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Re: Best fluorescent tubes? / ahsupply.com
>When looking at http://www.ahsupply.com, I notice the bulb lengths are not
>in the standard 24", 36", etc. I take it 21.1" = 24"? And 34.1" = 36"?
>Kind of confusing. My bulbs were sold as 24". So I am assuming I cannot
>use these bulbs in my standard ballast? I guess I need to buy their "bright
>light kit" to use them, but apparently you have to install said kit onto a
>pre-existing hood/ballast (they don't come in one). Hmm... The plot
PCF lights *ARE NOT* compatible with NO (Normal Output) florescent bulbs.
You are correct that you will need a special ballast to use them. AH
Supply's "bright kits" include the ballast, a *very* good reflector, and
the special socket for the PCF bulb. I think they sell the bulbs separately
so that you have the option of several different color temperatures (you
want something in the 5000-6700 K range for plants). They also include some
wire to hook it all up. It's a pretty complete kit, and installing it in
one of the All Glass-type hoods is actually fairly easy.
The PCF bulbs that AH Supply sells use a different technology from the NO
bulbs like you are currently using. They use a "folded tube" design and a
special socket, along with a special ballast. The result is more lighting
power in a smaller space, and a slightly more efficient light too.
>Looks like I am getting myself into all new territory in regards to
>lighting. I was assuming it would be as easy as finding the correct bulbs
>for my pre-existing hood. Is that still an option? Higher powered bulbs
>for a standard aquarium hood? Or do I have to start completely from
>scratch? My hood's not in the best condition, but it WORKS, and I was just
>hoping to not have to get into another $150+ adventure (like I just did w/my
You won't be able to find any higher output bulbs for your fixture. You are
limited by the ballast. For more output, you will either need to replace
the hood with something that uses more powerful lights, or retrofit your
existing hood with something like the AH Supply bright kits (which is
probably the cheapest option).
I would recommend retrofitting your existing hood with the AH Supply
lights. AH Supply can offer you some help with ideas, and they have some
pictures on their site of the installed fixtures. They include a wiring
diagram with the kits to show you how to wire the parts together, and it is
a simple diagram to follow. A retrofit will be your least expensive way to
get more light over your tank, and the upgraded hood won't look noticeably
different outside (although you'll be amazed how much better the tank will
look INSIDE with all the extra light!).
You can start with two 55w lights over your 55 gallon tank. To go to the
next step if you decide to get seriously into the hobby, you're going to
want to go with four 55w fixtures which will probably require some more
complex modifications to your light hood. The reason for the added
complexity with the four lights is that I don't think four will fit in a
normal 55 gallon hood since one light will completely fill one of the
AGA-type light bars. Use the length of the REFLECTOR when measuring for a
fit, NOT THE BULB. The bulb will "grow" about 1" when you put the socket on
the end, and you don't want the light-end of the bulb to touch the side of
the hood if you can avoid it (it is possible to mound the socket on the
hood if you want, or leave it free-hanging supported from the light bulb).
>Any advice on this lighting madness would be greatly appreciated!
>Over and out.... ... .. . .
>beatsfrombeyond at mac_com
UNIX Systems Administrator