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T5s, grow light recommendations


Well-Known Member
I bought my T5s from Lee Valley Tools. They were the Sunblasters with the Nanotech reflectors. They have stopped selling the fixtures, although they appear to still be used in their plant stands. I had to really look around for replacement tubes. I did find them in Halifax at a specialty lighting store. If I wanted something other than what they had in stock, I would have needed to buy in bulk. I forget exactly how many, but it was more than I would use in my lifetime.

Except for a mini greenhouse (plant tray, dome, light) our go-to gardening center (Halifax Seed) no longer carries any florescent lighting.

Home Depot only carries one or two types of T5HO bulbs in each size.

The Sunblaster 48" T5HO lights only put out 5022 Lumens when new. They consume 54 watts. Their luminous efficiency is 93L/W, or about half that of the LEDs on the market today. The five year cost of ownership for the T5HOs is more than double that of LED lighting.

I have one of the 16 fixtures that I originally bought left. I use it in the tent with my 'blurple,' to take pictures of my plants for posting here.
Hi Old Salt.
The local hydro store (not sure if I am allowed to say it's name here) in Sackville NS sells Sunblaster fixtures and bulbs. They always have a bunch if your having trouble finding some. Cheers!

Old Salt

Member of the Month: Apr 2019
Hi Old Salt.
The local hydro store (not sure if I am allowed to say it's name here) in Sackville NS sells Sunblaster fixtures and bulbs. They always have a bunch if your having trouble finding some. Cheers!
Thanks, Steve's is my local supplier. I sold all but one of the Sunblasters I had. That on will go on Kijiji soon, along with my blurple, and a few other supplies I'll never use. Some of it is new, and was acquired for a DWC system I was unable to use due to my well.


Well-Known Member
T5 Fixtures are very cheap on CL, Only issue is I now have 3 different makers :) but they still all
daisy chain together so not a real issue.

BTW Hortilux sells the PowerVeg LINE with full spectrum UVA/UVB and four different spectrum output bulbs

only other spectrum I use is the Far-red 730 from little LED pucks

SIDE NOTE I had originally started with 4 foot T5s running up each side tent pole but after reading
about them I found the best output on a t5 is at the center of the tube so figured if I go 2 foot
fixtures I have twice as many centers using 8 instead of 2, plus I have much better control of were
I can position them



Active Member
Hello, I have 4 T5s that are around 17 inches above my plants. What do you guys think is the best heigh for that? Also its about 48 inches long, how many plants do you think I could have growing comfortably below that?
I've got 2-48"X4 bulb T5HO fixtures and I've had decent results, so I'm happy until I can upgrade to LED. I run the lights 8-10" from the tops of the plants. On the first three crops (autos) I used one fixture for veg and one for bloom. Four plants will fit, but as they grow you might notice better results with only three plants. Once the plants went to flower, I moved them under the bloom set up to finish. In this way I did a continuous grow for three crops. However, on the fourth and last crop, knowing I was going to shut down for a while I moved the fixtures side by side and ran half bloom spectrum and half veg spectrum. This gave me the equivalent of one 8-bulb setup. I was able to fit 4 plants total, otherwise things would have been too crowded. Below is a photo on the left of the last crop and 41 days and how the lights were arranged. The photo on the right was taken about 10 days later, just b/f harvest (I harvested sequentially, as each plant was ready). Total harvest was about 4.7 ounces dry at 50% humidity. Jarred for curing with 62% Broveda, so I suppose the weight might have approached 5 ounces, ounce I brought up the humidity.

Lambs Breath Auto Grow Journal #1 - Day 41 ((1).jpgLambs Breath Auto Grow Journal #1 - Day 58 (5).jpg


I fell in love with the T5's for vegetative growth, as they fit right into my perpetual set up, and saved me a few bucks to boot, from using my old 150hps/70mh set up, security lights, gutted to make grow light, I used for many years.

