I had been using full spectrum 6280K 94.5 CRI Verilux full spectrum bulbs with great success with my planted aquariums for a long time. They are bright, energy efficient and I can get them for about $7 each. Together with CO2 injection, I’ve rarely had any problems.
However, the visible light the Verilux full spectrum bulbs emit definitely emphasizes the greens in the aquarium. I introduced 1 Coralife Actinic bulb months ago to improve the color of my 75 gallon planted aquarium, which had 4 Verilux full spectrum T8 (I replaced one of the Verilux bulbs with the actinic) – indeed the blue of the actinic introduced a “whiter” balance and clarity to the tank. Soon after I began contending with the first algae outbreak I had with this tank. The actinic light was not the only cause (it was also a nutrient imbalance I caused by uprooting and moving a lot of plants from this tank all at once) but I suspect it added to my green hair algae (derbesia) problems as actinic bulbs are used to help grow marine algae. I reduced my lighting schedule, got rid of the actinic and have been improving the nutrient balance, which are all working in getting rid of the algae.
I’m looking for a T8 plant growth bulb with high PUR/Watt efficiency to both boost plant growth and to improve the look of the aquarium by adding whiter/bluer visible light to enhance the green hue of the aquarium and of the fish. The actinic light I had been using does make the aquarium appear “whiter” in color, but it promotes algae growth.
I spent good time reviewing posts on lighting on this excellent site and other websites. This is a brief summer of what I’ve found. I’d sincerely appreciate your suggestions on the bulbs I should add to my full spectrum Verilux bulbs and where I can get them in the U.S. at good prices.
1) Wide Spectrum Gro-Lux bulbs - I’ve read these are more pinkish than purple and brighter than regular Gro-Lux bulbs which have sharp spikes in blue and red spectrum but little light emitted outside of these areas of the spectrum. Anyone know what the PUR/watt efficiency is like for these bulbs? Anyone know how mixing these bulbs with my Verilux high CRI bulbs above will affect the appearance of my tank? Will they make it look less green?
a) Sylvania Gro-Lux Wide Spectrum
b) GE Gro- Sho Wide Spectrum
c) Philips Agro-Lite (this last is a variant of the Wide Spectrum Gro-Lux).
2) I’ve read these bulbs below are highest efficiency for PUR/Watt, http://www.aquabotanic.com/lightcompare.htm
but I’m not sure in all cases what visible light they show (more blue, red or green – I’m looking for some bluer/whiter light to lighten my very green tank along with good plant growth qualities):
a) Philips Aquarelle 10,000 K fluorescent for freshwater aquaria - ranks as the most efficient fluorescent in PUR/Watt and is the bluest as well – this is a big plus because it means that the bulb will also “whiten” my tank. Does anyone know if the Aquarelle is a Wide Spectrum gro-lux type bulb and where I can get them in the U.S.?
b) Philips Advantage fluorescent, 5000K F32T8/ADV850 - Does anyone know if this bulb is a Wide Spectrum gro-lux type bulb and where I can get them in the U.S.?
c) Sylvania Aquastar – Does anyone know what the PUR/watt efficiency is like for these bulbs? Does anyone know if this bulb is a Wide Spectrum gro-lux type bulb and where I can get them in the U.S.?
d) Osram Fluora - Does anyone know what the PUR/watt efficiency is like for these bulbs? Does anyone know if this bulb is a Wide Spectrum gro-lux type bulb and where I can get them in the U.S.?
3) Gro-Lux bulbs - these emit only in the red and blue portion of the spectrum and I know they cast a purple glow and don’t appear very bright. So while good for plant growth, I think the Wide Spectrum plant growth bulbs in 1) and the high efficiency PUR/watt bulbs in 2) will offer brighter and better lighting for plant growth. The Sylvania Gro-Lux is supposed to have a PUR/watt efficiency rating below the bulbs in 2).
a) Sylvania Gro-Lux
b) GE's version the Gro- Sho
I've done lots of research on this site and others and would very much appreciate your thoughts on best bulbs and where to get them.
Thanks and Best Regards,