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Power Compacts... two thumbs up!

> Peter,

Having owned a set of power compacts, I can HIGHLY recommend them. I have two
bulbs over my 75 gallon tank. The tank is built into a wall and the lights are
mounted about 18 inches above the tank. The light is very, very bright and the
color rendition is very "natural". While I'll have to defer to the experts on
quantitative differences between VHO and Power Compacts, from a purely subjective
pov, I would go with the PCs.


> I am in the process of setting up a 125gal 6' x 2'D x 18"W tank for a
> few elderly medium size discus and an assorment of  other fish (they are
> currrently co-exixting in a 55 gal tank).
> I want to focus on plants, and to 'get the lighting right'.
> A.  I am prepared to pay for a VHO or PowerCompact setup although I'm
> suffering from sticker shock, but the more I try to compare the two the
> more confused I become.  If anyone can advise me on the following (and
> anything else I should know), I'll be very grateful.  Some of what I've
> been told is:
> 1.  VHO (Ice Cap) ballasts use only   50% of their rated electricity
> comumption, vs. PC.  So a 420 watt VHO system will consume around 210
> watts of electricity.  (PC vendors however say that PC's cost less to
> run than VHO's of the same wattage).
> 2.  However, a PC system gives out twice the light (lumens) of a VHO.
> (Having just  read the 'comments on lumens' in the latest Digest this
> appears to be completely irrelevant though).
> 3.  VHO ballasts are very unreliable compared with PC units and will not
> last as long.
> 4.  VHO tubes last 6 months on average (although Champion Lighting says
> they last 12 months) versus at least 14 months for PC's.
> 5.  I need 3 watts per gallon for a plant tank = 375 watts at least.
> Any confirmation or otherwise of the above will be a great help.
> B.  I also understand that most plants will not thrive at Discus
> temperatures of 82 degrees plus.  Can anyone advise what plants will be
> successful - I know some Amazon Swords will but I'm not sure about other
> plants.
> Thanks
> Peter