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Looking for feedback on 24" T8 bulb choice
This got a bit long, sorry about that. Many thanks to anyone with the
patience to plow through it!
I have an Eclipse 3 hood on a 37g tall tank. This is a rotten setup for
plants, I know... but I didn't know that over a year ago when I bought the
thing. Live and learn. The substrate is fine river gravel with no
plant-friendly additions. Like I said, a rotten setup, but the good news is
my expectations are low! I just want enough light to grow the easiest, most
With the stock bulbs (24" T8 17W x2) putting out 34W of light, I have been
unable to keep even java moss alive in this tank. (man, that's SAD!) I did
a lot of reading tonight, and it sounds like I might get more useable light
down into the tank if I replace the stock Marineland 17W bulbs with some
more high-quality T8s. I'd really appreciate some kind of reality check on
my research and conclusions.
Item learned #1:
Not all T8 bulbs are the same; you can get a T8 SIZED bulb that fits a T8
fixture but it may not be made to work with a true T8 electronic ballast;
this will lead to less efficient light production.
For my Eclipse hood it is best to buy proper T8-spec bulbs of no more than
18W, even though I can fit an easy-to-find T8 sized 24" 20W bulb into the
Item learned #2:
From searching this archive I found some posts that indicated that the Zoo
Med bulbs are "true" T8s and are designed to work best with a T8 electronic
ballast. (I have been unable to find out if this is true for ANY other 24"
T8 bulbs; I see a LOT of 24" T8 20W bulbs, but that's it.)
A pair of Zoo Med Flora Sun bulbs should be an improvement on my stock
bulbs, and better than a pair of 24" 20W bulbs too, since the 20W jobs
aren't tuned for my ballast.
(Here's a link to the Zoo Med bulb info: http://www.zoomed.com/html/lites.html)
Am I on track so far?
My questions are these:
1. Am I just crazy to think I can grow ANYTHING in a 37g tall tank with 36W
of light on it? Should I just give up this bulb trip and start trying to
add more watts?
2. Are the Zoo Med plant bulbs in fact any good? I saw lots of early praise
for them but no personal experience posts.
3. Assuming the bulbs are going to be an improvement on my stock lighting
situation, should I get a pair of Flora-Suns, or perhaps one Flora-Sun and
one Ultra-Sun to balance out the colors better? Balance to the eye I mean,
I know the plants would rather have 2 plant bulbs... question is, is it a
4. Are there any specs out there for wattage/lumens/CRI for the Zoo Med
bulbs? They don't even list wattage on their site which makes me wonder.
MANY thanks for any advice. I'm interested in other bulb options too, of
course. Or cheap ways to add a 3rd bulb to the Eclipse 3.
Matt Staroscik * KF6IYW * mstaroscik at home_com * http://wrongcrowd.com