Thanks for all the suggestions!
JDowns - Why the strong preference for T5 HO over PC? Do you think the light penetrates the depth of the tank better?
Well without measuring with a meter for myself or seen a 1 v1 comparasion, visually the HO T5 puts out more light. Common sense would dictate this to be true. Since the PC has a bend the inside edge restrikes on itself rather than a reflector down into the tank. A T5 with individual reflectors will reflect more light into the tank. As far as depth penetration I cannot answer that, since I have not measured it or seen any data on it. Maybe someone else who has can answer that for you. But I can say that 240w will grow glosso, hairgrass, blyxa (not really a high light tough one), ranunculus, low to the ground. My lights are hung so the light is 6.5 inches from the top of the tank. There is an additional 20.5 inches from the top of the tank to the foreground substrate.
Someone please correct me here if this is wrong:
A typical 65w PC produces 4000 lumens and a 54w HO T5 produces 5000 lumens, each apprx respectively. So a PC produces 61.5 lumens per watt while the HO T5 produces 92.6 lumens per watt. So you are producing more light per watt with the HO T5, resulting in less heat, less electricity usage, and longer bulb life.
Now remember a good reflector will make or break the effeciency of the bulb. HO T5's without quality individual reflectors would be a stark difference to HO T5's with quality individual reflectors.
I want to state again that I have had lights from AH Supply and cannot find one negative thing to say about thier lighting. I think the amount of referrels across the net speaks volumes about their service and product. To me it came down to newer technology that in the end was most effecient and cheaper. If AH Supply would have had HO T5's I would have purchased from them reguardless of the cost difference (well to an extent).
I am very pleased though with the CA fixture and if I had to do it again I would order another fixture from them but with less light. Although the ballasts used are nice in the fact that if you unplug one bulb the series do not shut off, so you do have options to the amount of light used.
My current light cycle is as follows. 8am - 11am 160w, 11am - 4pm 320w, 4pm - 6pm 160w.
Maybe I'll run down to the camera shop and rent a par meter, or since Tom has posted reasonably priced models I should buy one and my local club would then have access to a meter.