Am i understanding this concept correctly?
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Old 06-22-2004, 12:19 AM   #1
MacTech
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Am i understanding this concept correctly?


I've been hearing a lot of talk about using Compact Flourescent bulbs as a sort of "poor-man's/low-tech" lighting system, a way to get higher WPG in an existing hood

here's what i've been able to gather;

pick up a cheap incandescent striplight
replace the incandescent bulbs with CF's, voila! multi-light setup in a standard striplight

what do you need to look for in CF bulbs, i'm reasonably sure they don't make "aquarium" bulbs in CF, and how would an incandescent striplight with CF compare to a standard single tube flourescent striplight

my current setup is a 20 long with a single 20 watt T12 Coralife Nutri-Gro bulb, how would this compare with the CF retrofit strip?

i'm assuming that the CF light levels are additive, i.e.2 15 watt bulbs would be 30 watts of illumination, 2 20's would be 40, etc...
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Old 06-22-2004, 12:30 AM   #2
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Nope, you get the concept a bit mixed up. The "additive" you mentioned is a comparison toward incedescent bulb. It doesn't count on additional wpg. Wpg rule is only apply for flourescent bulbs. Compact flourescent has higher wattage compares to the same length of NO fl. bulb : ex. 24" NO fl is 20watt but 24"CF is 65watts. The poor man concept is to overdrive your original NO fl bulb as explained in the article section in this forum.

If your fixture holds a flourescent bulb, you can't just buy a CF bulb and plug it in. You need a retrofit as you mentioned. And there are many CF bulbs for aquarium use (full spectrum).
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Old 06-22-2004, 12:43 AM   #3
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other option is to use a "very high output" bulb of VHO which is a standard flourescent which fits in the holder and offers additonal output for the same size...URI has good stuff.
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Old 06-22-2004, 01:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ninoboy
Nope, you get the concept a bit mixed up. The "additive" you mentioned is a comparison toward incedescent bulb. It doesn't count on additional wpg. Wpg rule is only apply for flourescent bulbs. Compact flourescent has higher wattage compares to the same length of NO fl. bulb : ex. 24" NO fl is 20watt but 24"CF is 65watts. The poor man concept is to overdrive your original NO fl bulb as explained in the article section in this forum.

If your fixture holds a flourescent bulb, you can't just buy a CF bulb and plug it in. You need a retrofit as you mentioned. And there are many CF bulbs for aquarium use (full spectrum).
the CF's i was referring to in my original post were the "lightbulb" style (straight tube or curly tube) that you use to replace regular incandescents in an incandescent hood, i've seen the CF tubes you speak of in my LFS, and am saving towards one of those setups, or perhaps just a standard twin tube strip

the thing that concerns me about overdriving a standard bulb is the chances of it either shattering, or overheating and causing a fire, i know that fans are needed for cooling in an overdriven tube....

how difficult is it to retrofit a standard All Glass strip to CF? (24" standard flourescent), and where would i find a VHO tube?
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Old 06-22-2004, 02:35 AM   #5
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If you want to change incandescent to the spiral light-bulb PC, you'll get something a lot better than you had before- but you won't have many choices of K color of bulbs- most are too warm for ideal- but they are decent.

Check out www.ahsupply.com for retrofitting info, I really think PC is a lot better than VHO- some might argue differently, but that's what I think. All the info you need is there.

Good luck!

-Tim
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Old 06-22-2004, 02:49 AM   #6
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The screw-in CF work quite well. WPG is a useless rule anyways - don't bother with it. If you're really just trying to do a quick and dirty upgrade, pick up any CF with a 'cool' rating and it'll look pretty good and the light output will appear much brighter.
The long, higher wattage fluoros (not linear tubes) are typically called Power Compacts (PC) and the price tends to be quite a bit higher. They're nice but I'm not huge on the bulb life and replacement cost.

ODNO or VHO both require cooling, so "risk"-wise they're much the same. The basic difference is that a VHO tube is designed with a lower resistance in mind so it lets through more power, whereas an ODNO tube requires you to "trick" the ballast. Either way, you're pumping more juice through that tube than an office building fixture needs, so it's not "standard". I've never heard of a bulb shattering from overheating. The worst that could happen is that it expires internally and can no longer fire. Even "bulb exploder" ballasts (I see them from time to time when I'm repairing a strip light) don't physically blow up the bulb; they just do some internal damage which kills the bulb. Anyone seen a bulb actually explode?

