Lighting options

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Lighting options

Postby Michelle » Tue Dec 29, 2015 6:33 pm

After another T8 failure I'm considering changing my set-up. Both starters have been replaced and I think one of those has gone too this time, the fitting was cracked in the move last year and the reflectors are warped and don't fit properly any more so also need replacing really.

I've never been good at replacing the tubes regularly so something that will keep its intensity over a long time would be good.

I'm on a budget (again!) so getting another T8, and replacement starter, is probably the best option at this point but I'm considering LED (maybe later int he year)? Or perhaps keeping the existing T8 and augmenting it with a smaller LED 'strip' will help with more natural plant colour than just LED?

I want something simple, cheap and reliable.

NB: planted tank, 24" deep (surface to substrate) x 48" long, with crypts, anubias, java fern and bolbitas so not huge light requirements. Though that said I'm not convinced the T8s get light to the bottom of the tank well as smaller crypts don't do well down there. The plants at the window end do much better than those at the other end which are pretty much non existent.
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Re: Lighting options

Postby stormbird » Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:49 pm

I'm not sure what your talking about when you say T8 are you talking about T8 tubes , or some sort of lighting unit ?

As for light reaching the bottom of a 24 inch tank from a tube that is the absolute limit for illumination using tubes , but how much light reaching the bottom will depend on what type of tubes are being used , as tubes with higher kelvin ratings will give more light than your average light tube
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Re: Lighting options

Postby Michelle » Wed Dec 30, 2015 11:18 am

Its a pair of T8 tubes in a lighting unit. One tube has blown, probably due to a faulty starter as if I swap the tubes over the other one then flickers too but the dead one just flickers faintly then dies (the tube's 2 year's old so way past its best anyway as is the other one). The whole thing has just been unreliable since we moved, probably got bashed somewhere along the line.

Getting a whole new unit is going to be costly but one tube definitely needs replacing, preferably both, and the starter as well (again). A replacement unit, like for like, is well over £100. Similar units are similarly priced, though there are cheaper alternatives out there and I know the light from T8 tubes doesn't reach the bottom of that tank well.

Just wondering on people's opinion really? Would LED strips be suitable for that depth? The white ones can be quite harsh I think and not natural looking? What helps the tank look its best for a reasonable price? Are T5 tubes any better/cheaper ...

There's plenty of articles out there, but they seem to swing and roundabout depending on what they're trying to achieve: outdoor LED floodlights - fine, good cheap option, but not really going to fit under the hood and wouldn't fit with our decor ;)
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Re: Lighting options

Postby roger » Wed Dec 30, 2015 12:12 pm

I'd switch to T5 (but then I just fix one of the broken ones in the warehouse so they are really cheap for me), T5 HE tubes give as many lumens per watt as most standard LED units - though the very latest LEDs do give more. Both HE and HO tubes give more lumens per watt than T8. They can also be high frequency so no flicker, and tiny ballast/starters.

Michelle wrote:Getting a whole new unit is going to be costly but one tube definitely needs replacing, preferably both, and the starter as well (again). A replacement unit, like for like, is well over £100. Similar units are similarly priced, though there are cheaper alternatives out there and I know the light from T8 tubes doesn't reach the bottom of that tank well.


Dare I suggest you ask us :angel:
Roger Sleet
Ornoco Aquatics http://www.orinoco-aquatics.co.uk
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Re: Lighting options

Postby Michelle » Sun Jan 03, 2016 12:10 pm

Unfortunately decision made, with all this rain I now have a leaky roof so that'll have to come first, grrr. Looks like it'll be a replacement T8 tube and crossed fingers for a while.

But will be in touch later in the year Roger. Would be good to have a something better suited.
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