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Is t5 out?


Toxiq Reef

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This is purely anecdotal: At MACNA 2012 you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a booth selling some kind of LED fixture. I didn't see a single T5 or Metal Halide manufacturer there. There was a booth who sold replacement MH bulbs.... and buggy whips.

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I run mine in combo with metal halides so for me so it is still viable. Still waiting to see an LED lit SPS dominant tank that'll persuade me to switch to LEDs. Not saying sarcastically... I really do want to see one so I can be convinced that my SPS would look just as good under LED and not too artificially colored. Purely my opinion so don't haze me LED peeps! Haha.

-Ty

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This is purely anecdotal: At MACNA 2012 you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a booth selling some kind of LED fixture. I didn't see a single T5 or Metal Halide manufacturer there. There was a booth who sold replacement MH bulbs.... and buggy whips.

Lol!! Your right.

We are using a T-5 fixture that is about a year old. Looks awsome and I love the colors. I was not happy with our expensive LED's. I still see a lot of people using older forms of lighting. Sometimes bulbs may have to be ordered online but I already do because I can never find all of my colors locally. Heck, I can still find power compact bulbs.

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t5's are one of the best imo. I have led right now but if something didnt work i would go t5 over mh just because of power consumption, heat/evap. I think t5's would do just as good as my led light they just dont last as long (or so they say)

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If you are setting up from scratch I would recommend going LED. A properly setup led system will not display artificial looking coral's, the bigger challenge is realistically photograping tanks that run led's. Here are three tanks using led's, two that show the progression from MH setup's to led's and the last showing a relatively newly setup tank with led's.There is a reason why all major manufactureres are switching their product line to led's...they work. If you cover as many spectrum's as possible in the 400-700nm range, then all coral's will be happy, the source of that light doesn't matter and that is a proven fact. I recommend the reefbreeders controllable fixture, even their 32" controllable fixture is under $500 shipped, it has adequate spectrum and is highly rated if you do research on them.
http://www.dfwmas.org/Forums/viewtopic.php?f=100&t=25991

http://www.dfwmas.org/Forums/viewtopic.php?f=100&t=68625
http://www.dfwmas.org/Forums/viewtopic.php?f=100&t=99413


Cheers,

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I still use t5 on my 20, on my 56 gallon i use a power compact and t12 vho combo and i get the colors i want and corals will grow reguardless of where it comes from like bimmerz said.. i know someone who uses natural sunlight to help his coral growth and very successful at it too

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T5 is still very popular, and will probably remain so for a very long time. People swore that led would be the death knell of MH, but if you do a quick check online at most vendors, there are still plenty of mh fixtures available as well. There are lots of folks who simply are not going to spend the money for leds (me being one of them) when tanks can be lit very nicely with T5/T12/MH. For me it's the outrageous cost, and the continued "improvements" that make your shiny new led fixture obsolete within months of buying it. It's also the fact that I can't stand the way led lit tanks look, every last one I have seen looks artificial, and the led lighting, to my eye, looks ugly. Of course, that might be simply because a lot of folks who run leds want to turn their tanks into a "blue light" special, to enhance fluorescence, which looks totally unnatural.

So, to answer your question, no T5 are not on their way out. They are, and will continue to be, one of the more popular ways to light tanks.

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I think Sherita hit the nail on the head, in regards to the unnatural look of some LED setups as fluorescing the pigments is more of a priority than displaying them in a more naturally lit light. Its like the teenager who uses instagram to add a pop to everything even though the original photograph was beautifully captured in the first place. I am sure there are just as many LED owners who have more naturally lit tanks, especially the ones that have added additional spectrums to their setups.

I think once the LED industry starts figuring out all the additional spectrums to add to a setup (not just blues and whites but UV, reds, greens, etc..) then I will gladly adopt as in the long run, LED setups are much cheaper than their MH/T5 brethen when you calculate costs on an averaged annual basis.

Bimmerz may be hinting at that there are LED systems that are already there with full spectrums now, which is great news. For myself, I will wait for when I can see a mega-SPS tank system running LEDs sucessfully for a couple of years and that the LED manufacturers start agreeing on a standard for the industry before I switch over. Purely just my personal approach obviously but I see too many stories still of early adopters of LED systems selling their old units costing originally $400+ for a newer one with more spectrums (within a year of the first purchase) or adding additional spectrums to their current system and spending hundreds more to do that. I just don't have them money right now to be the LED industry's experiment on lighting.

Plus, with the adoption rate of LEDs, cheap T5 and MH systems are being sold left and right... so good time to snatch one up IMO.

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I was toying with going LED on my heavy SPS reef recently but my thoughts mirror JeeperTy's exactly. I've since ordered new bulbs (MH) and will give it another year to see what happens.

At this point I'm still not willing to be an early adopter of the technology (it is still early) given the fact that my tank is thriving under MH.

