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Power Compact Fluorescents


  1. New Power Compact Lights???
    by (Anthony Tse) (5 Jul 1995)
  2. New Power Compact Lights???
    by (Thu, 06 Jul 95)
  3. New Power Compact Lights???
    by (Anthony Tse) (7 Jul 1995)
  4. compact flourescents
    by Alan B Holloway <> (Wednesday, 19 Jul 95)
  5. [R] Compact Flourescents' facts.
    by etsang/ (3 Mar 96)
  6. Power Compact Lights
    by jjensen/ (John Jensen) (Tue, 10 Oct 1995)
  7. Power Compacts
    by "Dixon, Steven" <stdixon/> (Fri, 14 Nov 1997)
  8. RE: Lighting recommendations
    by "Shimoda, Wade" <WShimoda/> (Thu, 1 Oct 1998)
  9. power compacts DIY
    by Zxcvbob/ (Sat, 28 Nov 1998)
  10. Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #673
    by Teng Fei Ming <fmteng/> (Sun, 29 Nov 1998)
  11. power compacts DIY
    by Victor Eng <engfam/> (Fri, 27 Nov 1998)
  12. GE 5000K Power Compacts
    by Erik Olson <erik/> (Mon, 30 Nov 1998)
  13. Building a Power Compact fixture
    by The Eng Family <engfam/> (Wed, 09 Jun 1999)
  14. GE biax compact fluorescent URL change
    by Dan Scott <dscott/> (Sat, 11 Sep 1999)
  15. Osram bulbs
    by busko/ (Ivo Busko) (Wed, 2 Feb 2000)
  16. RE: lighting a 90G tank
    by "James Purchase" <jpurch/> (Tue, 11 Apr 2000)
  17. 40W compact fl. lamps
    by zxcvbob <zxcvbob/> (Tue, 02 May 2000)
  18. Any opinion on Perfecto SHO's?
    by "Robert H" <robertpaulh/> (Fri, 29 Sep 2000)
  19. All-Glass Compact Flo's
    by busko/ (Ivo Busko) (Tue, 3 Oct 2000)
  20. Effectiveness of Reflectors???
    by busko/ (Ivo Busko) (Thu, 5 Apr 2001)
  21. RE 2G11 and GY10q base CF bulbs
    by "S. Hieber" <shieber/> (Mon, 22 Oct 2001)
  22. light level recommendation
    by Jon Wright <Jon.Wright/DropShip.Org> (Tue, 12 Feb 2002)
  23. New AH Supply bulbs and fixtures
    by George Booth <booth/> (Sun, 22 Oct 2000)
  24. Hot Lights
    by Bill Wichers <billw/> (Tue, 09 Jan 2001)
  25. Light bulb advice
    by Biplane10/ (Tue, 17 Oct 2000)
  26. Re:George going to the bright side
    by Thomas Barr <tcbiii/> (Mon, 16 Oct 2000)
  27. square pin PC bulbs
    by "Cameron Case" <cameroncase/> (Wed, 13 Feb 2002)

New Power Compact Lights???

by (Anthony Tse)
Date: 5 Jul 1995
Newsgroup: alt.aquaria

In article <3tddon$>,
Robert Schuh <> wrote:
>I just received a flyer from a distributor in San Diego that has new
>Power Compacts. From the picture they look like very long Osram
>compacts. They are 36" long and are 96 watts. Anyone seen these yet?
>They are real pricy, A retrofit kit for 36" tanks with 2 bulbs
>WHOLESALE is $245.00, 48" $435.00, 72" $640.00. They are too rich for
>my blood especially now that metal halide and VHO have come down in
>price. What do you all think??

    I was going to call Champion over the weekend but they were close on
Monday.  If these Power Compact behave in any way like the 22" PL-L,
it will BLOW VHO and MH away in term of efficiency.  And yes can
actually pack enough bulb in the hood for even acropora.


New Power Compact Lights???

Date: Thu, 06 Jul 95
Newsgroup: alt.aquaria

In article <3tfejq$>, <> 
> Path:!amd!!!well!miwok!!news.sprintlin!!!netnews
> From: (gary sanford)
> Newsgroups: alt.aquaria
> >
> >I just received a flyer from a distributor in San Diego that has new
> >Power Compacts. From the picture they look like very long Osram
> >compacts. They are 36" long and are 96 watts. Anyone seen these yet?
> >They are real pricy, A retrofit kit for 36" tanks with 2 bulbs
> >WHOLESALE is $245.00, 48" $435.00, 72" $640.00. They are too rich for
> >my blood especially now that metal halide and VHO have come down in
> >price. What do you all think??
> I agree,too expensive.
> But they DO look interesting!
> GS

