Looking for opinions - thinking of switching from LED to T5

Brandon McHenry

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Hi all! So I’m looking into changing the lights on my SPS dominant mixed reef tank and I had a few questions. This is not meant to be a lighting debate. I’ve used both T5’s (for a very successful 150g SPS tank a few years back) as well as LEDs. I currently have an IM 40 Nuvo (24x15x18 I think) with a Radion XR15 G4Pro with diffuser (100% intensity on roughly 14k for 10 hours full strength) and a Giesemann two bulb T5 retrofit with Blue+ and Aquablue special. I am debating whether or not I would like to switch to a 24w 6 bulb fixture (probably ATI Sunpower if I’m going to go for it) and had a few questions.

1) Can I get a proxy for the performance of a 6 bulb T5 fixture by combining my 2 bulb Giesemann retrofit with a 4 bulb WavePoint retrofit that i already?

2) Am I likely to see any change (good or bad) in coral growth/health from experimenting with this retrofit option?

3) How long should I try this experiment before making my decision on keeping my current lighting or switching to full T5?

Any opinions from long time T5 users or from those who have made a similar switch (LED to T5) would be greatly appreciated!
 
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Brandon McHenry

Brandon McHenry

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Bump. Either way, knowing your Par is highly beneficial.
I know. I’ve been bouncing back and forth on the BRS rental. I don’t know anyone in my area that has one nor any stores so the rental would be my only option.
 

blstravler

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I would think you would want to try the T5’s for a good 6 weeks. I use a 6 bulb ATI Sunpower fixture after moving away from LED’s. The T5’s put off a lot of light. I was a little surprised how high a had to hang the fixture I figured it would need to be right on top of the tank but I had to raise it up to 8 inches off the water and that gives me about 350 par at the top of my rock and 225 on the sand. You might want to measure your current PAR to ensure you know where you are at so you can properly adjust your T5 bulb height to the same PAR.

Here is a similar thread

 
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Brandon McHenry

Brandon McHenry

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I would think you would want to try the T5’s for a good 6 weeks. I use a 6 bulb ATI Sunpower fixture after moving away from LED’s. The T5’s put off a lot of light. I was a little surprised how high a had to hang the fixture I figured it would need to be right on top of the tank but I had to raise it up to 8 inches off the water and that gives me about 350 par at the top of my rock and 225 on the sand. You might want to measure your current PAR to ensure you know where you are at so you can properly adjust your T5 bulb height to the same PAR.

Here is a similar thread

Thanks for the info and for sharing the thread! Do you mean I should try the Giesemann 2 bulb and the WavePoint 4 bulb for 6 weeks before making a decision?
 
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Brandon McHenry

Brandon McHenry

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Yeah I would run all six bulbs for six weeks.
So they will be hung about 10 inches off the water level in my canopy. Would you think that this new lighting would at least equate to my xr15 plus two bulbs? I would hate to take a step backwards if I’m not providing enough light without a good fixture.
 

blstravler

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This is really why you need a PAR meter. Without one you are only guessing and you could take a step backwards. I’m going to guess you added the T5’s to your LED’s and liked the results and now your looking at all T5’s? I did the exact same thing.
 

Tennyson

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Like others mention knowing your PAR is useful, or at least knowing the light intensity at different levels in the tank. The intensity and spread is very different between LEDs and T5s. With LEDs I am always prone to error and burning out my coral from hot spots directly under the light (shadows cast off to the side). T5 is more a gentle blanket of light.

I started with only LEDs but found it necessary to get T5's to supplement the shadows. LEDs give you a lot of power for your buck, but in the wild coral are exposed to light from both sides as the sun rises and sets. T5s will give you that filling effect that IMO grows healthier more distributed coral. Perhaps someday I'll make the switch completely :)
 

Da8

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I don't think you regret.
In the thread they've posted I asked for mostly the same and we've reached to the conclusion it is not going to be for worst.

The spread that the t5 give is very good and you'll get lots of par on the upper part of the tank.
Why don't you consider adding any led light bar, kessil, or something to support blues with led?

At least you have to wait two months to see any significant change, but sure in weeks you'll be happy with the change.
Good luck!
 
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Brandon McHenry

Brandon McHenry

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This is really why you need a PAR meter. Without one you are only guessing and you could take a step backwards. I’m going to guess you added the T5’s to your LED’s and liked the results and now your looking at all T5’s? I did the exact same thing.
I agree. I will look more into the BRS rental because it would be a very beneficial thing to know. And yes I added the two T5s to reduce shadowing and because I remember from my old tank the results they were able to produce with large acropora colonies. Now I’m trying to figure out if making a switch would give me that level of success again.