-brett

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I have no question that LED's are effective and can grow anything that MH or T5 can. I like the often surreal look of royal blue LED's. But with running about a 4 - 5 hour photo period of MH, my consumable cost is about $15 a year for replacement 250W bulbs. I guarantee you cannot come anywhere close to the same output as 500W of MH and get the cost in the ballpark averaged over a 10 or 20 year period. My total replacement bulb cost for 10 years is about $150 for plusrites. I could buy 1 or 2 replacement ballasts and still be under the cost of a pair of nice LED fixtures. If you don't have a fixture and your specific usage works with a LED setup, then they might be worth it. But I wouldn't upgrade just for the sake of it. I would be extremely hesitant on large tanks just due to the initial cost.

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Well, my tank is still young, so I'm sure my opinion on this will not be as strong as others, but... I have two 36" LED fixture and one 36" PC fixture. The ONLY reason I still have the PC fixture is my tank is such an odd shape I want more light toward the back of the tank (back corner of a 1/4 circle), I plan to replace it with a shorter LED in the near future. The LEDs I have are from Build My LED, they have an awesome assortment of spectrum that you can build. I have a number of SPS, LPS and softies in the tank already, and I'm already seeing some great growth with the SPS. For example I picked up small sour apple frag from rchavez about two months ago, and it is at least double the size now. The first one I purchased was their custom reef, the second was a custom build, that had a good bit of blue and UV, I added some red to hit that spectrum well. You can see a video they made of the light I configured, but it really does not due it justice at all. This is JUST the custom light, when it is with the other fixture the blue is not as apparent. My overall goals with these two light where, maximum spectrum for coral growth/health, and my viewing pleasure, in the order. I am actually not a big fan of super blue lights, but like I said, I wanted to hit a broad range of spectrum, from UV to Far Red (as they call it) for the benefit of the coral.

The video link is here - my configuration is titled: Build My LED - Customer-Configured Actinic Reef Spectrum (currently at the top of the page)

http://www.buildmyled.com/videos/

Disclaimer, I do not get anything out of pushing these lights, they are just good lights IMHO. Pretty inexpensive, very configurable, great light strength and penetration. And probably about as important as all of that, the customer servers has been unreal.... all that being said, I'd love for Nick or Randy (the owners) to offer me some discount for my kind words. whistle.gif But even if that does not happen, I do really like and suggest these lights.

I know that BIO (maybe others) don't like that fact that the current drivers they use can't be dimmed to off, but so far I don't see that as an issue. I have a timer that just turns the power off.

My 2 cents, the cost of replacement bulbs over a pretty sort period of time will costs more then the LED's and maybe I just have not seen them, but I've never seen any, non-LED, lights that hit all the spectrum of LEDs. So that argument does not seem to hold much water.

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In the same boat as you Jestep (even more evidence with the plusrite group buy for bulbs)... my annual lighting cost is very low with the plusrite bulbs (I added T5's purely for customization of the light coloration... it is not really needed but I wanted it). The ballasts I got all under $40 per ballast (two of them dimmable 400 watters in case I want to go up to 400) so cheap lighting setup overall and cheap maintenance... makes it really hard to want to invest so much initial money into LEDs right now with the standard still in flux.

But I diverge, original posters question is about T5's... I have seen some beautiful SPS dominant tanks purely lit by T5's alone... so I am a big fan of the technology. Ballasts will be cheap to buy as a lot of people are getting rid of their setups for LEDs... the only drawback to me is the cost of replacement bulbs as they generally run $20-$30 a piece plus shipping and typically you run more bulbs in a T5 setup than you would MH (meaning 1 250 watt MH bulb versus 4 T5 bulbs over comparable area). Normally cost-wise it would almost be a wash but with cheap options such as plusrite MH bulbs at $13/piece, your T5's are now more costly in comparison comparatively ($13 replacement MH bulb or 4 T5 bulbs at around $100). Hopefully my experience and others will help your decision, let us know if you have any more questions.

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The initial cost of LED is WAY more than I spend on bulb replacements for all of my tanks, for well more than a five year period. With the number of tanks that I am running, it would require an initial invests in the order of over ten grand to replace my lights with leds. I can buy bulbs and ballasts for the rest of my tank owning days for less than I could convert. Thanks, but no. T5's grow beautiful coral, covering the full spectrum without adding this led, removing that led, oh, wait...those are obsolete and need to be replaced because they are not sufficient now.

T5's will be here forever, of that I have no doubt. MH most likely will be around forever as well. They are tried, true, and proven. I'm not saying that I won't convert at some point, but it will be far far down the line, when LED prices are actually in line with the real world. Until then, a lot of reefers will continue to use their t5's. They are going to be around for a long time yet.

