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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been running the same 6700k bulbs since last June, and I'm wondering if I should replace them. I'm going to be replacing my fixture in July this year but I'm thinking maybe my plants would benefit if the bulbs were changed. Foe some reason I feel my tank was brighter when I first got the fixture and put the bulbs in. Also, if I use a 6700 bulb and a colormax bulb would it give a broader spectrum for the plants to benefit from?or is it better to replace with just two 6700k bulbs
 

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A lot of folks prefer to change them around the one year mark, some sooner and some later. I managed to get two years out of the last set, but they were very worn at that point. :)

Here's an idea if you know you're in it for the long haul. Go ahead and pick up a new set of bulbs. Pop the 6700K in alongside one of the old ones. Run it for a few hours to let it "burn in" and reach full brightness. Then compare it to the old 6700K. If you don't see a much difference, swap the old one back in and keep using it. You'll have the replacement bulbs ready to go when you finally need them.

You could also test by popping in both new bulbs for two weeks and see how the plants respond.

This is basically what I did. When I built my T5HO, I actually bought an extra bulb to use as a reference. It sat around for most of two years, getting swapped in occasionally just to compare. Now it's finally in active duty. ;)

Colormax I think has a bit more red, and will grow plants maybe a hair better in combo with a 6700K. But what's more important is that it's visually pleasing to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Haha yeah, I plan on getting a bml in July for my birthday but until then I wnt my plants to pop out with more color and I have a color max bulb I swapped out still new. I know the red spectrum helps with plant growth and photo. I might try swapping out one tomorrow foe he colormax and see how the plants respong for two weeks. I do run co2 and dose ferts daily. But the reds aren't popping out as much as they can I want full potential haha
 

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Ooo, BML fixture. Nice!

More red will immediately and visually accentuate red plants, obviously. The actual red coloration in plants is anthocyanins, produced when a plant receives more light than it can utilize; without which it would suffer damage to the photosynthetic mechanisms. Kind of like sunscreen. ;)

I've seen a scientific paper claiming that red light triggers more anthocyanin production than other colors of light. Since anthocyanins are good at reflecting red, that would seem to be a sensible strategy for the plants. I haven't really tested it, but it does seem to be a bit easier to produce nice reds in my tank with a DD Giesemann Aquaflora (red heavy) than my other tanks with straight 6500K.
 

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Sold at other places but I don't know where Aquatic Life has a 650nm bulb that is $10
for the 18" one on Doctors Foster & Smith when on sale. I am using it now as it is a bulb that is specifically in that plant spectrum instead of just containing some of it.
Not long enough to make any conclusions yet but I strongly prefer the color over the Colormax. As cheap as it is you might try one of each so you can see the difference in color.
 

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Sounds like you already have NEW T5HO bulbs. Your local Petco might still have ALL of their ZooMed T5's marked down to $10 each to make room for the NEW REbranded Coralife products. My fixture uses 34" bulbs NOT 36", so they were by far the only option for "specialized" bulbs.

With fluorescent, there's ACTUAL inert gas with bits of mercury inside of each bulb & when you add electricity it sends a charge through the particles & creates light.

Similar concept with the CFLs. There will be a noticeable BRIGHTER during the first months, but eventually it gets dimmer over time. Burn in period.

That's the simplified version.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Not even 2 days changing 6700k bulb to a colormax and my plants are melting. Not bueno I'll need to get a new bulb tomorrow because I am not spending money on plants again.
 

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I've had Crypts melt with changing of a new bulb. To me, it just showed how far my old bulbs had drifted out. Crypts usually comes back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My ludwigia sp red, limno repens mini, Buce, and some others but these are the most prominent. I did buy a new 6700k bulb today to replace the colormax, which I had used to replace the old burnt out 6700k bulb. The bulb is definatly a lot bright and I notice a huge difference in the tank. Hopefully within the nespxt few days my plants bounce back. My Buce was doing beautiful, bright green leaves with white speckles. Even the old leaves had turned back to a Green from black or purple when I had it shipped to me. Now it's back to the black leaves and I don't like that.
 
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