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CFL Lighting

5516 Views 5 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  bamboosharkbark
I am working to start a low tech planted aquarium without C02 generator. Based on this article.

Question about CFL bulbs. I have a really nice hood which uses the screw in type CFL bulbs. I have noted that there are also other types (long rather than spiral) and want to be sure what I am planning will be OK. 55 gallon aquarium, three bulbs in the hood, use 45 watt bulbs which will be a yield of about 2.5 watts per gallon, the highest recommended for the low tech setup.

Please advise on the bulb type.
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Frogecko, welcome to APC!

Spiral CFLs give a lot more light when they are mounted vertically rather than horizontally--almost twice as much. So if your hood only allows the tubes to be horizontal, I would try some of the u-shaped ones.

That said, I know very little about what kinds of screw-base u-shaped tubes are available, and haven't done any tests on them. I have very good resuts with Sylvania spiral CFLs, so if they make a u-shaped one it might be good to try first.
Spiral CFL's work great! Use them on my 55 gal. along with a small T5 fixture.
CFL lighting is difficult to pin down on a light scheme because of the manner the light is dispersed(as hinted at in michaels response.) Using WPG is also not a good way to judge lighting, since watts is purely matter of input not a matter of output. With more efficient lighting the input of 2.5 W/g is often entering into high light territory, with low efficiency lighting it is at the upper range of low light. CFLs are particularly complex because the geometrics of the bulbs affect the light quality and the orientation varies significantly from one manufacturer/bulb specification to another. So long as you plan on using CFLs it may be beneficial to find a bulb that you find aesthetically pleasing and then find where on the light intensity spectrum it falls and adjust your planning accordingly.
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I agree with DeChaoOrdo except; I figure my WPG based on the fluorescent tube output.
For instance on my 46g BF I have a 96 watt cfl tube. So I have approximately 2.08 WPG.
It is actually less than that because of substrate/driftwood, etc water displacement.
By far the best measurement is a PAR meter.
go for leds man you're asking about outdated technology. I hated using CFLs, the look, the space they take up, the inefficiency for aquarium purposes because of restrike, the heat and the endless replacements.

A diy led project could cost less in the long run because you'll be replacing those bulbs alot. leds last years and for that size tank you could probly do it for about 200 dollars.
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