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The initial cost of LED is WAY more than I spend on bulb replacements for all of my tanks, for well more than a five year period. With the number of tanks that I am running, it would require an initial invests in the order of over ten grand to replace my lights with leds. I can buy bulbs and ballasts for the rest of my tank owning days for less than I could convert. Thanks, but no. T5's grow beautiful coral, covering the full spectrum without adding this led, removing that led, oh, wait...those are obsolete and need to be replaced because they are not sufficient now.

T5's will be here forever, of that I have no doubt. MH most likely will be around forever as well. They are tried, true, and proven. I'm not saying that I won't convert at some point, but it will be far far down the line, when LED prices are actually in line with the real world. Until then, a lot of reefers will continue to use their t5's. They are going to be around for a long time yet.

I don't want to hijack this thread, but my perspective was basically from a new build, to replace the two 36" PC fixtures with new bulbs (not even enough light for SPS) would have cost me about $144 (8 bulbs at @ $18 each), and I need to replace those about very 6 months... $288 for the year. One LED cost me about $250 (with tax), and last many years.... based on my current photo period, easily 8+ years. I don't have to go get the next newest light, that is a choice, NOT a requirement. So the comment ".those are obsolete and need to be replaced because they are not sufficient now" seems misleading, unless you are telling me that light spectrums are going to change in the future, and if they do (not gunna happen) your T5, MH will be "out dated" as well.

Sorry for the lost of focus on your thread!

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At this point I'm still not willing to be an early adopter of the technology (it is still early) given the fact that my tank is thriving under MH.

-brett

Very good idea. I learned the hard way about lighting (and Belinda told me a 100 times, if it works, don't fix it). Sherita knows my horror story. However, I'll add my usual disclaimer. I have seen some great looking tanks under LED's.

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I wont use LED again. I have a single 20k halide and love it. Yeah bulb replacement is a pain, but I like this simple light setup and colors are spot on. Not all un-natural like some of the LED blinged out stuff. Dont get me wrong, it looks cool, but completely fake sometimes.

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I run mine in combo with metal halides so for me so it is still viable. Still waiting to see an LED lit SPS dominant tank that'll persuade me to switch to LEDs. Not saying sarcastically... I really do want to see one so I can be convinced that my SPS would look just as good under LED and not too artificially colored. Purely my opinion so don't haze me LED peeps! Haha.

-Ty

*HAZE* *HAZE* *HAZE* ;)

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No T5's certainly are not out but it is just a matter of time. The problems I've seen with LEDs are: Fixtures that need fans for cooling the fans are getting gunked up pretty fast and I don't see fans lasting the 11 + years they need to to get the life expectancy out of the fixture. (One of the reasons I like the buildmyled LED fixture.) I do have some problems getting the chromoprotiens to look as good under LEDs as under MH or T5 so I still ahven't figured out the right spectrum, it will take more than just Cool White, Blue and Royal Blue LEDs.

It also really bugs me that some of the LED manufacturers say thier fixture is "equivalent to" a certain wattage MH, ther are so many variables with MH this statement as far as I'm concerned is bogus. Using identical fixtures I have measured as much as 50% difference in PAR between bulbs of different color temperatures and manufacturers.

But I must voice a less than kind opinion of Plusrite bulbs here. I recently replaced four 20,000K 250 watt HQI with Plusrites on a system that also had 3 Phoenix 14,000K. Not only were the 20,000K yellower than the much older 14,000Ks each one of the Plusrites had a different color. Corals do not need high K bulbs to grow and will certainly do very well under just 5000K bulbs but I am not likely to get Plusrite again.

What does excite me about LEDs is the wider range of colors I can bring out with them. Especially with the fluorescing proteins used by corals with the inclusion of shorter wavelength LEDs in the high UV and violet ranges is catching some colors I've not seen before in some of my corols. Even if I keep my MH, LED fixtures like BuildMyLED.com's Super Actinic with it's inclusion of 400 nm LEDs would be a better choice than actinic T5s I think.

As far as cost of conversion I would say that depends on the fixture design, both LED and T5, PC or MH. I recently helped a friend do a conversion on her biocube. We switched out two 24 watt PCs for one 17 watt (approxametly) LED fixture from BuildMyLED. PAR readings were higher with the LED fixture than with the two PCs. Unfortuinately fans have to be used since it is a very tight closed space but with two fans there was redundancy and it was also easy to install a thermostate to turn off the lights in case of a fan failure. The LED fixture was $120 and figure another $10 to replace the fans at least once for $130. Assuming bulb replacement every 18 months is about $40 and in five years the PC's cost $120 (and the LED fixture should still be good for another 6 years).

With Dave Pettits conversion MH to LED two of the benefits were a more evenly lit tank and significantly less evaporation. With the MH the ends of the tank were darker and there was an area in the middle that while not particularly noticeable was darker. His system is also set up with an ATO, under the MH he was filling his ATO tank a couple of times a week and with the LEDs it's more like every couple of weeks.

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