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Newbie question re compact fluorescent watts and ballast

1109 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  waterspider

Quick question. When looking a replacing non-integrated compact flourescent bulbs, can you increase the recommended watts at all, or would I need to change the ballast built into the tank hood?

Hoping someone can help me here. I'm in the process of learning about lighting for my first proper planted tank, and have run into a bit of a wall with the tank I was planning to use: aquastart 500 with fittings for 2 pl x 11 watt bulbs (g23 cap) Not only does 22w mean very low lighting on the wpg rule, I'm finding UK suppliers of G23 aquarium bulbs incredibly restrictive. I've not got equipment to measure par, so am really having to rely on manufacturers for spectrum info.

I can get an attachment to use four pin CFLs instead, which gives me more options (up to 36w per bulb - though even 18s would probably give me enough of a boost for a low-tech tank.) I just can't seem to find any info on the aquastart ballast to know if there is any leeway there.

Any advice most welcome. I've been finding the articles and debates on lighting on here massively useful.
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Compact fluorescent bulbs, that look like:

are driven at the wattage the ballast is designed to drive them to. Some ballasts will handle more than one wattage, but those require changing how they are connected to the different wattage bulbs. I have put higher wattage bulbs in a light and the bulbs worked, but didn't last very long before the ends blackened. But, I also have changed the wiring, per the manufacturers directions, and used the same ballast successfully.
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