Which bulb is best?
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Old 02-20-2003, 06:52 PM   #1
ljezuit
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It is time to replace my NO Chroma 50. I was thinking of sticking with the Chroma 50, a Philips Natural, or the GE Plant and Aquarium. I would like to know what everyone thinks of possible replacements.
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Old 02-20-2003, 07:17 PM   #2
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The Chroma 50 and GE Plant & Aquarium both have about the same light output, as far as plants are concerned (PAR around 21 uE/s). I couldn't find anything about the Phillips Natural.

Read the thread at the top of this forum called "Lumens and PAR" for more info and follow the link in the first post for a really good article on selecting bulbs for Planted Tanks.

Home Depot carries General Electric bulbs, but Lowe's carried OSRAM/Sylvania and they have a Plant & Aquarium bulb called "Gro-Lux". It might appear slightly dimmer to your eye (1200 lumens as opposed to 1900 for the P&A and 2250 for the C50) but has considerably higher output in spectra that plants require. They also make the fish look really really cool.
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Old 02-20-2003, 07:27 PM   #3
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I just stopped at our local Home Depot and he said they are switching to Philips. He said their Natural bulb is the equivalent to GE’s sunshine. The specs are 92CRI 850 Initial Lumens, and 5000K (For 24inch 20watt bulb).

I will have to try and search for a place that carries Sylvania. We do not have any Lowe’s around here. My other bulb is a GE Aquarays Fresh and Saltwater. Should I replace them both with the Sylvania’s if I can find them? What is the temp of these bulbs?

Also I read on Sylvania;s web site that this bulb requires a grow lux starter. What is this?
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Old 02-20-2003, 07:37 PM   #4
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Also, Sylvania lists two types of bulbs. the gro lux aquarium and Aquarium wide spectrum. I am guessing the gro lux is the one that is better for plant growth.

Thanks for your help
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Old 02-20-2003, 08:31 PM   #5
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The Gro Lux is indeed the better one for plant growth, while the wide spectrum has a somewhat higher CRI to make fish and plants look more "natural" as opposed to "enhanced" such as with the P&A and Gro-Lux.

I've never heard of needing any type of special starter. I've used Gro-Lux bulbs in a huge variety of ballasts and never had problems.
So if the Phillips Natural bulb is the same as the GE Sunshine, then it's going to be pretty much identical to the C50. Not a bad bulb, but not quite as good as the Gro-Lux. If you don't feel like hassling with the search, just get the GE P&A, Sunshine or Phillips Natural. But if you find a local Lighting Supply store, you should be able to get some of those Gro-Lux bulbs.
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Old 02-20-2003, 09:22 PM   #6
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I think it will be worth the effort to try them. Thanks!
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Old 02-27-2003, 06:20 PM   #7
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I thought I would give an update to the post. I was able to find some Grow Lux bulbs at a local hardware store. I wanted to say thanks for the advice. These bulbs are great! I like the look it gives me and in only 4 days having them in, I have seen a bunch of new growth. I run a low light tank (40 watts on 29 gallons) so I think the choice of bulb has a greater effect than someone with more lighting. I only replaced one of the bulbs so far and in a month or so will replace the other since I don’t want my crypts to melt from the change.

Thanks Again!
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Old 02-27-2003, 06:51 PM   #8
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Glad to see another successful improvement with the Gro-Lux bulbs! You are absolutely right, that for low or borderline wpg tanks, bulb selection becomes critical.
So you've actually seen increased growth rates?
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Old 02-28-2003, 02:02 PM   #9
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Yes. It is now day 5 with the gro lux bulb in and I have seen a lot of new growth.

My Java Moss which was just doing okay before has new growth tips every ½ inch along each stem. Nice bright green tips too. I had a piece of hornwort that was floating around and I think it has increased by about 20% (Plus instead of being all bunched up it has spread out giving it a more lively appearance). My sword plants and crypts have always done well so I am not sure if it made any difference for them but my latest edition, an Echidorious Orisus (SP?) has a new leaf coming out that is a bright red.

These bulbs are excellent. I can’t wait till I can replace the other bulb in my hood. Once again, great advice on this board.

Also, in my battle with some brush algae I bought 8 ghost shrimp which although they have not gotten rid of it, they have made a significant dent which is good enough for me. Now if I can only get my Java Fern to grow to full size I will be set!
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