Personally I would go for screw-in CFs. Home Depot sells some great bulbs that are extremely blue looking. They look excellent in a tank and produce a ton of light. My girlfriend has 3 of them on her mini reef (that's 69W total) and is growing a hammer coral just fine.

If you wanted to go a little more into it, maybe even look at T5 fluorescents. They're my new favourite, and dump out a ton of light.
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Old 06-22-2004, 04:02 AM   #7
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hmm, i went looking at the petsmart website (i just go there to get a rough idea of pricing, very rarely do i buy there, if i do, it's hardware only, no animals or plants, i don't like supporting the big, faceless chain stores, but that's a rant for another day ) and the standard dual-tube strips aren't too bad pricewise, i may just go with one of them, since i plan to replace my striplights anyway...

which would give me better results for reasonable cash outlay, an incandescent with screw-in CF, or a standard dual-tube strip that would let me take advantage of specialized tubes?

as it stands right now, i have 2 striplights on my glass lid, i have lined them with aluminum foil to increase the light output, i don't really like this setup because i have to remove the front strip to access the tank for feeding and maintenance, i'm hoping the two tube strip has similar dimensions to my existing single tube (with my luck it will be wider and won't fit on the glass lid )

i like the low-tech approach, primarily to test my creativity, and partially (lets be honest here) because it's cheaper

my current goal is to get my Marimo ball to pearl and float, it pearls a little with the standard 20W Coralife tube, a little more with my old 20W Triton , but no floating yet, then again, i've only recently put the second tube on the tank (around 10 PMish, just to see how quickly the Marimo would pearl up and hopefully float) and it would probably take more than a couple hours to get the Marimo floating
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Old 06-22-2004, 05:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTech
hmm, i went looking at the petsmart website (i just go there to get a rough idea of pricing, very rarely do i buy there, if i do, it's hardware only, no animals or plants, i don't like supporting the big, faceless chain stores, but that's a rant for another day ) and the standard dual-tube strips aren't too bad pricewise, i may just go with one of them, since i plan to replace my striplights anyway...
Honestly, I wouldn't go there just because they don't have a full selection of *everything*. Best bet is probably to sniff around plantedtank's sponsor sites, and a few other BIG forum sites on the net. I'd lean towards salt/reef sites, since they are *much* more interested in good lighting than your average tropical fishkeeper (plantedtank being far from 'average' - how many people here have 2 neons, 2 platys, 2 mollies, 2 guppies, 2 catfish, an algae eater and some fish you can never remember the name of?).

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTech
which would give me better results for reasonable cash outlay, an incandescent with screw-in CF, or a standard dual-tube strip that would let me take advantage of specialized tubes?
I'm going to have to take some pics of the replacement top I'm making for my girlfriend. It's got the best of both worlds - a canopy sits on top with a light strip for fluoro tubes, and the canopy is raised by a "skirt" of wood that has waterproof sockets attached so you can screw in CF bulbs for extra light. The light output is rather hideously high considering it's all normal output and not reflected.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTech
as it stands right now, i have 2 striplights on my glass lid, i have lined them with aluminum foil to increase the light output, i don't really like this setup because i have to remove the front strip to access the tank for feeding and maintenance, i'm hoping the two tube strip has similar dimensions to my existing single tube (with my luck it will be wider and won't fit on the glass lid )
Aluminum foil is terrible - might as well ditch it. Some people use mylar but I find it tedious to work with. A glossy white surface actually makes an AWESOME reflector (well, technically a diffuser). White PVC is great and works wonders, not to mention cheap. From what you've described, it sounds like an all-out redesign is in order.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTech
i like the low-tech approach, primarily to test my creativity, and partially (lets be honest here) because it's cheaper

my current goal is to get my Marimo ball to pearl and float, it pearls a little with the standard 20W Coralife tube, a little more with my old 20W Triton , but no floating yet, then again, i've only recently put the second tube on the tank (around 10 PMish, just to see how quickly the Marimo would pearl up and hopefully float) and it would probably take more than a couple hours to get the Marimo floating
I'd suggest reading about all the lighting technologies (You've basically got screw in CF, PC, NO, VHO, ODNO, T5, and MH.. I miss anybody?) and see what sounds best to you. I'm a big T5 fan at the moment - there are some diehard PC people and fanatical MH people. Some people wonder what the hell is wrong with us and our lighting fervor when their NO tubes are performing miracles.
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