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Old 04/19/2017, 01:23 PM   #1
Reeferman1019
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Exclamation T5 vs LED vs Other

Looking for some advice my tank is 48x24x12 and looking for lights. LED VS T5 VS Others. Something cost effective and proven to work. I keep LPS and SPS. Looking for particular fixtures, brands, bulb combos, light combos etc.

I know this topic has been covered widely in the past and from the looks of things T5's do wonders! But then there is the cost of bulbs every year to replace. I would like lighting that is programmable or I could just add a APEX in the future.


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Old 04/19/2017, 01:30 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Reeferman1019 View Post
Looking for some advice my tank is 48x24x12 and looking for lights. LED VS T5 VS Others. Something cost effective and proven to work. I keep LPS and SPS. Looking for particular fixtures, brands, bulb combos, light combos etc.

I know this topic has been covered widely in the past and from the looks of things T5's do wonders! But then there is the cost of bulbs every year to replace. I would like lighting that is programmable or I could just add a APEX in the future.

I highly recommend a hybrid led - t-5 fixture for the best of both worlds. They are a little more expensive.

As long as you buy a high quality metal halide, led, or t-5 fixture they should all work fine and all can keep coral alive and growing.

Only thing if you plan to have SPS and you want just led it will require more fixtures than normally required to help with the self shading. Also because of this the cost saving dries up some. Softies and most lps standard recommended amount of fixtures should be enough.


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Old 04/19/2017, 01:40 PM   #3
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It's so tough to decide I just want to to keep it simple with one type of fixture and call it a day. Any particular brands you like or recommended combos? Gonna keep LPS and low to high SPS in the future


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Old 04/19/2017, 02:19 PM   #4
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Possibly (2) Radions XR30 ?


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Old 04/19/2017, 02:28 PM   #5
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Possibly (2) Radions XR30 ?


or (2) Hydra52


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Old 04/19/2017, 02:48 PM   #6
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Everybody - well a lot - of people has an opinion. So here is mine
Went from MH to LED ( AI Sol, Sol Blue, Hydra 52) to t5 to mh+ts and find the best result with the t5/MH. The all t5 was pretty good.

Takes many more LEDs to get the coverage you need in an SPS tank. Before selling them and getting the t5 I had 5 across my 72 inch tank.


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Old 04/19/2017, 02:55 PM   #7
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Have seen the 52 weeks of reefing videos from BRS? There are a series of about 4 episodes where they break down each form of lighting, the strength's and weaknesses of each and finally, what they decided on. The end result is exactly what shred5 said. A hybrid system is ideal for being cost-effective and proven to work. plus, the science behind it really makes sense. Led provides the point-source lighting that comes directly from the sun, the T5's give the ambient light that is used by corals as well. Each type alone does not provide both at this time. Some LED's are getting closer to providing the spread and coverage of T5's, but not there yet. Using 2-4 T5's to supplement LED's helps keep bulb replacement $ down compared to a 6-8 bulb system, and you are using more efficient LED's for a majority of your lighting @ the same time. If you are wanting all this in one unit, you will be paying for it though. Very pricey! If what you mean by cost effective is operating costs, use of electricity, heat production, etc. then LED's maybe better. I have read though where the initial investment on LED's vs. cost savings from T5 energy use and bulb replacement is minimal - especially if you are going to invest in ecotechs or AI hyrdras. If by cost effective you mean how much you spend for your lighting versus the results, right now from what I am reading, it is T5's. Good luck!


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Old 04/19/2017, 03:10 PM   #8
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Have seen the 52 weeks of reefing videos from BRS? There are a series of about 4 episodes where they break down each form of lighting, the strength's and weaknesses of each and finally, what they decided on. The end result is exactly what shred5 said. A hybrid system is ideal for being cost-effective and proven to work. plus, the science behind it really makes sense. Led provides the point-source lighting that comes directly from the sun, the T5's give the ambient light that is used by corals as well. Each type alone does not provide both at this time. Some LED's are getting closer to providing the spread and coverage of T5's, but not there yet. Using 2-4 T5's to supplement LED's helps keep bulb replacement $ down compared to a 6-8 bulb system, and you are using more efficient LED's for a majority of your lighting @ the same time. If you are wanting all this in one unit, you will be paying for it though. Very pricey! If what you mean by cost effective is operating costs, use of electricity, heat production, etc. then LED's maybe better. I have read though where the initial investment on LED's vs. cost savings from T5 energy use and bulb replacement is minimal - especially if you are going to invest in ecotechs or AI hyrdras. If by cost effective you mean how much you spend for your lighting versus the results, right now from what I am reading, it is T5's. Good luck!


