any concensus on 'plant and aquarium' light bulbs? - GardenWeb
48-inch long bright white box with two light fixtures loaded with four GE Plant and aquarium bulbs.
Because we offer so many aquarium lighting products, it’s easy to find exactly what you need on our site. Our LED lighting category offers many energy-efficient solutions for lighting your aquarium 24/7. Meanwhile, our other light fixtures and pendants offer you attractive options that will enhance the appearance of your aquarium fish, plants, corals, and decorations. We also carry a number of replacement bulbs and retrofit kits to make sure that every aquarium features optimal lighting conditions at all times.
My aquarium (Riparium) is a constant work in progress. I run a lower tech system with a 20 inch tall canopy. I use T-5 lighting. I use 1 day light bulb and 2 atinic blue bulbs; at 3 watts per gallon. I have a lot of fast growing plants (some above the water line), and a few small fish; so algae is not much of a problem. I perform a 30% water change once every 2 weeks, with top off in-between. Nitrates stay below 3 ppm.
However, metal halide aquarium lights, if properly installed, canmake an immense difference in the health of live plants or corals aswell as the brightness of the tank. M.H. aquarium lighting is also thesource of the shimmering or rippling effect seen on the bottom of fishtanks in large aquariums or in movies. Because of the fluctuation inthe light emitted by metal halide lights over the course of the day,they should always be used in conjunction with a fluorescent light ofsome sort. To simplify this, many manufacturers make fixtures thathave sockets for M.H. and V.H.O. or M.H. and power compact bulbs.If you are only keeping fish in your aquariums, you only need toreplace your light bulbs when they burn out, and this varies from bulbto bulb. If you are using N.O. fluorescent lights, you should replacethe starter each time a bulb burns out, as often a burnt out bulbburns out the starter as well. If you are raising live plants orcorals, you should replace your N.O. fluorescent lights every 5-7months, because the intensity of the light begins to fade and itlooses its helpfulness to the plants or animals that need it. You maynot see this difference until you replace the bulb, but it certainlymakes a difference to the plants or animals that depend on it! If youare doing this, remember to replace the starter(s) at least once ayear. If you are using power compact or V.H.O. fluorescent lights, youshould replace the bulbs about once a year, or whenever the bulb burnsout. These bulbs are better able to maintain their spectrum over time,and do not degrade as fast as N.O. fluorescent bulbs. Metal halidebulbs should be replaced every 8-12 months. When changing M.H. orV.H.O. bulbs, remember to check the ballasts to see that they areworking well and are not overheating or showing any other signs ofwear. If there are signs of wear or other problems with the ballasts,they should be replaced at the same time.Another concern with lighting your aquarium, is how well the lightwill penetrate to the bottom of the tank. In a short tank, this is notan issue. However as the height of the tank passes about 18", thewater interferes with the light enough that, while the tank may appearwell lit to the observer, the light that is reaching the bottom of thetank is no longer strong enough to help live plants (which shouldreceive good lighting all the way to their bases) or photosyntheticlive corals. Using high intensity N.O. fluorescent bulbs can give youanother few inches of penetration, however, you provide good lightpenetration for more than 22" with N.O. fluorescent lights. Powercompact or V.H.O. fluorescent lights penetrate further into your watercolumn, typically providing effective lighting for tanks up to 30"high. Metal halide lights provide the best penetration and arebeneficial in tanks over 30" high.Very High Output: Also known as VHO, this type of lighting comes in wattages between 75 and 165 and they can last as long as 18 months. These bulbs are perfect for larger planted tanks, though they do produce a lot of heat so you may need to use an auxiliary fan or aquarium chiller to keep the tank from overheating.