11-15-2010, 02:00 PM
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I have used both of these, and others in this Hagen series (the "...Glo" tubes) and can say without hesitation the absolute best for a planted freshwater aquarium is the Life-Glo or Life-Glo 2 [the former has increased light output due to a special coating on half the tube, the Life-Glo 2 is standard and thus less expensive]. It has the accented red and blue that plants can use best, plus sufficient green to balance for a true rendition of fish and plant colours.
The Power-Glo I had years ago and moved it to my amphibians. I would not use it over a planted fish tank. While the plants may grow, the difficulty with so much "blue" (the higher Kelvin number as someone mentioned indicates this) is that algae can more easily increase. Also, on a purely aesthetic issue, I do not like the purplish glow this and the "aqua" tubes produce. The plants do not look natural, and while the blues and reds on fish may stand out, it is an artificial rendition and other object in the aquarium such as the gravel and wood can take on strange hues. I admit it took me some effort to get used to full spectrum colour rendition (as in the Life-Glo) but I would never change it now.
If you want to save a lot of money, instead of the Life-Glo go to a hardware store and buy full spectrum daylight tubes with a Kelvin around 6500K [the Life-Glo is 6700K]. GE, Phillips and Sylvania all make them, and they are about 1/5 or 1/6 the cost of Life-Glo. They work as well (I have these on some tanks), they look identical, they last as long. Considering that T8 tubes should be replaced every 2-3 years, long-term you can save a lot of money.