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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 55 gallon with 4x65 watt CFLs and a 37 with a 2x65. Half 10k, half actinic (on a longer timer). Usually I have great plant growth and am tossing out tons of clippings. But as of the last couple of months, I'm getting more and more green dust and green spot algae, and poorer plant growth. I can't figure out whats going on different chemically, but I got the lamps at the end of November last year. The bulbs on the 55 are a bit dimmer to the eye even.

Could this be a reasonable cause? I was hoping to get more life out of the bulbs :(
 

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I change my bulbs out each year. Some say they will last longer. But I can tell a big difference in the brightness after this length of time. The bulbs also yellow & get darker towards the ends after this period. If you see a difference in brightness I would say they are ready to replace.

I'm not sure if your older bulbs are contributing to the algea you see or not. But when you start getting GSA that is a sign of low P04. Dust algae in my experience is caused by too much N03.
 

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I also have CFL's and even on the package it said they should be replaced yearly because the bulbs would lose their spectral quality, even if you can't see it (but in this case you can). Also, you may consider dual daylight bulbs or just one Kelvin or another. The actinic light is considered unuseful for plants. On the other hand, that would give a LOT more 'useable' light than what you have had, and you might have to reduce the photoperiod or something.

-Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hmm, could be the PO4 I guess. My water in Cleveland had a lot of it, but here in Cincinnati it is lacking, I'm not in the habit of adding it too often.

The nitrates are under control though, no higher than they ever were before the algae problem.

I tend to get algae problems if I leave the daylight lamp on longer or the blinds of the picture window wide open. I leave the actinic blue on a lot later into the light because I like it as a display color. I could change them to 50/50 bulbs I guess.

I usually get my supplies through Big Al's (I usually can't find Flourish Excel or the appropriate lamps in LFSs). Is there one brand of lamp or another that you prefer? I see Coralife and Current USA as the main choices.
 

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Newt put a link in this thread to some other bulb choices:
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/lighting/54317-coralife-fixture-question.html

GE also makes the 9325. I'm not sure if these are straight-pin or square-pin bulbs. If the bulbs are straight and you fixture is square, there are adapters you can buy (look on ebay). It just depends on what you want.

I know what you mean about not finding what you need at the LFS's. The ONLY thing I can find where I am is Flourish (just Flourish, not Excel or the macros). So, I order everything online except fish and food and the occassional plant.

-Dave
 

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Lord,

I have found excel flourish local in Cincinnati at Aquatics and Exotics. Here is the web site www.aquaticsandexotics.com. The only bad thing is that they were charging $9.99 for 250 ML. I thought a little steep and bought from Dr. Fosters and Smith for 19.49 for 2 liters. It's on sale this month. They have 250 ml going for $3.69. I also picked up Flourish iron for $3.69 for 250 ml online.

Thanks,

Michael
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Lord,

I have found excel flourish local in Cincinnati at Aquatics and Exotics. Here is the web site www.aquaticsandexotics.com. The only bad thing is that they were charging $9.99 for 250 ML. I thought a little steep and bought from Dr. Fosters and Smith for 19.49 for 2 liters. It's on sale this month. They have 250 ml going for $3.69. I also picked up Flourish iron for $3.69 for 250 ml online.

Thanks,

Michael
Actually I live just down the street from them. I had a bunch of store credit from selling rainbowfish I raised but didn't find much I needed so I picked up some staples like food and fluorite. They only have a few lamps, all straight-pin for 23 inch :(

I actually picked up a 10k lamp with some of the credit and when I took it home I realized it was straight pin and I have square. I returned it for some other stuff, I didnt know there was adapters. Oh well.
 

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Yep, they don't have many lamps there. I thought I would give you a heads up if you need excel fast and don't want to wait for shipping. It's the only place locally I could find flourish excel.

Michael
 

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Could this be a reasonable cause? I was hoping to get more life out of the bulbs :(
Old bulbs are not as strong as new ones. But there could be many other reasons for the observed poor plant growth.

In order not to be wasteful or generating unnecessary hazard waste, I kept using a bulb until it burned out. Consequently, some of my tanks have bulbs which are several years old. In those tanks, I have observed alternating cycles of fast and slow plant growth, all under the same bulbs.
 

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The life of your bulbs really makes a difference. I got my Compact flourescents about the same time you did. I have noticed a real slow down with my plants. Some are even beginning to melt. I am dosing exactly the same. It's the higher light plants that I see the change in. After a year I will have lost 50% of your light, according the manufacturer of my fixture.

I hear that the Geissemann bulbs last for years and cost no more (energy cost) to run. If your worried about bulbs being tossed otu that may be the way to go. Course the initial outlay is much $$$ for the bulbs. Save your pennies.
 

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May be higher light plants do not adapt well to less than ideal lighting condition.

I prefer plants that are easy to grow. May be that explains why I could use just the regular run-of-the-mill bulbs till they burned out and my plants continued to do well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The main problem is my hygrophila is not thriving, it loves lots of light.
 

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How about replacing the existing bulb with a new one of exactly the same type and then observe? Regardless of the outcome, it will be a learning experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That is one possibility. I was using the 2x actinic instead of 50/50 on my second bank simply because they came with the fixture. I could leave them up as my display lights and just replace the 10k, the plants did well when those were new, and I wouldn't spend all my money on bulbs!
 

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I do know that Rex Grigg a formidable expert uses his bulbs till they burn out, a close friend of mine does the same and his plants look great. Not saying that its not important to replace but showing others do fine without having to change out those expensive bulbs annually.
 

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Get new bulbs. I had the same problem after having the pc's in the fixture for 9 months. I was in denial that the bulbs could possibly be bad after tha amount of time when it says to replace every year. When I did bite the bullitt and got new bulbe there was a HUGE difference in brightness. Then the plants turned around, algea went away and all was good.
 

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Yo may want to consider not changing all the bulbs at the same time....kind of a rotating basis. I write the date on the base so I know which ones are the oldest.
 
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