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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Which would you use.

new 40 gallon breeder and I put what lights I have lying around right now on it.
1 - 250 watt sunpod and 1 - 150 watt sunpod.

was thinking of a dual 250 watt unit.
however those are pricey especially with a T5 supplement built in. (I'd like the actinic boost)

But the 6 bulb 36" T5's are cheaper... but I've heard bulb life is an issue in comaprison to halides.
costs more in the long run.

discuss?
 

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halides change spectrum for the length of time you run them. You could buy a digital ballast which will keep the color proper for the length of the bulb. T5's are nice and are a cost effective way to light a tank power wise. You can still grow more with a halide. We think of it as my miniature sun in my living room. Dad walked in wearing a welding helmet to give me a hint once. I have a 400watt.
 

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In tests, they showed that HOT5 bulbs start to lose intensity after 6 to 8 months, so if you're keeping sps corals for instance, you would want to change out bulbs at that point in time.

Heat is another issue to consider. MH produce a lot of heat so if your place gets really warm in the summer, MH will contribute to the overheating tank problem.

I personally prefer using MH. I use 14000k bulbs (mostly Aquaconnects & Phoenix) and can get far more than a year out of each before I switch out. I may lose PAR slowly, but the colour remains nice and the corals stay colourful and continue to grow.

Anthony
 

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I have a single Phoenix 250w DE bulb over my 40 breeder. I don't think that the corals/electric bill could stand much more than that. Imo, 2 x 250 is way overkill. I am running a Lumenmax 3 pendant 11" off the surface and spread isn't an issue as far as I am concerned.

I put some serious thought into adding T5 retros but decided against it. I am worried that the canopy will keep too much heat in. Plus, I think that pendants look trick compared to the tek style fixtures and canopies.
 

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A 40 gallon breeder is so shallow that you should be able to keep anything you want under 6 T5's assuming you get a decent setup with good reflectors.

It is debatable how much bulb life is an issue. I can say that I have 8 T5's over my 120 gallon (48" x 24" x 24") reef and I kept the same bulbs for about 5 years before I finally changed bulbs last weekend.

Under these bulbs BTA's, LPS, and easier SPS (Montiporas) thrived at any level of the tank even after five years of bulb life. However some more difficult SPS I got recently (Acroporas) did not do well under these bulbs so I recently bought new bulbs.

I would also suggest that temperature could become an issue for MH's over such a small tank.

If I were in your shoes I would pick up a used set of whatever lights become available (T5 or halide) and wait a year or so before upgrading to LED's.
 

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If you already have a MH light then the answer should be simple....use it. Other wise do the math.

6x 39 watt t5's = 234 watts. Comparable to 250 watt MH

1x 250 watt MH bulb changed anually = $80.00-$130.00 depending on bulb

6x t5 bulbs changed twice anually = $250.00 - $400.00 depending on bulbs

The cost more than offsets the power consumption of a MH setup.
 

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I feel MH over a small shallow tank will cause heat problems so you may end up having to run a chiller on it as well. I had T5s over my 75 gallon which worked great and have now switched to LEDs.

6 T5 bulbs should cost no more than $250 to change if you get them at a reasonably priced place like J&L. That's not a huge difference from a dual 250W MH setup. Change them once a year like the MH. Some people stagger it and change half the bulbs every 6 months which will keep light intensity more stable.
 

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A 40G breeder should require only one MH light. Get a good reflector and that will cover your 3' tank. Use a pendent and hang the light a little bit higher than usual if you are worry about heat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Wow that thing looks insane. too bad no good underside shots of it though.
because I have such limited height clearance I tried 1 halide in the middle and I don't like the light spread... the outer fringes of the tank really look dark.
I like building stuff though, maybe I'll get bored one day and try making an LED array haha.
 
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