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Re: Plant & Aquarium Bulbs

Are all the so called "Plant &Aquarium" Bulbs you can get from Home depot, 
Walmart, etc in the 3400K range?  If so, why and is that really the best for 
plants and fish?

I can't speak for every single brand in the world, but GE plant & aquarium 
tubes are in the 4800k range, but of course fluorescents don't supply a 
continuous spectrum (which doesn't really seem to affect plants all that much).  
Photographers, always searching for cheap sources of copious quantities of light, 
have built "white boxes" with banks of fluorescent lights, and have 
successfully used plant tubes for color photography, where color balance is critical for 
proper color rendition.  For color negative film, the results are slightly 
"warm," and can be corrected with a touch of blue filtration to give very 
acceptable results.  Certainly they are more desirable than Cool White, which has 
gaps in its spectrum and which renders photographic subjects with a greenish tint 
that is difficult to filter out.  Other GE tubes, such as the GE Chroma 50 
("Sunshine" tube) give a very acceptable 5000k light output.  As for plants, I 
know better than to make a definitive statement here, but I think you'll find 
that plant tubes will supply a very acceptable quality of light for aquarium 
plants, albeit with a slightly pinkish-violet tinge to it.  I have had great 
success with the Chroma 50 for aquarium plants.  To my eye (but not necessarily 
to someone else's eye), it's a more neutral white light that plants seem to 
love.  Of course, these comments do not include comparisons with PC lighting, 
which is, IMHO, much more suitable.  But if you've got a shop light over your 
tank and don't want to spend $$$ upgrading, then the GE Chroma 50 or the GE plant 
tubes should suit your purposes.  They have mine.  YMMV.

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