11-16-2012, 12:12 PM
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If you have the dual T8 fixture that takes 48-inch tubes, just buy a couple of new tubes if you're uncertain about the ones you have. There should be some printing on one end of the tube, see if it mentions Kelvin [a 4 digit number with suffix K]. A tube around 6500K works best all round. These tubes are not expensive, GE, Phillips and Sylvania make them. Home Depot, Lowe's, etc carry one of these brands. I have used all three, and though it is not really much of a difference, I seem to prefer the GE, but I can't really say why. I'm now using mixes. They are all about the same price, usually in a pack of 2 tubes.
On the LED, if you already have the fixtures, they may or may not work fine. I too don't know anything about LED having never tried it. But I do know that there are now available some very good planted tank lights in LED. You just have to know what you're getting. The November issue of PFK mentioned some I think. But yes, they are much more expensive. Long-term the cost for electricity is much less of course, so eventually it might even out.
But a dual T8 with "daylight" tubes around 6500K will be fine.