Sometimes as a moldy oldie, I get set in my ways, and do not seek out new items as these work fine.
Once I saw the T5, the reduced power got to me, I had to buy a pair of 48" x 8 tubes, and some single sticks to hang for sprouting, and houseplant rescue.

HOWEVER, like many of us, I bought the red and blue tubes to increase production. They seemed better, in a way, stems and stalks maybe a bit thicker, but their life was VERY short, as I write my install date on the ends of a tube as I install it.
I took them back to the grow shop, and dude just shrugged his shoulders, like yeah I get it, but to bad. Some only lasted a few months.
I tend to give the finger to that kind of treatment concerning my funds.

So, I get online, and search the industrial light sources, where I would buy HPS/MH parts then build my own light kits back in the day, and I found a box, of Eco brand T5's, HO, 48" for about $3.45 per tube over the $8.00 or $9.00 for the red/blue tubes.

My wife and I sprout seeds, black oil sunflower seeds, takes about 7-8 days to maturity for a 10/20 tray to be finished.
I hung a pair of single stick T5's, under the shelves, for each level and as tubes would burn out, I just swapped them out.

One day, as I go to my room for sprouting, I see a very odd sight, and as I walk toward my shelves, 3 shelves have 3 10/20 trays across it, and from the way I walked in, I could see only on the shelves that I added a cheapo Eco tube, every sunflower sprout, turning and twisting to reach that light!! Some were bending right past a blue tube, to get to that Eco tube!
I was shocked, like getting jolted, kind of shocked, as I had always promoted to folks how good they (red/blue tubes) were.

The box I bought, cost about $75.00 with shipping for 25 tubes.
I started buying LED's maybe 5 years ago now, one was worthless, one is keeping up with the 1k, very nicely.

I apologize to the OP, as I did not answer his question as to how many can be under a T5: IMHO different strains will hold more or less plants due to their structure.
I tend to stuff a early veg area, and then when they go into another tent set on 18/6 or a late veg area, to be boofed up for flower time, I do NOT stuff them in, but give them some space between each plant.
Same with my flower tent, I find maintenance, and plant health to be better when they are not stuffed into that flower tent. Just my way!
Best to ya, sincerely webe

Old Salt

Member of the Month: Apr 2019
I didn't realize my HO T5s could be converted to LEDs. Very interesting! I found a price online: $162 for a 12-pak, which is a whole lot cheaper than a quality LED setup. I'd only need 8 bulbs, but what the heck. Any comments?
Do you have a link?


Active Member

Old Salt

Member of the Month: Apr 2019
It sounds good until you check the details.
T5H0: 5000 lumens, 54W, 92.6 lm/W
LED: 2800 lumens, 22W, 127.25 lm/W

The efficiency is higher, but they produce only 56% of the light that the T5HOs do. You'll need almost twice as many LED tubes as the florescent ones to get 10% more light.


Active Member
Those are LED shop lights and not growing LEDs. I did not check the price to compare those against LED grow tubes like what I find at the local grow shops after I noticed that. You will end up with the same problem people had when trying to grow under the old style T12 fixtures years and years ago. The bulbs back then were designed to provide bright light for humans and while they seemed bright enough for us to work under there was not enough for plants.


Active Member
Another thread just reminded me of another example.

I have a 4 foot T8 fixture over my large aquarium and it is great for lighting that tank up for a couple of hours in the evening. But, if I wanted to have living plants in the tank I would have to switch bulbs to a "grow T8 florescent" or a "grow LED tube"

I didn't realize my HO T5s could be converted to LEDs. Very interesting! I found a price online: $162 for a 12-pak, which is a whole lot cheaper than a quality LED setup. I'd only need 8 bulbs, but what the heck. Any comments?
Think of it more as you are not converting the fixture over to LED but instead being able to replace the florescent bulbs with LED tubes. Have not found anyone saying that I can't do it so I have been replacing one florescent at a time with a LED tube in my 2 foot fixtures. If all goes according to schedule I will have a couple extra dollars so another LED from the store on Tuesday.
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