Comparison: boutique brand vs generic fluorescent tubes
Sorry the article is in German, but the author basically analyzes spectrum charts provided by the manufacturers for flourescent tubes from Dennerle, Arcadia, JBL and Juwel, and finds that they are identical to the official manufacturer-given spectrum charts for standard tubes from Sylvania and Narva. I know these are Germany/Europe oriented brands, but maybe it is useful for others who happen to be on this side of the pond.
Spektren verschiedener Leuchtstofflampen
You can try google translate but unfortunately the software mangles the text up too badly. Cliff notes:
Dennerle Trocal 3085 seems identical to Sylvania 830
Arcadia Tropical seems identical to Sylvania Gro-lux
JBL Solar Tropic seems identical to Narva COLOURLUX de Luxe 940 coolwhite
Juwel Day-Lite seems identical to Narva STANDARD 760-010 daylight (and is not even a tri-band tube)
Juwel Warm-Lite seems identicall to Narva STANDARD 530-030 warmwhite (again not tri-band)
Juwel High-Lite® Nature T5 seems identical to Narva 840 COLOURLUX
Juwel High-Lite® Day T5 seems identical to Narva 865 COLOURLUX
On a related note, I swapped out the two T8 18W tubes in my Juwel canopy with Osram Cool Daylight 835 tubes despite the nice warning on the hardware that says "make sure you ONLY use Juwel tubes!!!". Definitely brighter, and way whiter/bluer light than before. So if you are to take away anything from this, it seems to be that Jewel T8 tubes are a total rip-off and aren't even really suitable lighting for planted aquariums.
I don't know many of those brands, so won't comment there. But to your last point, i have found that most (= all I have tried) of the so-called "aquarium" or "plant" tubes are weak intensity compared to the daylight tubes with a Kelvin around 6500K. These will seem brighter because of the spectrum, having more green/yellow in the mix with the red and blue, but aside from this they are much brighter in actual intensity. Most planted tank authors do recommend tubes around 6500K, for good reason.
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