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Re:George going to the bright side

> Since our tank is 60" long (150 cm), it sounds like we would want 4 36/40/55
> kits. Two 22" reflectors could be centered nicely in both the front and in
> the back halves of the hood.

Does this tank have an overflow at one end or both ends? I believe that the
kits are for one reflector:one bulb ratio (for 4 reflectors)therefore you
can stagger the lights to cover both ends while having a small amount of
overlap in the middle of each half. This overlap will give you two bright

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 The rear lights you can keep away from the overflow and towards the center
on the back and the front row can come out to each front corner edge with a
gap in the middle(or you add a 13watt or another 55watt there for extra
light but you likely will not need it unless you like Riccia foregrounds
etc). That extra light makes a nice night viewing source. Or you can bring
the two forward lamps closer together but not as far as the rear lamps.
60 inches will not make to much difference though.

 It looks like the 55w bulbs have the best color
> choices. But given the "better efficiency" of CF (true?) and the wonderful
> reflectors AH Supply touts, I'm wondering if 220 watts may cause us trouble.

I'd say you'll get almost double the lighting. The color of the 6700's is
nice and grows *everything* well. **Getting use to the increase of nutrient
use and CO2 consumption will be the real transition. Watch things closely
for the first month, prepare to prune/test. I'd go with 5400K in the rear
and 6700K in front. Of course you can play with it from there since you can
just switch them around to see what you like best:)

> We have been very content with 160 watts of "better" bulbs (Ultra TriLux and
> Triton). 

Me too. Triton is my fav T-12.

Any thoughts on how 220 watts from AH Supply kits would compare to
> 160 watts of Ultra Tri-Lux/Triton light with OK reflectors?  Mea culpa, I
> was ignoring the lighting threads until just recently.

2x the light I'd say off the top. Don't feel too bad. My plants are getting
tanned at over twice that amount of light. It takes some getting use too for
us but the plants seem to love it.

Try Buylights.com as a noted APD'er noted not too long ago:)
16.50$ for 55w 5400K bulbs. Not too bad.
It's more than the T-8's  but 12-20$ more for a once every 3-4 years useable
life ain't too much to spend:)
FWIW, I have every had a PC bulb burn out yet on any plant tank. Well into
the 4 year on one unit and my 20 gallon(2x55watt) is around 3 years.
I like the 6700K bulbs but I know the mix of 5400-6700K is a very nice look
plus great for the plants.

I think a great thing about the PC's also is the weight. Building hoods out
of light material makes getting into and out of tanks a snap. Making that
chore easy should be a primary concern for anyone into aquatic plants as we
do need some pruning every now and then:). I don't like bulk hindering me or
preventing access. The PC's are super for this without going to an open top
tank which reigns supreme for access. There are some little plastic holders
sold by JBJ for this type of open top tank set up as well. I'm thinking
about trying those out.
This issue is worth the extra money for sure. Those nice reflectors are
super too.
You don't get those reflectors with T-8's although you could buy them but it
would double your cost for those.
I like T-8's and for the budget minded they are hard to beat. And you also
have the reflectors already so it wouldn't cost as much but brighter can be
fun too. Hard call on this but I'd lean to the PC's. You are totally into
plants after all:) May as well go first class:)
Tom Barr