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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so from what I have read here and in other nooks of the 'net lights are pretty darn important to plants. So is color and watts (sort of) and k's and PC and T5s and...sheesh. I don't wanna say that I am dumb, but when it comes to lighting, my brain seems to be running a 20 watt incandecent! So let me just ask a couple questions straight out (even though I am sure there is no solid answer to this). Are T5s better than PC? I know they are more expensive initially, but I believe they are more efficient long term. Correct? Also, I know that the old WPG rule is well, old. I have done extensive reading on how to figure the best lighting for a tank, but honestly alot of what I read is above my head (dim bulb of a brain). So...I have a 65 gal tank that is 24 inches tall. Would 4 39 watt bulbs be suffucient to light up my life? I am starting slow and easy but want to buy enough juice now to grow the hard stuff later. Thanks for any help you can give!
 

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T5 are better than PC. The reason being that PC is basically two T5 bulbs placed very close together. Because the 2 tubes are so close A LOT if light (much more than you think) is lost bouncing between the tubes and behind them.

Also when we talk about T5 we usually mean T5HO. Makes little sense to use regular T5 bulbs over a planted tank when you can use HO. "HO" stands for "High output" - it's nothing special, just it means that an HO bulb that's say 20" long is 20 watts and a regular T5 bulb will be only 10 watts for the same length.

Not all T5HO bulbs are equal. Giesemann Midday 6000K T5HO is way ahead of all the rest.

You must use T5HO bulbs with individual reflectors. They are specially designed to catch the light from the back of the bulb and direct it to the tank.

Kelvin is only a rough measure how we, people, see the light - more reddish, more yellowish, or more blue, more white and so on. Kelvins mean absolutely nothing to plants. But overall plants like reddish bulbs (also called "warm") better.

The WPG rule is old and useless. It does not take into an account the light spectrum (and many other things too). One 54 Watt Giesemann Midday T5HO bulb will be as beneficial to the plants as 110 wats of PC. If not even more beneficial, haha.

If you want the best light for your 24" tall tank get the Giesemann Midday bulbs with individual reflector for each bulb. In the thread below the guy used only 2 (two) 24 watt Giesemann Midday bulbs. His tank is 24" tall hex 45 gallons. And on top of that one of the bulbs does not have a reflector! No WPG here and also I don't believe any other bulb would do as well as you see on these pictures.

You be the judge:
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/...ic-plant-club/55198-starting-up-today-13.html

--Nikolay
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have noticed in my reading here that Giesemann bulbs seem to be well liked. Most of the fixtures that I have been looking at buying come with salt bulbs, so I am sure that I will need to buy different ones anyway. So am I looking at to much light? I mean those pictures show some pretty amazing growth at much lower lighting than what I am considering. Is 4x39watt bulbs overkill? The few plant people that I have run into around town all are using pretty bright lights.
 

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Strong light is fine. And generally a must in a tank with stem plants. You can use it with great success. You can use any bulb you want if it's strong enough - even a bunch of incadescents. But let's clarify - what we are talking about here is really not the wattage but the part of the light that the plants use. The more light you provide the better the chances that you are providing the plants with enough of that part of the light that they can use. 4x39 watts of any T5HO bulb over a 65 gal. tank will be fine.

Or you can do the same thing with much lower power consumption using the Giesemann Midday bulbs.

--Nikolay
 

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To jump into this can a T5NO fixture drive a T5HO bulb. For example can I put a T5HO bulb in my Coralife Aqualight dual linear Strip fixture?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok so with that in mind, Niko can you reccomend a good place to get Giesemann bulbs? I will most likely have to order them because I highly doubt that they are carried anywhere around here. Also do you have any experience with the Current Sundial fixtures? They look like they are what I want, but I am fishing for some ideas of their quality. I have considered doing DIY lights, but I don't know that I trust myself when it comes to mixing electricity and water. Another question (I have plenty) is when do I know I need to start CO2? I know that it is needed with high lighting, but how do I know when my lighting is "high"?
 

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To jump into this can a T5NO fixture drive a T5HO bulb. For example can I put a T5HO bulb in my Coralife Aqualight dual linear Strip fixture?
No, you can't just put an HO bulb in the Normal Output fixture. The ballast is different. You will need to purchase a special ballast for the T5HO.

--Nikolay
 

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Ditchdoc,

The guys at reefgeek.com are the best. Try them.

I don't know about the Sundial fixture. But I look with disrespect to very much all commercially available fixtures. Unless they are ultra high-end you are severely overpaying for the housing. The only thing that commercial fixtures provide is convenience - buy it, install it, plug it. The ballast and bulbs can be bought very cheap if you are willing do go the DIY way.

The CO2 must start from Day 1 of the tank life. It must stay consistent too so don't try to shut it off at night and turn it on during the day.

When you start a tank you should start with very strong light for a brief period of time somewhere in the middle of the day. Maybe only 2 hours of strong light and the rest is very low "viewing" light. That's a general descriptioin - ask more about that if you want, but let's open a new thread for that.

--Nikolay
 

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I found that DIY lighting was any cheaper. I priced out a 4x54w T5HO with good reflector to cost the more that a pre-built fixture of the same type and quality. If I include the cost of building a housing the cost exceeded the pre-built fixture.
 
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