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The Best T5 Combos for Planted Aquariums

Honeyview_DSCF1743E_grande.jpg
OK Let's get some consensus going!

Even though I'm an LED guy at the moment, I do very much envy you T5 people. There is no question that T5s are the current standard to beat for providing spectrum, par and spread for planted aquariums. At least in my opinion.

So, let's help those that have T5s and those that are considering them by seeing if we can agree on the best combos given dimensions. I will keep this first post updated with the best combos based on your comments below.

Please answer the following:
  1. What bulb combination would you say is best for a 4 bulb fixture?
  2. What bulb combination would you say is best for a 6 bulb fixture?
  3. What bulb combination would you say is best for an 8 bulb fixture?
Also, let me know WHY you have chosen the bulb combo. Are you targeting best visual result, best light spectrum for plant photosynthesis, availability, etc.?
*image © 2hraquarist.com: Choosing the best light spectrum for planted tanks
 
Great topic Art. Most folks don't realize how much color of light affects how we perceive our tanks. Years ago I posted pics of my tank under 8 different combinations of bulbs, and it was pretty amazing how different the tank looked under different colors of light. I'll have to dig those up and post them.

Here is my current set up. 2 x Giesemann Super Flora, 2 x Gieseman Tropic, 2 x Giesemann Super Purple, and 2 x Powerveg 660.
20210122_161120.jpg

The tricky part is balancing the color. For instance if you have a deep purple bulb, you need a deep red to counter that. Too much purple and red = blurple. So you need some daylight or 6500K to counter that. But too much 6500K can make everything look yellow. So it takes some trial and error to get it right.

The good thing is that there are still a lot of great tanks using T5HO, including what I would say are the majority of my favorite tanks. And many of those folks post pics of their lighting set up, which can help others going down this road.

Hopefully others will post their combinations here, as I am always interested to see what combinations others are using. Here's my tank under the light combo above.

20221029_170328.jpg
 
Great topic Art. Most folks don't realize how much color of light affects how we perceive our tanks. Years ago I posted pics of my tank under 8 different combinations of bulbs, and it was pretty amazing how different the tank looked under different colors of light. I'll have to dig those up and post them.

Here is my current set up. 2 x Giesemann Super Flora, 2 x Gieseman Tropic, 2 x Giesemann Super Purple, and 2 x Powerveg 660.
View attachment 1518

The tricky part is balancing the color. For instance if you have a deep purple bulb, you need a deep red to counter that. Too much purple and red = blurple. So you need some daylight or 6500K to counter that. But too much 6500K can make everything look yellow. So it takes some trial and error to get it right.

The good thing is that there are still a lot of great tanks using T5HO, including what I would say are the majority of my favorite tanks. And many of those folks post pics of their lighting set up, which can help others going down this road.

Hopefully others will post their combinations here, as I am always interested to see what combinations others are using. Here's my tank under the light combo above.

View attachment 1519
You mentioned how the tank look but don't the plants react radically different to the different spectrum. I forget if they do better in blue or red but i know it makes a huge difference.
 
Hopefully others will post their combinations here, as I am always interested to see what combinations others are using. Here's my tank under the light combo above.
That's the hope. I think we need to promote this thread a little bit. I think I'll make a mention on Facebook.

The more contributing, the more data we can collect.
 
20230525_125512.jpg So I swap a lot, and finally found a good combo for me.

From front to back:
- Giesemann tropic (6500K I believe)
- AgroMax 3000K
- Giesemann purple
- Powerveg 660nm
- Giesemann purple
- Giesemann tropic

I'm still messing with camera settings to be able to capture the tank realistically which has been difficult for me, but I really like the look I achieved with this combo. I've had some trouble since my last swap with a couple of the bulbs not coming on automatically, no matter what I've had to disconnect and reconnect one of the two bulbs to make them come on...not thrilled about that because I don't have the money to replace this fixture atm.


This is a dimmable unit, both channels at about 45%. No idea on par but I know there's a lot of giesemann in there and you can tell from coloration on plants about how strong it is (tips on limnophila aromatica, bacopa colorata, etc)

Another good tell: check out the lobelia cardinalis on the left, can you see where I raised the intensity of the lights? The bottoms are pretty loose, but the new tops coming in are low and dense. I had the lights at about half of this for the longest time, while I was fighting some really, really nasty and prolific algae. Much happier to have them blasting again!

20230524_132148.jpg 20230524_172918.jpg
 
giessman flora
ATI purple
JBL 9k

i have small tanks so only 2-4 bulbs is my experience, this was my favorite, for 2 bulbs giessman flora and ati purple is good imo

im doing lighting for live shows for living so light is always a big factor, my eyes need to be happy

1643095115227.jpg
 
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giessman flora
ATI purple
JBL 10k

i have small tanks so only 2-4 bulbs is my experience, this was my favorite, for 2 bulbs giessman flora and ati purple is good imo

im doing lighting for live shows for living so light is always a big factor, my eyes need to be happy

View attachment 2225
That's really nice/accurate color rendition, also I haven't heard of anyone using a 10k bulb yet so that's pretty interesting, that's definitely one I haven't tried yet
 
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