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It really depends on what you want to do with it...

Depending on what you go for, PC can be more expensive or less than a T5...T5 has many configurations...Normal Output(NO), High Output(HO).

If you want to grow high-light requiring plants, then you're going to want to invest in a substantial lighting system. There are pros and cons to each, but I can list some of them:

T5 tubes are what make PC bulbs...except that PC bulbs are T5 bulbs folded onto itself. This produces more wattage/area, but increases 'restrike' (light hitting the tube [larger bulb])...because the T5 bulbs are so thin, and their reflectors are so efficient, it almost eliminates this from the equation. T5 will also consume less electricity, depending on the configuration.

The bulb replacement costs will also vary, but they are relatively similar.

I'm slowly starting to gather materials for my 72"x18"x29"high 150 gallon, and I'm going to use 4 36" NO T5 bulbs...probably a 6700K and a 10 000K. I'm using it for lighting, and not growing plants. I want to get 2 36" double bulb fixtures. I want to use T5 because it uses less electricity, and I'm trying to do something for the planet.

The watts/gallon rule kind of falls apart because the T5s are so efficient and use so little electricity.

I think with PC, you will find more selection, but with T5 you save $$$ by less consumption.

Personally, I would go with NO T5 for high efficiency, low consumption, less heat and a smaller fixture.

Adam
 

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Not an expert, but I'll give it a shot. The t-5 setups are low wattage flourescents that put out high wattage numbers by using multiple bulbs in a small configuration. The power compacts use a double-wand type of flourescent bulb with a one sided pin config. The difference from what I know is the power compacts somehow obtain a high wattage out of a compact design. how... I don't know. But by looking at wattage outputs the power compacts seem higher. I like the power compacts more personally, but his is just my opinion.

Again, I am kinda just taking a stab at this one from what I have heard.
 

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I personally just switched to power compacts on my 225 gallon tank, 30 inches tall, and this light gets the job done nicely, I grabbed a 6 foot unit, with 4 96 watt bulbs, yielding 384 watts of light, and it has a dozen or so moon lights that just gives the tank that look at night. I never tried T5's, but can't imagine getting this much power out of them.
 

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Go searching on reef central and look for posts by "grim reefer" In reef tanks the light matters a lot and for several reasons since light output is critical for reef growth. One measurement “parâ€
 

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I believe so but they are about the same price as a plain bulb so it is not really a big issue. Since the actual spectral output is of no concern they should last several years before the bulb or ballast give out.

T5's will amaze you...I have seen reefs run on just them alone and they are fantastic. Really PC lights have almost gone out of favor as solo lights in the marine community. About the only place they are still found are the nano reefs where their small size if needed and on some metal halide fixtures to provide the actinic light. Dollar for dollar they are hard to beat.

For example...http://www.reefland.com/rho/0106/feature8.php
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
MrZ2u said:
I believe so but they are about the same price as a plain bulb so it is not really a big issue. Since the actual spectral output is of no concern they should last several years before the bulb or ballast give out.

T5's will amaze you...I have seen reefs run on just them alone and they are fantastic. Really PC lights have almost gone out of favor as solo lights in the marine community. About the only place they are still found are the nano reefs where their small size if needed and on some metal halide fixtures to provide the actinic light. Dollar for dollar they are hard to beat.

For example...http://www.reefland.com/rho/0106/feature8.php
After doing some homework I found that those had horrible ratings. This is just what I found, of course you don't always hear about the ones that worked just fine. :roll:
 

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What have horrible ratings? T5HO? Their output hinges on the use of individual parabolic reflectors. If you cram a bunch of T5s (or PCs for that matter) into a fixture, you won't get NEARLY the output you should.

I have 8x21w NO T5s over my 150. The tank looks nice and the price from Big Al's was pretty nice as well. I had 4x21w T5s previously and the tank looked fine, but I was not able to grow any plants. For fish only tanks, you don't need blazing light output as the fish will grow regardless. :)
 

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ok, as a man who has a reef tank and needs an amazing light system to grow his coral, I'll tell you that T5s are ten times better than PC lights. The advantage of them over PCs is that you can change the color of the lights to get a unique color whereas PCs tend to only come as a straight 67k, 10k, actinic or whatever or as 50/50 bulbs, which have one of the tubes as daylight color and one as actinic. There's not much diversity. T5s are more energy efficient because the curve in the PC bulb really takes a lot out of its output. Its just an outdated design these days.
 
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