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Lighting

This is a discussion on Lighting within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> Originally Posted by MoneyMitch thanks alot byron, so nice to be part of a community like this :D i definately see the "look" your ...

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Old 08-10-2009, 05:52 PM   #11
 
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Originally Posted by MoneyMitch View Post
thanks alot byron, so nice to be part of a community like this :D i definately see the "look" your talking about even the tanks at the pet store have that purplish tint to them put your pics are like night and day compared to regular run of the mill bulb. you mentioned something about home depot which is another "aquarium" store lol. anyways you said that they also sell some simular tubes at probobly 1/2 the cost lol. now do those lights also have the spectrums listed on them or it is kind of here and there with there lights.
Unrulyevil has already mentioned that the colour temperature (Kelvin rating) is indicative of the "colour" disseminated by the tube. But it is sort of hit and miss.

For about 10 years, I lit my aquaria with tubes from Home Depot. Each tank had two tubes over it, and I had one "full spectrum" and one "Enhanced Daylight" I think it was called, manufactured by Sylvannia. I had lush plant growth, it looked natural, I was quite happy. The last time I went in for replacement tubes [you need to replace any fluorescent tube every 12 months--I can go into the "why" if you ask] I found they no longer carry Sylvannia, only Phillips (at least here in Canada) so I bought a couple to experiment. The "full spectrum" I did not like [and I have gone to Hagen's Life-Glo 2 for that component, it is much better to me], but the Daylight Deluxe is not bad. It is rated at 6500K although it is very slightly more blue--hardly noticeable on its own, but combined with other types it is visible. And here it sells for $5-$6 CDN for two tubes; the Life-Glo here is $39 each.

Anyway, when I couldn't find what I wanted at HD, I started experimenting again [if you have one or more local fish stores where you deal and they know you, they will often let you buy tubes and return them for others after a couple days, very useful] and came down to the Life-Glo 2 as the absolute best single tube light, in my humble opinion. I went to this tube last October, and after 10 months my plants are still thriving under this light, and I still like the natural look of it, so I believe it is good. The only reason I mix another tube with it on the 2-tube tanks is that I can select a higher-blue tube to get better penetration to the plants on the substrate--and remember from before, blue light is the most essential, and it penetrates water best; and I have less than 1 watt per gallon, so have to make the most of it. But the Life-Glo 2 is so strong mid-range that it balances the blue very well and prevents that ghostly look. The Lightning Rod Ultimate Daylight tube currently over my 115 (over the 90g in the photos) is 11,000K which is certainly blue, but strangely doesn't look it, at least not when mixed with the Life-Glo. I'm having trouble getting this tube now, only one lfs carries them, and he told me Saturday he was concerned they might be phasing it out. More experimentation on the way, I guess.

Fish stores often use those "purplish" tubes because they bring out the reds and blues, and as I think I mentioned, fish like neons and cardinals really stand out in the bare tanks under such light--so people buy them!

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Old 08-10-2009, 09:31 PM   #12
 
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ok so i need to look at the Kelven rating rather than a chart if i read that correctly. i checked my local pet store and they DO carry the l;ifeglow 2 in the size i need. byron you said something about having to change tubes every 12 months. doies this have to do with a coating or something going out? i mean say i buy a hood/fixture with the light included (which i did) that light could be more than 12 months old, im very curious to why every 12 months.
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Old 08-11-2009, 10:22 AM   #13
 
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ok so i need to look at the Kelven rating rather than a chart if i read that correctly. i checked my local pet store and they DO carry the l;ifeglow 2 in the size i need. byron you said something about having to change tubes every 12 months. doies this have to do with a coating or something going out? i mean say i buy a hood/fixture with the light included (which i did) that light could be more than 12 months old, im very curious to why every 12 months.
Light intensity diminishes quite rapidly as a fluorescent tube burns, so it is not the age of the tube but having it on. It will still "light" for the stated hours (some say 20,000 hours) but the intensity is not there with the result that the plants don't receive enough light, and as we mentioned previously, the light has to be a minimum intensity and duration, and weaker light on for longer doesn't work. And light has to be stronger to penetrate water than air, so the depth of the aquarium reduces its intensity further.

Every aquatic plant authority I have read recommends replacement of a tube after 12 months. The only exception was Kevin Osborne in a series of articles in FAMA in the 1990's, who said three years was OK. One of the hobbyist owners of a fish store in my area used a light meter and he told me that after three months there was a very noticeable reduction in intensity, and it then continued gradually from that point. Karen Randall of the Aquatic Gardeners Association, who used to write monthly articles in TFH, once wrote that tubes should probably be replaced every six months, but as that was very expensive a more practical solution would be to replace them every 12 months but stagger replacement on a tank with two tubes; replace one every six months, so each tube is still lasting 12 months but not replacing them simultaneously means there is less reduction in light during the last couple of months because one of the tubes will be newer; the intensity is more consistent over the year.

Interesting that when I was researching why this occurs, I came across gardening sites that made the same recommendation for tubes over house and garden plants--replace every year because the intensity fails. So it's probably truth, not just some fishy myth.

On your first point, both are imortant. The Kelvin rating tells you where the colour intensity is strongest, but between types of tubes this can be spread out in different ways. The spectrum chart shows where that strength is aimed through the length and thickness of the colours on the graph. The K rating is indicative of where that light should be strongest, but the appearance can be different depending upon how the other colours are matching it. Hope this makes some sense.

The Life-Glo 2 is going to be slightly more expensive, but after many years of different tubes and several years with these, I think they are a good choice. The Aqua-Glo they make is again purplish; I've never tried the Flora-Gro. The Power-Glo I had years ago, it is brighter but not as pleasing in the aquarium, seemed to be better over an amphibian tank.

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Old 08-11-2009, 05:12 PM   #14
 
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thanks for all your information, i think im going to take a look around HD lowes and my lps and its prob gunna come down to the life glow 2 tubes, i appriciate you going into detail about the replacement of the tubes, i never would have guessed that. all i gotta do is get light changin schedule down and everything should be good with the lights. got some other questions but it doesnt really relate to lighting so i will open up a new post about it as to keep mods happy? lol
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Old 08-11-2009, 08:32 PM   #15
 
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Just for those who are curious about lighiting im going to sum up what i learned and what light i am going for. keep in mind i have two single bulb fixtures over a 22in deep tank.

Color Spectrum Chart Simulates natural daylight with peaks in the red, green, and blue region of the light spectrum to produce light that is appealing to the human eye.
These are the specs for the life glow 2 bulb which i am going for. they have a great Blue and Red spectrum and the kelven rating is a little high but needed to get down to the bottom of the tank where i plan to have species of dwarf type plants. the tank will recive very little sunlight if any if seeing how its in a basement, if anyone else would like to comment on my choice and reasons for my choice please chime in :D
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