All T5 or T5/LED Hybrid?

ReefinIt

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 26, 2022
Messages
63
Reaction score
34
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
San Diego
I'm gearing up to get new lighting for my 120 gallon (48x24x24) mixed reef that finished cycling.

I was originally going to do a 48" Aquatic Life T5 Hybrid with two XR15 G6s, but after seeing all the reviews on the G6s, I'm starting to think I should go all T5 to save some money and potentially have more power.

So what do you think? I don't want to want to be disappointed with the LEDs.

Is there more power with a 6 or 8 bulb t5 than 4 T5s and two XR15s? Is there a number of T5 bulbs that translates to an XR15?

Downsides with all T5 is no shimmer and not much control.
 
World Wide Corals

Spare time

7500 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
8,998
Reaction score
6,863
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Here
Lol I am warning you that when the halide or t5 people see this they will pounce on the question like a rabid animal. So before they come here and proclaim that god has spoken to them and revealed the holy t5, let me just give you the basic rundown. The benefit to t5 is plug and play and blanket light. That is it. If you like that simplicity and its very appealing, go with that. If you want flexibility and not have to worry about changing bulbs, go with a quality LED fixture. If you do both, great. You can even swap the t5's for supplemental led's such as those from reef brite if you decide to go all LED. I don't care if someone says "bUt t5 iS BeTTeR fOr coRaL," the simple matter of it is that both work, and both will grow coral very well. The difference is the amount of control you want, and whether or not you care about swapping bulbs. LED lights are just more complicated at the start since there is so much flexibility and options that a lot of people just don't want to bother and get a t5.
 
Last edited:

Spare time

7500 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
8,998
Reaction score
6,863
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Here
Radions are very expensive and not the only option. I personally will never spend that much for a light regardless of how well the spread (and spectrum) is. There are tons of options. I personally would light a kessil reef brite hybrid if I was going to redo my lighting all over again and money wasn't too big of a concern, but that is because I like the appearence of the kessils mixed with a reef brite. It also depends on the size of the tank since obviously price scales with the tank's size, and for large tanks I would use much more budget friendly lights.


PS keep in mind that the PAR value doesn't need to be as high as some might say for X coral if you have a lot of blue light since the peak photosaturation point using blue is likely going to be lower for your corals than by using a much more distributed power spectrum. (This is based off of a small experiment Dana Riddle did)
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

Bpb

2500 Club Member
Review score
+1 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Feb 27, 2014
Messages
4,255
Reaction score
5,740
Review score
+1 /0 /-0
Location
College Station
Lol I am warning you that when the halide or t5 people see this they will pounce on the question like a rabid animal. So before they come here and proclaim that god has spoken to them and revealed the holy t5, let me just give you the basic rundown. The benefit to t5 is plug and play and blanket light. That is it. If you like that simplicity and its very appealing, go with that. If you want flexibility and not have to worry about changing bulbs, go with LED. If you do both, great. You can even swap the t5's for supplemental led's such as those from reef brite if you decide to go all LED. I don't care if someone says "bUt t5 iS BeTTeR fOr coRaL," the simple matter of it is that both work, and both will grow coral very well. The difference is the amount of control you want, and whether or not you care about swapping bulbs. LED lights are just more complicated at the start since there is so much flexibility and options that a lot of people just don't want to bother and get a t5.

Outstanding reply.

Each light tech has its merits. Hybridizing subjects you to both the benefits and setbacks to the tech you’re using. It’s a good way to go. Yes, all t5 would be less expensive. You may not enjoy the tank as much, or you might. Entirely up to your preference. T5 vs t5/led hybrid will have negligible results in growth and health all other things being the same. What do you visually prefer? Soft shimmer, or zero shimmer? Blue LED fluorescence, or no blue led fluorescence? Either comes at a cost one way or another
 
