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December 13, 2018 | By Eric Nadon

by Tom Sarac

Given how fast and far LED lighting technology has advanced these days it is easy to forget that there are other aquatic lighting options that can make a lot of sense.

Some of us have to budget, which is pretty common in fact when it comes to larger projects that require substantial investment in other supportive hardware and quality livestock. So, what lighting options are available that can put out some serious light levels while not causing one to seek a second mortgage?

T5 High Output (HO) is at the top of that list.

This fluorescent bulb is only 5/8 inch in diameter, allowing one to pack in a number of bulbs in one fixture. The amount of light generated by a Fluval quad bulb T5 HO fixture equipped with quality Fluval T5 HO bulbs can rival metal halide fixtures while providing some very significant advantages:

  • Ability to mix and match various bulbs of different spectrums to best meet the needs of the plants or corals being kept.
  • Spectral consistency through simply changing bulbs. To maintain peak spectral performance a bulb change every 1.5 years is called for.
  • Easy to change from freshwater to marine lighting if a tank is converted to a marine set-up.
  • Dawn to midday to dusk is easily accomplished by incorporating a couple of mechanical timers and an additional fixture or two.
  • Compact bulb diameters can generate copious light levels by increasing bulb quantities without using much space.
  • Durability – when combined with a Fluval T5 HO fixture featuring water resistant end caps, this lighting is impervious to the effects of being over an open aquarium.
  • Great light distribution – fluorescent bulbs radiate light at 360 degrees. Using the right fixture can really help pump up PAR values.
  • Good quality bulbs are relatively inexpensive.

There you have it. There are plenty of reasons to strongly consider fluorescent lighting. Besides being economical, efficient and effective, it can be a lot of fun when mixing bulbs to see just how plants or corals respond.


An overview of Fluval T5 HO (High Output) fluorescent lighting series for fresh and salt water aquariums, including Power Spectrum, Life Spectrum and Actinic I.


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