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Anyone familiar with Coralife T5?

Discussion in 'Lighting, CO2, Ferts & Flow' started by Metalhead88, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. Metalhead88

    Metalhead88 Fish Fanatic

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    I purchased a 90 gallon tank and it came with a somewhat new Coralife T5 48inch fixture. https://www.amazon.com/Coralife-Aqualight-Output-Fixture-48-Inch/dp/B0030YFEP4

    The fixture seems pretty good. It has 2 bulbs. One is a 10,000k bulb and the other is a blue bulb. During testing, it seemed a little too blue for my tastes so I put it on my 55 gallon and didn't like it at all. My blood parrot looked purple.

    I'm thinking that removing the blue bulb and putting one of these https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CJFQYOO/ref=twister_B071DRQ6BB?_encoding=UTF8&th=1
    on instead will solve my problem. Perhaps another 10,000k bulb? The box the fixture comes in says you can do any combination of bulbs so feel free to experiment. It details the props of each bulb as does the Amazon listing does.

    Before buying anything, I'd like to see what it all looks like on the 90 gallon when it is all set up.

    Does anyone have any experience with this fixture? Like I already said, I'm pretty sure this issue can be easily solved with a different bulb. Any thoughts or ideas?
     
    #1 Metalhead88, Jun 25, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Is it for freshwater or a coral tank?

    If it's for freshwater, you only need globes with a 6500K rating.
    Coral tanks are also fine with a 6500K rating on globes.

    The unit has an actinic globe, which is useless on freshwater tanks and is used to make corals luminesce. If you change that to a 6500K globe it would give you pretty good light.

    The 10,000K globe will have a fair bit of blue light in. and is also useless for freshwater aquariums or marine tanks with only fish in. The 10,000K is used to make corals look more colourful.
     
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  3. Metalhead88

    Metalhead88 Fish Fanatic

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    Ah yes, I left out a little information. It's a freshwater tank with American cichlids. The background will be black and tannish gravel. I'll be moving a blood parrot, convict, salvini, and Raphael catfish.

    So replace the actinic with a 6500k? Or would I be better off having both bulbs 6500k?
     
  4. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    If you are growing plants in the tank then have 2 globes with a 5000K-6500K rating.
    If it's a fish only tank with a few floating plants, you can have 1 globe with a 6500K rating.
     
  5. Metalhead88

    Metalhead88 Fish Fanatic

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    QUOTE="Colin_T, post: 3823064, member: 38786"]If you are growing plants in the tank then have 2 globes with a 5000K-6500K rating.
    If it's a fish only tank with a few floating plants, you can have 1 globe with a 6500K rating.[/QUOTE]

    I was thinking about maybe trying live plants again down the road. I haven't had luck in the past with tbem. I will not be setting up the tank with plants.

    I tried taking the actinic bulb out to see what it would look like with only the one 10000k bulb and the unit would not turn on. It seems that you need 2 bulbs installed for it to operate.
     
  6. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Unfortunately some light units are wired up so both globes and both starters need to be working otherwise nothing works.

    -------------------------
    If you want to try plants, get some Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides/ cornuta) and let it float on the surface. It grows rapidly and can be grown underwater. When you have too much on the surface, plant some in the substrate and see how it does. If the fish dig it up, the plant will float to the surface where it can grow or be replanted in the substrate.

    Other good plants to try include Ambulia, Hygrophila polysperma, H. ruba/ rubra, Elodia (during summer, but don't buy it in winter because it falls apart), Hydrilla, common Amazon sword plant, and narrow Vallis. These plants all grow in the substrate.

    -------------------------
    You can grow plants in pots/ containers and covers them in netting to stop the fish digging them out.

    We use to grow plants in 1 or 2 litre plastic icecream containers. You put an inch of gravel in the bottom of the container, then spread a thin layer of granulated garden fertiliser over the gravel. Put a 1/4inch (6mm) thick layer of red/ orange clay over the fertiliser. Dry the clay first and crush it into a powder. Then cover that with more gravel.

    You put the plants in the gravel and as they grow, their roots hit the clay and fertiliser and they take off and go nuts. The clay stops the fertiliser leaching into the water.

    You can smear silicon on the outside of the buckets and stick gravel or sand to them so it is less conspicuous. Or you can let algae grow on them and the containers turn green.
     
  7. Metalhead88

    Metalhead88 Fish Fanatic

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    Alright so looking around online, my options are limited for t5 48inch bulbs. Maybe I'll have better luck at the lfs. The coralife bulbs are discontinued in that color an sold out everywhere.