OP
R

ReefinIt

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 26, 2022
Messages
63
Reaction score
34
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
San Diego
Lol I am warning you that when the halide or t5 people see this they will pounce on the question like a rabid animal. So before they come here and proclaim that god has spoken to them and revealed the holy t5, let me just give you the basic rundown. The benefit to t5 is plug and play and blanket light. That is it. If you like that simplicity and its very appealing, go with that. If you want flexibility and not have to worry about changing bulbs, go with a quality LED fixture. If you do both, great. You can even swap the t5's for supplemental led's such as those from reef brite if you decide to go all LED. I don't care if someone says "bUt t5 iS BeTTeR fOr coRaL," the simple matter of it is that both work, and both will grow coral very well. The difference is the amount of control you want, and whether or not you care about swapping bulbs. LED lights are just more complicated at the start since there is so much flexibility and options that a lot of people just don't want to bother and get a t5.
I used to be a halide guy back in the day. Loved the look and had great success, but heat was a problem. I'm chasing the halide look. I almost went kessil but after seeing it in person the shimmer was too much.

My worries is that it won't be enough light using LEDs unless I put up $2k. I'm also sensitive to the static look of LEDs. I saw some cheaper LEDs and I couldn't even look at the tank.

But in the end is LED worth the extra cost.


Outstanding reply.

Each light tech has its merits. Hybridizing subjects you to both the benefits and setbacks to the tech you’re using. It’s a good way to go. Yes, all t5 would be less expensive. You may not enjoy the tank as much, or you might. Entirely up to your preference. T5 vs t5/led hybrid will have negligible results in growth and health all other things being the same. What do you visually prefer? Soft shimmer, or zero shimmer? Blue LED fluorescence, or no blue led fluorescence? Either comes at a cost one way or another
I prefer soft shimmer which is why I was thinking about hybrid aquatic life. Now I'm thinking maybe Reef Brite XHO and a ATI 6 bulb.

I like daylight spectrum, not the windex look.
 

Spare time

7500 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
8,998
Reaction score
6,863
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Here
I used to be a halide guy back in the day. Loved the look and had great success, but heat was a problem. I'm chasing the halide look. I almost went kessil but after seeing it in person the shimmer was too much.

My worries is that it won't be enough light using LEDs unless I put up $2k. I'm also sensitive to the static look of LEDs. I saw some cheaper LEDs and I couldn't even look at the tank.

But in the end is LED worth the extra cost.



I prefer soft shimmer which is why I was thinking about hybrid aquatic life. Now I'm thinking maybe Reef Brite XHO and a ATI 6 bulb.

I like daylight spectrum, not the windex look.


I think if you want the shimmer like a halide but want an led, I would consider the kessils mixed with t5's or reef brites. BRS has this in the lighting showdown series and also in another video. It muffles the shimmer and you might like it. I would think one strip on both sides (t5 or reef brites) and two a360x would work well. Again, price is definitely a factor so this is more or less my idea of what might be visually pleasing to you. Orphek sells some puck style lights that could be an alternative to the kessils but I have not clue how much the single puck fixture costs. You could also combine a red sea light with some whiter led strips (such as reef brite 50/50 or more daylight looking t5). They are cheaper than kessils in terms of not needing accessories and what not and provide nice shimmer and perfect color blending. They have only a small amount off white light in their fixture so I think some fill lights on the side would help whiten things up. I'd imagine they'd look really nice in that kind of setup. You would want the reef led 90's.
 
Last edited:
BRS
World Wide Corals

Coral-vault

DFW's Premier Aquatics Dealer
Review score
+4 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jan 29, 2020
Messages
225
Reaction score
245
Review score
+4 /0 /-0
Location
Fort Worth
If you go T5 you will be let down by not having any coral pop. We have recently replaced all our T5 with Orphek bars. We run Kessil, Radion, Orphek, T5, Halide, and many other lighting combos in our store. Our current favorite set up is
SPS: Orphek
LPS: Radion or Kessil
Nems: Halide with Blue led bars

You really cant go wrong with any combos but one thing we find important with LED is to have enough lights on the tank in order to not shade any sides of the coral. LED is the top light for coral coloration.
 

Bpb

2500 Club Member
Review score
+1 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Feb 27, 2014
Messages
4,255
Reaction score
5,740
Review score
+1 /0 /-0
Location
College Station
I run a setup that is wildly overkill but I kind of believe there’s no such thing with led coverage. On 60”x24”x24” I am running 2 reef breeders photo. V2-50’s with 3 kessil a360’s down the center in between the panels. Lights hung at 12” off the water.

