cf better than n/o flourescent? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-15-2004, 05:42 AM Thread Starter
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Is a compact flourescent better than a regular normal output flourecent of the same wattage? I thought I read somewhere that they are something like 3 times more intense?
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-15-2004, 06:05 AM
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At least double the intensity for sure. I'm not sure about 3 times. I've never checked the spec.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-15-2004, 02:42 PM
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Nino, where did you see the double the intensity specification? I'm sure if you'll look at most 55w PC bulbs, you'll find their lux output around 5000 lumens (90 lumens/watt) and most 40w NO tubes at around 3000 lumens (75 lumens/watt). This constitutes 20% more output. Definitely not 2-3 times as much.
Bottom line - the 2-3 wpg rule still works for PC's.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-15-2004, 03:15 PM
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It's not just the bulb, you have to have good reflector design/material too.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-15-2004, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. The reflector would be a factor regardless of light type, no?

So lumens is where I need to look to find a difference. Thanks, that helps a lot.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-15-2004, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich M
Is a compact flourescent better than a regular normal output flourecent of the same wattage? I thought I read somewhere that they are something like 3 times more intense?
One thing to remember when comparing them is the physical size of the bulb. Normal fluorescents are larger than compacts (as the name says) and the light is spread out over a longer area. That is why they seem dimmer. However, on a lumen per watt basis, they are very similar, sometimes one, sometimes the other is "better".

Also, keep in mind that lumen is brightness as seen by the human eye, so some bulbs that are made specifically for maximizing photosynthesis appear dim to the human eye, and have comparatively low lumen numbers, but are more effective for growing plants than one that seems brighter.

So... while power compacts are great for getting a lot of watts over a small area, they are not really more efficient than normal fluorescents. You will notice when you touch them. :mrgreen:
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-15-2004, 08:29 PM
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Yes, CF lumens output is around 20% more than NO tubes. Good reflectors always help...but I think at 3wpg of CF you're good to grow any plant. 3.5wpg for NO's...basically you can 'stretch the WPG rule' a little with CF's if the tank is 20-90 gallons.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-15-2004, 09:08 PM
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Hmmm... the guy at my LFS told me that CFs are equal to about 1.5 the specified wattage.

i.e. a 65w CF is equal to about a 95w NO. Now I understand everyone above is talking about lumens output, but this guy said it's not just lumens, you'd actually count it as a 95w NO and calculate your WPG from there.

Regardless, I think I'll be okay with a 65w CF on a 29g. (yes?) Or I've got room to add a 14w T5. What do y'all think? Overkill?

29g Eheim Classic 2213, community, heavily planted, 65W CF, 2x Hagen CO2
20g Fluval 3 Plus, nothin' but shrimp & snails, 65W CF, Hagen CO2

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-15-2004, 09:54 PM
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Don't trust "the guy at your LFS". Don't trust me either, but the guy at the LFS probably knows that a CF fixture gives him a higher profit margin, or at least sales dollars. Not that the CF fixtures are not "better" with their awesome reflectors, just not more efficient.

Here is a link to an article that discusses several aspects of efficiency, along with a comparison of different sorts and kinds of bulbs: http://www.aquabotanic.com/lightcompare.htm
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-15-2004, 10:25 PM
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I hear ya Wasserpest, but this particular guy I trust to at least not snow me. On more than one occasion he's quietly steered me away from something that the owner of the store was trying to talk me into. He also doesn't hesitate to talk me out of purchases that he doesn't think will work out with my setup. I tend to go straight to him for advice now.

Oddly tho (off on a bit of a tangent here) at another LFS they've actually posted a sign stating that 1.5-2wpg is all that's necessary for a planted aquarium, and anything higher than 2wpg isn't even utilized by the plants. Huh? Are they trying to not sell lighting?

29g Eheim Classic 2213, community, heavily planted, 65W CF, 2x Hagen CO2
20g Fluval 3 Plus, nothin' but shrimp & snails, 65W CF, Hagen CO2

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-15-2004, 10:56 PM
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Sorry Amanda, I shouldn't have blindly discredited the guy. In some way he is right on If you take the usual high quality reflectors of compacts into account, the factor he gave you is probably a good estimate to go by.

After all, PC's and normal fluorescents are the same/similar technology... if you feed more watts into a regular NO, it can be as bright as a PC bulb, while the efficiency does not increase that way.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-15-2004, 11:03 PM
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No worries, Wasserpest. It's actually good advice (the owner of the store being a case in point :roll.

29g Eheim Classic 2213, community, heavily planted, 65W CF, 2x Hagen CO2
20g Fluval 3 Plus, nothin' but shrimp & snails, 65W CF, Hagen CO2

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-16-2004, 03:42 PM
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What is scary is that the owner of this LFS is feeding quite a few half-truths to his customers. Sure, it is possible that a PC setup is 2 (not 3) times brighter than a NO output, if the NO setup has no reflector and is using a cheap magnetic ballast, but those are conditions that are not defined.
Also - keeping plants at anything above 2wpg is useless? Sure, possibly. If you're not supplementing CO2 and monitoring nutrients consistently, then yes - anything above 2wpg isn't going to grow plants any better. But again - it's only half of the truth and you're wise to research and get second opinions.

I've been to dozens of LFS's that trashed the internet, claiming that you'll find nothing but cooks and bad advice. While I'm sure you'll run into plenty of both, for the most part, the Internet is generally the best source of information since no one stands anything to gain. We're not selling anything - we're just hobbyists sharing info about something we enjoy.

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-16-2004, 05:31 PM
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I couldn't agree more! You should never just trust one person's opinion. Ask around, research, and then trust your own experience.

And speaking of what you can find on the internet, this discussion piqued my curiosity so I googled and I found this. Read the description for compact fluorescents. :!:

Disclaimer: I am NOT saying that this is correct information. Just sayin' it's out there...


ETA: GulfCoastAquarian, I just wanted to clarify that there are several sources of information in discussion here -- it's not all from one LFS. Wouldn't that be a kick!?

29g Eheim Classic 2213, community, heavily planted, 65W CF, 2x Hagen CO2
20g Fluval 3 Plus, nothin' but shrimp & snails, 65W CF, Hagen CO2

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-16-2004, 07:15 PM
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4 times the light output of regular fluourescents, that would be cool if it were true. I only see a slight differance in the brightness between the two.
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