Like others mention knowing your PAR is useful, or at least knowing the light intensity at different levels in the tank. The intensity and spread is very different between LEDs and T5s. With LEDs I am always prone to error and burning out my coral from hot spots directly under the light (shadows cast off to the side). T5 is more a gentle blanket of light.

I started with only LEDs but found it necessary to get T5's to supplement the shadows. LEDs give you a lot of power for your buck, but in the wild coral are exposed to light from both sides as the sun rises and sets. T5s will give you that filling effect that IMO grows healthier more distributed coral. Perhaps someday I'll make the switch completely :)
Exactly my thoughts. I have luckily not had issues in this tank with burning the SPS with the LEDs but the shadowing is definitely an issue even with frags (not to mention anything larger). That blanket of light I know would eliminate that which is why I am trying this retrofit experiment before making the jump completely.


I don't think you regret.
In the thread they've posted I asked for mostly the same and we've reached to the conclusion it is not going to be for worst.

The spread that the t5 give is very good and you'll get lots of par on the upper part of the tank.
Why don't you consider adding any led light bar, kessil, or something to support blues with led?

At least you have to wait two months to see any significant change, but sure in weeks you'll be happy with the change.
Good luck!
Yeah that is the vibe I was getting while skimming through it. What did you eventually decide on?

My canopy is pretty small so I’ve been limited with any hybrid options. I pretty much have to go all T5 or stick with what I have just because of space. Have you started noticing positive changes yet?
 

flockaveli

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I've been a T5 user since day one. If you're thinking about making a switch I'd go all in and get the ATI, seriously can't go wrong with these fixtures.

I used the 6x24w ATI over similar sized tank and had more then enough light. If you can fit that fixture in your canopy I'd go with it. Definitely don't think you will regret the switch.
 

jda

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Noboby needed PAR meters until LEDs with ramping and "control" came along. 6 bulb at 8-10 inches is fine... you can just do it... over lighting with T5 or MH does not do the damage that the same PAR does with MH. Wire them up and go for it... and remember that you have not likely ever heard a story about burnt corals or bad experiences with too much light from a 6 bulb T5 setup.
 
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Brandon McHenry

Brandon McHenry

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I've been a T5 user since day one. If you're thinking about making a switch I'd go all in and get the ATI, seriously can't go wrong with these fixtures.

I used the 6x24w ATI over similar sized tank and had more then enough light. If you can fit that fixture in your canopy I'd go with it. Definitely don't think you will regret the switch.
I have a feeling that this will be the consensus. I guess I just want to be as sure as I can before shelling out money on a new fixture (hence my experimenting lol). Do you have any pictures of the 6x24w ATI tank/setup?
 
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Brandon McHenry

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Noboby needed PAR meters until LEDs with ramping and "control" came along. 6 bulb at 8-10 inches is fine... you can just do it... over lighting with T5 or MH does not do the damage that the same PAR does with MH. Wire them up and go for it... and remember that you have not likely ever heard a story about burnt corals or bad experiences with too much light from a 6 bulb T5 setup.
I agree, I ran 8 bulbs over my 150 without ever checking PAR and grew colonies to about 16-18 inches across. I think I will try my experiment to see how the corals react and if I like what I see I will make the jump back. Do agree with the 6 week time frame to watch for coral reaction? And do you think I’ll get at least a close representation of what a true ATI fixture will do just with my retrofits?
 

jda

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To know the difference in ATI vs a retro, you might need a PAR meter for that. :( If they have the good ballasts and good reflectors, then you should get pretty close. Retros can keep cool if you have some air movement inside of the hood, so that is usually no issue.

My guess is that you will be pretty close to the same output, but 10% either way is still probably an upgrade over what you have now.

You should begin to see something in six weeks. You might not be done observing changes for quite some time - just totally depends on species.
 
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Brandon McHenry

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Very nice. Is it truly 23 inches across the fixture? That would be my limiting factor.

To know the difference in ATI vs a retro, you might need a PAR meter for that. :( If they have the good ballasts and good reflectors, then you should get pretty close. Retros can keep cool if you have some air movement inside of the hood, so that is usually no issue.

My guess is that you will be pretty close to the same output, but 10% either way is still probably an upgrade over what you have now.

You should begin to see something in six weeks. You might not be done observing changes for quite some time - just totally depends on species.
I figured it would at least be an approximation with the ATI being the best option. For reference these are the two that I have:



And I figured it would be a while before I noticed any true changes in the coral.
 

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