Any particular 4 or 6 bulb T5 fixtures for my tank dimensions? (48x24x12) ? Possible something that is dawn to dusk effect (programmable) or maybe that doesn't matter I can just use timers?


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Old 04/19/2017, 03:28 PM   #9
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The consensus on here seems ATI fixtures are the favorite. If you do not have a canopy, then the 6x54w or 8x54w would be perfect. I have a canopy, so the fixtures are not recommended. I have looked into exceptions and there are some who have placed their fixture in a canopy, but ATI does not recommend it (nor does BRS). If you have a canopy then retrofit kits are recommended. I read on here often though that much of brand recommendations is opinion for the most part. Some will swear by Geismann over ATI and vice versa. There are dimmable options in the 54w and lower, but I have read some say dimming reduces the life of the bulbs? Even the non-dimmable fixtures allow for 2 out of the 6 or two our of the 8 to be controlled separately for dawn and dusk simulation. With your tank being 24in deep, I would think you would not want to go less than 6 if you do T5's. Lot's of things to consider, I know. Still deciding myself!


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Old 04/19/2017, 03:35 PM   #10
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The consensus on here seems ATI fixtures are the favorite. If you do not have a canopy, then the 6x54w or 8x54w would be perfect. I have a canopy, so the fixtures are not recommended. I have looked into exceptions and there are some who have placed their fixture in a canopy, but ATI does not recommend it (nor does BRS). If you have a canopy then retrofit kits are recommended. I read on here often though that much of brand recommendations is opinion for the most part. Some will swear by Geismann over ATI and vice versa. There are dimmable options in the 54w and lower, but I have read some say dimming reduces the life of the bulbs? Even the non-dimmable fixtures allow for 2 out of the 6 or two our of the 8 to be controlled separately for dawn and dusk simulation. With your tank being 24in deep, I would think you would not want to go less than 6 if you do T5's. Lot's of things to consider, I know. Still deciding myself!


I don't have a canopy on my tank and my tank isn't 24 inches deep. The dimensions are 48Lx24Wx12H it's like a shallow reef lagoon tank what I call it. They have some other cost effective units Odyssey Quad T5 with timer built it, Wave Point with no timer, CoraLife, AquaLife and a few others on Amazon, eBay etc. Not sure if the Odyssey can really cause fires hazard as I have read.


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Old 04/19/2017, 04:53 PM   #11
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48" long Reef Breeders Photon V2 ($650)
WAY more than enough light
sunrise/sunset/moonlight
6 channels of color control
runs very cool and quiet (my fans never turn on... they are thermal controlled)
no bulbs to buy (replacements or to change a color)
extra modes for sunny, moonlight, manual (I do all blue & violet) at the touch of a button
good looking (no canopy)
Oh, and it grows sps corals too!




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Old 04/19/2017, 04:59 PM   #12
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48" long Reef Breeders Photon V2 ($650)
WAY more than enough light
sunrise/sunset/moonlight
6 channels of color control
runs very cool and quiet (my fans never turn on... they are thermal controlled)
no bulbs to buy (replacements or to change a color)
extra modes for sunny, moonlight, manual (I do all blue & violet) at the touch of a button
good looking (no canopy)
Oh, and it grows sps corals too!



Looking nice there! Both tanks using Photons V2? I'm guessing you like LED over T5. There is just so much opinions out there on each type of lighting option. I just want something to grow LPS, SPS while keepin it simple.


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Old 04/20/2017, 02:21 AM   #13
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Proven to work, cost effective, SPS. Its all pointing T5 baby.


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Old 04/20/2017, 03:00 AM   #14
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Look around, most tank will use T5 for a sps tank. My take will be t5. Would recommend ATI hybrid led+t5

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Old 04/20/2017, 04:15 AM   #15
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I've been planning my upgrade and decided to go with just T5 for numerous reasons. Look through the TOTM and featured tanks on various websites and you'll see plenty of T5 with standard setups. Tanks with similiar growth under LED have double or triple the amount of fixtures one would expec ($$$). Personally for the 180 I'm planning it would take 5 years to break even on a 2x Kessil AP700 vs a ATI 8x80 with considerably less startup. I'm sure the hybrids are amazing, but I can't justify the extra costs if T5 will get the job done.


