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Re: T8s for a 55 (was Osram bulbs)

Stephen Boulet at stepheb at comm_mot.com wrote:

> Anyway, I think I'll stick with T8s, but I'd like to get some recommendations
> for my 55
> gallon for medium to high light plants.
> Questions:
> 1) Should I use 3 or 4 bulbs? (I was thinking of using 4 bulbs with two
> ballasts, each
> on a separate timer).
> 2) Can anyone recommend some bulbs they've had good luck with that would be
> great for
> plants and have a light balance that would be pleasing to the eye? I realize
> that some
> combination might be my best bet.
> 3) Would any ballast with a power factor > 1 or 1.1 be fine?

I'd go with four T8 lamps. Try GE SPX 41s or SPX50s, or Philips TL850 or
TL950s. Mix them if you want, but it's not really necessary.

No need for two ballasts, just get a four-lamp ballast. I don't think you
need a ballast factor of 1.0 or greater, either. The Motorola N.O. ballast I
use has a factor of 0.875. They make H.O. ballasts with factors of 1.25 or
so, but it's overkill IMO. The N.O. ballasts with four 32-watt T8 lamps will
put out as much as four 40-watt T12s (about 2.9 watts/gal on your 55g).

I have the SPX41s becuase my tank is 36" and the SPX50s (and TL850/950s) are
hard to find in that size. My plants do great, and I find the color
rendering to be fairly natural (a bit on the yellow side, but not too bad).

Dan Dixon