The kessils are run at 100% color (whitest setting) with violet, red, and green up at 70%, along with 70% overall intensity. The reef breeders I am only using the 3 blue channels up at 30%.

In this way the reef breeders provide a diffused blue fill light, like actinic supplementation you’d get from t5’s, and the kessils act as a high intensity white point source (visually speaking like a metal halide). No, I am not claiming metal halide spectrum or performance. Purely speaking of visual aesthetic. The reef breeders really help to dull the shimmer a good bit and I find it quite pleasing.

I cannot speak to its efficacy in coral growth as the tank is still on the younger side and my frags are small, but I had great success with these same reef breeders lights by themselves on my last tank, growing acro colonies at a very acceptable rate of size and color. I can’t imagine adding in more light coverage would hurt anything. Time will tell. I really enjoy how the tank looks though.
 
Tidal Gardens

nick0206

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 8, 2019
Messages
215
Reaction score
246
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Israel
Hi all.
I don’t know how it is in the USA, but in Israel we had difficulties with the supply of T5 lamps. The LFS said that suppliers do not have them. I checked in German online stores and indeed, they were not there either.
Of course, there are many who use only LED lighting, but 5 people I know have switched to a combination of metal-halide + blue LEDs.
For the last 7 years I have personally used the combination of T5 "Aquatic Life" 2 Kessil and the Orphek blue strip in the cube tank at 25.6 ".
In connection with moving to another city, I am doing a cycle of a new tank
51" x 25.6" x 25.6". Lighting will be 2 x 250 watt 20K metal halide plus 2 Kessil A360.
 
OP
R

ReefinIt

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 26, 2022
Messages
63
Reaction score
34
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
San Diego
I think if you want the shimmer like a halide but want an led, I would consider the kessils mixed with t5's or reef brites. BRS has this in the lighting showdown series and also in another video. It muffles the shimmer and you might like it. I would think one strip on both sides (t5 or reef brites) and two a360x would work well. Again, price is definitely a factor so this is more or less my idea of what might be visually pleasing to you. Orphek sells some puck style lights that could be an alternative to the kessils but I have not clue how much the single puck fixture costs. You could also combine a red sea light with some whiter led strips (such as reef brite 50/50 or more daylight looking t5). They are cheaper than kessils in terms of not needing accessories and what not and provide nice shimmer and perfect color blending. They have only a small amount off white light in their fixture so I think some fill lights on the side would help whiten things up. I'd imagine they'd look really nice in that kind of setup. You would want the reef led 90's.
I was originally going to go with two kessils and the aquatic life T5 hybrid, but I couldn't take the shimmer of the kessil. I was worried the T5s wouldn't mute it enough.

If you go T5 you will be let down by not having any coral pop. We have recently replaced all our T5 with Orphek bars. We run Kessil, Radion, Orphek, T5, Halide, and many other lighting combos in our store. Our current favorite set up is
SPS: Orphek
LPS: Radion or Kessil
Nems: Halide with Blue led bars

You really cant go wrong with any combos but one thing we find important with LED is to have enough lights on the tank in order to not shade any sides of the coral. LED is the top light for coral coloration.
I was worried that the T5s will be dull.

Here are the current setups I'm debating:

1. Full T5 (6 or 8 bulb)
2. Aquatic Life w/ 2 XR15 G6s
3. ATI 6 bulb with LED supplements (either one blue plus and one daylight Orphek OR3s or Reef Bride XHO)
 

Rmckoy

5000 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 24, 2013
Messages
6,220
Reaction score
7,618
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Ontario Canada
I'm gearing up to get new lighting for my 120 gallon (48x24x24) mixed reef that finished cycling.

I was originally going to do a 48" Aquatic Life T5 Hybrid with two XR15 G6s, but after seeing all the reviews on the G6s, I'm starting to think I should go all T5 to save some money and potentially have more power.

So what do you think? I don't want to want to be disappointed with the LEDs.

Is there more power with a 6 or 8 bulb t5 than 4 T5s and two XR15s? Is there a number of T5 bulbs that translates to an XR15?

Downsides with all T5 is no shimmer and not much control.
24 x48 you will want a 8 bulb fixture .
 