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Old 04/20/2017, 05:16 AM   #16
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Looking nice there! Both tanks using Photons V2? I'm guessing you like LED over T5. There is just so much opinions out there on each type of lighting option. I just want something to grow LPS, SPS while keepin it simple.
I admit that t5 do a slightly better job of growing healthy coral, but it's not like leds can't. In fact they do it quite well. My reasons for choosing leds over t5 are these:

1) no heat (my fans are thermally controlled and never run as the fixture is at room temp all the time!)
2) sunrise/sunset/moonlight control (only one expensive t5 fixture can do that)
3) 6 channel color control without having to buy and replace bulbs
4) no bulbs to replace (I had MH/t5 hybrids and I save enough in replacement bulbs to pay for my led fixtures in just 4 years)
5) one button mode change (I can show off my coral fluorescence by going all blue with a single button, and I can go full sunny or moonlights the same way)
6) good looking, slim (1" thick) fixture that is very modern looking
7) my acro and digi sps corals grow fast enough that I'm selling frags all the time

This tank has been running 6 months and this photo is from about 2 months ago:



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Old 04/20/2017, 07:15 AM   #17
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Lots of Chinese fixtures spread the light out where brands like Kessil use clusters and Radions and Hydras use pucks. The Chinese fixture just spread out the individual leds more instead of clustering them together. While this works fine it also leads to color separation and the disco affect. I hate it and it looks terrible..

No one said leds cannot keep sps it just your going to need more fixtures than what they actually say. I do not know how many people I have heard with sps having added more fixtures or had to add t-5 or left led for halides. It is not about par either, leds put out plenty of par it is the technology and being a point source.


I have seen some wonderful sps tanks with leds fixtures but they have some on angles to help with shading and more fixtures than what would be required. It is like buying a skimmer we know most brands exaggerate what they can handle and usually half is more like it. Now this is just for sps.


I use two Kessils over my 3' tank right now and I am thinking of adding 2 or more or going hybrid. Kessil has great light, great shimmer, colors sps well but self shading is killing my sps on the bottom sides. They were fine when little and shading was not a issue. Matter of fact I gave or sold most of my sps away because of it. I now miss them and want to add sps back so upgrades here they come.



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Old 04/20/2017, 09:07 AM   #18
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I admit that t5 do a slightly better job of growing healthy coral, but it's not like leds can't. In fact they do it quite well. My reasons for choosing leds over t5 are these:

1) no heat (my fans are thermally controlled and never run as the fixture is at room temp all the time!)
2) sunrise/sunset/moonlight control (only one expensive t5 fixture can do that)
3) 6 channel color control without having to buy and replace bulbs
4) no bulbs to replace (I had MH/t5 hybrids and I save enough in replacement bulbs to pay for my led fixtures in just 4 years)
5) one button mode change (I can show off my coral fluorescence by going all blue with a single button, and I can go full sunny or moonlights the same way)
6) good looking, slim (1" thick) fixture that is very modern looking
7) my acro and digi sps corals grow fast enough that I'm selling frags all the time

This tank has been running 6 months and this photo is from about 2 months ago:
I think Ron's suggestion is and always is fantastic (man you are quick to post this in every light-related thread! ). I do think that if you go with more of a point-source LED like the Kessil AP700 that T5 is a great supplement -- which is what I'm doing. My AP700 is great but the shimmer is overwhelming and it can look a bit dim. The T5s will help chill the shimmer, and increase visual brightness and coverage.

I can't decide what I'd do differently if I were to do it again. The one thing that I don't like about the Photon v2 is how you have to tune it yourself. It seems really tedious. The nice thing with Kessil LEDs and T5s is that you never have to worry about screwing up the spectrum and can just focus on aesthetics and PAR. I got my AP700 for the price of the Photon V2... If I were faced with the AP700 at msrp vs the Photon V2 at msrp I'd probably give the Photon a shot, no questions asked.



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Old 04/20/2017, 10:31 AM   #19
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I think Ron's suggestion is and always is fantastic (man you are quick to post this in every light-related thread! ).

I can't decide what I'd do differently if I were to do it again. The one thing that I don't like about the Photon v2 is how you have to tune it yourself. It seems really tedious. The nice thing with Kessil LEDs and T5s is that you never have to worry about screwing up the spectrum and can just focus on aesthetics and PAR. I got my AP700 for the price of the Photon V2... If I were faced with the AP700 at msrp vs the Photon V2 at msrp I'd probably give the Photon a shot, no questions asked.
It's easy when you're retired, your wife still works and your car has been under repair for 4+ months! What the heck do I want with a 500hp Miata anyway!

