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Thread: Compact fluorescents

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    StifflerMichael's Avatar
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    I am considering using compact fluorescent lighting for my new terrarium. I am considering using a fixture with two 55-watt compact fluorescent bulbs. I plan on building a fixture utilizing a kit from Aquarium Hobbyist Supply (they have a really high quality kit), here's the link: AHSupply What do you think, would this be a good idea? Would it provide more light than, for example, 4 T-12s in two shoplight fixtures?

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    Those are great kits. I don't own or use them, but I've seen people rave about them. THey're a bit pricey for me, but I think they would be a good buy. One thing is for sure, if you decide to purchase, call them or E-mail them so you can nail down the actual lumen output of the particular bulb/setup you're purchasing. The page with the bulb info on it isn't very specific about it.

    If what I gather about the bulbs/kits is true, then these CFL bulbs are quite a bit more efficient than what I use. They say that their 55W 5000k bulb puts out 4200 lumens while the 6700K bulb puts out 4600 lumens. My 85W CFL bulbs put out a bit more than that-probably a little over 5000 lumens-but they also use 30 more watts of power.

    These will most definitely put out more than 4 T12 bulbs in a shoplight fixture, and if all you are trying to do is better a T12 fixture's output, this is a great way to do it.

    Sam

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    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    A regular 40w 4' t12 coolwhite bulb puts out a little under 3000 lumens. So 4 will put you around 11,000 lumens. A little more than the compact fluorescent. The thing to consider though is the t12s the light is more diffuse so it's not an entirely fair comparision.. Because the CF is more of a point source light with more intensity the plants will respond better. Higher intensity = higher photosynthesis rate.

    I have not looked at the aquarium fixture. Some of them are very high tech with fancy bulbs or highoutput type bulbs. I have seen regular CF screw in bulbs now at up to 125w 5000-6500k.

    Tony
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

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    Well Mike, since i'm the one that showed them to you, maybe you're looking for another opinion, but just for the record, here's mine:

    These retrofits are great for planted aquaria, where the intensity of lighting and the focus of the reflectors is essential to power the light down to the plants. They are also great if you want to be able to access the terrarium without removing the lights.

    However, in terms of overall lighting, i think you can probably do better with 4 F32T8s, at a fraction of the cost. The light will be more uniform, and the lamps much cheaper to replace. If you want an easy, cheap, efficient light, go with the HD shoplite special. If you want to build a custom hood and/or are willing to pay more for easier access to the terrarium, go for the ahsupply retrofit.

    I should mention that the retrofit isn't very useful unless you have a 4' lightstrip to gut out, or are building a custom hood.

    One last issue is what it is you plan on keeping in the terrarium. My 55G holds just lowland Neps and tropical utrics and Queensland sundews, all of which do excessively well with just two F32T8s (and "survived" for more than six months with a single one, as an experiment). It would be a serious overkill (perhaps literally e.g. for the N. northiana!) to put those PCs on top.

    OTOH, if you're trying to grow highlands in the terrarium, a compact, high power light source is in order, and has the added benefit that it's easier to actively cool to keep temperatures down and leaves room for ventilation out the top of the terrarium.
    There's no 'a' in perlite.

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    StifflerMichael's Avatar
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    Ah, Nathan, I knew you'd chime in [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_n_32.gif[/img] I actually installed one of those 55-watt retrofit CP kits you showed me from AHSupply. I made simple enclosure for it also. I just put it over my aquarium--it was awesome! I used to have 3 fluorescent lamps over it, but with this single lamp I could clearly see the plants photosynthesizing (making oxygen bubbles, pearling).
    I've given it more thought since I've posted, and considered my conversations with you before (you know I value your opinion Nathan) and I've decided to use the T-8s. They're just so much cheaper!
    BTW, the terrarium will be for sundews.

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    Riiggght. Sure Mike, you and your backside. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_n_32.gif[/img]

    Oh, i should have posted this link to my HOWTO writeup before. I'd forgotten about it. It sounds like you're already a veteran now, though. I'll have to come see your setup sometime.
    There's no 'a' in perlite.

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