"T5" lights? Tek light fixtures? Nova ex.? Catalina? Need some help - Equipment - Aquatic Plant Central

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Old 03-06-2010, 01:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Lightbulb "T5" lights? Tek light fixtures? Nova ex.? Catalina? Need some help

♠ I have been using Coralife's compact fluorescent light fixtures for years and years(I have 4 WPG currently), they are getting really old now (about 2 year old bulbs, and such that still work), and I feel that it may be time to finally "upgrade" my lights. What's the big difference between compact florescent and T5's? I never really understood the technology. I have been searching around here and there and found these lights...I am willing to spend big $ for some good, durable lights for my extreme planted tanks, I have a lot of aquatic plants that require high light, so indeed, I need high lights no doubt...

What do you recommend...?

48" Nova's Extreme T5 lights

48" BLACK SOLAR T5 HO - 4 X 54W

48" Tek Light T5 Fluorescent Aquarium Lighting 4ft 4 bulb 216W
What lights do you recommend for the Tek fixture? Midday lights with 6K or mixing it up with aquablue? What's good? _


Overall, which one do you recommend for my high tech planted 60 gallon tank with pressurized co2?
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Old 03-06-2010, 06:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: "T5" lights? Tek light fixtures? Nova ex.? Catalina? Need some help

I have both a TEK light and Catalina fixtures . For the price difference, I'd buy the Catalina lights (as a matter of fact, I have 3 Catalina T5 lighting systems). If the Catalina lights last as long as my TEK fixture I'll probably never spend the extra $$$ on a TEK again. If you go w/the Catalina fixture, call them and have them add cords/switches. A 4bulb fixture on a 60g tank is going to give you more light than you'll need, and if you're not careful, you'll have an algae farm. I have the T5HO 3x54W on my 75 gallon, I run the 3rd light as a mid day burst for 3 hours a day.
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Old 03-07-2010, 12:37 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: "T5" lights? Tek light fixtures? Nova ex.? Catalina? Need some help

Hmm, catalina? You sure of it?

**EDIT**

Will they charge you for adding the extra cords and switches? Thanks for the advice. Anybody want to chime in and say anything?

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Old 03-08-2010, 08:55 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: "T5" lights? Tek light fixtures? Nova ex.? Catalina? Need some help

Tek's are my favorites for sure. I love the look and function of them. They are well made, completely silent. Can hang or tank mount. Just a great light. I got my 48x4 on ebay for about $160 with bulbs and shipping.

The NOVA's are good for the price, but definitely a step down from the tek's. I haven't used catalinas so I can't comment on them, but they do look like very good quality as well.
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Old 03-08-2010, 09:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: "T5" lights? Tek light fixtures? Nova ex.? Catalina? Need some help

My vote is for Tek or Catalina. Both are nice fixtures. I've heard mixed reviews on the nova extremes as far as durability.
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Old 03-08-2010, 10:09 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: "T5" lights? Tek light fixtures? Nova ex.? Catalina? Need some help

I have a Nova Extreme 4x39 Watt T5HO light. It's ok, does the job. When I first got it, the fan was very noisy so I replaced it with a computer fan. It is still a little noisy. The reflector is described as SLR (single light reflector) but, it's really one single reflector bent in like a "W" shape with an indent for each bulb. The light works, plants grow well, I still use it but, if I had to do it over again, I would spend alittle more and get the Catalina. It doesn't require fans to dissapate heat so, it would be much quieter.
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Old 03-08-2010, 11:08 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: "T5" lights? Tek light fixtures? Nova ex.? Catalina? Need some help

I have Sundial and a Catalina fixture, the Catalina is a 4x39w for a reef tank with nothing in it yet, but its damn bright, and solidly built. I love the lunar lights that you can get added into them as well. The sundial is actually been a pretty good fixture for me too, I've been very happy with it, even though no one has mentioned it. And for the price, its definitely a good bargain. Built in dual timers, fans, and photosensitive night LED's. All with only one chord. The Catalina, while it doesn't come with fans, has a spot where you can add them, and probably should. The fixture itself does get pretty darned warm, and if you don't want to heat up your tank at all, you should look into adding a small fan.
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Old 03-08-2010, 04:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: "T5" lights? Tek light fixtures? Nova ex.? Catalina? Need some help

If it is nothing too complicate, they'd probab going to do it for free.

Im pretty sure 2 switches and 2 cords on a 4x is standard. I know my 3x Catalina is so definitely. They might even throw in free legs, I know they did for me.

I'd say get the lunar light. Seems pretty nice for not that much extra.
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Old 03-08-2010, 05:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: "T5" lights? Tek light fixtures? Nova ex.? Catalina? Need some help

One thing you will notice when switching from pc to t5 with proper reflector is that you will not need as much wattage. All wattage is not created equal.

The fans in the Current USA fixtures are loud! As mentioned they can be replaced with quiet computer fans. Since I am not running all bulbs/actinic bulbs I do not use the fans in my modified Extreme. My Current USA fixture is modified because as mentioned they do not have a proper reflector. Unless you plan on modding it or running more bulbs that you need I would suggest buying someting else to get the most out of your watts.

I like the Catalina so far but would like to see a closeup of the reflector.

The Tek has the good stuff but the price is too high among other things.
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Old 03-08-2010, 06:06 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: "T5" lights? Tek light fixtures? Nova ex.? Catalina? Need some help

If I were to guess, I would say the 4 bulb Nova would be equivalent or close to the 3 bulb Catalina. If price is the main concern, then the Nova might still be an option. If hypothetically you get the same result for less money. The only thing is, I think you will ultimately have to make fan changes which cost a little bit of extra time and money. Again, If it was me, pull another few hours of over time to get the extra $80 to $100 bucks for the Catalina. I never mentioned Tek lighting because I thinks it's obscene to charge $60.00 bucks for legs, something that should be included. It's like buying a car and tires(not meaning upgraded, just tires period) would be charged as an option. Anyway, my two cents.
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