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Re: Good VHO, Good boy

I have excellent results with VHO and the Icecap 660.

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).

I have no idea if this is the case, but I am certain someone more
knowledgeable can address how this works.  I have heard they are more
"efficeint" than NO bulbs.

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).

On some of the newsgroups I have heard rumblings that these were the
orginal claims of the manufacturers and that while they are better at
producing more lumens it is not as dramatic as first claimed.

3.  VHO ballasts are very unreliable compared with PC units and will not
last as long.

I have had mine running for 3 years without a single problem.  Also I
worked in a store that ran them for several years as well with no

4.  VHO tubes last 6 months on average (although Champion Lighting says
they last 12 months) versus at least 14 months for PC's.

When money is tight I let the bulbs go over 2 years and when I replaced
them I noticed both an increase in intensity and much "bluer/whiter" light
than the previous which was yellowish.  This was extreme and now I replace
at about 9 months in shifts, thus haven't noticed any problems.  With the
very old bulbs you can visibly see a difference and I was having some
problems with my plants, but again this was way too long.

I don't have the PC, but in a shop they seemed even brighter than the MH
system across the asile, something the shop owner also noted.  They sound
like a good system.

Either way I think you will be getting some great lighting on the tank.
Check into bulb prices in the area and their avaibility, this may also
help you decide.

Good luck
o    Mike Nielsen                                                        u 
m    Department of Geography         THE OPTIMIST BELIEVES WE LIVE IN    ? 
a    Harvill Bldg Box #2             THE BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS;    w
r    Tucson, AZ 85721                THE PESSIMIST FEARS THIS IS SO      h 
e    mnielsen at u_arizona.edu