>> I have used the 28w version of this bulb in the 7100k range. 2-28w 17" on 
my 55gal reef along side a 175w MH.
 This is a great bulb, I have no problems using this on my system. I will 
setup my 300 gal tank with this type of lighting. my system  will be a 6 bulb 
system 4 - 6700k and 2- 7100k.
 Also the heat is about 1/3 that of a metal halide and the kelvin rating is 
6700 not 5000,5500 or 6500 also the lumins over a long time does not degrade 
as much, Avg lumins for the 96w is over 8000. Also one thing you may have over 
looked I think the 72" version is six bulbs for a total of 576w and the 3 bulb 
version of the MH is only 525 and no blue ( or at extra cost ). 
 Over all this light fixture is less dollars than the MH type ( cooling, 
replacement of bulbs and overall watts ).

New Power Compact Lights???

by (Anthony Tse)
Date: 7 Jul 1995
Newsgroup: alt.aquaria

In article <NEWTNews.805056561.7558.joe-at-csep28>,  <> wrote:
>In article <3tfejq$>, <> 
>> Path: 
>> From: (gary sanford)
>> Newsgroups: alt.aquaria
>> >
>> >I just received a flyer from a distributor in San Diego that has new
>> >Power Compacts. From the picture they look like very long Osram
>> >compacts. They are 36" long and are 96 watts. Anyone seen these yet?
>> >They are real pricy, A retrofit kit for 36" tanks with 2 bulbs
>> >WHOLESALE is $245.00, 48" $435.00, 72" $640.00. They are too rich for
>> >my blood especially now that metal halide and VHO have come down in
>> >price. What do you all think??
>> I agree,too expensive.
>> But they DO look interesting!
>> GS
>>> I have used the 28w version of this bulb in the 7100k range. 2-28w 17" on 
>my 55gal reef along side a 175w MH.
> This is a great bulb, I have no problems using this on my system. I will 
>setup my 300 gal tank with this type of lighting. my system  will be a 6 bulb 
>system 4 - 6700k and 2- 7100k.
> Also the heat is about 1/3 that of a metal halide and the kelvin rating is 
>6700 not 5000,5500 or 6500 also the lumins over a long time does not degrade 
>as much, Avg lumins for the 96w is over 8000. Also one thing you may have over 
>looked I think the 72" version is six bulbs for a total of 576w and the 3 bulb 
>version of the MH is only 525 and no blue ( or at extra cost ). 
> Over all this light fixture is less dollars than the MH type ( cooling, 
>replacement of bulbs and overall watts ).

    Yes, I agree, assuming the claims hold up.  Sorry for being a
skeptic, but I was around when the wild ass claim of "a single 9W
OSRAM blue is 30 times brighter then a 40W actinic03" pop up all
over magazines.  However, the claim of this particular bulb seems to be
consistant with the performance of typical NO fls and PL-Ls.  80 mean
lumens per watt is what one would expect from NO/PL-L fls.  The 10,000
hour life span was shorter then I expected, typical NO/PL-L life span is
20,000 hours.  Maybe they want us to buy more replacemnt bulbs.
The wattage is a little higher then expected for a 36" PL based on the
progression of wattage vs length of commercial PLs.

    As to cost, this is a hell of a lot cheaper then VHOs or MHs.
Say you use 175W MHs, which is about half as efficient as this bulb (to
get the same efficiency out of MHs, you have to use 1000W bulbs, which is
not particularly practical in most cases) and you need 3 175W MHs for
your tank, to get the same output from CF lamps, you need 4 of
them.  The compact fls are going to last you 3 years, in 3 years, you will
need 9 MHs at $80 a piece, and 3 ballasts at $60 a piece for a total of
$900 compare to $500 initial cost for these fls with a hood throw
in for free.  This is not counting the saving in electricity and the
on going bulb replacement cost of $720 every 3 years for MHs vs $168
($42 per bulb) every 3 years for CFs.  Even assuming the worst case
scenario of the the CFs are only half as good as they claim, CFs are
still a lot cheaper.  Someone else can do the calculation for VHOs, but
I am sure it is just as grim.


compact flourescents

by Alan B Holloway <>
Date: Wednesday, 19 Jul 95


I may be the person you were referring to.  The bulbs are 96-watt
compact flourescents.  The company also sells hoods and fixtures.

