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I have a 75 gal male show tank with no plants. I currently have a double T12 light on it and like the brightness. I am thinking of upgrading to a coralife HO T5 double lite. What are the advantages/disadvantages? Will the brightness be better? Will I save energy($)? I am just doing it to upgrade and there is a heck of a deal.
 

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T12 is pretty old technology. I am using mostly T8, because a few years ago when I set up most of my tanks, T5 was still very expensive. T8 is supposed to be a lot more energy efficient than T12, but T5 only a little more energy efficient than T8. When I last checked at the hardware store, T5 seemed to have come down in price a lot - and it is the best fluorescent lighting available. If you get a good price on a T5 fixture, I'd say go for it. You will enjoy it!

My dad recently upgraded from T12 to T5, and he was amazed by the improvement. He says his plants have been growing like crazy since he changed over, but I think he also added an extra tube. Probably not a fair comparison, but T5 is just so much more compact that it allowed him to fit three tubes in the space of two T12 tubes.

One more thing to think about, LED lighting is the new kid on the block, and in a few years everybody will want that. In fact, I think the competition with LED is what has brought T5 prices down. But T5 is probably by far the best value for money you can get right now!
 

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T5 is better for energy and the out put is remarkable.. i used a T8 over one of my tanks for about 5 months and then changed over to the T5's and it was such a dramatic difference in appearance that i dont think i will ever set up another tank with anything else.... the tanks running with T8's now just can not compare to this one.....
 

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Rhodalinsky, read the reviews on Coralife HO's before you buy them. I owned 2 and both ballasts failed in under a year. It's a very common problem as you will find in your searches. Check out the Deep Blue T5HO or high efficiency (HE) models. Very nice T5's w/moonlight LED's for the price.

T5's have great output and nice slim profile above your tank. Look for dual ballasts and well designed heat dissipation (they don't get very hot, but it's always better to run cooler).
 

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The disadvantages are the tubes cost more than T8 or T12, and they are harder to find. In addition the fixtures cost more, and a tank without plants does not need HO tubes, which are no longer energy efficient compare to normal output T5. Right now the sweet spot in lighting is the T8, price wise.
 

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I have a couple of T5 units and the rest T8s
The T5s were bought as I found them at prices close to T8 units. Thet were just Coralife with 2 lamps per unit.
They are compact and don't take up much space and the fixtures look nice. I like the fact that I can mix lamps easily.
That being said, I have good selection in bulbs for the T8s (I like Zoo-med).
Bottom line - If you can get a T5 unit for close to the same price as T8 - go for it. But don't pay double for it.
On-line I don't see T5 bulbs being drastically more (at least for 10 000 K)
 

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i hear aot about cost of fixtures and while i wont name names i got mine for $40 perfixture and they are 2 bulbs each....
 
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