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I took the CF bulbs out and put in the 15w incandescent bulbs that actually came with the hood. It looked like a dankly lit cave. The difference in the visible light was crazy. I'm going to leave the CF bulbs in for now and see if I get any noticeable plant growth difference. Maybe later I'll put in two 25 watt CF bulbs. At least to my eyes the 15w CF bulbs are 4 to 5 times brighter than the previous hood with a 15 w tube and no real reflector and the incandescent bulbs.

Thanks for the explanation though Hoppy. I'm gonna cross my fingers in hopes my 10 gallon isn't jinxed. ;)

-D
I have used the 6500K GE bulbs and let me tell you, they aren't that great for lighting...

I swapped the standard bulb in my Eclipse 5 with a 15 watt 6500K and all it grew were aglae and insufficient plant growth. Makes sense because all that white light is just parts of the spectrum that plants can't utilize well.. especially green. Aesthetically pleasing results, but better off using it as a supplement.
 

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Any suggestions as to what brand / light spectrum I should go with instead? I was thinking of putting 2 20 watts in there in their place anyhow.
Eclipse sells Daylight bulbs that are compact fluorescent. This has a warmer tone which could help plant growth. http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/prod/213954/product.web

This might also work too.. this is probably your better option:
http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/prod/209773/product.web
Notice the reds and blues at 460nm and 640nm ranges.


Edit: There's a 20 watt version of the Colormax also..
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002DIHCS?smid=A3N3VAFSB57PBN&tag=msnshop-pet-mp-20&linkCode=asn
 

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Thanks for the links! I wonder if that ballast bit would be too big or if it would fit in my hood. I'm sure the non spiral bulb will be loads better than the spiral ones I have currently too.

I don't see what output the Colormax is; 6500k, 8500k etc.
The Colormax is 6700k. It's important to keep in mind that temperature ratings are not that important to plants.. the spectral graph is where it really matters. In this case, the Colormax can do a sufficient job. I don't know of any screw-in compact fluorescent bulbs that are outstanding in red and blue areas. On a budget, two 20 watt bulbs compared to a 40 watt power compact fluorescent bulb fixture would save you bundles of money.

The ballast should fit fine :)
 

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That's interesting! I had never considered that those bulbs might be producing most of their light at wave lengths that plants don't use. That could explain the really bad results I got with the bulbs. Since I plan to get rid of that tank very soon I won't be trying other bulbs, but at least I can now see where I might have been off track. And, that could explain why others had so much better "luck".
They're nice bulbs that can whiten a tank, which would be great if you happen to have a Freshwater red spectrum bulb.
 

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I'm using 4 26 watt GEs over my 10 gallon in a custom HDPE hood with an aluminum foil reflector. I have two standard bulbs and two 6500K daylights. The color is great and the plants pearl like no one's business. I'm growing a thin film of diatoms but I think it is more a result of my homebrew CO2 dying than the lights.
Nice, could you post us a picture of your current setup?
 

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Here's my hood. It's some high density polyethylene that my dad has laying around. The reflector is just some heavy duty aluminum foil. The cord, plugs, and porcelains were bought at Home Depot or Lowes, don't remember which. I doubt I'm seeing 100 watts of real light, but it sure beats having a standard fluorescent hood. The outer bulbs are normal whites, the two inside are daylights. I left the gap so I can expand it to 6 bulbs if I end up feeling the need. If I can find a 2 light, electronic ballasted 18 inch T8 fixture I'd just do 4 ODNO bulbs. Unfortunately, locally I haven't seen a fixture to work with.

Clever construction.

If your plants indeed do pearl, it's not from the green spectrum that the daylight bulbs are emitting. Since you have about 100 watts of mixed lighting, it may be that the low ends of red and blue are compensated through the standard fluorescent and some bits of red and blue from the 6500K.
 

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I miss the full spectrum daylight bulbs that used to be sold in Wal*Mart. Now they only sell the GE CFL's. This version bulb works great in my 10 gallon tank, but if I use it elsewhere in my house it gives off a slightly bluish white light.

The older full spectrum daylight bulb did not have the spirals but more straight like the colormax bulbs. Gave off a nice white light like the sun which was great in the Schenectady, Upstate New York area in the middle of winter. Nice sunlight like glow. I still have one package left.

I know fellow APC members on the West Coast can still find this type of bulb.

I can't figure out why we can't find them in stores in Upstate New York. Darned annoying.

By the way, I love the DIY electrical stuff. Someday I will do so myself. Haven't yet. Electricity, wiring, plastic, water, me. If I am not scared yet, I should be. (ha,ha)
Yeah, I have the GE CFLs for my computer room and it gives off a greenish blue hue when it's not strong enough.
BTW I like your vase :)
 
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