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If I use an actinic bulb to brighten my tank up a little bit will it effect the plants or cause algae? I like the way the blueness of the actinic brightens up my tank and balances out the pink look of the 6700k bulb I have.
 

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Opae Ula Crazed.
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Have you thought of using a 50/50 fluorescent? Half of that is actinic.

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Opae Ula Crazed.
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50/50 makes for a natural colored light but brings out more vivid color.

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Opae Ula Crazed.
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Fifty percent actinic, fifty percent daylight, I believe. Not sure the sizes available. Googling "50/50 fluorescent" should tell you.

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Actinic bulbs have a purpose in some saltwater tanks to grow coral I believe.

Michel.
Coming from a reef background, the actinic lighting isn't what actually makes the coral grow better, the natural daylight color is, but the actinic is for aesthetics, it makes the coral POP in color, and makes the fish color stand out as well. Take a look at a reef tank with only white lights, it will be one of the uglier things you'll ever see lol.

Now on topic here, I doubt actinic will hurt anything in a planted tank, it's just another spectrum of light, if you like the aesthetics of it, go for it! Post pics if you do. I personally think some natural daylight bulbs make plant color pop better, but that's me. :)

-Scott
 

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The "actinic" bulbs in reef lighting come in two varieties (actually three.) There are 420nm "true" actinics (a/k/a "actinic 03"), which are more purple in color. Then there are 460nm actinics, which are more blue in color. In power compact lighting, a "dual actinic" is available, with one half at 420nm and one half at 460nm. None of these types of actinics actually have any special benefit to corals, they just provide better aesthetics. Don't know if any of these would be beneficial to freshwater plants, but they may look better depending on your taste. I prefer using the 420nm and 460nm together in my reef tank.

"50/50" bulbs are usually one side 10000K and the other side actinic. "Dual daylight" bulbs are usually 10000K on one half and 6700K on the other. I do not know that these are available in anything other than power compact.
 

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Actinic bulbs (420nm) do not add anything really beneficial for plants (or corals for that matter) they are there to make cetain corals flouresce. Blue bulbs in the 460nm range are useful for plants however. A bulb like ati blue plus or a geiseman actinic plus isnt a bad addition provided you have more than four bulbs over your tank. If you google "grow light leds" you will notice they are mostly blue and red. Honestly in a two bulb fixture a red bulb like an aquaflora or power glo and an ati blue plus would probably do a great job growing plants, but the color rendering wouldnt be so great.
 

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I find it hard to believe that actinics (or blue LEDs) would fail to grow plants or corals considering the chloryphyll-a pigment peaks at around 435nm, chlorophyll-b around 470n, and the combined photosynthesis of all pigments peaks at about 425nm (even higher than the peak in the warm spectrum). I built my own LED fixture with twelve 3W Cree LEDs peaking at 450nm along with six 3W 6500K and six 3W 10000K LEDs to put over my mainly softy tank. About a year ago, just to test out if the blues alone would grow anything, I ran them with the whites turned off for about two months. I actually got really good growth, especially in my zoanthids. I see no reason why this would be incomprehensible, and why this concept shouldn't be used with plants as well.
 

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If you google "grow light leds" you will notice they are mostly blue and red. Honestly in a two bulb fixture a red bulb like an aquaflora or power glo and an ati blue plus would probably do a great job growing plants, but the color rendering wouldnt be so great.
For the last week I have been running a 460nm actinic bulb and a red Flora Freshwater bulb, and while I don't like the color anywhere near as much as the flora/12k bulb set up I had originally, the plants seem to be responding well to it.
 
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