Custom Sealife (619) 930-8949
fax--(619) 930-8967

5931 Sea Lion Place
Carlsbad, CA

- --Alan

[R] Compact Flourescents' facts.

by etsang/
Date: 3 Mar 96
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria

In article <4h9s8g$>, (Ox FOO xO) writes:
>>>For a 75g tank, either 4 or better yet 6 96W CFs are needed in my
> opinion.
> The above is of no means an advertisement for Power Reef, its entirely the
> only
> fact that I can find and its for informational purposes only.  I actually 
> use Power Compacts myself......<<
> The only thing that I think you forgot to mention is that the light that
> is produced by the CF is IMO less than desireable.  The CRI is one of the
> most important aspects of reef lighting which is something that you
> totally left out.  The CRI of CF is much much lower than that of VHO or
> regualr fouro's.  As a matter of fact the "blue" CF is not by any means a
> "Actinic" type of lighting its just what the bulb says BLUE, which at
> least to me makes a big diffrence in reef tanks as I prefer the true
> actinic.  If you like a VERY white light then the CF's may very well be
> for you but, IMO the VHO's and HO's produce a light with much more body
> and color rendering than the CF's.
> BTW, to the original poster, this by no means was intended as an attack or
> defamation on you, I just wanted to point out a few defecincies that you
> left out in the CF's.

No problems at all, as I said, I was just reproducing the info from one of the
manufacturers' catalog in order to answer some of the netters' questions
regarding compact flourescents.  As a matter of fact, I am glad to learn more
about this lighting stuff.  But I also have to admit that I am kinda biased
towards using compact flourescents.  ;)


Power Compact Lights

by jjensen/ (John Jensen)
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 1995
Newsgroup: alt.aquaria (Warren) wrote:

>In article <4551ep$>,
>(Robert Rolander) wrote:

>> Does anyone know about these new lights ?  They are Power Compacts,
>> 36" 96 watt 7100K fluorescents.  They are are alittle high in price
>> $306.00 for a 2 bulb retrofit kit, from CustomSeaLife 619-930-8949.
>> How do they compare with VHO?   

>What good are 7100K lights?


I've seen these lights working and they are pretty impressive.
They offer as much light as a VHO and are 200% cooler. They 
also require less in the way of your electrical bill. 

The 7100K offers a little more blue than the regular 5500K lights.
They are actually giving you 5500K, just not as bright as a std.
5500K VHO. The same goes for the new 10,000K Metal Halides.
They burn really blue, but are not as bright as the 5500-6500K

Oh... It doesn't help that Custom Sea Life is close by. I have dealt
with 'Dennis' several times and he is a great help in lighting. They
have pioneered a lot of their ideas and are always testing their
lights on 'reef' aquaria. 


Power Compacts

by "Dixon, Steven" <stdixon/>
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997

Jeromy wrote:

>>> After discussing my predicament with my local supplier (i.e. pet store),
his bias opinion Power Compacts were the way to go. Efficiency,
effectiveness, and free installation was main selling points. I have two
major hang-ups that maybe you all could help me with.

  #1 - Are they as effective or more effective than other forms of

  #2 - The cost quoted is $656 including 4 - 96 watt lights, full pine
          cooling fan (I wonder what that is for), and delivery to my
          (a bonus since I don't have access to a truck).  Is this cheap
am I 
          getting a snow job?>>>

I use Power Compacts and am quite pleased with them.  The 6700 K bulbs
put out attractive light which photographs well in my view.  They are
certainly not the cheapest form of lighting in terms of initial
investment.  Long term costs/efficiency will be function in part of the
life of the bulbs which allegedly is one year or longer.  I have year
old bulbs in one of my fixtures and there is no obvious deterioration in
lighting or plant growth.  I don't *think* you're getting a snow job re
price.  The 4-96 fixture is expensive.  To give yourself additional
comfort check the price with Champion Lighting, a mail order outfit that
carries CustomSeaLife fixtures.  They have an 800 phone number which I
don't have handy at the moment.  My LFS has always been willing to match
Champion's price which required a 10%-15% discount.

Power Compacts are bright lights which produce a fair amount of heat.
The fan is for cooling.  I don't have a fan and the temperature in my
125 goes up a couple of degrees F. during the day.  I would use a fan in
future setups.

One other comment:   With the "S" series Nupro needle valve (see
archives) I'm more convinced than ever that CO2 controllers are
unnecessary.  One can find the "sweet" spot as George puts it and obtain
just the CO2 levels that one wants.  As long as initial price is not
your driver, take the money you were thinking of using for a controller
and indulge yourself in the lighting of your choice :-)

Regards, Steve Dixon

RE: Lighting recommendations

by "Shimoda, Wade" <WShimoda/>
Date: Thu, 1 Oct 1998

In response to Andy Moore's lighting questions, Bob said: "Can you get
GE "high lumen Biax" or Philips "PL-L" or Osram "Dulux L" lamps?  They
are 16.5 or 22.5 inches long and range from 36 to 55 watts each.  I am
currently trying to build a light strip from my 20H tank using one 40W
lamp and a ballast with a high ballast factor (1.1).  The 22.5" lamps
have longer life than the 16.5".  You can *probably* use a T8
electronic ballast to run the 40W 22.5" lamps; that's what I'm gonna
try anyway."

