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My impression is that they are overpriced for the quality delivered - a big drawback for me is the dome reflector/lack of individual reflectors.

As a result, I bought a 2x24W Catalina, with individual reflectors, for $100.

My $0.02 - however, for an interesting and contrary argument, just came across this:

Individual reflectors reflect more light back onto the bulb then one big reflector for multiple bulbs. Thats common sense. One bulb half covered by a reflector will reflect all the light coming off the top of it and sides back on to it. If you use common sense, thats more reflectivity per bulb back on itself. The purpose of individual reflectors is to spread the light out over a broader area. 1 individual reflector covers 6" of area front to back, where as a single reflector for multiple bulbs would only cover about 15"s front to back total for a 4 bulb unit with more intensity over the intial 10" from center being super intense which is optimal for SPS growth. I use a 4x54w on a 75g and I can honestly say its to much light for the top 1/3 of the tank, even for SPS, in the intial 10"s of the light. I have bleached numerous Acro's as a result. Buy/borrow a lux meter if you dont believe me.

If individual reflectors are suppose ot be better then a single multiple reflector, then why does it cut the life of a bulb by 1/4?

Just because you read something somewhere, doesnt make it the truth or the only way of doing things. Be an individual thinker and use common sense.
 

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i have the 2x24w retro and i couldn't be happier w/it. i used better reflectors though.
Here's what I got, oldpunk:

Has one independent light switch.

Each T5 has its own individual German polished aluminum reflector that TRIPLES the light output into your aquarium from each bulb!

Exclusively on all our T5 fixtures we now use the HIGHEST QUALITY ADVANCE BALLAST. These ballast are excellent for the T5 lightbulbs.
From what I can tell (experiences by folks on the web, after looking around), the reflectors that come with the unit are very good - do you find otherwise?
 
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