Lighting for a 125gal t5s vs viperspectras?

Mr.Weathers

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Working on lighting since we are about to get our first corals. Right now we have 2 old school black box lights that only give us 330 watts on this 6ft tank. I know there is more than just wattage but I’m pretty sure the par sucks also so looking at complete replacements or maybe adding more with these. The t5s I’m seeing are super low wattage how does that work? Do I need the viperspectras plus t5s? I’m trying to stay around 500$ lighting this tank is that even possible? I know you can get crazy with better name brands and I’m sure they are better lights but would using viperspectras and t5s grow sps and other harder to grow corals? Would 2 viperspectra be ok? A 300 watt on each side of the 125gal then maybe add a few t5 later if needed?
 

MJ in Boise

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I run cheap t5 fixtures over my 125 and get great par. $150 for a 4ft 8 bulb fixture, $150 for a 2ft 8 bulb. Only running 6 bulbs in each. $20per bulb X 12=$240. $540 total. Getting about 300 par at the top of the rock work, and 120-150 on the sand.
 

codycolina707

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Working on lighting since we are about to get our first corals. Right now we have 2 old school black box lights that only give us 330 watts on this 6ft tank. I know there is more than just wattage but I’m pretty sure the par sucks also so looking at complete replacements or maybe adding more with these. The t5s I’m seeing are super low wattage how does that work? Do I need the viperspectras plus t5s? I’m trying to stay around 500$ lighting this tank is that even possible? I know you can get crazy with better name brands and I’m sure they are better lights but would using viperspectras and t5s grow sps and other harder to grow corals? Would 2 viperspectra be ok? A 300 watt on each side of the 125gal then maybe add a few t5 later if needed?
i had 3 mars aqua above my 60x24x24 and just replaced them with a reefbreeders photon 50 spread is way better than the black boxes also being able to control it and overall 1 unit looks way better than 3 above a tank without a canopy i'd probably go t5s if it was a cheap black boxes vs t5
 
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Mr.Weathers

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i had 3 mars aqua above my 60x24x24 and just replaced them with a reefbreeders photon 50 spread is way better than the black boxes also being able to control it and overall 1 unit looks way better than 3 above a tank without a canopy i'd probably go t5s if it was a cheap black boxes vs t5
Viperspectra isn’t necessarily cheap. It’s one of the best black boxes available. Just not sure how good it is compared to running 6 of the little max spec or whatever lights.
 

nereefpat

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The t5s I’m seeing are super low wattage how does that work? Do I need the viperspectras plus t5s? I’m trying to stay around 500$ lighting this tank is that even possible? I know you can get crazy with better name brands and I’m sure they are better lights but would using viperspectras and t5s grow sps and other harder to grow corals? Would 2 viperspectra be ok? A 300 watt on each side of the 125gal then maybe add a few t5 later if needed?
T5 wattage: You want T5 High Output. 4' bulbs are 54 watts a piece. 5' bulbs are the longest you can get, and are 80 watts each. They are plenty powerful to grow anything your heart will ever desire.

Do you need LED + T5?: No. Many reefers only run T5s. Some folks run LED only.

500$: Going to be tough to get a good T5 setup for only 500 bucks, although there are used setups out there. If going with T5 only, I would get a 5' fixture with 6 bulbs. But, new, this will be closer to the 6-700 dollar range.

T5 and viperspectras growing harder corals: Yes, if set up properly, can grow anything you want.

How many black boxes?: Two 300 watt fixtures is an option. You might actually get better coverage if you get three 165 watt fixtures and space them. I'm assuming a 6' tank for all of this. Three of the black boxes should cost you somewhere in the 3-400 dollar range. And, like you said, you could retrofit a pair of T5 bulbs later on to deal with shadows/disco effect.

Hope that helps
 

jda

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Try and find a used 60 inch ATI unit. Otherwise, then 3x of the better black boxes might be all that can fit into your budget.

You can also try and find a used MH pendant. They came in 6' sections and some people sell them really cheap. I just got a best-of-breed type AquaMedic with real HQI lights and 2x T5s for $30 earlier this week - this is only a 4' light, but the point is that there is cheap stuff out there.

BTW - those fixtures are not likely 300 watts. The model number is 300w. They made them this way in China to fool people.
 

Victor_C3

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I’m a big fan of T5 lighting. I’m not sure of any 6-8 bulb T5 fixture out there that’s under $600 for a 3’ length, let alone anything longer.

To be honest, you probably would be just fine centering a 4’ long fixture over a 5’ tank. I’m sure you’d get enough spread off of the ends to grow stuff out the the edges f your glass - if you even want to grow stuff out that close to the glass.

I have a 8 bulb T5 fixture over a 28” tall tank and I don’t doubt that I can grow SPS all the way to the sand if I wanted to. For a 5’ 125 gallon tank, a 6 bulb fixture would be more than sufficient.

