Which T8 bulbs to buy?

Subject: Which T8 bulbs to buy?

> I recently got four electronic balasts (for $24.95 each) that ca
> inch, 36 inch, or 24 inch T8 bulbs.  I had hoped to find plant b
> inch and 24 inch lengths, such as gro and sho or gro-lux in the 
> but the electrical supply companies in Jackson, MS have not been
> find any in their catalogs.  Somewhat of a bummer after all the 
> recently in this mailing list about how the T8 bulbs are better.
> anybody know of a manufacturer who makes T8 plant bulbs?  If not
> bulbs are people using?

The bulbs I use are GE's SPX-50's  these are 48" full spectrum 
bulbs, 5000K, made with rare earth phosphors.  They are equivalent 
to the Philips Ultralumes.  Philips also makes a comparable t-8 
bulb, but I don't have the serial number.  If you can't find the 
GE's, let me know, and I'll get the Philips number for you from my 
distributor.  The 48" SPX-50's cost me $5 each.  

I, personally, get better growth from my plants from full spectrum 
bulbs than from gro-bulbs, and I really hate the pink cast 
gro-bulbs give to the tank.

I'm not sure what is available in the shorter lengths, but I do 
know that the selection is much more limited.  My lighting 
supplier (a fellow aquatic gardener) uses a variety of energy 
efficient flourescent bulbs over his smaller tanks, and seems to 
get reasonable growth, at least with moderate light plants.  These 
bulbs seem to mostly be in the range of 2800-4100K, and I have no 
idea what the spectral curve looks like.  I'm not sure these bulbs 
would be satisfactory in a tank meant for high light fast growth 
plants, but for those content with more moderate growth, they 
appear to be more than adequate.

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Assoc.
Boston, MA