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I have been experimenting with QTL's(Quartz Track Lighting) for almost 4
years now.I 've had Glossostigma grow at 2-4cm daily with these lights.
These are 12v - 50watt snap-in lights that are common in Jewelry stores
and art galleries. They have a built-in reflector (model I.D.   MR-16)
and give a precise beam control .I have used MH's in the past but hated
paying for the pendants and the bulbs. I knew they were decent as far as
efficiency( Karen enlightened me to the fact they are more efficient
than standard FL's but not quite as much as the T-8 energy savers) . The
QTL's are , according to the manufacter , 3x as efficient as normal
incadescents. Watt for watt , I haven't noticed any difference on my
electric bill using the QTL's.I'd like to find out how much lumen/watt
ratio these lights have compared to MH's,FL's,etc. Anyone on this list
that would wish to address this , feel free!!!!!
The quality of light is that of MH's , as are growth patterns. You get
those shadow ripples when the surface is distrubed through the water
just like natural sunlight.
My concern at frist was "Do these lights actually grow plants?". Well ,
they grow them as good and in many cases better with over 150 sp. of
plants tested with these lights(QTL's) based on my observations.The main
problem was finding a good bulb. The G.E. Color Precise Floods 50w/12v
had the best results both to the eye and to the plants.
Now the good part.... They cost 9$ ea and in 4years @10hrs a day , Ive
had 1 out of 15 burn out and with absolutely no change in color,plant
growth,or intensity(relative to the plants -- I bought a new bulb to see
if there was any difference recently... I could find no indications...
although I don;'t have a light meter so measurement was indirect at best
but you can't tell at all with your eye) .

The track system cost less than 45$ for 3-50w fixtures and the track.
Bulbs are 9$ and I'd recommend the snap in connecting cord (for getting
electricty to the track from your AC outlet) for another 6$. This totals
87$ for 150 watts that is smaller than the MH's. They look great and if
you can put 2 screws in a wall or ceiling they can be mounted very
easily.They are about the lightest lights I know of based on watts. A
"U" shaped light bar can be made for a less permanent attachment over
the tank. The heat is somewhat less in my small bedroom compared to the
175w MH but noticable.
These lights should be treated like MH's when it comes to heat. Don't
drop them 2" off the water's surface!!12" is much better! Open top tanks
are best for these but a fan ventilated enclosed hood could likely be
done .I haven't done it but I like open top tanks and there isn't much
ambient light(unlike my MH's !) coming out .
A big plus with these is the options.They are movable along the track so
one can stagger several over on a "bright" side and having a darker side
on the other. Too much light ? Simply twist off 1 or more light(s)
.Plants in the front need more light ? Aim the lights to the front !
These lights work incredibily well in those "Deep" tanks or where a spot
light is best used. Another option is separating the track into 2-or
more section each with their own AC plug and do a "timed" set up to
mimic sunrise etc.
Please feel free to reply.
These lights DEFINITLY deserve all plant tank keepers consideration. I'm
still amazed they work so well myself. I have them on a 20 gal and a
90gal and I'm a-cranking the CO2 in these tanks like crazy. I also have
a 20 gal w/FL's (4-20w) that is the same as the QTL tank in all respects
except for the lighting. Thanks!
Tom Barr