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Re: Review: Wonder Lights

Erik Olson wrote:
> On Mon, 31 May 1999, Moishe Wasserman wrote:
> > A month ago I bought Wonder Lites.  Wonder Lites are mercury vapor bulbs
> > thats screw into a regular socket.  (More info at thekrib).
> >
> > My tank:
> >
> > 35 gallon
> ...
> > Previous to my use of the new wonder lights I had three 90 watt halogen
> > floodlamps and tw0 30 watt blue and red fluorescents.
> Let's use the liberal estimate that halogen's are 1/3 as efficient as
> fluorescent or gas discharge lighting.  That's (90*3)/3 + 60 = 150 watts.
> Pretty much right on the high end of the 2-4 watts/gallon guideline.

I never thought that there could be a 'maximum' of light.  I am sure in
nature that light can exceed even what I have yet plants grow great. 
Take Africa for instance...

> > In the weeks
> > following the placement of these three 160W lamps, the plants seem to die
> > out.  New growth was rare and stunted and the water turned cloudy..  The
> > wisterialiterally crumbled, the bacopa turned black and stopped growing, the
> > ludwigia turned very blackish and died, and the cardamine died.  The
> > ech.cordifoulous just turned brown.
> Holy crap! 160x3 = 480 watts over a 35 gallon tank?  No wonder they died.
> Way too much.

Yet for some reason, the aquarium is brighter with the floodlights.  It
even penetrates more.

> > Ahem, I dished out a respectable amount for these mercury lamps, can someone
> > please explain to me what I did wrong?  Or does this prove that halogen is
> > better than fluorescent?  In all my attempts to grow plants, I have always
> > succeeded with halogen, yet have had limited results with fluorescent.
> Well, first of all, Mercury vapor is not fluorescent.  Second, the reason
> many of us tend not to recommend halogen or other incandescent lighting is
> not because your plants won't grow, but rather because you have to use 3-4
> times as much power to get the equivalent light (and risk baking your
> tank, not having a 5000K color balance, etc).  In fact, some have
> suggested on this list people might have good luck using incandescent
> bulbs to flower Echinodorus species (because of the infrared emissions?
> check the archives).

True it is not, but it is similar.  It doesent work the same way, but
the output is similar.  I had very good luck with halogen before I
switched.  I just thought I would have even better results with
Wonderlites.  In fact, I had terrible luck with echinodorous, but that's
for a different time...
> Whenever you change the lighting level drastically on a tank, things are
> going to get thrown out of balance, and there's a recoil time.  However,

Not quite.  Immediately after switching back to halogen, the plants
sprouted and bubbled the next day.

> tripling the light over a system already near maximum is just not good.
> Perhaps there's something you're not telling us about how the lights are
> set up ("Oh yeah, the tank's in a greenhouse and the 3 160 watt lamps are
> 5 feet above and light the entire greenhouse too"), but if those three
> lights are going right into a 35 gallon tank, you've got too much.  Try

Nothing weird.  The three lights were some 5-10" above the tank.

> switching to a single 160 watt bulb, and use the other two when you buy
> that 90 later. :)

I did try.  The tank was dark on the sides and the plants didn't seem to
change.  This is a total mystery to me.  I have no clue.  I followed all
the rules tried everything.  The light color seems ok, why do the plants
perfer a much cheaper halogen bulb?


>   - Erik
> --
> Erik Olson
> erik at thekrib dot com