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Re: 3 foot T-8's???

On Fri, 19 Nov 1999, M.G. wrote:

>> Hello Everyone-
>> With the current thread about T-8 and
T-12's going on, I have a question.
>> I definitely agree that T-8's are the
in-bulb.  Can anyone offer a
>> suggestion of sources for T-8's of
the 3 foot variety (other than pet
>> stores of course).  I am currently
using Aqua-Glo & Sun-Glo in a dual strip
>> hood.  I had to mail order them
(still cheaper than LFS!).  I was just
>> wondering about the availability of 3
foot T-8's which may be available
>> under a non-aquarium product type
name, which I may be able to find at a
>> common nationwide type store?


>First the oft-posted warning must be
given that not all T-8's are the
>same.  The 18" and 3' T-8's sold in pet
stores and hardware stores are the
>traditional old-style tubes just like
T-12's, and will not gain you any of
>the high lumen advantages of modern
T-8's, nor should they be used with
>the electronic T-8 ballasts.  Check the
wattage: fancy 3-foot T-8's are
>rated at 25 watts; traditional 3' bulbs
are rated at 30 watts.

And don't forget that there is no point
in using high efficiency T8s unless you
use a high light output electronic
ballast. Otherwise, you will acually end
up getting a little less  light than
using T12s although they will be more
efficient than T12s. In fact, there are
extended life T12 lamps that use 800
series phosphors that produce more light
than normal T12s and have a 24000 hour
lamp life. Some of the benefits of T8s
but unfortunately the lamps are quite
expensive and less efficient than T8s. I
think though that T8s have the greatest
advantage when used in a 4', 5' (if
there is such a thing) and 8' tanks
because these lamps are inexpensive,
readily available and extra efficient in
these longer sizes. When lighting a 3'
tank T8s are not such hands down
winners. The lamps  are much harder to
obtain and the lamps and the ballast
cost as much or more than 4' systems. I
think an equivilent choice would be 55
watt PCs. Each lamp is the equal of 2 25
watt HL T8 lamps, the cost is not a lot
more and everybody knows where to get
them.  For even shorter tanks, I vote
for PCs over T8s. Anyways, it is not too
good an idea to generalize and think
that T8s are always good and T12s are
always bad. You have to look at the
costs and availability of the complete
system including the style of lamp, lamp
phosphor, ballast , reflector  and ease
of installation when picking a lighting
system. The choice of system has a lot
to do with the length of your tank and
how much DIYing you are willing to do.