View Full Version : Overdriven T5's

06/08/2008, 09:32 PM
Just thought I would chime in with some info on T5's driven by Icecap 660. These are supplemental color lighting for halides.

I was running a 48" UVL Super actinic on a HO ballasts from April 2007 to July 2007. I then switched the same bulb at that time to an Icecap 660 ballast. I routinely checked against a new bulb for visual comparison every 2 or 3 months. Last check was about a month ago. A new UVL SA was brighther but not by a larger amount and the used UVL T5 still had a lot of output.
I noticed that the tank looked different yesterday. Checked the lamps and that UVL T5 was finally done for. It did not slowly fade away. This lamp went from still having pretty good output to near nothing in one jump. I dont know if this is typical of these UVL T5s when overdriven and they finally give up. Maybe other users can chime in here. But this lamp ran for 14 months in total. It ran overdriven for 11 of those 14 months. Not bad.
BTW ... I noticed that the color held the entire way. Visually speaking it retained the same color until it all but quit.

I also have a KZ Fiji purple. It has been on the IC 660 since new which was back in August of 2007. This lamp is still bright as heck. Visually, it is probably 80% as bright as a new Fiji Purple. There is a color difference. It has shifted to slightly more of a red so it is actually more purple than a new bulb because of the extra red. It is pretty subtle of a difference. Firing this bulb and a new one up cold, the old bulb looks like it has twice the red or more. But after about 5 minutes of warm up the difference is pretty subtle but still noticeable. I am very impressed by how well this lamp is holding par after 10 months on an IC 660.

I would have been happy with 6 months overdriven, was hoping for nine and got 11 overdriven months out of a UVL SA that was already 3 months old and 10 months out of a KZ Fiji purple which is still going very very strong.

Just thought I would share this info since there are many questions and concerns about overdriving T5's. And maybe get some input back on how others overdriven T5's have held up. Which brands and bulbs, etc. BTW, my T5s AND the endcaps are well cooled by two 9" desk type fans and the guts from a floor standing crossflow fan.

06/08/2008, 10:48 PM
Thanks for sharing your insights.... The irony is that that I read that the UVL bulbs were made to be overdriven,at least that is what was said under one of the sponsor forums, not sure if it was IC or not, I believe it was....

06/09/2008, 07:05 AM
The UVL bulbs are labeled "54/85 watts V-HO" so you are correct, they claim to be made for either. However, at 11 hours per day, I dont think 11 months of beong overdriven after 3 months of already being run at 54 watts is too shabby.
Im not sure if it is typical for them to be usuable until they clearly arent but with this bulb it was litrally an overnight thing. I just installed another one that was also run for 3 months standard 54 watts so hopefully Ill get another 11 months out of that one.

The KZ is 10 months old and still good, Ill see what this one does.

06/09/2008, 08:56 AM
I've tried the KZ Fiji Purple on an IC660. The first bulb I received was DOA. It's replacement worked, but died after only 3 months. I don't know if I just got a couple bad bulbs, but I haven't wanted to try them again after this experience. I did like the color output while it lasted.

All the other bulbs I have used - ATI, Giesemann, UVL, & AquaScience have all lasted at least 10 months before changing them.

06/09/2008, 09:39 AM
Thanks for the input.

I think you must have just had some bad luck. The KZ's are well made lamps in general. There have been some QC complaints with some of the UVL T5s as well. I have had no problems with either.

I bought 3 KZ fiji purples, hopefully the other two do as well as the first.

I use one Fiji and one UVL to supplement most halides that I use. I like to use very crisp white halides with subtle to slight blue tint. Iwasaki 14K DE 250 watt, Ushio 20K (the German 20K's arent nearly as blue and after break in the Ushio appears crisp cool white with a slight but definite blue tint that I really like ... on M80 and to my eyes anyway), Reeflux 12K DE 250 watt although this one is a little different, a warmer white on M80 ballast because it seems to also have a little bit of output in the warmer spectrums ... etc.

But the combination of the bluish purple of the super actinic and the reddish purple of the KZ Fiji purple (evbnthough it almost looks white with a subtle red hue compared to the SA) really compliments the white/blue halides with some actinic / purplish coloration. I really like the combination of the FP and SA better than two SA's so I am glad I am having good luck so far with this bulb. I do have to watch it for too much red though. It really has alot of red when it first fires up compared to a new FP but after it warms up it is only very slightly redder, visually anyway.

06/09/2008, 10:13 AM
Have you tried the UVL 75.25? I like it a lot. I replaced my UVL SA with the 75.25 and like it better. It's a much brighter lamp than the SA. I'm only running T5's though.

