Re: Compact fluorescents, T-8's, etc

I'm bouncing this to APD, 'cause it might be useful.

> Erik,
> I was reading the stuff in the Krib about compact fluorescents and
> was attempting to set up a new 10 gallon tank that would grow mainly
> Glossostigma and Lilaeposis.  These need extremely bright light to 
> grow effectively, so I was thinking about using the CF lights.  

Definitely something I'd recommend these days.  (Hey, is EVERYONE in the
country but me growing Glossostigma now?!)

> Did you ever manage to set up your small planted tank?  

Yes!  It's at work, though, and has turned into a low-maintanence tank for
dwarf cichlids.

> Could you 
> give me the specifics of the tank and of the lighting that you 
> decided to use? 

I eventually found a 13W CF (Sylvania Dulux-5000K; the output spectral
curves of these lights can be found on the Krib under the Lighting
section), which a local fish store sold me for $30 (tube, fixture, and
ballast).  I added this to my existing hood, which had a single 18" normal
fluo tube.  Allegedly, you can get actinics in CF, which might be fun to
mix in one per two or three 5000K tubes.

> I'd appreciate any info on how expensive the stuff
> is for compact fluorescent ballasts/tubes/etc and how you made your
> hood.  Also, although a lot of the netters say "just go to Grainger", 
> don't they only sell to businesses?

Good timing on the question.  Last week one of my 48" hoods blew out and I
decided to replace it with T-8 fluorescents, so I called up local
industrial/commercial lighting vendors until I got one who'd sell me
things.  The first store was willing until I said it was for fish tanks,
at which point they said they only sell aquarium lighting to distributors
(probably so it can be marked up 300%).  The place I finally got a hold of
sold me 5000K T-8's for $6.50 a pop, plus 20 for the ballast (they had a
4-lamp ballast for $24 which I may go back for soon).  It took me only a
few minutes to retrofit my shop light fixture (one with the heavy tar
ballast) with the new ballast & away I went (and never back will I go,
what a difference!!!).  But this is all a digression; as I was leaving, I
asked, just for the heck of it, about CF's, and ended up walking out of
there with 13W bulbs for $3.50 each, the fixture for a buck, and the
ballasts for $2.50 (the ballasts are the SAME as the ones you use for
18"-24" tubes!).  Add it up, it's a lot less than $30.  So I guess I'm
saying you can probably do nearly as good (and possibly better)  than
Grainger by shopping locally, and you can (as expected) do much better
than fish stores.

OK, you also asked about how I built the hood.  This one happened to be
very thin (maybe 2 inches clearance between the wood and the top of the
tank).  I will never do this again!  4 inch clearance on all hoods from
now on!  For one thing, it gets pretty hot, even though I have a large
hole cut out in the back of the hood.  For another thing, I don't think I
have the best reflector for it.  I'm finding for my other small tanks
(I've set up 3 or so of them in the last couple months), white vinyl rain
gutter makes a great strip hood.  Given adequate ventilation, one might be
able to set up 2 13W CF's in such a hood (make sure that the ballast is
OUTSIDE the hood, though... lots of heat here.  Actually, I'd ask the
commercial place if I can get a remote electronic ballast for multiple
CF bulbs).

Hope this has helped!

     - Erik

Erik D. Olson					         amazingly, at home
eriko at wrq_com