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T5 wattage

Question about T5's:
LFS was selling some 18" T5 bulbs w/ disposable ballasts for $20 per 13W
bulb and ballast. The problem was that even though each bulb was marked 13W,
proprietor maintained that wattage was equivalent to that of a 55W compact
fluorescent and that two 13W T5's would suffice for a 29 gallon tank. Does
anyone have any insight as to what he may have been talking about?