06/09/2008, 12:34 PM
No, havent tried it. The halides I use have mostly a blue spike with no or very little actinic. The SA balances adds some actinic and makes for a much better look in my opinion. The Fiji Purple helps by adding a little red and warming things up a little without adding any yellow. So basically it's still a cool look (as nopposed to warm) with the crisp white and blue tint of the halides. But not nearly as monotone blue looking like the look of the halide only using one of the heavy blue tint halides because of the blue - purple of the SA and the Red - purple of the Fiji Purple.

Obviously it's a very personal choice how we want our tanks to look. Which is fine as long as the corals are getting the light they need. So after lots of experimenting, I know what gets me the look that I like.

06/14/2008, 11:50 PM
Sorry to hijack your thread,


Where do you buy crossflow blower, its AC or DC?

can you give me the link so I can buy one.


06/15/2008, 09:12 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=12749346#post12749346 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by aeroaustin
Sorry to hijack your thread,


Where do you buy crossflow blower, its AC or DC?

can you give me the link so I can buy one.


Aeroaustin, it is an AC fan.
You can buy Crossflows made for computer applications, most of them are small. I bought a floor standing Crossflow from one of the home improvement superstores or target, cant remember which but they all should have them. It's just a typical floorstander made by Lasko or Holmes or one of those companies that makes different desk and box fans etc. It contains a crossflow fan that operates vertically. I gutted the housing and just took the fan assembly (motor and blades) out of the housing. The fan assembly comes out in one piece. Since these have 3 or more speeds you just have to tap the right wire coming out of the motor. Its two wires, a common and then one of the 3 wires from the motor, each for a different speed. I just harwired to the high speed tap. But you could also retain the original switch so you have speed control if you want.
I think that this is the largest crossflow fan that you will find for cheap. You can buy a large crossflow made for rack mounting to cool electronics and computers but these would be much more expensive. What I ended up with is about a 16" long crossflow fan that I have mounted horizontally that is almost the entire width of my light rack and my tank. Does an excellent job moving the heat away from my lighting and also evaporative cooling of the water surface. This one comes on and off with my halides.
I have another 9" clip on fan that I also use for cooling my lights and water surface that comes on and off with my T5's and a third 9" clip on that is on a ranco controller and comes on and off at set temp. whenever needed.

The thing is that the crossflow is ugly. My entire fan set up is ugly but it is in a fish room, you cant see it. It blows the heat from the closed end of the fishroom, across the lights and water surface and out the doorway of the fish room (louvered bifold door). It's easy for me to set up larger fans like this that move real air. For someone with a tank out on the open, this wouldnt look very good unless it was hidden behind something.

Anyway ... you can get the Lasko, Holmes or other brand crossflows just about anywhere. I think the one I picked up was 30 something dollars. My clip ons were about 10 bucks. Staples and K mart sells them among other places. You just need a little basic electrical wiring knowledge for the crossflow job, nothing complicated beyond that.

06/15/2008, 09:53 AM
DarG i too like a crisp white halide, i currently run 3x250w ushio 10k DE lumenmax III pendents. i dont have my T5's installed yet though. (4 T5's with IC660) (i also have 4 slightly used g-man actinic+ T5' sfor starters)

Whats your favorite halide so far? And that you would use with these T5's?

06/15/2008, 10:34 AM
Well, I wouldnt consider Ushio 10K's as crisp white so our perceptions are very different. I would call them a warm white halide (meaning that the tank has some warmer, yellow, hue to it when lit by those 10Ks). I dont consider them a yellow bulb like most others would call them. Just the fact that live rock and most substrates are not pure white, they are much warmer in color with tan and beige and other "earth tones". The 10K's generally show the colors as they are which is why they are describes as a yellowish bulb.

When I say crisp, cool white I am actually talking about a bulb that has enough blue in it to make the earth tones of the rock and substrate actually look like they are pure, crisp white.
So, while a 10K may be much closer to making the tanks colors look more like they really do, more natural, I prefer a bulb with more blue to make those warmer earth tones look pure white. But I also like to have the slight blue tint.

The Iwasaki 250 watt 14000K DE, Ushio 250 watt DE 20000K+ (after burn in) are more the bulbs that I prefer. My favorite though is the Iwasaki 50000K 150 watt DE. But it is only available in 150 watt. This lamp has a good deal of blue but also quite a bit of actinic energy. It;s a unique color but the actinic and fiji purple T5's still compliment it well.

Most 10K halides have more of an actinic spike, not the big blue spike of the 20Ks and some 14K's like the Phoenix but also spikes up higher in the warmer spectrums. These can be complimented well with blue T5's. Plus they are higher par which is good but it also takes more flourescent suplementation to color them up because they are brighter.

