T5HO Fluorescent: Proven Lighting For Your Reef Aquarium


If you are looking for an economical and proven way to light your reef tank, a T5 lighting system is a great option. Not only does it offer the lowest up-front cost of all lighting systems, it is also what many SPS gurus rely on to grow out and color up Acroporas and many other stony corals. While not as efficient as LED lighting in terms of operating costs, T5 lighting does have some great benefits.

Since the dawn of reef keeping, we have been using fluorescent lights to grow all types of corals. The color options and UV spectrums promote growth and really bring out the color in your corals. With all of the different bulbs available, it is easy to manipulate the color in your aquarium by simply changing out a bulb. Because of the shape of the lamps and the way light is spread, T5 lighting illuminates your tank evenly resulting in minimal shadows and brilliant color.

If not the sole source of lighting, T5 lights can also be a great supplemental light. For years we have used fluorescent lights to supplement metal halide lights. With the recent boom in LED lights, we are starting to see a trend in using T5 and LED’s together which is proving to be a great way to overcome some of the pitfalls of LED lights such as shadowing, loss of color, and uneven light spread.

We installed the AquaticLife 4 Lamp T5HO Light Fixture on our office aquarium. This is one of our most popular and best selling light fixtures. My favorite feature is the built in timer which allows you the achieve the dawn/dusk effect, custom time schedules and it means it only has one power cord. It comes with a full set of AquaticLife T5 lamps, German-made reflectors to maximize the light directed to your aquarium and includes mounting legs which allows you to easily place the fixture on the top of your aquarium.

The bulb combination you see at 1:56 in the video is the AquaticLife lamps that come standard with the T5 fixture. We also carry a wide selection of other popular brand name T5 lamps including ATI, Geisemann, Red Sea, and UVL. We also installed some ATI bulbs you can see at 2:06 in the video just to give you an idea of how you can achieve different lighting spectrums by changing up the bulbs.

When choosing a combination of bulbs for your aquarium, the options are almost endless. This is pretty awesome because you can tailor the color in your tank to your liking. With all of the options, it can be a little confusing when shopping for bulbs so we came up with this helpful chart to make choosing the right lamps a little easier. You can always give our customer service team a call as well as we love hearing from our customers and are happy to help you get the right lamps for your tank.

In summary, don’t let the allure of LED lights completely steer you away from this proven method of lighting a reef tank. If you have questions or need help, we are always available to give you a hand. Please don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel in order to get the latest reef hobby and product news. Until next time, take care and happy reefkeeping.

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