According to the "GE Electronic Ballasts" catalog that I have, you can
drive one or two F40 BX lamps with the model C240I120RH ballast, which is
a ballast designated specifically for the 40 watt Compact Fluorescent
lamp.  For the 4' 32W T8 lamps, they have the B132I120RH for one lamp and
B232I120RH for two lamps.

But, if you want to use a high output ballast (1.1 ballast factor like
what Bob is planning), then they specify the B232I120RHH, the _same_ one
specified for a pair of 32W T8s (in which case the ballast factor is 1.18.
I don't know why, but I think there's someone out there who can explain

As for my homemade system, I'm driving a pair of 40W compact fl. lamps
with a regular output ballast designed for T8s, because that's what was
specified by the manufacturer of the lamps and ballast, Osram.

As for Andy's question, I'd suggest also looking at the regular straight
F17 T8s.  They run off the same ballasts as the 32 watt lamps and I
believe will fit in the two foot space.  Unless you want even more light
than you can get from however many of these you can fit in your hood, the
lamps may be cheaper than the compacts.  And you can use the more commonly
available sockets and even the waterproof end caps available in the
aquarium trade.  I haven't compared the numbers to see how much they cost
to run per lumen, however.

Bob also said:
"You can *probably* use a cheap F40T12 or F40T12U ballast to power a 16.5"
lamp.  You can *maybe* use a cheap F40T12 ballast to power a 50W or 55W

I hope a ballast expert can comment on this, but I doubt that this would
be safe, if it even works.  I think it has to do with the difference in
design between magnetic and electronic ballasts.

"The only US supplier I have found for the lampholders is E.Gaynor Corp at
(800) 342-9667."

I was able to have them ordered by a small electrical supplier in Vermont,
so I would think most any supplier could.  Just ask them to let you look
at their Leviton catalog and figure out which ones you want.  You probably
want to get the socket and the clip for the other end of the lamp.  I
think the catalog also will tell you where the clip should go relative to
the end of the lamp.

"I will post the success or failure with my project when I am finished (or
when I give up.)"

Good luck!

Wade Shimoda

power compacts DIY

by Zxcvbob/
Date: Sat, 28 Nov 1998

 Erik Olson <> sez:
> The inline-4 arrangement sounds the same as the Osram Dulux-L series.  I
>  ordered the $2 endcap (not waterproof) as type 2G11.  I don't know about
>  the dice thing, though something in the back of my head tells me someone
>  hooked one up to a circline ballast in an article on the web somewhere...

I'd *love* to know where you found 2G11 lampholders for $2.  I had to special
order them from a manufacturer for $8 each.

You gotta be careful about the current requirement of the different compact
fluorescent lamps as well as the lampholder configuration.  I'm not sure these
figures are *exactly* right, but the 16.5" 36W CFL's and the 22.5" 50W CFL's
(both are long twin tube) are about 430 ma, and the 22.5" 40W and some of the
28W are 270 ma).  I don't know what the 55W kind take, but it is somewhere in
between.  IMO, the aquarium supply companies use the 55W lamps not to get the
highest wattage, but because the 21.7" 55W industrial lamps are not available
in the US.  US industrial lighting uses the 22.5" 50W, Europe uses 55W.
Aquarium supply companies don't want you going to the local comercial lighting
supplier and getting a GE or Philips or Osram (Sylvania) lamp for $12. So they
design in some incompatbility by using 55W lamps.

If you select the right ballasts, you can use whatever compact fluorescent
lamps are available to you.  I have a 40W 22.5" on my 20 gallon tank, using a
"high light output" ballast intended for T8 lamps.  It produces a tremendous
amount of light and it was cheap.  But I cannot find 5000K or 6500K lamps for
it.  I'm using a 4100K lamp right now, and the color is good, but just
slightly yellower than I would like.

best regards,

Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #673

by Teng Fei Ming <fmteng/>
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 1998
To: erik/

 > The inline-4 arrangement sounds the same as the Osram Dulux-L series.  I
 > ordered the $2 endcap (not waterproof) as type 2G11.  I don't know about
 > the dice thing, though something in the back of my head tells me someone
 > hooked one up to a circline ballast in an article on the web somewhere...
 >    - Erik

The dice thing end cap if by Panasonic will GY10q-6 for 36Watt and 3610q-7 for 55Watt.
Wiring just like normal T8, treat top and bottom pin of left side as 2 pins end of a 
normal T8 and the top and bottom pin of the right side as the 2 pins the other end of a T8
     T8    1 -|                                   |- 3
           2 -|___________________________________|- 4
                  ________                    _________
  Panasonic FPL  / 1o  o3 \     Philip PL-L  / o o o o \
                 \_2o__o4_/                  \_1_2_3_4_/

Get your free web-based email at
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power compacts DIY

by Victor Eng <engfam/>
Date: Fri, 27 Nov 1998


I've been looking at DIY power compact lighting systems for the past year
and it is very hard to find affordable equipment (ballasts and endcaps).
Here is a list of equipment that I've found for doing DIY PC lighting systems;

IceCap 660 Electronic Ballast ($170 +/- US) will drive 1-4 55 watt PC's or
1-4 96 watt PC's (can also drive VHO lights).