BRS

Spare time

7500 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
8,998
Reaction score
6,863
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Here
I was originally going to go with two kessils and the aquatic life T5 hybrid, but I couldn't take the shimmer of the kessil. I was worried the T5s wouldn't mute it enough.


I was worried that the T5s will be dull.

Here are the current setups I'm debating:

1. Full T5 (6 or 8 bulb)
2. Aquatic Life w/ 2 XR15 G6s
3. ATI 6 bulb with LED supplements (either one blue plus and one daylight Orphek OR3s or Reef Bride XHO)


Check this out to see a video example
They also show the kessil by itself in one video



Also check this too
 

RCS82

Well-Known Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
May 9, 2018
Messages
642
Reaction score
733
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Sherwood Park, AB, Canada
My 2 cents and not an expert but have used Kessils, Radions, t5s, reefbrites and halides. I like all of them in certain applications. Metal halide I'm using now with Reefbrites for some color pop. I really like kessils and I like the shimmer. I think you can control the shimmer somewhat by how much surface agitation you have and adding the t5s with them is a great combo. If Kessils are a no go then go Radions or something else. Or a 6 bulb with a Reefbrite is awesome too.
I don't know enough about the ATI Straton but that light has really caught my attention.
 
OP
R

ReefinIt

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 26, 2022
Messages
63
Reaction score
34
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
San Diego
My 2 cents and not an expert but have used Kessils, Radions, t5s, reefbrites and halides. I like all of them in certain applications. Metal halide I'm using now with Reefbrites for some color pop. I really like kessils and I like the shimmer. I think you can control the shimmer somewhat by how much surface agitation you have and adding the t5s with them is a great combo. If Kessils are a no go then go Radions or something else. Or a 6 bulb with a Reefbrite is awesome too.
I don't know enough about the ATI Straton but that light has really caught my attention.
Thanks. The kessil skimmer was too much for me, so I was dead set on 2 XR15s with the aquatic life. I see the reviews and par measurements, now I think I wouldn't be happy with them. Now I'm thinking it's not going to be enough for a 120 gallon. Now I'm thinking a 6 or 8 bulb T5 with the reefbrites. Do the reefbrites add a good about of shimmer and pop?
 
World Wide Corals

A. grandis

2500 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
4,049
Reaction score
2,579
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
I'm gearing up to get new lighting for my 120 gallon (48x24x24) mixed reef that finished cycling.

I was originally going to do a 48" Aquatic Life T5 Hybrid with two XR15 G6s, but after seeing all the reviews on the G6s, I'm starting to think I should go all T5 to save some money and potentially have more power.

So what do you think? I don't want to want to be disappointed with the LEDs.

Is there more power with a 6 or 8 bulb t5 than 4 T5s and two XR15s? Is there a number of T5 bulbs that translates to an XR15?

Downsides with all T5 is no shimmer and not much control.
No need control and no need shimmer, if you don't mind.
Get the non-dimmable 8 bulb Sunpower all T5s!
Your whole system will look amazing and you will never worry about lighting at all. Change bulbs every 12 months, 2 bulbs per week when time comes!
Call it one of the best days of your life!
 

RCS82

Well-Known Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
May 9, 2018
Messages
642
Reaction score
733
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Sherwood Park, AB, Canada
Thanks. The kessil skimmer was too much for me, so I was dead set on 2 XR15s with the aquatic life. I see the reviews and par measurements, now I think I wouldn't be happy with them. Now I'm thinking it's not going to be enough for a 120 gallon. Now I'm thinking a 6 or 8 bulb T5 with the reefbrites. Do the reefbrites add a good about of shimmer and pop?
Reefbrites are great, Orphek bars too. If you want great coverage like t5s and color pop from Leds over a 120 gallon. I would absolutely go straight to the 36" Reefbrite metal halide unit with the XHOs attached front and back. Awesome coverage, spectrum, natural shimmer plus color pop.
 

Does it matter to you whether your fish are captive-bred or wild caught?

  • I only buy captive bred fish.

    Votes: 72 14.1%
  • It matters, but I will buy either captive-bred or wild-caught.

    Votes: 371 72.6%
  • I think wild-caught fish are the better option.

    Votes: 13 2.5%
  • I don’t care where the fish were bred.

    Votes: 55 10.8%
Top