Since when do fluorescents blow up?
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Old 11-27-2010, 10:19 PM   #1
deleted_user_9
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Since when do fluorescents blow up?


I was minding my own business when my POS Coralife fixture made a sound like a dying goose swallowing a firecracker. (Yeah, yeah, it came with the used tank.) Once it's apart, I find the 6700k tube blown apart, the last third of it splintered and smoked black. The bottom of the broken piece melted to the acrylic cover.

Can I assume this is a fixture quality issue? A freak bulb QC problem? Crop circles?

The fixture won't light when a new bulb is inserted. I'm hoping the fixture is salvageable since my budget is less than nothing...but I'm no electrical engineer. The ballast is friggin' elfin and I can't find any hint of a fuse.

Any suggestions for an unemployed liberal arts major, besides "go buy something that doesn't suck"?

Last edited by deleted_user_9; 11-28-2010 at 06:07 AM.. Reason: My confusing and dumb use of metaphor
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Old 11-27-2010, 10:57 PM   #2
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Is it possible that cold water splashed the hot tube, causing it to crack? If one of those cracks it will implode because they have a hard vacuum in them. I doubt that the fixture and ballast were harmed, so you should be able to just replace the bulb. Home Depot T5NO bulbs should work, and they are cheap, or at least cheaper than aquarium hobby bulbs.
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Old 11-28-2010, 01:20 AM   #3
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I agree with Hoppy; the most likely culprit for sudden tube implosion is when cold water splashes on the hot tube.

Also as Hoppy mentioned, your hardware store should be the first place you look for a suitable replacement bulb.
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Old 11-28-2010, 02:12 AM   #4
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Everything is dead? Was this sarcasm or serious?
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Old 11-28-2010, 06:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishykid1 View Post
Everything is dead? Was this sarcasm or serious?
"Everything" meaning the fixture won't light when a replacement tube is inserted. The fish are not physically harmed. That was a poor choice of phrase, I will fix that.
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Old 11-28-2010, 07:17 AM   #6
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"Since when do fluorescents blow up?"

This is why if they ever outlaw incandenscents I am going to stock up on oven lights. I don't want something with mercury in it in my oven.
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Old 11-28-2010, 11:50 AM   #7
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you mentioned the bulb melted to the acrylic cover which would imply the bulbs were covered at the time. i.e no cold water ever touched the bulb. that being said t5s do this from time to time. im an electrician so i fix t5s often. some t5s are wired in series some are not. what these means is if 1 bulb goes dead the other bulb will also not fire. like old christmas lights. first thing i would do is replace BOTH bulbs. its possible the other bulb that isnt obviously broken has failed as well. if they still dont light, you have a dead ballast. replacement ballasts can get quite pricey, depending on the model you need. for a cheap fixture it may be more cost effective to purchase a new one. good luck.
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Old 11-28-2010, 05:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by birmansandbettas View Post
I was minding my own business when my POS Coralife fixture made a sound like a dying goose swallowing a firecracker. acrylic cover.
People are speculating, which is valid, but if you want to try to fix this - more information is needed.
Coralife makes and made a number of different fixtures. Your description of the bulb suggests a power compact not T5.

What fixture do you have?
T5NO single tube, T5NO double tube, T5HO single tube, T5HO double tube, single tube power compact, double tube power compact, four tube power compact? What wattage bulb(s)
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Old 11-28-2010, 05:48 PM   #9
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^^Most 6700K bulbs are PC bulbs, and most Coralife units I've seen in my lifetime were PC's.

And total crap. I got burned (metaphorically) on some Coralife T8 ballasts a few years ago and I swore I'd never buy another Coralife lighting product again--- pitiful quality.
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Old 12-11-2010, 05:45 AM   #10
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Update:

Thanks to everyone for the advice. Since the fixture came used with the tank, I didn't have a URL handy for the model, but I do have new info.

My husband got it apart, and the ballast is toast. A resistor blew right off the board. Of the resistor, ballast, and bulb, we're not sure which is the chicken and which is the egg, but it's definitely done for.

Thanks again for your time, guys. Off to search the boards for a replacement.
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Old 12-11-2010, 11:07 AM   #11
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bulbs do blow up. That's why the health depts make stores put lights in plastic sleeves that aren't in an enclosed fixture.
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