I'm looking at switching from pc to t-5 due to my pc keep breaking at the seem in my MH setup. I also have a friend who wants better lighting than PC. We were told by a shop that the T-5 system was better than VHO and PC. Just trying to get other opions. Thanks for the respones!
I have installed lots of Sunlight Supply T5 light systems. If you are not putting them over a very deep tank, over 24", you will do fine. I have seen fabulous grow out tanks that only use T5 lights. They were only 18" deep.
I currently have a single 250 DE MH supplemented by 2x56W T-5s running acitinics over my 90. I love them. They are smaller and provide light just as good as the VHOs. They definitely blow away PCs. Are you planning to supplement MHs or go all T-5s for your lighting?
I really like my t-5s. I have three 60" T-5s to add actinics to my 250 AB10ks. My tank is 28" tall and when the halides are not on the T-5 still look pretty bright. In fact when the T-5s are off my halides look kind of wimpy. I recently switched one of the actinics out for a blue blub, Sunlight supply says they are close to a 20K radium bulb, and I really like it. I have ordered two blue to give more of a 14K look. I use IceCap ballasts and I have heard that the Sunlight Supply bulbs, they are ATI I believe, are better quality than alot of others.
My preference would be either VHO or H.O. T5's, if you go with T5's you will need to consider reflectors, they highly come recommended for optimal performance, I think they are cool because of the size & performance you get from them, I will be switching my VHO's next change of bulbs. Shoot Andy @ IceCap and he can tell you what you can run on his IC660 ballast. Recently the US markets for T5 aquarium use has grown to the point that you can find the necessary K bulbs required to fit your particular needs.
I'm new here but I swapped earlier this year from 260 watt of PC's to the 8x54 Tek light. I've been very pleased with the difference it has made in my tank. Whether you buy a fixture or do a retrofit I would suggest getting the SLS reflectors.
T-5's are the way to go IMHO. There output depends on the ballast used and reflector that is used. On the Ballast issue, The Best is the IC 660 which will overdrive the bulbs to ~80-85w each. You still get about 2 yrs life out of the bulb. The next best ballast is the Triad by Universal Ballast, this is the ballast that Sunlight Supply uses. Drives the bulbs at the proper wattage, good life out of the bulbs. The third most used ballast is the Workhorse, which overdrives the bulb, but hurts the life of the bulbs, replace about ~9 months.
The Best combination is the 4 bulb IceCap 660, with the IceCap SLR T-5 reflectors.
You will have about the same amount of light out of that set-up as the TekLight 6 bulb unit.
They outproduce both VHO's and PC's as while using less wattage, and less heat.
A good reflector is a must, I like IceCap's, with the SLS's coming in very close behind.
Hope this helps.