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i have a 48" Aqueon Freshwater T5 light with 2 28watt bulbs. One is a colormax and the other a 6,700K. The replacement bulbs run about $20 to $25 at local fish stores. Online i have found T5 replacement bulbs that are 54watt HO (high output) for around $10 per bulb with free shipping. I was wondering if these bulbs will light and last in my fixture. or should i just buy the 28 watt bulbs at my local fish store.
 

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from what i looked around at, it looks like they should. i didnt have an answer off hand so i check around and didnt see any reason they wouldnt work.
in any case, i would always go with the recommended wattage that the lighting fixture recommends to avoid anything like fires. the problem with using higher outputs in lower rated fixtures is it might not get the watts its said to put out. much like plugging in a 12 amp device into a 10 amp circuit. the fuse will pop. and if you replace to fuse with a higher rated one it might damage the actual wiring.

basically what im getting at is, it should work. but it might be pointless. i would recommend to use what the manufacturer says to.
 

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Because the ballast is only made to push 2 28 w bulbs, it will just under power your 54w bulbs to the point they might not fire... you would need to replace the ballast. As central said, they are protected typically so... you might fry a ballast

You can however overdrive some bulbs (putting two 28 w in a 54w fixture) with no ill effects.... somewhere around the DIY forum, i did a topic called "Operation Overdrive" that talks about it.
 
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