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Depends on the bulb, really.

CF screw-in bulbs (in my experience) get ugly and lower in output in 6-7 months but this is HIGHLY variable, they all vary in quality.

PC bulbs seem to get about a year but I've had precious few of them.

T12 and T8's I've run for a year, but I always had 4 of them at a time and rotated them out every 8-12 months.


T5HO I definitely would run for a solid two years. Just my personal preference though.
 

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I would agree with the above post pretty much.

I just had a really bad whole tank crypt melt in the mini-m in my sig. Couldnt figure out what the heck the problem was that could be effecting the entire tank. The only sensible thing could have been the light bulb (a spiral PC). I replaced it yesterday and I can already see a marked improvement.

Regular PC's O would say a year depending on how long your photo period is.

T5's I would say a year to 1.5 years.
 
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