IceCap 440 Electronic Ballast ($150 +/- US) will drive 1-4 55 watt PC's or
1-2 96 watt PC's (can also drive VHO lights).

IceCap Silver Series 3000 Electronic Ballast ($70 +/- US) will drive any
combination of Normal Fl up to 110 watts or 1-2 28 or 55 watt PC's.

Osram/Sylvania Quicktronic QT2X55/DL2 Ballast.  This ballast is what is
used by Hamilton to drive 2 55 watt PC's (sorry no price).

Custom Sealife Waterproof Endcaps $24 US (Yikes, I've found other endcaps
but just when I was about to order some the MO place that had them suddenly
started getting bad service reviews in the newsgroup and reefkeeping lists.).

Also when choosing endcaps, one must decide weither to go with Custom
Sealife or Hamilton bulbs.  The CSL bulbs have a 4 pin 'dice' configuration
(like the number 4 on a dice ::) while the Hamilton bulbs have an inline 4
configuration (....).  If anyone knows the names or parts number of these
endcap types please e-mail me.

The reason people find the bulbs expensive is because they are made to
order for the company.  CSL bulbs are made by Panasonic in 5000/6700/7100 K
colours and I've been told that they order them in lot of 10000 minimum.
I've tried to get a friend who owns a lighting shop to order them but I
think that CSL has an exclusive contract.  Another Reef MO place also tried
to order the minimum but was refused.  Hamilton lights come in
5000/6700/7200 K colours and are made by Osram/Sylvania and can not be
found on thier website (the last time I tried was about 3 months ago).

Another way to go is the new Perfecto SHO lights.  They are like the
Hamiltons with an inline 4 configuration but come in 5000/6500/10000 K
colours.  The only problem is the price (I've forgotten but they are in the
That Fish Place & Pet Warehouse catalouge).  For just a bit more money you
can get the IceCap systems.

For smaller system PC system try the DIY project at  Go to
the personal pages & find Troy B's website.  He has a DIY 28 watt project
that is fairly reasonable.

Until the price's for DIY PC componets comes down to a more reasonable
price, I may go with Metal Halides at
the cheapest place on the net that I know (they are based in Seattle).

I hope this helps anyone that is considering DIY PC lighting.

Victor Eng				Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

GE 5000K Power Compacts

by Erik Olson <erik/>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998

I mentioned in a post a couple days back that I knew of one manufacturer
having 5000K bulbs available in "power compact" size (I do not consider
the 13 watt units the same as the so-called power compacts). Back at work,
I found it.  It's not in a catalogue at all, it's on the web:

This seems to imply that the 39 and 40-watt models come in this color
temp.  A single 39 would fit nicely over a 10-gallon tank.  A pair of 40's
would do well atop a 20-gallon tank.  

  - Erik

- -- 
Erik Olson
erik at thekrib dot com

Building a Power Compact fixture

by The Eng Family <engfam/>
Date: Wed, 09 Jun 1999

Hi Moishe,

There is a good article on Do it Yourself Power Compact lighting at
Aquarium Frontiers Online.  Here is the link:

It gives you some good information on the Power Compact lighting systems
and some equipment parts numbers.  I hope this helps.

Victor Eng					Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

GE biax compact fluorescent URL change

by Dan Scott <dscott/>
Date: Sat, 11 Sep 1999
To: erik/

Hi Erik,

GE's  URL for high-lumen biaxial compact fluorescents has change from this, to this, .

You mention the old URL at in your post dated
11/30/98 .

GE gives the CRI, color, initial - mean* lumens for the
40 Watt F40/30BX/SPX50 bulb as 82 @ 5000K, 2900 - 2700 lumens, w/20,000 hr
life, and for the 39 Watt F39/36BX/SPX50 bulb as 82 @ 5000K, 2700 - 2385
lumens, w/12,000 hr life .

Btw, have you heard from anyone using these bulbs successfully in planted

Dan Scott

* @ 40% of average rated lamp life.
** the Krib is the single best aquaria site on the web.

