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Can tinted films make cheap lights visually pleasing?

On Thu, 24 Aug 2000 16:20:08 EDT, David <FocaIPoint at aol_com> wrote:

> The Aquarium Center sells colored, transparent plastic tubes meant to cover 
> T12s and T8s I think. That might be another solution, and add some color at 
> the same time.

Back in the early 1980s, I had a 55 gallon aquarium with 2 shoplights suspended 1" above it (4 48" NO cool whites).  The plants grew like crazy, but the cool white light was not pretty.  I had no extra cash to invest in this tank, so buying new bulbs was out of the question. Still, I couldn't resist trying inexpensive (i.e. free) ways of making the light more visually appealing.  

I tried placing little disks of colored, transparent plastics (cellophane, etc.) on the glass top, and that helped some, but the color never looked anything like natural sunlight. After quite a bit of fiddling with dozens of little red, blue and yellow circles, my patience wore thin and I finally gave up.  

So here's my question:  Can colored, transparent plastic film ever make cheap but ugly lights visually appealing?  Shouldn't it be possible to slip a slightly tinted film beneath some comparatively cheap lights (say, cool white NOs or 3000K CFs or mercury vapors) and get a spectrum worthy of the best metal halides?  Imagine how replacement costs would plummet!  Instead of having to buy and replace expensive tri-phosphor NOs or metal halides or 6700K CF, we could just pick up anything cheap and efficient at the local discount store and shine it through a color correcting film.  

Comments?  I realize that even a slightly tinted film is going to reduce the total amount of light that gets to the plants, but I doubt (to take a concrete example) my old tank really needed 3 watts/gal anyway.  If I ever did need more light, it would be easy to add, say, a $0.99 NO cool white, and still save money.

David (B.)