    I found wave point tropical wave 6 and zoo med ultra super sun at petco for around 20 bucks each.

    Are there any bulb brands that are recommended? Or that I should stay away from? Or does it even matter? I haven't shopped for bulbs in a long time. I remember a long time ago just getting whatever size fit and didn't put any thought into it.
     
  8. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Check hardware and lighting stores for globes, they are usually cheaper than pet shops and carry a wider range.

    I have no idea about different brands of T5 globe, I use T8s and compact fluorescents. However, there shouldn't be any real difference between brands. In Australia I just buy Phillips or NEC T8 globes and they last as long as anything from a pet shop.
     
  9. Metalhead88

    Metalhead88 Fish Fanatic

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    That crossed my mind as well. I'll probably do just that. Thanks for the help.
     
  10. Byron

    Byron Member

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    If this is a standard T5 fixture, it will take any T5 tubes in the relevant length.

    However, T5 is very bright light, and too bright for freshwater fish especially without plants. I would either take out the hardware and put a dual tube T8 "shop light" fixture in the housing, or set this fixture aside for future use. Floating plants might help, but T5 is still very bright light.

    Like Colin, I have been using T8 for years. When my ballasts began going a few years ago, I could not find T8 anywhere, so I got a dual T5 fixture. This took two 48-inch T5 tubes, and I had it over a 5-foot 115g tank. Well, I kept it for one week and then took it back, expecting the poor fish to be asking me for sunglasses. T5 is very, very bright. I have fairly heavily planted tanks, with a good cover of floating plants, but the T5 was way too much.

    If you do go with the T8 shop fixture, you can use the Sylvania or Phillips T8 tubes (48-inch length). They have daylight 6500K and natural 5000K tubes, and I found that over my 5-foot 115g, 4-foot 90g and 4-foot 70g tanks, a 5000K and 6500K Phillips was perfect light for plants and fish. A very natural colour rendition too.

    Light has a profound effect on freshwater fish, and can stress them if too bright.
     
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  11. Metalhead88

    Metalhead88 Fish Fanatic

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    Yeah, I agree. I think it'll be too bright from what I'm seeing. I have 2 lamps that I can use temporarily (or maybe permanently) that are currently on my 55 gallon tank. (total guess, 20 inches each that take 1 T8 bulb each) I guess I can try to sell the fixture and put that money towards something that better fits my needs. It's 150 bucks new and is in good shape so I'm sure someone would want it for the right price.

    On a side note, I checked out some bulbs at home depot and lowe's today since I was there anyways. The bulbs that they have aren't as bright (less lumens...I think that's how it works) and were 5000k. They are lower wattage bulbs then what I have. Would that be safe to use? And would it actually be less bright?
     
  12. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Are you meaning T5 or T8? Only T5 tubes will operate in a T5 fixture, and only T8 in a T8 fixture.

    A note on wattage...this is only the measurement of how much energy a tube uses to produce the light it emits. Except when comparing identical tubes/bulbs, wattage is not an indication of light intensity. By identical tubes/bulbs I mean the same manufacturer, same Kelvin, same everything. For example, a 12w Phillips CFL Daylight 6500K screw-in bulb will be brighter than the identical same bulb in 9 watts. But a 40w Aqua-Glo T8 tube will have significantly less light intensity than a 40w Life-Glo T8 tube, about half in fact. It all depends upon how the tube is manufactured with the phosphors and such.
     
  13. Metalhead88

    Metalhead88 Fish Fanatic

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    I was looking at t5 bulbs for the fixture that takes t5 bulbs. I understand that a t8 is a different size.

    Can I use a lower wattage bulb in my fixture? I understand that wattage and brightness are 2 different things.
     
  14. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    You can get different wattage T5 globes including HO T5s (high output) that can be 70-100 watts.

    Most T5 light units will let you use lower wattage T5 globes, but some don't. You can try using a lower wattage T5 globe but the unit might not work. Some units need both globes to be the same wattage. And other units simply won't work with lower wattage globes.

    Your best bet is to ask the store if you can buy two lower wattage globes and take them home to try it and if it doesn't work, return them for a full refund. Most shops will do this, alternatively, take the light unit to the shop and try it out there.

    ------------------------
    Lumen is the amount of light produced by the globe. The more lumens, the brighter the light.
     
  15. Metalhead88

    Metalhead88 Fish Fanatic

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    Thanks for the info. The bulbs that came with the unit are 54watt. The ones are lowe's were lower (I think 30) and were 4100k. Do you think 4100k would be a good color if I can't find 6700k bulbs?

    I'm trying to work with what I have before ditching it for something else.
     
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