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Re: Ballast Confusion

>I currently have a CustomSeaLife 32watt retrofit (10000K, PC) for my
>Eclipse 12 FW planted tank with yeast CO2.  I am going to have to
>replace the bulb shortly and have been considering getting the 6700K
>28watt bulb instead and have two questions:  will my Electro-Lite
>ballast still work for 28 watts and does it really make a difference to
>my plants to have 10000K versus 6700K?

Hmm. Looks like nobody answered this so I'll give it a shot...

The ballast really doesn't have anything to do with the color temperature
(xxxxK). The color temp is controlled by the blend of and type of phosphors
used in the coating in the flourescent tube -- the phosphors determine the
spectrum and color temp of the tube.

10000K is typically considered too high for planted tanks, although I know
there are some that use it. This temp is usually used on reef tanks to
eliminate the need for supplemental actinic (deep blue spectrum) lighting
that the corals would otherwise require. For plants a *lower* temp (well,
lower than 10000K :-) is usually better. People seem to have good luck with
color temperatures in the range of about 5000K to 6700K. I would say
anything around there is OK and is mostly a matter of personal preferance.
I use 6700K in my larger tanks, and 5000K in my little grow-out and
hospital tanks.

As for your ballast being able to run both 32w and 28w tubes, I suspect
there is a good chance that it can BUT you will need to check it's ratings
to be sure. If the ratings aren't listed on the ballast itself (most CF
ballasts state a range of acceptable wattages), you should be able to get
the model number and look that up either on the manufacturer's web site or
in a catalog at a lighting or electrical distributor.


Waveform Technology
UNIX Systems Administrator