I am experimenting with some SE bulbs now as well. 175 watt Uship 20K and 150 watt Iwasaki 50000K. The ushio reminds me a lot of the 250 watt DE version before burn in when it was a little too blue for my tastes. But it doesnt have much par so the two overdriven T5's do fine masking some of that blue. I think that after burn in this bulb will look very much like the 350 watt DE version and will be whiter after burn in.
The iwasaki right now isnt nearly as blue as the DE version. It is a cool white but almost allows some of the earth tones show. The Iwasakis are strange though, the DE version 50000K shifted tp a signifigantly bluer/actinic during and after burn in. I am thinking that the SE version will do the same but I dont think it will end up being as blue/actinic looking. But it also has good par for a 150 watt, brighter than the DE version and I ran the DE on an M81, the se version is on an electronic and I am using a glass lens in the fixture and it is still quite a bit brighter.
It is on a combo 150/175 watt ballast and I may try it on a ballast labeled only for 150 watt to see if it is bluer with a little less juice.

Sorry for the book ... I think our perceptions are signifgantly different and our preferences in bulbs/colors are different as well. But my opinions on bulbs / colors are just that, my opinions.

06/15/2008, 11:14 AM
well let me say i have the 10k ushios as they came free with my pendents, and i do think they are the natural look that you described.
Your description on the crisp cool white light making substrate look pure, crisp white, Is exactly what im after.
I may also changed out the Actinnic+ T5's i will use for supplements in a few months.

Do you know how the ushio 14k compares to the Iwaski 14k?

Im considering both of those bulbs as well as the 14.5k megachrome G-man.

06/15/2008, 03:44 PM
Ushio and Giesemann are similiar, the Giesemann has higher par.
The Iwasaki is whiter. They are a very crisp, cool whiter with a very slight blue tint on M80 ballast. Slightly bluer on electronic. They definitely give the crisp pure white appearance to the rock and substrate.

Some describe the Ushio and Giesemann as having a slight yellowish appearance, others perceive them as white. Coming from the 10K's they would certianly appear whiter than your ushios. 4 T5's should allow you to color them up the way you want to, especially overdriven T5s.

06/16/2008, 07:35 AM
thanks DarG
I have M80 Bluewave 7 ballasts so it sounds like those 3 blulbs are what im after.
My tank is a new sps tank w/ just a few lps & softies in one area.
Im really wanting those sps colors to be rich & really pop (blues, greens, pinks, reds) you know a crayola box exploded in your tank :):lol:
Anyway, do you think these will help accomodate this?
assuming water quality is in check as well.

06/16/2008, 08:37 AM
The Bluewave ballasts are a great choice. M80 and M81 BlueWave VII's are all I use on my 250 and 150 watt DE's respectively. PFO ballasts have the same internal transformer so they also are great choice.

I think that you can color up the corals very nicely with either the Iwasaski or Ushio or Giesemann 14K/14.5K
The Iwasaki is cooler/whiter so keep that in mind. But the key is your 4 overdrive T5's. You will be able to supplement any three of those halides to achieve look you are happy with and compliements the corals colors.
My current tank is not stocked yet with corals and I am still experimenting with lighting on it some so I cant give you precise opinions on how a certain coral looks. Ive had a reef in some form for near 15 years prior to this last tank swap though. I still have a good idea on how things will look based on how the lighting colors up the substate and rock and especially the different corraline algaes. Confident enough to say that you will be golden with the 4 T5's and one of those bulbs. 4 overdriven T5's gives alot of supplemental color options. I've havent considered having only the two a hinderance to what Im looking to do so I could not see you being anything but golden with 4 T5's. You'll be good to go without even having to be very selective with your halides. But I think your 3 choices are pretty good ones because you are basically starting out with a white look that you can warm up with the T5's or blue up with the T5's or just add a buch of actinic to, whichever you want.. You wont have to cover up a yellow look if you went with a lower K bulb with stringer yellow tint, and you wont have to warm up a super blue look like you get with one of the very blue halides. The halides you are looking at will basically provide you with a crisp white with no or little yellow or no or little blue. Bascially a neutral starting point for the T5 supplementation. Thats the way I look at it and it works for me. I just go with a slight bit more blue bbecause I have the 2 T5's , not 4. But I like the 250 watt Iwasaki 14K very much and get a great look with it with my two overdriven T5's. In the end, it is probably the bulb I will end up using when all is said and done.

06/16/2008, 10:13 AM
thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts.
i'll definetly be choosing one of the 3 choices we talked about. thanks again