Monday, September 19, 2011

Upgrading Fluorescent tube bulb 20w for marine tank?

I currently have a fluorescent tube light with 20w (not sure of how much K it has).. it was a default one that came with my starter tank kit... and I am looking for upgrade it since I have some reef in my tank now...

My first question is: can I get those fluorescent that are sold in hardware stores (homedepo/rona) that promise higher Watts and Kelvin (and are cheaper)? or do i have to buy the special ones from aquarium stores?

Question 2:

If i am upgrading it to a higher watts do i need to change the fuse (there is a green fuse in my light hood) and the ballasts? or whats the max that i can go?

Thank YouUpgrading Fluorescent tube bulb 20w for marine tank?You can use fluorescents from the hardware store if they are the right length and wattage for your tank. They probably won't have quite the same color of light as the special aquarium lighting, but that's largely a matter of taste, unless you're keeping some very specialized plants or invertebrates.

The issue is that with straight-tube fluorescent lights the wattage is tied to the length of the tube.

A 20-watt tube usually fits in a 24-inch fixture, and you won't find a bulb with a wattage much higher or lower that will fit in the same fixture.

You should also look at the %26quot;T%26quot; number of a fluorescent tube. One %26quot;T%26quot; equals one-eighth inch of tube diameter, so a %26quot;T8%26quot; tube is one inch in diameter, a %26quot;T12%26quot; bulb is an inch and a half in diameter, and so on. In my experience, a tube with one %26quot;T%26quot; number usually won't fit in a fixture designed for a different %26quot;T%26quot; number, even if the bulb is the right length.

%26quot;T5%26quot; bulbs are considerably more efficient than %26quot;T8%26quot; bulbs, but also more expensive and harder to find.

You could use %26quot;High Output%26quot; or %26quot;Very High Output%26quot; tubes, but those would require changing your ballast and starter in the fixture. If you're doing that, you may as well retrofit your fixture for Compact Fluorescent tubes, which are both brighter and more efficient. Any of these options will give you more light, but at a cost of higher electricity usage and more heat.

LED aqarium lights use much less electricity and produce much less heat (for a given amount of light), and also last longer than fluorescent tubes, but they are still quite expensive. I hope the price will go down as they become more popular.

A higher Kelvin %26quot;temperature%26quot;, by the way, just means the light is bluer. If you are trying to simulate a deep-water environment, a rather blue light (around 20,000 K) is good, but in shallower water, the light spectrum is closer to sunlight. Sunlight (in air) is around 5,000 K, and thus has much more red and yellow relative to blue than a 20,000 K light.

No comments:

Post a Comment