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Thread: Anyone tried lighting with t-5's?

  1. #1
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    has anyone tried lighting their terrariums with T-5's? The come in color spectrums ranging from 6500K to 20K (and beyond but I expect your probably out of the useful wavelengths after you pass 10K)

    T-5's are more powerful than VHO's and Power Compacts, on the order of delivering about 300% more PAR, they are energy efficient, and the bulbs have a useable SPECTRUM life of 2 YEARS!

    These are the hot new bulbs in reefkeeping, replacing in many cases the venerated metal halides, they have that much punch.

    Plants are pretty easy (for the most part) to grow under NO flourescents, but I wonder if there is a cost savings in only having half the bulbs, and only having to replace them every couple years.

    And please don't get confused, I am not talking about a 2 year bulb life here, I am talking USEFUL spectrum, reefkeepers are even more concerned about spectral shift than CP growers, a shift lower than around 8K (6.5K being the color temp of the sun) causes horrendous algae problems in a delicately balanced reef tank that can take a year to clear up, so we tend to investigate these things with a very critical eye.)

    So, anyone tried them on their plants?

    a dual tube 24" fixture can go for about 140.00 (obviously much more expensive than a NO from home depot) and bulbs range between 15 and 25 dollars.
    \"Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself: \"Mankind\". Basically, it\'s made up of two separate words - \"mank\" and \"ind\". What do these words mean ? It\'s a mystery, and that\'s why so is mankind.\" ~ Jack Handey

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    Hi RamPuppy. It's nice to see some promotion of better fluorescent technologies. I have been using T8s for two years now, which are an improvement over the typical T12s in every way, but not quite as good as T5s. Their big redeeming advantage right now is their cost (being the same as decent T12 lamps and fixtures). I considered T5s, but they are still out of my range. I do drool on the aquarium hobbyist catalogs i get quarterly, though: right there on the page with the 48", four tube T5 fixtures with specular parabolic reflectors. A thing of beauty! The Germans seem to be manufacturing and using them a lot more than people here in the states, so maybe one of the European forum members will chime in.

    Incidentally, power compact fluorescents (as i'm sure you know, but others may not) are simply T5s bent into awkward shapes so they have a single endpoint. It's too bad they've caught on so much, because that's really parasitizing the market for the superior T5s themselves. Hopefully critical mass will be reached soon and we can buy T5s at HD (dreaming). I've noticed the aquarium hoods coming out of the realm of the fanciful into something reasonable, so we're getting there.

    I do have two 55W PCs on my freshwater planted aquarium, which i bought because they were cheaper than T5s at the time, but i have regretted that decision since then (wishing i had T5s). They do work well, though.
    There's no 'a' in perlite.

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    Hi Guys,

    Just picked up a fluorex 65 watt outdoor fixture at home depot for $18.00 and wired a cord on. Question? The bulb is a 6500k what is the ideal wavelength for terrestrial photosynthesis? Can I expect decent growth from a 6500k bulb? The fixture seems to have decent intensity but wish I could find some parabolic reflectors to put inside.

    Thanks,
    Kirk
    Fitchburg, Mass.

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    Hi Kirk!

    The plants aren't so particular to color temperature, in fact the way that fluorescents work it really just comes out to be relative ratios of a few relatively narrow peaks to give an overall balance that is of a desired color temperature. 5000k is the color temperature at sea level at the equator, while it gets higher with increasing latitude. 6500K is definitely within the realm of terrestrial.

    And actually, most people using fluorescents are erring on the other side of the ideal, since most fluoreescent tubes are lower than 5000K (for example, cool and warm whites). The best setup would be to mix and match, since that will increase the spectrum distribution that the plants get.

    I think Dave uses the fluorex for his highland terrarium, and it works well for him.
    There's no 'a' in perlite.

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    well, for my terrarium I am soon to tear down (hopefully) I am using a mixture of cool white, warm, sun, and plant bulbs, I have no idea what is color temp is being generated overall, but the plants seem to like it.

    T-5's I think are really coming down quite a bit, I am planning on buying some fixtures soon, 24" double tubes with parabolic reflectors.

    I am not willing to put money on it, but I think there is a difference between T-5's and power compacts, From what I have read, there is simply to much of a PAR increase for it to just be the straight bulbs and awesome reflectors.. I could be, and have been wrong many times before though.
    \"Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself: \"Mankind\". Basically, it\'s made up of two separate words - \"mank\" and \"ind\". What do these words mean ? It\'s a mystery, and that\'s why so is mankind.\" ~ Jack Handey

  6. #6
    drosera guy
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    Hi, T5 rocks!

    Since some days I have a new terrarium which gets no natural light. I bought a lighting system from Dupla, one of the specialists in aquarium lighting systems. Their webpage has an english section, too: http://www.dupla.com/

    The system I bought has 4 bulbs with 24W each, its 60 cm long and over a 60 cm x 30 cm terrarium. I think the light is brighter than needed for any cp (even heliamphora).

    Jan

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    See, here come our European brothers to make us green with envy. Dupla. Wow. That must have cost a pretty penny... er.. Deutschmark.

    I agree RamPuppy, the PCs just don't quite measure up. Part of it depends on how overdriven the lamps are, and how good the phosphors are. The bends in the PCs (power compacts) also dictate they can never be as bright, because some percentage of the light (a high percentage in the case of coiled ones like the infamous Fluorex) is guaranteed to "restrike" the bulb. In the case of the single bent CFs like on my aquarium, i would estimate that 5-10% of the light (that which comes from the area facing the opposing tube) is lost to heat as it is absorbed as it strikes the other tube. It explains to some extent why Fluorexes run so hot (mine burnt the plastic bulb support!): it's probably reabsorbing 10W or so of energy due to restrike. A good reflector can reduce restrike (and almost eliminate it with linear T5s, even more so than T8s because they're closer to a line source) but no reflector can stop restrike within a folded bulb.

    I've examined a lot of product data, and the strange thing is that a lot of T5s aren't more efficient (lumens/Watt) than good T8s. That's because most T5s that are sold right now are specialty High Output lamps (55W ~4' ones, for example), which operate somewhat less efficiently than normal output lamps. Of course, for someone looking to put the most light possible over a small terrarium, they're MUCH better than HO T12s, and possibly superior (speaking purely efficiency-wise) to smaller MHs. But for optimizing lumens (or PAR)/Watt, you have to get the normal output kind, which are very rare here.

    That remind me. The other big selling point for me is that the nominally 4' kind of T5 is actually somewhat shorter (T5s are specified in metric lengths) so that it fits within 4', which is awesome when using metro shelving for grow shelves or making a hood for a terrarium. That way it fits inside the frame of the shelf above.
    There's no 'a' in perlite.

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  8. #8
    drosera guy
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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (D muscipula @ Jan. 28 2005,11:36)]That must have cost a pretty penny... er.. Deutschmark.
    We left the DM in 2001, since 1 January 2002 we pay everything in EURO.

    Jan

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