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Osram bulbs

by busko/ (Ivo Busko)
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2000

Stephen Boulet <> wrote:

> I was interested in the Osram Dulux L 5400K compact fluorescent after
reading the
> article at
> I called an Osram rep who could only find this bulb in a max temperature
of 4100 K.
> Is she right about that?  :)
> The part number for the 4100K is FT55DL-841. I assume the 5400K would be
> FT55DL-841.
> She recommended the Quicktronic ballast QT1x54 PHO (or 2x54 for two
lights). Any
> ballast recommendations for this bulb?
> Thanks.
> - -- Stephen

These are European bulbs from Osram/Sylvania, sold by Perfecto for their 
SHOLigth fixtures. Mine sport a "made in Italy" label. And the Osram rep
is rigth, the American Osram/Sylvania data sheet for the Dulux L model 
lists color temperatures up to 4100K only. You'll probably have to buy 
the 5000K model from places that sell the Perfecto fixtures.

The ballast in my 36" SHOligth is the QT2x54 PHO.

- -Ivo Busko
 Baltimore, MD


RE: lighting a 90G tank

by "James Purchase" <jpurch/>
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2000

Daphne has some questions about lighting her new tank...

> A)  One 175 watt MH fixture (horizontally mounted and probably from
> Hamilton) and Iwasaki 6500K bulb which would give me 1.9 watts per
> gallon, perhaps a 250 watt would be better...  that would raise it to
> 2.7 watts per gallon.

One 175 watt MH is probably not going to be enough light for a 90 gallon
tank, and _any_ MH bulb is going to get really hot, so your hood had better
be well ventilated. But you just can't beat the "look" of MH - it has a
sparkling quality that can approximate sunlight streaming down through the
water column, a very beautiful effect.

> B)  PC lighting.  If I understand correctly, the retrofit PC fixtures
> from AH Supply can be mounted in my hood and no additional
> hardware/ballasts/etc are required.  I can fit  two 96-watts, one
> 55-watt and one 9-watt (depending on exactly how much space is required,
> I possibly  could replace the 9 watt with another 55)  The initial
> description would give me 256 watts which would be 2.8 watts per gallon
> if the second were possible, 302 watts which would be 3.3 watts per
> gallon.

The retrofit kits from AH Supply are simply super. I just replaced 3 175W MH
pendants over my large tank with 6 55W PC tubes. The relectors supplied by
AH Supply are the best I've seen and if you are at _all_ handy with a
screwdriver you can install them in your hood with ease. They come with very
clear instructions. As for how many you can fit over your tank, AH Supply's
web site gives the exact sizes of the various relectors, and if you can't
figure out the maximum wattage you can fit into your hood, just ask Kim -
he's very helpful.

I'd recommend the 6700K tubes - they have a "super white" look that comes
very close to giving me the "sparkle" that I miss from the MH bulbs (close,
but no cigar...)

> 1) Noise. - This will be in my great room and a hum from the ballast
> won't be welcome. Also, the ballast from a MH would have to be located
> under the tank, there is nowhere else to put it which raises the heat
> issue in #2.  Not sure if the PC ballasts is on the fixture or remote...

MH loses big time here - I originally paid big bucks for national brand MH
fixtures and the ballasts were so darn noisy I had to knock a hole in a wall
and put the ballasts in a closet next to the aquarium. The PC ballasts sold
by AH supply are tiny little things that will fit anywhere and run
completely silient.

> 2) Heat. -  I will have a muffin fan installed and the hood will be
> vented but am concerned about heat from both the bulbs and ballast (in
> the stand).

MH loses here as well. PC tubes will get warm, but nowhere near as hot as a
MH bulb, especially a 250W monster.

> 3) Quality.  - I know CRI needs to be high to more closely approximate
> sunlight and temperature is important as well so I guess my question is
> this, is the quality of the Iwasaki 6500K bulb as good/better/worse than
> the 6700K PC?  I have seen articles in the past that seemed to indicate
> the MH's have a better quality of light (more closely approximates
> sunlight) as opposed to the PC's, yet I have seen contradictory
> information that stated just the opposite.  Perhaps it depends on which
> you are selling he, he  : ) !   Is 250 watts of 6500K MH equal to 250
> watts of 6700K PC?

Neither your plants nor your eyes would be disappointed with either bulb.

> 4) Depth. -  Is either set-up going to be better/worse than the other in
> terms of being able to provide adequate lighting in a 24 inch deep tank?
> Can one "punch" as deep as the other?

Given similar wattage, yes. The quality of the relector has a lot to do with
this - and as I've said, AH Supply's reflector design is excellent.

> 5) Equipment.  - The ballast thing still isn't clear.  Don't the
> fixtures have one or is it inadequate etc...

