General T5 lighting questions

Weasel1960

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I am planning the lighting for my build, a 180gal, 72”x24”x24”, tank and want to put T5 lights in combo with LED. The tank will also be split for 2 different environments 48” for one side 24” for the other But the lighting will support both sides. So I have some T5 questions to ask...

What are the advantages or disadvantages to Dimmable T5?

If I am using controllable LED do I need Dimmable T5 or would those just be switched on/off during ramping up/down?

A 61” T5 fixture would be optimal for a 72“ tank but I can’t find a 61” fixture that is Dimmable, they seem to max out at 48” and that IMO would be to short. Buying 24” and 48” fixtures wouldn’t look right. Do they not make Dimmable ballasts and bulbs for longer fixtures?

BTW-I have no idea why the spell check in the forum keeps capitalizing Dimmable.
 

kenchilada

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I believe there is no dimmable ballast available for US voltage over 48” but don’t quote me on that.

I got a 8x80w 60” Sunpower and put it on a lift so I can control intensity by raising or lowering it. Also really nice to raise out out of my way when I need to get in the tank.

It’s a LOT of light.
 
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Weasel1960

Weasel1960

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I believe there is no dimmable ballast available for US voltage over 48” but don’t quote me on that.

I got a 8x80w 60” Sunpower and put it on a lift so I can control intensity by raising or lowering it. Also really nice to raise out out of my way when I need to get in the tank.

It’s a LOT of light.
Thanks for the reply but that’s a lot more light than I will need to start out with. As a side note and not to hijack my own thread...what kind of lift?
 
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kenchilada

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Thanks for the reply but that’s a lot more light than I will need to start out with. As a side note and not to hijack my own thread...what kind of lift?
Tubular motor!


 
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Weasel1960

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Midrats

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The fans on the dimmable are MUCH more quiet as they are temperature controlled. I can't hear them at all. On my old regular Sunpower you can definitely hear them. I appreciate the single cord of the dimmable. The built in controller is nice with a simple interface. I ramp all the bulbs together for a nice dawn and dusk.
 
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nereefpat

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What are the advantages or disadvantages to Dimmable T5?
One advantage would be if you want some kind of sunrise/sunset with the T5 only. Another is that you can adjust PAR to your tank.

A couple disadvantages would be:
Expense
Doesn't come in 5'
You have to break in the bulbs for a certain amount of time before you can dim them.

If I am using controllable LED do I need Dimmable T5 or would those just be switched on/off during ramping up/down?
I would do it that way, switching the T5 on/off and ramping with LED.
 
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uhgster1

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My tank is 1/2 the size of yours (36 inches), but I use t5 and led to zone what I have. You would be fine with a simple on off timer for the t5. I make my effects with the leds, my T5s come on after the leds and cutoff before the leds. I run them during the peak hours 12-4 pm daily. As you can see from the picture, the SPS side has heavy led over it. Hope that gives you ideas.
BEE7B8C9-04A5-40B8-9477-CCDC390BBDBB.jpeg
 
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Weasel1960

Weasel1960

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One advantage would be if you want some kind of sunrise/sunset with the T5 only. Another is that you can adjust PAR to your tank.

A couple disadvantages would be:
Expense
Doesn't come in 5'
You have to break in the bulbs for a certain amount of time before you can dim them.


I would do it that way, switching the T5 on/off and ramping with LED.
Thank you for the info, that’s the picture I was starting to see. Unfortunately that means for best spread with 5’ I need to jump right in with at least 1 LED and plus up as the wallet allows.
 
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Weasel1960

Weasel1960

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My tank is 1/2 the size of yours (36 inches), but I use t5 and led to zone what I have. You would be fine with a simple on off timer for the t5. I make my effects with the leds, my T5s come on after the leds and cutoff before the leds. I run them during the peak hours 12-4 pm daily. As you can see from the picture, the SPS side has heavy led over it. Hope that gives you ideas.
BEE7B8C9-04A5-40B8-9477-CCDC390BBDBB.jpeg
Thanks. Am I seeing 3 LEDs? What are you using and how do you like them?
 
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A. grandis

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I am planning the lighting for my build, a 180gal, 72”x24”x24”, tank and want to put T5 lights in combo with LED. The tank will also be split for 2 different environments 48” for one side 24” for the other But the lighting will support both sides. So I have some T5 questions to ask...

What are the advantages or disadvantages to Dimmable T5?

If I am using controllable LED do I need Dimmable T5 or would those just be switched on/off during ramping up/down?

A 61” T5 fixture would be optimal for a 72“ tank but I can’t find a 61” fixture that is Dimmable, they seem to max out at 48” and that IMO would be to short. Buying 24” and 48” fixtures wouldn’t look right. Do they not make Dimmable ballasts and bulbs for longer fixtures?

BTW-I have no idea why the spell check in the forum keeps capitalizing Dimmable.
No need LEDs, no need dimmable.
You can get 2 X 36" 8 bulb (20.4" wide) ATI non-dimmable fixture and that is all you need to grow any coral you want in that system.
 
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Weasel1960

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No need LEDs, no need dimmable.
You can get 2 X 36" 8 bulb (20.4" wide) ATI non-dimmable fixture and that is all you need to grow any coral you want in that system.
Thank you, I realize those features are not needed but they do provide some diversity to the system for day/night, shimmer, coral pop, etc. Those are some things I am considering as I select my lighting.
 
