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Re: Cheap lighting

"D" says:

  There were some types I never saw before , such as a FL bulb that had a
single contact on each end . They seemed to be of the same diameter but of a
significantly higher wattage . Instead of 40 , they were ,I think , 56 watts

I reply:

These are probably HO lamps which in T12 4' lengths are 55watts. They are
pretty good for a planted tank but they only come in a limited amount of
color temps and CRIs. They are comonly used in cold weather ares because
they will start at low temperatures.

"D" asks:

So...Are T8`s better than T12`s ?

I reply:

Which system will work the best for you depends on a lot of things. How much
DIY you want to do. The size of your tank. How you want the fish and plants
to look. How much you are willing to spend a year on lamps and electricity
and stuff like that. For the kind of system I like to build, I would think
it very unlikely that I would find what I want in a place like you describe.
I think T8 or T5 lamps are probably the best fluorescent aquarium lamps
overall, but there are only a few ballasts out of hundreds that will suit
any given application. Besides the prices you quoted don't sound like really
great deals for magnetic ballasts and 4100K lamps. OTOH I wouldn't mind
picking through that stuff to see if I could find T8 900 series lamps or HLO
electronic ballasts. You never know what you might find that is undervalued.