What isn't clear about the ballasts? If you go the PC route, the ballasts
come with the kit and are working fine for me and I have never heard a
contrary word about them either here or on USENET. MH ballasts, on the other
hand, seem (to me at least) to require either an "advanced tinkerer's"
degree or that you have an electrical engineer on staff. They are big, noisy
and hot, as well as being _expensive_. And I'd really rather fry my eggs in
a frying pan, not on the top of a MH Ballast <g>.

As you can probably tell, while I love the _look_ of MH lighting, and love
the idea of an open tank, I really like the new PC tubes and fixtures.

James Purchase

40W compact fl. lamps

by zxcvbob <zxcvbob/>
Date: Tue, 02 May 2000

Joshua Liechty <> sez:

> It has been mentioned in APD V4 #258 in "Re: Lighting help" that a T8
> ballast could be used to drive 40W c.f. lamps. My question is: which
> one? Would something like the REL-3P32-RH-TP (from Advance) work
> (instead of the REL-2TTS40) for driving 2 40W lamps? BTW, in the Advance
> ballast catalog, the REL-3P32-RH-TP is recommended for 3 T8 lamps from
> 25 to 40 watts.
I am currently using a REL-2P32-RHTP ballast with a 40W compact
fluorescent, and it works great.  I'm not sure if these ballasts are
still listed for use with c.f. lamps, but they used to be.  C.F.
ballasts now require some kind of end-of-life circuitry that the T8's
don't require (I'm talking from memory here about something I read
about over a year ago).  I figure it is not an important consideration
here because I intend to change the lamp before it fails.  Note that
there are two different c.f. lamps in the 36-40W range with the same
pin configuration and lampholder.  The 16 inch lamps operate at about
430 ma (similar to an old fashioned T12 lamp) and the 22 inch lamps
operate at 265 ma (same as a new T8).

BTW, I have operated a 16 inch c.f. lamp (F39BX/SPX41) on a F40T12
magnetic ballast and it has trouble starting, but lights to full
brightness once I get it going.


Any opinion on Perfecto SHO's?

by "Robert H" <robertpaulh/>
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2000

>>I'm in a quandary about whether to go with a Perfecto SHO light, which is
*discounted* price at That Pet Place, for about $65, for a 29 gallon, 30
long tank (55 watt pcf). They are being discontinued, along with Perfecto's
light bulbs (which they are out of, and can't be gotten at a discount any

Perfecto emailed me that they have discontinued manufacturing their whole
SHO light line and are no longer supporting them...meaning no parts,
service, and even warranty replacement may be questionable. Its no wonder
that retailers are in a rush to get rid of their stock. I was told by them
that the market simply could no longer justify their production. It will be
interesting to see how other strip light compact flourescents that have
recently come on the market will do over the next few years and if the
demand will be strong enough for the manufactures to remain competitive in
price and profitable.

Robert Paul H
RK Aquaria Plant Forum moderator
Open Directory Editor, Humans do it better!

All-Glass Compact Flo's

by busko/ (Ivo Busko)
Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2000 wrote:

> Are you saying these fixtures will not accommodate regular pcf bulbs? This
> certainly complicates the matter a bit, for me.
> Sylvia
> > They are 55 watt 'T' type bulbs from GE's BIAX-L series of lamps, with a
> 2g11
> > base (two-Gee-eleven). They are not available to
> >  general distribution in the US, probably not to anyone anywhere except All
> > Glass, so anyone using these is stuck with buying from
> >  All Glass at probably highly inflated profit margins.

They *do* accommodate regular pcf bulbs. Any 55 Watt PC bulb with 2G11 base
can be installed on them. Well, they won't accomodate tubes with "Japanese" 
or "Panasonic" bases (Gy10q), but these seem to be most popular on the
marine side of the hobby anyway.

The availability of the GE bulbs may be a problem just for folks that want 
them for their color/spectrum. "Regular" bulbs such as the ones sold by AHS, 
Coralife, Custom Sea Life and others, should fit with no problems. Notice 
that high color temperature (>= 5,000K) 55 Watt PC bulbs are only found 
(AFAIK) at aquarium suppliers. Commercial lighting suppliers usually offer 
them up to 4,100K, which looks too yellow to me.

I personaly am glad that GE released that bulb. One more option for lighting 
our tanks with PCs.

- - Ivo Busko
  Baltimore, MD

Effectiveness of Reflectors???

by busko/ (Ivo Busko)
Date: Thu, 5 Apr 2001

"Gary Lange" <> wrote:

>I would suggest before anyone claims that white paint reflects just as good
>as a Miro 4 reflector needs to actually do the research on a Miro 4 and not
>the Triton enhancer.  I'm not using the Triton produce but I do know that I

This is a bit confusing. It seems to imply the Triton Enhancer is a white
paint reflector. The Triton Enhancer is a polished aluminum parabolic
reflector. I have both a Triton Enhancer and a couple of Miro 4's, and as
far as I can tell from their dimensions and proportions, they should have
very similar efficiencies, *IF* used with the bulbs they are designed for. 
The Triton is more appropriate for thick bulbs such as T12's. The Miro 4 is 
more appropriate for thiner bulbs or bi-ax bulbs or for installations where 
space is at a premiun. Using a T12 under a Miro 4 may indeed be not much 
better than white paint. 

