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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the spirit of being environmentally friendly (and partly because my parents are paying the electricity and i feel guilty running hundreds of watts of lighting) i am wondering how plants grow under regular energy saving bulbs.

I saw cool white lights that emit 100W of light but only require 11W, and warm white bulbs which have similar output. So i am wondering if plants will do well under this because i can light both my tanks much more strongly, while the energy savers total wattage doesnt even add up to 1 of the ballasts that are running my flourescent lights.

Will the colour of the lighting mean that the plants wont grow well. Somebody told me that if you combine warm and cool flourescent lighting you get amazing growth but im not sure. I dont want to spend money buying fittings and globes if im not sure that i will get lots of growth, as well as a nice bright tank, i dont want it to have an orange tint from the warm whites.
 

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All fluorescent bulbs are energy saving bulbs. They produce 10X the light that an incandescent bulb produces. But, we mean fluorescent bulb watts when we talk about watts per gallon, not incandescent bulbs. So, you are already using energy saving bulbs. If you want to save your parents electricity costs, switch to T5 bulbs with individual reflectors. They will save up to about half the wattage of other fluorescent bulbs. (Always beware when someone tells you you can save up to some value! That means that is the most you will save, but the least is zero.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well the bulbs i mean are the new screw in ones, as opposed to the tube kind. For example I currently have two 40w tubes in my tank and one 40w in another, so in all its 120w. But according to these new phillips screw in types i can get "up to" 300w of output for only 33w (400 for 40w, etc. etc.)

Even if they dont each output exactly 100w, they are pretty bright little lights. So im sure on the whole i will get at least MORE light than i am currently, with less energy usage. The other question is will my plants be growing better than if i use special tubes meant for plant growth? even if i have say "200w" of output rather than 80w of specific tubes for plants.
 

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Any tube type fluorescent is going to be more efficient than a spiral type. The spirals lose between 1/2 to 3/4 of their light due to restrike regardless of reflector whereas a tube will lose from none to 1/2 depend on reflector design.

In addition the screw in bulbs aren't as efficient in giving photosynthetically active radiation as a plant growth tube bulb.

The X watt equivalent is X incandescent watts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh ok, so if im using a 40w fluorescent tube it is essentially the same of using 40w of the energy saving bulbs, only the light is more evenly distributed?

Does anybody know if there is any truth in the warm/white cool white thing? Or is it just best to use two or three 40w tubes with the blue/red colours (the one that appears purple) and perhaps a regular white fluorescent light for appearance?
 

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Undoubtably there are advantages in plant growth to using bulbs that provide a spectra that matches the plants needs as closely as possible. But, equally undoubtable is that you can grow plants very well with almost any spectra bulbs. So, in my opinion, the best criteria for selecting fluorescent bulbs is what looks best to you, and what fits your budget best. My experience is that bulbs that give what looks like a weird pinkish violet color when you first see them, make the reds in fish and plants look outstanding in the aquarium. After a day or two, you don't notice the weirdness anymore.

I hope the ultra high science in this comment doesn't throw you8-[
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ya i have one of the pinkish/purplish bulbs in my tank as well as a cool white fluorescent tube. its been running for about a month (i think) and the plant growth seems to be ok... I am using a soil substrate almost exactly like i used almost a year ago and i had amazing growth especially with a fern/bush looking stem plant. It pretty much died out in my other tank and now that i have moved it to this tank it has grown a very very small amount. My dwarf hygro is growing pretty ok, but nothing impressive. So i dont know if its the lighting or what, or perhaps the plants just havnt had enough time to settle in...?

The tank is 100L, (25 gallon i think?) and the two lights i mentioned before are each 40w. granted to purple one is about a year old.
 

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Do you fertilize those tanks? With 80 watts of light and a 25 gallon, roughly, tank, you do need fertilizers. CO2 would help a lot too, but Excel would be adequate if you don't mind the cost and the slower growth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well currently i am not fertilizing the tank that has the most lighting, it does have DIY co2 injection (but i think the lid of the bottle has a bit of a leak, so i need to sort it out) i was fertilizing the other tank for a while but i stopped when i took off the Co2 and reduced the lighting to 1 tube. I do have Sera fertilizer tablets but im assuming that most nutrients for the roots should be gotten from the soil substrate? also im adding a Potassium Nitrate and Magnesium Sulphate solution to the water on water changes for the higher light tank, but i dont think this has any trace nutrients. Would you recommend using the tabs or another liquid fertilizer?
 
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