Re: UGF and reflecting tubes


I am one of the happy ugf users.  Of course I only raise simple plants
and do not succeed with the wide variety that George Booth can do. 
But I am happy and my water is crystal clear.   If you go with a ugf
monitor the pH, as the sign of an effective ugf is falling pH.  With
many cichlids and tetras this is fine, but there is a limit (say
6.0-6.3 or so).  You do not want the pH to drop forever.  When it gets
too low, it is time for a water change.  I am in an area with very
soft water (less than 50ppm TDS!) so I can add NaHCO3 some to increase
the kH before I start changing water.  Remember, water changes mean
you have to restore the trace elements if your water is deficient. 
The best start is with a data sheet (water analysis history) from your
water co.

Re: Reflecting tubes

My cut on this is to put the time and money into your light fixture. 
That way you reap the benefit not only for the next tube, but all
subsequent ones.  Get some aluminized mylar and line your reflector
with it.  Even better, try to make a reflector like this (excuse
terrible ascii art):

   __     ___
  /  \   /   \
 /    \ /     \
/      |        \
|      O         |
|                 |

The O is the bulb, and you have a McDonald's effect reflector, double
I have though a lot about the right shape and I think this is it. 

Dave Gomberg, Experimenta      San Francisco CA USA   gomberg at wcf_com