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Lighting Fun

I was just reading some of Karen Randall's stuff on Aquarium frontiers and
ran across a point I would like clarified by anyone who really enjoys
lighting nitpicking.

Randall states that blue light produces bushy, short plants, something I
have read many times in the past.  Thinking that I would like my plants to
have this growth I have an Actinic 03 bulb on one of my tanks.  The plants
look the same as in other non-actinic tanks.  Randall then states later
that the actinic bulbs are not really necessary for the planted tanks and
are more appropiate for the reefers.

This was one reason I included the blue bulb, but also because the blue
light penetrates water better, thus getting to the substrate more.  Is the
water penetration really of any importance?  Does anyone know the
precentages lost in 24" (depth of tank to substrate)?

One final nitpick that I just want to mention is that Randall states that
the VHO bulbs need special endcaps, have short lifes and run very hot.
THis is true of the tar ballasts, but the electronic ballasts do not have
these problems.  I have been using an Icecap 660 for 4 years with normal
endcaps and bulb temperatures that are similar to the touch between the 4
foot VHO and 4 foot normal.  Icecap also claims longer bulb life, but how
can you judge that without accurate light meter equipment.

Thanks for the time and I just wanted to put my two cents worth in.
o    Mike Nielsen                                                        u 
m    Department of Geography         THE OPTIMIST BELIEVES WE LIVE IN    ? 
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e    mnielsen at u_arizona.edu                                              o