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Re: [APD] T5 lights, opinions on options

A 55w PC is esentially a T5 folded in half; a 54w T5 is a 555w PC straightened out -- and in fact both are 5/12" diameter. The electrical diffs are negligible. The performance is the same and generally a ballast that will work on a 54w T5 will work on a 55w PC. The wiring is a bit more of a pain because you have to run wires to both ends of the bulb -- but that's one-time thing with each installation.
The advantage you can get with a T5 is that you can space the tubes farther apart -- with a u-tube, two tubes are always very close together. When you space the tubes farther apart and have just the right reflectors, you get less of the light output striking the other tubes so you have some opportunity to direct more light into the aquarium with a reflector. You'd have to place a straight T5 precisely in an AHS reflector to get optimal effect. Too low in the reflector and too much light will be directed straight downward. Too high and the light will spread unnecessarily.
Of course, top-glass etching, spacing of the bulbs above the tank, reflector design and plant arrangement are going to make more of diff in most cases than tube spacing.
For a long time T5s have meant a more expensive investment than opting for u-tubes. 
If they don't cost any more, there's no reason not to use T5s instead of PCs. Otherwise, you're unlikely to get much benefit out of the extra bucks you spend.

* * * * * * * * * 

----- Original Message ----
From: Liz Wilhite <satirica at gmail_com>
To: aquatic plants digest <aquatic-plants at actwin_com>
Sent: Saturday, December 2, 2006 11:07:14 AM
Subject: [APD] T5 lights, opinions on options

Can anyone explain to me why T5 lights are or are not better than power
compact fluorescents and why there is a move to T5 from people who are
already running quality PC fixturs such as ones made from AH Supply kits?

There is a small collection of plants that don't do particularly well with
the 130 watts of PC lights over my 55G.  As I am making adjustments to that
tank, one adjustment I am thinking of making is to swap out to a fixture I
have on hand that will allow me to run 130w for the entire photoperiod with
an additional 130 watts for a noon burst period.  Another option I am
considering is to get an AH Supply reflector and put it in the current
fixture (which happens to be a Current fixture of the Satellite variety) and
see if that gives enough light boost to better grow some high light plants.
Yet another option is to take the equipment I have available, purchase an AH
Supply reflector and build a fixutre that holds T5s. (My assumption here,
without thinking through all the details, is that those reflectors should
work just fine with the smaller diameter T5s.)  Obviously, the free option
is using the other fixture, but the other two are relatively low cost.

Opinions appreciated.

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