T5 lighting isn’t that much less efficient than LED. As for a strength over LED, you get much better coverage and less shadowing with less effort.
 
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Mr.Weathers

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T5 wattage: You want T5 High Output. 4' bulbs are 54 watts a piece. 5' bulbs are the longest you can get, and are 80 watts each. They are plenty powerful to grow anything your heart will ever desire.

Do you need LED + T5?: No. Many reefers only run T5s. Some folks run LED only.

500$: Going to be tough to get a good T5 setup for only 500 bucks, although there are used setups out there. If going with T5 only, I would get a 5' fixture with 6 bulbs. But, new, this will be closer to the 6-700 dollar range.

T5 and viperspectras growing harder corals: Yes, if set up properly, can grow anything you want.

How many black boxes?: Two 300 watt fixtures is an option. You might actually get better coverage if you get three 165 watt fixtures and space them. I'm assuming a 6' tank for all of this. Three of the black boxes should cost you somewhere in the 3-400 dollar range. And, like you said, you could retrofit a pair of T5 bulbs later on to deal with shadows/disco effect.

Hope that helps
I have 2 cheap older lifetimetunnel black boxes. 600-700$ is ok just not trying to spend 3-5k on kessel lol. I appreciate your help! Would you be able to get me a link for a good t5 setup? I’ve looked Nd most I see are made to run with LED
 

BrandonS

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main advantage I see with LED over T5 is bulb replacement costs and energy consumption cost in most cases.

If you use a black box you'll want to mount them high as most LED's only have a 90 or at most 120 degree lens. Kessil and the new radion g5 have wider lens angles than 120 I believe.
 

Caseyoidae

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I used to love my t5’s but the bulb replacement and heat get old. I run black boxes over both my tanks. One has the 300w vipar spectra. One has an older 165w and Sps do fine. I think the 300w was $180 shipped and has a built in timer. All you really need. Two of those hung a foot or so over the tank would grow anything. That’s my plan for my next tank:)
 
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Mr.Weathers

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main advantage I see with LED over T5 is bulb replacement costs and energy consumption cost in most cases.

If you use a black box you'll want to mount them high as most LED's only have a 90 or at most 120 degree lens. Kessil and the new radion g5 have wider lens angles than 120 I believe.
We aren’t rich by no means but we’re gonna get what we need the first try you know? We’re just trying to be reasonable with what we spend.
 

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Bon Koo

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Working on lighting since we are about to get our first corals. Right now we have 2 old school black box lights that only give us 330 watts on this 6ft tank. I know there is more than just wattage but I’m pretty sure the par sucks also so looking at complete replacements or maybe adding more with these. The t5s I’m seeing are super low wattage how does that work? Do I need the viperspectras plus t5s? I’m trying to stay around 500$ lighting this tank is that even possible? I know you can get crazy with better name brands and I’m sure they are better lights but would using viperspectras and t5s grow sps and other harder to grow corals? Would 2 viperspectra be ok? A 300 watt on each side of the 125gal then maybe add a few t5 later if needed?
Viparspectra is powerful light. I think 3 would be sufficient to cover 6ft tank. If you are into sps. Adding t5 48inches 54 watts front and back gives you higher par.
 
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Mr.Weathers

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Viparspectra is powerful light. I think 3 would be sufficient to cover 6ft tank. If you are into sps. Adding t5 48inches 54 watts front and back gives you higher par.
You really think I’d need 3?? The 300 watt ones. I was thinking I’d only need 2 being higher wattage
 
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Mr.Weathers

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Sure. This is a great one. Although it is expensive. https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/60-ati-sunpower-high-output-t5-light-fixture.html

The 5 foot 6 bulb fixture would be plenty of light for a 6 foot long 1.5 foot wide 125.

There may be cheaper options, like growing indoor plants stuff, not sure. Or shop around for used. Or do three black boxes with retrofit t5.
Super nervous about buying used but I guess my budget being around only 500$ I may have no choice.
 

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You really think I’d need 3?? The 300 watt ones. I was thinking I’d only need 2 being higher wattage
I think he meant 3 of the 165 watt. so you would only need to buy 1 more.., And I think the Vipars are linkable.. The one I have also has the remote.
 
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Mr.Weathers

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I think he meant 3 of the 165 watt. so you would only need to buy 1 more.., And I think the Vipars are linkable.. The one I have also has the remote.
I see. Well these that I have now I have very little faith in but they could surprise me lol. I think I’ll try to sell these to someone with a smaller tank and grab 2 300watt vipers and down the road if needed add hal or t5
 

nereefpat

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Super nervous about buying used but I guess my budget being around only 500$ I may have no choice.
The nice part about T5, vs LED, is that you can repair fixtures yourself cheaply and easily if something goes wrong with it. The pieces that can go bad are bulbs and ballasts, and they are easy to change out.
 

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