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T-8 lighting

>>In the aquarium specialty market we've
had 40 watt T-8 bulbs for a long

>Yes for $20 or more per tube.  No

I first started using GEspx50 T8 lamps
with high light output ballasts about 2
years ago. I started out with 4 lamps in
a 90 gallon tank and then later added 2
more Philips 850s. So far I have not
changed any lamps and I have not noticed
a decrease in plant growth on the
contrary things seem to grow better than
ever. These lamps maintain over 90% of
their initial lumen rating over the
rated life of the lamp so as long as
their spectrum doesn't shift I think I
should be able to use them until
failure. The rating is 24,000 hours for
a ten hour start. However, I use instant
start ballasts so this reduces the lamp
life to about 18,000 hours and I also
use high light output ballasts and
supposedly this will further reduce lamp
life to about 15000 hours. Therefore I
expect that my lamps could last as long
as 4 years. The cost of the lamps is
under $6 Canadian so my yearly cost
could be  about $9 Canadian. The yearly
hydro cost of operating this fixture is
about $70 Canadian per year. I have
heard of people changing 4 $30 lamps
twice a year. I could operate three
fixtures including the electricity for
that price. So just how much better can
aquarium specialty lamps be?