LED light or T5

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LED light or T5

Postby jamal6008 » Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:21 pm

Hi all,

I am planning on changing my existing t8 lighting system. Currently I have two t8 tubes mounted inside the hood that came with the aquarium. Unfortunately, water has damaged the t8 socket and corroded the wiring as well so I just want to replace the whole thing. I am going to get rid of the hood.

I have been searching for new lighting systems. I have come across two main ones. On ebay I can buy this T5 Aquarium Fish Tank Overhead Light system which comes with four T5 tubes. Alternatively I have also been looking at LED system.

I have tropical aquarium but it is heavily planted. Can anyone please recommend from their previous experience what would be a better choice for me? In terms of price that four T5 system from ebay costs around £130 here in uk.

Thanks for your help.
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Re: LED light or T5

Postby Rockfish » Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:12 pm

Hi,

Four T5 tubes is a big step up in lighting intensity from two T8 tubes, which may be fine if your tank is heavily planted, but would require CO2 injection and plenty of fertiliser to keep up with plant growth at that intensity, so that's something to consider.

So Four T5 tubes would certainly do a good job of lighting the tank, but bear in mind that with most 4-tube units it's likely to operate from one plug, so if you use a timer, they will come on at the same time unless you switch them manually, which is possible on some units.

LEDs are proving attractive for several reasons, especially lower energy use and longer life than tubes - though it pays to buy reputable brands as some fall way short of the claimed lifespan, with some units having issues with tranformers.

More expensive LED units also come with features like automatic dawn/dusk, programmable light cycles and adjustable colour spectrum.

So it is very much a case of what you want from the light. Personally I use both. I do like the pleasant bright shimmer you get with LEDs and the units are compact and look good. On the other hand, with the right choice of tubes, T5s work well and give really good even light. Bear in mind that unless you want much more intense light a twin T5 unit might be sufficient.
Sean


Remember there's lots of info at The Tropical Tank main site!
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Re: LED light or T5

Postby jamal6008 » Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:19 pm

Rockfish wrote:Hi,

Four T5 tubes is a big step up in lighting intensity from two T8 tubes, which may be fine if your tank is heavily planted, but would require CO2 injection and plenty of fertiliser to keep up with plant growth at that intensity, so that's something to consider.

So Four T5 tubes would certainly do a good job of lighting the tank, but bear in mind that with most 4-tube units it's likely to operate from one plug, so if you use a timer, they will come on at the same time unless you switch them manually, which is possible on some units.

LEDs are proving attractive for several reasons, especially lower energy use and longer life than tubes - though it pays to buy reputable brands as some fall way short of the claimed lifespan, with some units having issues with tranformers.

More expensive LED units also come with features like automatic dawn/dusk, programmable light cycles and adjustable colour spectrum.

So it is very much a case of what you want from the light. Personally I use both. I do like the pleasant bright shimmer you get with LEDs and the units are compact and look good. On the other hand, with the right choice of tubes, T5s work well and give really good even light. Bear in mind that unless you want much more intense light a twin T5 unit might be sufficient.


Hi

Thanks a lot for your help. You have made some really good points. I don't have CO2 or fertiliser in my tank and plants have survived fine previously. I only have gravel in the tank but the tank is well established.

In terms of LED would you recommend any particular brand? Personally, I am trying to find a decent LED setup as well but its proving to be difficult as there's so many out there but very little guidance or reviews to help you make the right decision. If you have any info on this please do let me know.

Thanks once again :)
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Re: LED light or T5

Postby Rockfish » Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:44 am

Hi,

Yes, the plants should do ok if the amount of light is balanced, but if you were to step up to 4 x T5's or high-end LEDs, you would almost certainly have to run CO2 and add fertiliser, otherwise the intense light would cause the plants to grow explosively for a short time and exhaust the nutrients, and then die off, which is when algae problems start to take over.

If you don't want to go the CO2/fertiliser/high light route, then there are some less-intense LEDs, which also tend to be the less expensive ones. Arcadia's 'Stretch' LEDs (under their sub-brand Classica) fit this category and give decent light in a compact unit. There seemed to be a few transformer issues with early batches but this seems to have been fixed. They also have the newer, and more intense 'Blade' models available now too.

The Aquael brand have some new LED 'tubes' which are mainly designed as retrofits for T5/T8 fittings in aquarium hoods, these are relatively basic and inexpensive upgrades to LED from T8 or T5 tubes. They only do four sizes at present, but there is some adjustability to fit most common sizes.

Also just hitting the shops in the UK around now are the new Fluval LED units, Eco Bright (bright enough for most purposes) and Aquasky (a bit more intense with extra functions). These units come with fittings to adapt them to T8/T5 sockets to retrofit them, or their adjustable sliders can just fit over the edge of the tank. You can adjust brightness on both units, and colour spectrum and more on the Aquasky. Fluval are also doing a twin timer unit that can be used with both, which is capable of controlling two units with auto sunrise/sunset for gradual brightening and dimming, which is a nice feature to have and probably better for fish as well as plants. It's a little early to be sure about reliability/longevity, but early reviews are promising and you tend to get good backup with Fluval products if you buy from a reputable supplier.
Sean


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Re: LED light or T5

Postby jamal6008 » Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:11 pm

Rockfish wrote:Hi,

Yes, the plants should do ok if the amount of light is balanced, but if you were to step up to 4 x T5's or high-end LEDs, you would almost certainly have to run CO2 and add fertiliser, otherwise the intense light would cause the plants to grow explosively for a short time and exhaust the nutrients, and then die off, which is when algae problems start to take over.

If you don't want to go the CO2/fertiliser/high light route, then there are some less-intense LEDs, which also tend to be the less expensive ones. Arcadia's 'Stretch' LEDs (under their sub-brand Classica) fit this category and give decent light in a compact unit. There seemed to be a few transformer issues with early batches but this seems to have been fixed. They also have the newer, and more intense 'Blade' models available now too.

The Aquael brand have some new LED 'tubes' which are mainly designed as retrofits for T5/T8 fittings in aquarium hoods, these are relatively basic and inexpensive upgrades to LED from T8 or T5 tubes. They only do four sizes at present, but there is some adjustability to fit most common sizes.

Also just hitting the shops in the UK around now are the new Fluval LED units, Eco Bright (bright enough for most purposes) and Aquasky (a bit more intense with extra functions). These units come with fittings to adapt them to T8/T5 sockets to retrofit them, or their adjustable sliders can just fit over the edge of the tank. You can adjust brightness on both units, and colour spectrum and more on the Aquasky. Fluval are also doing a twin timer unit that can be used with both, which is capable of controlling two units with auto sunrise/sunset for gradual brightening and dimming, which is a nice feature to have and probably better for fish as well as plants. It's a little early to be sure about reliability/longevity, but early reviews are promising and you tend to get good backup with Fluval products if you buy from a reputable supplier.



Thanks a lot for your help regarding this. Have you heard much regarding the dsuny led unit? this one to be specific:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/141573067491? ... fresh=true

It seems to have a lot of good reviews and plenty of videos on youtube. I am thinking of purchasing this unit.
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Re: LED light or T5

Postby Carylnz » Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:08 pm

I have been considering changing my old fluorescents for LED but not go around to it yet as they work fine, don't cost a lot, and I have an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy (aka laziness).
The LEDs look good and I will be interested to hear what you decide on in the end and if you find the LEDs an improvement.
My home forum is The NZ Fishroom http://www.fnzas.org.nz
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