Aquarium Fish

Nova Extreme T5 HO Aquarium Light

This is a review on the Nova Extreme T5-HO (High Output) lighting fixture. After messing around with a couple of different lighting setups on other tanks that were setup in our house in the past I was looking to upgrade the 55 gallon tank into a full blown reef tank. I've ran power compacts with somewhat decent success in keeping soft corals and zoanthids and I've also used metal halides. There are pros and cons to nearly every light but after researching the T5-HO lights I was very interested in trying them out. I didn't feel that power compacts would give the amount of light I was after and metal halides while they are the best right now for concentrated light to grow corals (other than sunlight) I didn't want the added heat and the potential headache of regulating the temperature swings. T5-HO lights seem to be the best of both worlds.

After several weeks of researching the various T5 fixtures on the market I decided to go with the Nova Extreme T5-HO lighting setup. You have two different options when you're looking for a 48 inch fixture. You can get the 4 bulbs at 54 watts each (4x54) or 8 bulbs at 54 watts each (8x54). I decided on the 8 bulb fixture. This would put 432 watts of High Output lighting over the soon to be reef tank. I also checked out the replacement cost on the bulbs. These run around $25 dollars each and you need 8 of them when replacing them. The fixture comes with 8 included, 4 are reef white 10,000 °K and the other 4 bulbs are 460nm actinics. Four white LED moon lights come with it too.

Nova Extreme T5 Lighting Setup
Setting up these lights was a breeze. Carefully remove it from the box and then remove the plastic light shield so you can plug in the lights that are separately wrapped in their own boxes. Replace the clear plastic light splash shield, install the mouting brackets on each end and then plug in the lights and presto we're in business! The mounting brackets are made out of plastic, sturdy yes but definitely breakable if too much pressure is applied so be careful adjusting these. Also keep this in mind when removing the lights for periodic tank maintenance.

Once the Nova Extreme T5 was placed over the tank I was definitely glad I made this purchase. Yes they were several hundred dollars but I tend to look on the bright side of things. If I would have went with metal halides I may have had to purchase an aquarium chiller to keep high temperatures in check or I would have had to move them higher away from the tank which I didn't want to do.

Nova Extreme T5 Accessories
This fixture comes with three separate power cords. One is for half the bank of lights, a second cord is for the other bank of lights and the third cord is for the moon lights. Get a lighting timer with dual timers so you can first turn on the blue actinics about an hour before the white lights come on. Then have the blue lights stay on about an hour longer than the whites. The moon lights stay on 24/7 since they are LED lights and consume very little power.

Nova Extreme T5 Results
This review is being written about a year after the initial purchase of these Nova Extreme T5 lights and I'm still pleased with them. The growth rates of the montipora coral, zoanthids, crocea clams and candy cane corals are very good. The growth rates on the acropora in the tank are less stellar but still decent. The acros would most likely grow faster under metal halides.

Nova Extreme T5 Positives

  • Gets a lot of light over the tank for a modest investment.
  • Separate power cords that lets you turn on lights at different times.
  • Two fans are included to help vent heat and they are quiet.
  • Good growth rates in stoney corals except for maybe acroporas or other higher light needing corals that would most likely fare better under metal halides.
  • Fairly light weight to easily remove for tank cleaning or bulb replacement.
  • Replacement bulbs are moderately priced and last a long time (likely a year to a year and a half)
  • Several different bulb types available to hobbyists from freshwater plant growing bulbs to saltwater aquarium reef type bulbs.

Nova Extreme T5 Negatives

  • It will increase tank temperature a degree or two, maybe more if ventilation is lacking in the room.
  • It comes with only one reflector for all the bulbs instead of individual light reflectos which would be more efficient.
  • Wish it came with blue moon LED's instead of white.
Nova Extreme T5 Pictures

Note: These pics were taken right before lights out, so only half the lights were on. These monti's were each about 2 inch frags about 3 months ago. They've tripled in size. To see the size of the frags go to the montipora profile page.
Nova Extreme T5 Light
Montipora Coral Under Nova Extreme T5 Montipora Coral 2 Under Nova Extreme T5 Montipora Coral 3 Under Nova Extreme T5

Would I recommend this Nova Extreme T5 lighting setup to a friend? Absolutely I would. It puts a lot of light over the aquarium and lets me grow corals that I've always wanted to grow. I give it 5 stars

Nova Extreme T5 Light Comments
From: Drue
I agree that this is an awesome light. I don't have the 48 inch like the one you're talking about here but I do have the 36 inch on my reef tank and I have had really good results growing acropora corals. I frag them on a regular basis and trade the frags with friends and sometimes trade them in credit at the local reef shop.

From: mac19318
I loved your page, it helped me make up my mind on the nova extreme, and I love it. And now they come with individual light reflectors, well at least the 4 bulb one does, I am thinking I might get another one for the same tank! Thanks for the info.
I noticed that they are coming with individual reflectors which should increase the amount of light entering the tank. That should make these lights an even better deal. I'm jealous now though and wanting individual reflectors! Congrats and thanks for the comments. - Mike

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