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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone! Here's a question...have you guys had any luck using standard household bulbs for planted aquariums? I am currently using a variety of household bulbs (two 2700k BR30 LED's, two 4000k A19 bulbs, and a 5000k A19 bulb) on my houseplants (ranging from a sun demanding gerbera daisy to a chinese evergreen) and all the plants are growing and (where applicable) blooming, so if there's an issue it is probably not with the lighting spectrum. Thanks :)
 

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I look at lighting in several ways as it seems to be one of the first things mentioned when somebody starts the game.
For starting, I was raising fish and only got around to plants when a fellow gave me a handful from a tank when I bought some fish. It was certainly not a place where I was going to go out and buy a bunch of stuff for lighting as I was not totally sure I would ever raise any plants. Just not my thing and I was mostly interested in making the fish and tanks look more natural.
So I rigged up a few bulb holders from construction sockets and added CFL bulbs to lay on the glass tops! At the time the total was something like $10-15 for the total of four bulbs but it worked well enough to get me interested! Perhaps not great but it certainly worked well enough to suit what I wanted!
The biggest part of my package was to go for 6500K CFL bulbs as they were all the "new" thing at the time, even though the price for a light bulb was considered quite high at almost tow dollars a bulb!
Now I find them hard to find at any price as LED is the "new thing" of the moment.

I find lighting is talked as such a high priority for a couple reasons and none of them involve you saving money. One reason for lighting to be talked so much is that most of us do not have the equipment to really know what a bulb does for us, so we really have to go with what the "experts" tell us and those are also the folks who just happen to sell the really expensive stuff. So them telling you that it really matters that you have expensive lights also tends to fit right in with their making a better profit!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I look at lighting in several ways as it seems to be one of the first things mentioned when somebody starts the game.
For starting, I was raising fish and only got around to plants when a fellow gave me a handful from a tank when I bought some fish. It was certainly not a place where I was going to go out and buy a bunch of stuff for lighting as I was not totally sure I would ever raise any plants. Just not my thing and I was mostly interested in making the fish and tanks look more natural.
So I rigged up a few bulb holders from construction sockets and added CFL bulbs to lay on the glass tops! At the time the total was something like $10-15 for the total of four bulbs but it worked well enough to get me interested! Perhaps not great but it certainly worked well enough to suit what I wanted!
The biggest part of my package was to go for 6500K CFL bulbs as they were all the "new" thing at the time, even though the price for a light bulb was considered quite high at almost tow dollars a bulb!
Now I find them hard to find at any price as LED is the "new thing" of the moment.

I find lighting is talked as such a high priority for a couple reasons and none of them involve you saving money. One reason for lighting to be talked so much is that most of us do not have the equipment to really know what a bulb does for us, so we really have to go with what the "experts" tell us and those are also the folks who just happen to sell the really expensive stuff. So them telling you that it really matters that you have expensive lights also tends to fit right in with their making a better profit!
I noticed that last bit...the guys saying the household bulbs were bad were frequently also the ones advertising someone's lights or selling their own lights. If they were so bad I wouldn't be successfully blooming a gerbera daisy indoors for months with one...the things demand full sunlight and don't usually do well as houseplants for that reason. You think a more focused beam would work better than a typical diffuse A19 bulb? I am leaning strongly towards BR30 bulbs, which have a 120 degree beam (vs the 220 degree beam of many A19 bulbs). Also, should I bother with renting a PAR meter for measuring the bulb's potency?
 

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Hi everyone! Here's a question...have you guys had any luck using standard household bulbs for planted aquariums? I am currently using a variety of household bulbs (two 2700k BR30 LED's, two 4000k A19 bulbs, and a 5000k A19 bulb) on my houseplants (ranging from a sun demanding gerbera daisy to a chinese evergreen) and all the plants are growing and (where applicable) blooming, so if there's an issue it is probably not with the lighting spectrum. Thanks :)

Plants love photons and most any will do so as long as they have enough and are pointed in the right direction.. no problem.


Now what it looks like is another story.
 

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More directed light is more effective light as what goes up and away is often just lost and even if we add a cover, it is less bounced off than if we aim it the right direction. And appearance is a definite but that is often something we can solve with a bit of work.
Both the direction and the look of the light can be changed with some thought.
One of the better moves for me on getting better use of the light came when I moved to using "horizontal LED bulbs that I got from E-bay as they have all the LED on one side along a longer bulb.
I do not find a US seller currently as the market seemed to have changed but you might try a search for these as "horizontal LED bulb E27" to get an idea.
What I like most is that they can be screwed into most any bulb holder we find and they seem to put a lot of light out in one direction at a very cheap price as well as fit my plans for flexible placement.
The appearance issue for me was not big as I almost always go for DIY wooden canopies over all my tank as I do want the "junk" covered as well as being able to place the equipment where I want it.
My plants always grow and change, so being able to move the light to get more or less to different spots at different levels, just feels much the same as we do in the yard. The big difference is that we have to move the plants when in the yard but here I can move the "sun"!
 
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