As for programming the Photon, a full reset takes me less than 10 minutes and I don't even have to be in the same room with the fixture. It all goes into the remote. And after I did mine a couple of times to get what I wanted, I haven't made any adjustments. I only get out the remote when somebody who hasn't seen the tank stops by and I have to do the full 100% blue & violet (a single button) so they can see the coral fluorescence. They always are shocked by the look.


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Old 04/20/2017, 07:05 PM   #20
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Thanks to everyone for all the replies I think I will go with T5's and supplement with LED's in the future. For a 48L x 24D x 12H is a 48" 4 Bulb T5 HO enough coverage? Going to outfit with ATI Bulbs 2 Blue+ and 2 Coral+. I will be hanging the fixture 12" over water line. Can the T5's be run for a 8-10 Hours per day? Looking into a fixture that doesn't have dimming capabilities. Not sure what the average user runs T5's per day.



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Old 04/21/2017, 07:18 AM   #21
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Thanks to everyone for all the replies I think I will go with T5's and supplement with LED's in the future. For a 48L x 24D x 12H is a 48" 4 Bulb T5 HO enough coverage? Going to outfit with ATI Bulbs 2 Blue+ and 2 Coral+. I will be hanging the fixture 12" over water line. Can the T5's be run for a 8-10 Hours per day? Looking into a fixture that doesn't have dimming capabilities. Not sure what the average user runs T5's per day.
I would do a 36" fixture over a 48" tank. Seems logical that you'd want to match the length of the tank but it's actually not necessary and can look a little wonky.

Why am I recommending this? I received my 48" fixture to supplement the LEDs on my 4' tank last night and I'm sending it back because it's way too big.


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Old 04/21/2017, 07:28 AM   #22
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I would do a 36" fixture over a 48" tank. Seems logical that you'd want to match the length of the tank but it's actually not necessary and can look a little wonky.

Why am I recommending this? I received my 48" fixture to supplement the LEDs on my 4' tank last night and I'm sending it back because it's way too big.


Ok


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Old 04/21/2017, 07:47 AM   #23
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You don't need to dim or do any kind of dusk dawn - this is for the reefer, not the coral. Just turn them on for 8-10 hours when you are around and forget about it. Is your tank 24 wide or tall? If wide, I would get a 6 or 8 bulb ATI. Look for a used one - they are really nice and last for a long time.

My basic take on LED is that they can probably get you to 70-80% of where T5 and MH can. However, you might not ever know the difference, nor you might not ever care. If you think that you will know the difference or care, then stick with your T5 choice. If you ever get super into some of the more difficult acropora (not montis, birdsnest, stags, poci), you an always add more bulbs or a few MH.


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Old 04/21/2017, 08:08 AM   #24
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You don't need to dim or do any kind of dusk dawn - this is for the reefer, not the coral. Just turn them on for 8-10 hours when you are around and forget about it. Is your tank 24 wide or tall? If wide, I would get a 6 or 8 bulb ATI. Look for a used one - they are really nice and last for a long time.

My basic take on LED is that they can probably get you to 70-80% of where T5 and MH can. However, you might not ever know the difference, nor you might not ever care. If you think that you will know the difference or care, then stick with your T5 choice. If you ever get super into some of the more difficult acropora (not montis, birdsnest, stags, poci), you an always add more bulbs or a few MH.


My tank is 24 inches wide and 12 tall. If I do go with a 6 bulb T5 fixture do I have to run all 6 bulbs at the same time. Reason being I wanted a 4 bulb was because I thought it would be better since my tank is shallow at 12 inches. My tank is 48 inches long so I will go with a 36 inch fixture


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Old 04/21/2017, 08:13 AM   #25
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You will need all 48 inches of T5 fixture. The poster above was saying that if you get a supplemental LED panel, to get one that is smaller since they spill light off of the edges. The T5 won't do this and you want to be end-to-end.

The problem with four bulbs is that they won't cover 24 deep very well unless you raise it way up. A pair of two-bulbs that has some distance between then would be better than a single four. I would get an 6 or an 8, but four could work. It depends on the fixture, but usually, you can turn them on in pairs, but read up before you buy one.


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