Need Lighting Advice

Isabella

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I want to buy a 75G tank, and while it will not be a fully planted tank with a substrate that's required for a densely planted tank with a variety of plants, it will have some plants and a regular gravel. It will be a low-maintenace tank. However, I know how important lighting is for plants. So I want to get lighting better than standard (my sword plants are not doing very well under standard lighting). I would like to know what do you think a good HO aquarium lighting would be for me. I am particularly interested in a compact fluorescent light. The tank's cover will be glass and it will be 48" long, so I am looking for a light strip in this length as well. I have been looking at All-Glass Aquarium's Compact fluorescent light strip that is 48" long and it has two 55 watt bulbs (they're not 48" long). The problem with that is that if I wanted to replace a bulb for a different one, most of other brands have 48" long bulbs that are 65 watts, not shorter and 55 (so they wouldn't fit AGA strip). So I am not sure if All-Glass Aquarium Strip light would be the best. Does anyone know other compact fluorescent light strips that will accommodate most 65W bulbs? Or any other suggestions? The point is to have about 130 watts of light over my 75G tank.

Thank you in advance for any help and suggestions, I'd really appreciate.

P.S. Does compact fluorescent lighting (say, 130 watts) consume a lot of energy, and does it affect your electricity bill a lot? Also, if you think lower wattage would be OK for a moderately planted tank with a regular gravel, please let me know what wattage that would be and which light strips and bulbs would be OK in this case. THANKS!

* I will post this question on Plant Geek as well.
 

Dino

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CF actually uses less energy than flourencents.
A 65 watt CF would probably produce as much light as a 100 watt incandecent.

Dino
 
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Isabella

Isabella

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Thanks for your reply Dino. By "CF" you mean "compact fluorescent", right? And really? How can a 65W compact fluorescent bulb use less energy than a standard low-wattage fluorescent bulb?
 

vin

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Dino said:
CF actually uses less energy than flourencents.
A 65 watt CF would probably produce as much light as a 100 watt incandecent.

Dino
Actually the CF and the Fluorescent tube or strip run off of a ballast. The CF is a built in ballast while the strip is a remote ballast that is built into the fixture itself....The ballasts control how much energy the lamp uses. Since most use the same ballast rating, they'd use about the same amount of energy so the difference wouldn't be noticable. The incandescent lighting uses much more enery than either type of fluorescent......A typical 28w CF light bulb is equal to 100w incandescent. The difference is the temperature (heat) output as well as the operating cost. A typical 100w incand. bulb puts out a temp of around 350 degrees vs. 90 degrees for the CF bulb. Most of the energy used by the incandescent is wasted in the form of heat. The more heat the lamp givevs off, the more it effects the ambient surroundings....meaning it causes your energy consumption to increase to relieve the added heat gain of the surroundings.

In an aquarium setting, the added heat from an incandescent bulb can be a big problem.

Also, a CF bulb will generally last 10-13 times longer than an incandescent (10,000 hours vs. 750 hours) and cost up to 12 times less to operate.

New energy codes are forcing manufacturers away from the standard T-12 (1/2" diameter) lighting tubes and toward the slimmer, more efficient T-8 (1" dia). Soon, you will not be able to buy a T-12 light strip, though the lamps will be available for quite some time. Also, the typical light strip is a nominal 48" strip, but is actually slightly longer and uses a 48" tube lamp. There are some odd sizes, but these too may be going by the wayside in favor of even lengths in 24", 48" applications.

Here's a quick comparison of equivalent output:

Incandescent Compact Fluorescent
40 - Watt 11 - Watt
60 - Watt 15 - Watt
75 - Watt 20 - Watt
90 - Watt 23 - Watt
100 - Watt 28 - Watt

Example: The light output of a 28 watt CFL bulb would be equal to that of a 100 watt Incandescent bulb.

I hope this helps some......
 
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Isabella

Isabella

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Thank you Vin Then when I have 110-130 watts (of compact fluorescent light) over my 75 gallon tank, it seems I won't be paying that much more for electricity? If that's the case, it sounds interesting. I suppose it is metal halide lamps that consume a lot of energy, rather than fluorescent and compact fluorescent lamps?
 

vin

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Metal halide not only cost more both to operate and for the bulbs themselves, they also give off intense heat and can cause fading......Fluorescent is definitely the way to go and as energy codes develop further, you're probably going to see the standard incandescent lighting slowly going by the wayside.
 

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