanr

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LOL ... yeah saw that cardboard design... interesting, definitely light weight

But way off topic.... and don't want to hijack the thread.
 

Jaysee

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Its totally on topic...the OP is custom making a hood for a 55 gallon tank. my suggestion of NOT going cardboard is totally legit
 

Nutter

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I read that thread. To say I have some serious doubts about the integrity of a cardboard hood.... is a bit of an understatement.

On the subject of which tubes to use, the kelvin rating is pretty much irrelevant as far as I'm concerned. The important bit is how much of which part of the spectrum the lights use to achieve that kelvin rating. Time & again I keep seeing good planted tanks with a Life-Glo tube (6,700k) & a Power-Glo tube (18,000k). The Power-Glo are pretty good for planted tanks though still a bit high in the yellow/green area of the spectrum for my liking. The Aqua-Glo (18,000k) is superior for planted tanks IMO but apparently it's not available in T5HO.
 

ryanr

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massive late edit: I meant 18000K, I either had brain fade, fat fingers or wasn't thinking when I put 10000K in previous post..... :0
 

harpua2002

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I wouldn't trust any Jebo or Odyssea products ever, but that's just me. I understand improvements have been made and the fixtures are actually UL listed now... but after several years of reading horror stories about leaky canister filters, fried ballasts, cheap and ineffective cooling fans, and even smoke and fire, I just couldn't bring myself to buy one.

You mentioned that you are building a canopy for your 55. Have you thought about going with a retrofit kit rather than a fixture? In all likelihood, any cooling vents or fans in a fixture are going to be blocked somehow by a canopy, and that's not good for the fixture. The only exception I can think of is Current USA's Sundial T5 HO fixtures, which have cooling fans built into the back of the fixture and are meant to be used with a canopy.
 
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HitchHiker

HitchHiker

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Well the plan is that when I get the lighting it will all eventually be disassembled to be placed int the hood. It was just cheaper to get all the parts (reflectors, ballasts, bulbs, etc) for the custom build this way rather than buying them each separately.

So it sounds like the T5 HO system will be the best solution, and also price (that rarely seems to happen). Anyway thanks for the great advice and help. As soon as I finish drawing up my plans I will post them in the DIY section.

I found the link for the 48 PC lighting:
 

harpua2002

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Oh, now I get it. In your case, the main benefit I see to a retrofit kit (obviously cost is a drawback) is that you'll get waterproof endcaps and stuff that's made to be put in a canopy. I'm not sure exactly how important all that is (I'm not much of a DIYer), but it seems to me that the plastic cover that goes underneath the bulbs in the fixture is there for a reason; I don't think insides of a fixture are splash proof. Hope that makes sense.

That said, I'm using T5 shop lights to light the tanks in the fishroom. Each fixture is just suspended above the tanks. It's worked fine so far, but we're VERY careful about splashing.
 
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Thanks I will take a look at the caps when I get it, and if they aren't the water proof type I will be sure to add in the splash guard.

Well now I will just wait until they get in the plant combo for the T5 lighting and I will get it. Thanks for all the great advise.
 

harpua2002

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Hey, check this out...


It doesn't include bulbs, but they usually don't cost that much.

BTW, there aren't black light bulbs available for T5 HO that I'm aware of. You could get a similar effect by using an actinic bulb along with a white bulb.
 
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HitchHiker

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Hey Thank you so much for that find. For the black light I am going to go with LED lights, for the black lights and the moon lighting. I can run venting fans and the LEDs on a common 12v power connection.
 

sirdarksol

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By the way, blue LEDs contain a lot of ultraviolet light. I have a string of them in my bedroom (I'm still a kid at heart) and they light the fluorescent planets I have on my walls and ceiling, and when I'm wearing clothes that fluoresce, they light them, too (like I said, I'm still a kid at heart). You may be able to get them to glow just under blue moonlights (though this may make them targets at night, if you've got any fish with violent tendencies)
 

harpua2002

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That's cool. If you are curious to know what actinic T5s look like with white bulbs, click on my 50 gallon reef link in my sig. Actinics can really make colors pop.

*edit* Oh no! I just realized that the Hagen retro kit I linked doesn't include reflectors. That's pretty lame that they are sold separately.
 
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HitchHiker

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Well as far as them being targets well. I lost 4 of them with in the first week, because they were too small, Ralph had midnight snacks. The remaining 4 are all too big for him to eat. I had an Actinics Blue before it finally gave out, thus causing me to start looking at upgrading my lighting.
 
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