Originally Posted by SomeDudeAtHome
Thanks guys you've been really helpful. I'll check for those lights at my LFS and see what they have. This is a single tube fixture and I managed to find the wattage and the current bulb is 17w. I hope the Cabomba does well because I really enjoy the look of it.
Byron, with the Cabomba and swords both enjoying light on the brighter side would I be better off look at a hardware store for a brighter tube with the 6500K rating or is full spectrum more important?
Fluorescent tubes come in a basic wattage for the tube length. So the length that fits your fixture will be that wattage only. However, the phosphors used in the tube affect the colour (spectrum) and intensity (dare I say it, lumens
) and these can vary somewhat from manufacturer to manufacturer, or depending upon the type of tube (how it is made, the phosphors inside).
As an example, because I am most familiar with them, 48-inch tubes. T8 used to be 40w. Then some manufacturers came out with 32w tubes that emitted basically the same light. Energy-efficient, the buzzword today. This is one example. But the other is the phosphors. In the Hagen "Glo" series the Life-Glo is the best. It emits twice the intensity of the Aqua-Glo, yet both are 40w. Then there is the Power-Glo, also 40w, but even more intensity, just a tad above Life-Glo. But of these, only the Life-Glo has the balanced spectrum that renders colours accurately.
I don't think you can do better than the Life-Glo. I use this on all my single-tube tanks. The Power-Glo might be worth trying, if you don't mind the purplish hue it casts; it is a tad brighter, and plants do well under it. I had one years ago. For a bit less cost, there is ZooMed's UltraSun; I know these are very close to the Hagen tubes, and I do have a couple but not the UltraSun which is the best spectrum alone. No one here carries these any longer, so I can't compare them for you. But I can't see it being much different.