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Halide & T5 Bulb Comparison

Halide & T5 Bulb Comparison



T5 Lighting


Halide Lighting

Visual Colour output


Good option to get the desired visual output you require. Many colour variations available.


Mainly for higher output rather than colour. Slight differences between different colour temperatures but on their own it can be difficult to get the desired visual colour you require.

How often should they be replaced?


T5 fluorescents should be changed every 6-8 months depending on the average daily usage.


Halides should be changed every 8-10 months depending on the average daily usage.

Replacement Cost


eg. 4ft tank running 6 x 54w t5 tubes.
RRP £11.99-£27.99 per tube. Replacements cost £72-£167.94 depending on brand


eg. 4ft tank running 2 x 54w T5 tubes + 2 x 150w Halides
RRP £11.99-£27.99 per tube.
RRP £12.99-£45.99 per Halide
T5 replacements cost £24-£56
Halide replacements cost £26-£90 +
Depending on Brand

Running Cost per day. Average 10 hours per day. Based on 14p/kwh


6x54w x 10 hours = £0.45p per day.
Usually the cheapest option of the 2. Depending on the number of tubes you are running.


2x54w x 10 hours + 2x150w x 10 hours = £0.57p per day.
Halides in general cost more to run than the average T5 setup

Pendant Cost


This can vary dramatically. using the example above you can pay between £200 and £800.


This can vary dramatically. using the example above you can pay between £350 and £900. The original outlay is usually slightly higher than the a T5 setup.

Running Temperature


Depending if you have active cooling or not, T5 tubes can run between 40-80 degrees. They are warm to the touch but dont pass much heat into your aquarium.


Depending if you have active cooling or not, halides can run at very high temperature. This heat will be transferred to your water therefore you need to closely monitor the temperature of your water.

Shimmering Effect


No shimmering effect is achieved with running T5 tubes on their own as the light source doesn’t come from a single point, it is spread accross the length of the tube.


A shimmering effect is easily achieved from halides due to the light source coming from a single focused point.

Wasted Light Spectrum


The spectrum of a T5 tube can be controlled easier during manufacturing therefore the spectrum can be made up of useful light rather than the parts of the spectrum which wasted energy.


The spectrum of a halide bulb is harder to control/tweak during manufacture therefore the spectrum may appear bring to the human eye but it may contain some parts of the spectrum which are useless for growth.



A high PAR can be obtained using a mixture of T5 tubes, allowing you to keep almost any corals and plants. The PAR of a T5 tube is usually made up of useful light wavelengths.


A halide can give you a high PAR seeping down in your tank due to the increased output/ intensity however some of the light which makes up the increased PAR can be within the useless visual wavelength range therefore the higher PAR doesnt always mean it is better for your growth.

Overall Appearance


Visually T5 tubes may not appear as bright as a halide bulb but a nice overall colour appearance can be obtained quite easily by mixing and matching the tube colours.


A halide may appear brighter for your tank however the desired visual colour can be quite difficult to achieve.

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