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Discussion Starter #1
Forgive me for asking because I'm sure this has been answered a thousand times but...

In all my reading and research, it seems like ~3500K fluorescent lamps were recommended for NPTs. Is that correct?

(Does it really matter?)
 

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It probably matters-- if you are a plant. For example, 10,000 K, which saltwater hobbyists use for growing deepwater coral probably won't work very well; it has too much blue light and not enough red light.

My earlier recommendations (mix of sunlight, cool-white, and light designed for growing plants) still works. I haven't the slightest idea what the temp is.

Recently I've retrofitted (AH Supply) my old strip lights with 6500 and 5000K compact fluorescent lights for two of my tanks. I'm pleased with the results.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you Diane, that is the answer I was looking for. I will use the 6500K lamps I have instead.
 

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I'm using 1 bulb 4200K and the second buld at 5500k
Nice because the 4200k brings out the reds.
I think things are growing better than when I had 2x4200k but then again these bulbs new bulbs replaced 1 year old bulbs.

I believe my combination is essentially cool-white and vita-lite on p 180.
Also the light frequency isn't too high so it should reduce algae growth.

I find the pure white lite of 5500/6500 kind of too white, although with the natural tannins, it doesn't matter.
Surprise what we consider normal after a while. If it isn't yellow, it isn't healthy :D
 

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Ditto the mixed bulbs: plants use several wavelengths, and supplying a mix is closer to what they find in nature.
The bluer bulbs for corals is based on the idea of full strength tropical sun at mid day, filtered through enough water that a lot of the red is scattered out leaving just the blue. This is not the same for most of our fresh water plants. These plants come from shallower water, so there is less scattering, closer to a full spectrum of light for them, but it is also shaded by the trees in many areas, so the light is not as bright.

I am using a mix of at least 2 bulbs on each tank, and combining and of these: 'Daylight', 'Cool white' and 'Aquarium and Plant'. Most of the tanks are pretty close to windows, and some get some direct sun for a few hours.
 

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I no longer have any boxes to look up the K number. It has a somewhat pink look to it. I just looked on the bulb:
No K-number on the bulb. Sylvania Gro-Lux Aquarium. This particular one is 24", 20 watts. It is in a 2-bulb fixture with one of the 'Daylight' bulbs that is also not marked (not even a brand name). Comparing the two the daylight bulb looks green. On other tanks the 'Daylight' bulb (Maybe different manufacturer) has something very close to pure white (to my eye) with just a hint toward the blue.

The fish in all these tanks look natural colored to me, the orange and yellow fish are orange and yellow, the green blush on some of the guppies is distinct, the blues are nicely colored, and most of the silvery fish flash all the colors of the rainbow when the light hits them just right.

The only tank where the fish looked funny was a brackish water tank. I used a distinctly blue light on it and the Orange Chromides looked horrid. The tank looked nice with the blue light, though.
 
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