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RE: screw in cf bulbs

I use them for my 10 and 20 gal. tanks and I find them to be great.  I started using them because the 10gal. setup from Petsmart came with an incandescant light fixture.  As it turns out this is better than if I got a regular flourescent lid which I would have to convert to CF AND buy the bulbs.  This way I just bought screw in CF bulbs.  For the 20gal. I came across some old desk lamps and a thick piece of glass that I use as a lid.  The lamps just sit on top of the lid.

The biggest problem is that the ones for sale at Home Depot are either cool white or warm white bulbs.  Both have a less than ideal light spectrum.  The warm whites gave a very yellow cast to the tank (didn't use cool whites but I've heard that color is problematic too).  Because I couldn't stand the color in the tank I ended up buying bulbs on line from buylighting.com.  Shipping was cheap and they arrived in less than a week after I ordered them.  Get bulbs in the 5000k-6500k range.  The 20watts were about 10 dollars each and the 42watts were about 15 dollars, a little more than regular bulbs but worth it for the color it gives off.

For the 10 gal I use 20 watt screw in CFs because the fixture is rated for 25 watt bulbs or less and this was the closest I could get with these bulbs.  The problem is they are pretty wide so I had to bend my reflector out some to get it to fit.  For the 20gal. I use 42 watt bulbs because they are the biggest I could find in the correct color spectrum.

Because the bulbs are essentially globes of light (like an incandescant) you won't get as even of a light distribution as with regular flourescents (or standard CF's).  But I have my plants arranged so that the high light plants are closest to the source of the light.  The difference in brightness across the tank is minor and I actually enjoy it as it looks a bit more natural (almost as though an overhanging tree was letting full sun through in some areas and providing light shade in others.  Most importantly the growth rate on my plants is quite rapid (I also fertilize and add CO2), so I'm glad I'm using them!



Date: Sun, 1 Dec 2002 14:01:33 EST
From: BErney1014 at aol_com
Subject: screw in cf bulbs

Has anyone found self ballasted screw in cf bulbs useful in small plant 
tanks? If so, what bulb works?
much appreciated