I think CFL bulbs are bad for plant growth. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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I think CFL bulbs are bad for plant growth.

I don't have any evidence to prove that CFL bulbs are bad for plant growth, but only personal experience. On my 10 gallon fish tank, I was using 2x13 watt CFL Phillips bulbs, and I kept getting brown diatoms. Then, I upgraded to 2x15 watt bulbs, and I still kept getting brown diatoms. I was wondering if any of you think that CFL bulbs are the culprit for brown diatoms? I also want to state that my new Finnex LED lights are giving me better plant growth than the CFL bulbs.
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post #2 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 04:36 PM
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Nope.

Brown algae is extremely common in most new tank starts, even unplanted.

Once things level out, as long as everything is in balance (CO2, light, ferts), it's less common a problem.

You running CO2 on this tank?

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post #3 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
Nope.

Brown algae is extremely common in most new tank starts, even unplanted.

Once things level out, as long as everything is in balance (CO2, light, ferts), it's less common a problem.

You running CO2 on this tank?
Yes, I am running CO2 in this tank. First, I was running 2x13 watt CFL with CO2, and then 2x15 watt with CO2, and was still getting brown diatoms. As soon as I upgraded to LED lights, the brown diatoms went away. I know that plant nutrients aren't an issue because I have a dirted tank. I had a 37 gallon fish only tank, where I was consistently getting brown diatoms, even though the tank was established for over a year. On my 37 gallon tank, I was using some marine land led lights just for viewing, but in that tank, as soon as I planted it with dirt, and upgraded the lights to T5 HO, the diatoms went away.

Last edited by kidgrave; 06-01-2014 at 04:41 PM. Reason: typo
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post #4 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 05:40 PM
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How do you explain those that have been using CFLs for years and don't have diatoms?

That would be like me eating strawberries then getting food poisoning and saying.... "I think Strawberries are bad for your health. Eat bananas. I never get sick when eating bananas".
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post #5 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 05:49 PM
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I have used cfl's exclusively. They worked great on my 40 gal heavily planted. I used three 100w equivalent bulbs with co2 and ei dosing and they grew like mad.
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post #6 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 05:54 PM
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Light is light. Plants do not care much for where it comes from as long as it is the right intensity and spectrum.
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post #7 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 05:57 PM
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I have used CFL's for years and my tanks never had brown algae, or really any algae. 2x13 watt over a 5.5 and then a 6 gallon for almost 4 years and 3 different scapes.
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post #8 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
Nope.

Brown algae is extremely common in most new tank starts, even unplanted.

Once things level out, as long as everything is in balance (CO2, light, ferts), it's less common a problem.

You running CO2 on this tank?

+1

The reason why you are thinking the LED's didn't cause brown algae is that the tank had matured further. Diatoms is almost always a cycling issue. Just requires a little patience and maybe some Ottos/shrimp.
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post #9 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by talontsiawd View Post
I have used CFL's for years and my tanks never had brown algae, or really any algae. 2x13 watt over a 5.5 and then a 6 gallon for almost 4 years and 3 different scapes.
No algae at all with 2 cfls on a 5.5? I'm guessing they are mounted horizontally thus reducing par/light intensity? If not, what's your secret? Whats your photo period?
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post #10 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AGUILAR3 View Post
No algae at all with 2 cfls on a 5.5? I'm guessing they are mounted horizontally thus reducing par/light intensity? If not, what's your secret? Whats your photo period?
They were mounted horizontally and had very poor reflectors. I don't know why it didn't work but it just did. Here are some old journals, the first link is still going but I haven't updated it in forever, now LED though.

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post #11 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 09:01 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AGUILAR3 View Post
How do you explain those that have been using CFLs for years and don't have diatoms?

That would be like me eating strawberries then getting food poisoning and saying.... "I think Strawberries are bad for your health. Eat bananas. I never get sick when eating bananas".
Not all bulbs are created equally. Your argument about strawberries is not good because they not all grown under the same soil. It is just my theory that not all CFL bulbs are the most efficient for growing plants. I have used 6500k bulbs, and how am I supposed to know how much of the blue and of the red spectrum my plants are receiving? There are so many different brands of bulbs, that it could be hard to know if some are the culprit of brown diatoms.

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post #12 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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+1

The reason why you are thinking the LED's didn't cause brown algae is that the tank had matured further. Diatoms is almost always a cycling issue. Just requires a little patience and maybe some Ottos/shrimp.
Before I tore my 37 gallon tank, it was established and mature for 3 years, and it would always, and I mean always get brown diatoms. Based on my experience, I would say that brown diatoms either have something to do with the bulbs, or silicates in the water. I have read about people testing their water, and getting brown diatoms with very low silicates.

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post #13 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 09:27 PM
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I completely agree with you kidgrave, CFL are awful awful awful lights. I dare anyone to find a tank using CFL that has any type of lust plant growth.


I'll wait....


There no way CFL can grow something like a carpet of HC Cuba, impossible! It's not going to work with CFL, you will get a ton of algae and the tank will never be lust green in colour.



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post #14 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 09:45 PM
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I completely agree with you kidgrave, CFL are awful awful awful lights. I dare anyone to find a tank using CFL that has any type of lust plant growth.


I'll wait....


There no way CFL can grow something like a carpet of HC Cuba, impossible! It's not going to work with CFL, you will get a ton of algae and the tank will never be lust green in colour.
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post #15 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidgrave View Post
Yes, I am running CO2 in this tank. First, I was running 2x13 watt CFL with CO2, and then 2x15 watt with CO2, and was still getting brown diatoms. As soon as I upgraded to LED lights, the brown diatoms went away.
Brown diatoms are not photosynthetic they eat debris in the water so the CFL bulbs didn't encourage their growth.

Also, they do not like bright light, so when you upgraded to the LEDs you likely caused them to travel into the substrate and out of view.
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