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Re: [APD] Help With My New Tank!! -- or - Bravely into the Shadows

Shalom Levytam <shalominc at yahoo_com> wrote:

Thanks everyone for your replies.  Its been really

I went to the home depot today and realized that these
energy saving bulbs they sell are actually florescant
tubes bent into a compact shape.  (Don't know why I
didn't realize this before)

Can anyone comment on the suitability of using these

Never use the "twisty" ones as they seem to have very poor output and short life in aquarium hoods. They also have major light loss due to restrike. [Is that what causes them to turn black so fast?]

Likewise, the ones with two or three sets of "U"-tubes have major restrike losses and are impossible to install in any really efficient reflector.

The ones with a single "U"-tube are excellent and can be used with reflectors like those of AH Supply with great results.

Metal Halides just seem too expensive right
now.  I was thinking of using numerous of these
compact florescant bulbs inside a socket which
directed their light downwards instead of out to all

See the AH Supply web site for all you need to know on this subject.


How many watts total would I need? Note: tank is 24 high.

Height has virtually nothing to do with the Watts you need. Deep tanks only absorb a few percent more light than shallow ones. It is plant shading and surface area (the footprint) that are the dominant things determining your light needs, in almost all cases. Spillover is eliminated if you mount them close to the surface of the water.

Unless your glass is filthy on the inside, light is totally reflected downward until it hits something to either absorb it or reflect it out of the tank. It is like a big light pipe. Surface ripples and glass imperfections allow a little to escape, but notice how dim the light is on the stand or table holding the tank, compared to the substrate just inside the glass.

The small power compact tubes are T5, which makes them more efficient than T8s (1" diameter tube) and particularly the fat T12s we used to always use. With a good reflector design, they can provide about 1.5X as much light as a normal fluorescent, so plan your Wattage accordingly.

For lower cost, avoid the ones with a ballast base and screw-in design. Get external ballasts like the Workhorses provided by AH and mount them away from the lamp heat for decent lifetime. That also means the ballast heat can be kept out of the tank.


Wright Huntley - Rt. 001 Box K36, Bishop CA 93514 - whuntley at verizon_net
                      760 872-3995

"The direct use of force is so poor a solution to the problem of limited resources and diverse ends that it is rarely employed save by small children and great nations." -- David D. Friedman, Law's Order.

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