fluorescent tube question
I know "you get what you pay for" but is there really any difference between the fancy (more expensive) fluorescent aquarium bulbs at the pet store and the cheap fluorescent tubes at the hardware store? The fancy "full spectrum" bulb that came with my aquarium hood has this awful pinkish color to it and after it burns out if I could buy a cheaper bulb that would have a nice looking color (6000k - 7000k color temperature) and still be good for the plants that would be great.
kelvin temp is the same regardless of the brand. I prefer cheap tubes and never buy bulbs from fish stores. Over all there is no major diff, but certain bulbs can definitely be better then others. However it depends on a lot more then kelvin temp
Just go to the hardware store, if they have the size you need for your fixture.
You'll want to find "Daylight" bulbs, hopefully they'll have a Kelvin rating. Something between 6000K and 7000K is good. Sometimes daylight bulbs are 5500K. The one that came with my hood is 8000K and is purple-ish in color.
I assume you have plants since you posted this on the plant forum =) If so, it is suggested to replace the bulbs after a year instead of waiting for them to burn out completely, as fluorescent bulbs loose intensity as they age.
Yes I do have plants, and I was asking about the bulb as a grow light. I wanted to know if there's anything different from a bulb marked "grow light" at the pet store or if it's just a 6000k/7000k flourescent tube like any other. So from what's been said it sounds like the "special" pet store light bulbs are no more than a gimmick, which isn't surprising. That's good to know about the bulbs losing intensity with time, I'm sure it happens so slowly that I'd never notice and wouldn't have known. Thanks!
The "grow light" as you call it is in my view a poor tube. These can include some pretty expensive brands, like Hagen's Aqua-Glo and Flora-Grow, or the much less expensive plant and aquarium tubes made by GE, Phillips, etc that are available at the hardware store. They are weak in intensity, and being red and blue they produce a purplish hue in the aquarium. One may or may not like the hue aspect (I don't), but the intensity is very significant for plant growth.
The scientific evidence that aquarium plants grow best under full spectrum/daylight tubes is well known. These generally have a kelvin between 5,000K and 7,000K. But intensity is even more important. Fortunately, these tubes tend to have higher intensity, along with the better spectrum. And here you can compare the expensive fish store tubes with the much less expensive hardware store tubes, and find comparable tubes that are just as good. At this point, you are comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges.;-)
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