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3 or 4 T5s?


30 Apr 2008
West Midlands UK
I need to replace my 11 year old Juwel 180 T8 lighting (the unit, not the bulbs :lol: ) as it's seriously falling apart. I already upgraded my lighting recently by adding 2 39 watt linear T5s with reflectors. I have no problems with algae at all, I dose with TPN, but don't dose macro nutrients as my background levels (from water changes, feeding and fish waste) are high enough, I am also able to easiy maintain adequate CO2 levels no matter how much my plants need.

Now I refuse flatly to buy another Juwel unit of any kind, the T8s are not very good and I hate the way the T5 High Lite units restrict choice. I can't affords Arcadia iBars, and going topless with a luminaire is not an option (cat, children, wife with dirty looks... :D ). So basically I have decided to rip out the guts of the Juwel bar completely, and use another dual T5 controller. This however leaves me with the choice of either only adding 1 more tubes to my 2 T5s, or making use of both the outlets of the controler to add another 2. The controlers I use (Hagen Glo T5 HO controlers) are quite happy to run with just one tube.

My tank is planted with a mixture of medium and high light requiring plants, and I will be adding more soon (mainly by chucking out portions of the existing plants to make room) as well as using dwarf hair grass to carpet my substrate (medium light I know, but it's an 18" deep tank, so brighter lighting is needed to penetrate to the substrate). So, I'm looking for opinions on whether to add 2 39 watt T5 HO tubes (probably a Sylvania Glowlux and another Osram Lumilux 865), or just 1 more T5 HO 39 watt tube (probably another Osram Lumilux 865).

Current lighting in my tank, from front to back, consists of: 39 watt T5 HO Osram Lumilux 865 -- ZooMed T8 30 inch 25 watt Ultra Sun -- ZooMed T8 30 inch 30 watt FloraSun -- 39 watt T5 HO Aquamedic Planta. Options are to either have 39watt T5 Lumilux 865 -- Aquamedic Planta 39 watt T5 HO -- Lumilux 865 for about 3.2 watts per gallon, or lumilux 865 -- grolux -- lumilux 865 -- Planta for about 4.2 watts per gallon.


Ed Seeley

3 Jul 2007
Well I've got a Rio 180 with the T5 lighting and have found that that does a great job with good reflectors on it's own so I don't think you'd need more than three. However as you're doing the job I think I'd be tempted to fit it to have the option of using 4 and then you can always reduce the photoperiod or have all four lights only on for a short period with two bulbs running at the other times.

BTW, under my 2 T5 bulbs I have Glossostigma, Eleocharis and a small patch of what I think is HC growing and carpeting well so I don't think you'll need lots of light to grow them.