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A. grandis

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Thank you, I realize those features are not needed but they do provide some diversity to the system for day/night, shimmer, coral pop, etc. Those are some things I am considering as I select my lighting.
Oh, ok, in that case just get 2 X 36" dimmable ATI and find the LED you like the most in terms of shimmer (perhaps the Kessils would be the best for that purpose?).
Have you considered metal halides as primary and T5s for supplementation? Halides will give you the best shimmer effect ever! That is the very best you can have for what you want IMO. Best of all!
 
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Weasel1960

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Oh, ok, in that case just get 2 X 36" dimmable ATI and find the LED you like the most in terms of shimmer (Perhaps the Kessils would be the best for that purpose?). h\
Have you considered metal halides and T5s for supplementation? That is the very best you can have for what you want IMO. Best of all!
I had not considered MH only because I know they run hot and I will have an enclosed canopy.
 
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A. grandis

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I had not considered MH only because I know they run hot and I will have an enclosed canopy.
You can have wood only around the sides and front of tank, leaving the top and back open just to retain the "light spill". Any fixture over your tank will keep the area between the fixtures and water surface warm. The best is to keep it open as much as you can. Let the tank breath.. If you need the top closed for some extreme reason you can leave the back open and use fans. Halides are the best option for your system, specially if you like shimmer.
Just get a chiller for the system.
 
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uhgster1

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Thanks. Am I seeing 3 LEDs? What are you using and how do you like them?
Three AI Primes, you can see the results. Those are acros underneath the two leds. They have been nothing but outstanding for me. One of them is over six years old. You can zone your six foot tank the same way, my flow is aimed to where it forms a confluence right where the acro are and I get gentle flow towards the LPS. The width of the tank allowed for two banks of T5s with the AIs perfectly placed between them. It looks like two different systems up close.
0F26C5F8-EAB8-466D-8B64-16407DB63604.jpeg
F584D1ED-31B3-482E-B9F1-155D727D5134.jpeg

Is this what you were thinking about doing?
 
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Weasel1960

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Three AI Primes, you can see the results. Those are acros underneath the two leds. They have been nothing but outstanding for me. One of them is over six years old. You can zone your six foot tank the same way, my flow is aimed to where it forms a confluence right where the acro are and I get gentle flow towards the LPS. The width of the tank allowed for two banks of T5s with the AIs perfectly placed between them. It looks like two different systems up close.
0F26C5F8-EAB8-466D-8B64-16407DB63604.jpeg
F584D1ED-31B3-482E-B9F1-155D727D5134.jpeg

Is this what you were thinking about doing?
Yes probably similar. So over last few days I have been looking at the AI Prime, Kessil 360x, and Red Sea LED90. Obviously different price points. I like the Kessil has a fixed setting that cant be messed with and from videos does not have a disco ball effect where the color bands separate. What are your experiences with you prime does it also have stable settings, no disco ball? Appreciating the help by the way.
 
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uhgster1

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Yes probably similar. So over last few days I have been looking at the AI Prime, Kessil 360x, and Red Sea LED90. Obviously different price points. I like the Kessil has a fixed setting that cant be messed with and from videos does not have a disco ball effect where the color bands separate. What are your experiences with you prime does it also have stable settings, no disco ball? Appreciating the help by the way.
Honestly the disco ball effect everyone talks about is just people comparing nuances. Radion lights (pre-gen 5) have it which is why they started selling diffusers. The only thing that makes the disco ball effect noticeable is when you run the red lights, which 99% of user rarely use. If you’re going to supplement with t5 you have the red AND disco effect covered. Between Kessil and AI you’re paying for the brand name. I was surprised by how little par they actually put out on their own. Barely more than the prime 16. I don’t have to doctor my pictures to post, as a matter in fact they look even better in person. If you ask around AI belongs to ecotech and use the same hardware. Found that out through my lfs. Either way you go you won’t go wrong, most of the leds today will grow coral and the more experience you gain will help you tweak out even more from them. IF I was to get a different led I would first try to find some good used gen4 radions but would settle for gen5s. You could buy 6 AI Primes and have better coverage than with what you would get with two Kessils. Heck, 4 AIs and zone one end with two lights and the other two spread out would work awesomely with a hybrid setup over your tank.
 
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Weasel1960

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Honestly the disco ball effect everyone talks about is just people comparing nuances. Radion lights (pre-gen 5) have it which is why they started selling diffusers. The only thing that makes the disco ball effect noticeable is when you run the red lights, which 99% of user rarely use. If you’re going to supplement with t5 you have the red AND disco effect covered. Between Kessil and AI you’re paying for the brand name. I was surprised by how little par they actually put out on their own. Barely more than the prime 16. I don’t have to doctor my pictures to post, as a matter in fact they look even better in person. If you ask around AI belongs to ecotech and use the same hardware. Found that out through my lfs. Either way you go you won’t go wrong, most of the leds today will grow coral and the more experience you gain will help you tweak out even more from them. IF I was to get a different led I would first try to find some good used gen4 radions but would settle for gen5s. You could buy 6 AI Primes and have better coverage than with what you would get with two Kessils. Heck, 4 AIs and zone one end with two lights and the other two spread out would work awesomely with a hybrid setup over your tank.
Thanks for all the shared info, it is much appreciated. This last bit has pretty much brought LED full circle because Prime was one of the first lights I started looking at.
 
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