>get a lot more light using the Miro 4's.  Also in comparison the so called
>reflectors (polished metal) in the All Glass PC's are totally blown out of
>the water by AH
>Miro 4's.  Check them out at

That's right, the All Glass PC fixture sucks. The reason is that the reflector
is flat and the bulbs are mounted too close to the reflector. So close in fact
that the mirror properties of the reflector do not come into play at all. In 
those cases a white reflector would be equivalent, or maybe better. Flat 
mirrored reflectors should be used in conjunction with bulb holders that hold 
the bulb away from the reflector, at least 1" or 1.5". AH Supply sells these 
bulb holders btw. 

- - Ivo Busko
  Baltimore, MD

RE 2G11 and GY10q base CF bulbs

by "S. Hieber" <shieber/>
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2001

mike heerman <> asked:
"I have compact fluorescents with a 2G11 base (four pins in a row.  Can
I use 
GY10q base bulbs (four pins in a
square) by changing the endcaps? The ballasts work for both right?  Is
there a 
place to find both styles of endcaps?"

Yes you can, PROVIDED THAT that the bulbs are alike in terms of wattage
(easy to determine) and voltage requirements (harder to determine) and
you match the right pins when going from 2G11 to GY10q or back.  The
four pins on either type of bulb are the contacts for a pair of
filaments, one filament in each glass end of the flourescent tube.  PCs
are usually folded in half so both tube "ends" are on the same end of
the bulb.   The ballast heats the filaments and then sends a high
voltage (several hundred volts) spike which arcs across the lamp,
through the gas inside which is conductive because it contains
vaporized mercury.  The ballast doesn't care what geometric arrangement
the pins are in, only that the proper wires go to the proper pins.

If the bulbs are the same dimensions and rated for the same wattage,
they should light effectively with the same ballasts.

Scott H.

light level recommendation

by Jon Wright <Jon.Wright/DropShip.Org>
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2002

Cameron -
	Yes, I left out a phrase when I sent that URL. Ooops :) AH Supply's 55
watt kits use a 4 in a row (2G11) ping layout. I just did a search last weekend
for endcaps for this configuration, found a couple. Leviton has one, a 13452, I
seem to recall. Graybar carries this for about $5 each. I ended up ordering mine
from Atlanta Light bulbs(, Code 222 for $2.59 each.
I'll let you know when they get here. I originally ordered a 2x55 from AH
Supply, then heard some people talking about Fulham's electronic ballasts
(, which are what AH uses. The WorkHorse 5 was about $29.00
each for 2 from Hughes Supply, an electrical supply house that operates all
over Florida. I had to pay the shipping on the ballasts, because they weren't
a stock item, but that is included in the cost above. So, I will end up an
additional 2x55w kit for much less than AH supply sells it for, but I have
to make my own reflector and bulb holder.
	If you are looking to add light to a tank that is 24" or longer, you
may want to consider going with a ballast that can handle bulbs in the
36w to 55w range. These ballasts can do all of them, with minor wiring changes
depending on the exact bulbs. If you are looking at Fulham's web site, the 
bulbs that AH supply sells are the Osram/Sylvania pin configuration as 
opposed to the Panasonic/GE configuration. These are also referred to as the
German(linear) versus Japanese(square) pin layouts. I don't know what the 
standard base type is for the square pin layouts.
	I hope I helped out and didn't confuse things too much. If anyone
wants more informtation, drop me a line and I'll do what I can.



New AH Supply bulbs and fixtures

by George Booth <booth/>
Date: Sun, 22 Oct 2000

We ordered bulbs and fixtures from AH Supply last Tuesday and received them 
Friday afternoon. Very impressive service.

I installed the new setup in the tank with the old Sears shoplights. The 
entire disassembly and reassembly job took about three hours. The AH Supply 
kit was complete and went together very easily. Very impressive kit - 
nothing for the electrically challenged to be worried about.

I made some lux measurements of the old hood before we took it apart. 
Nothing very sophisticated; the hood was on some boxes and I put my 
luxmeter under it at various locations. The measuring point was 17" below 
the bulbs or what would be about 13" below the water surface. Some 
measurements were hard to make due to the boxes. The following lux values 
were noted:

Old bulbs (values in Lux); Sears shoplights, white reflector
Age of bulbs unknown (around 1 year); all 40w NO bulbs
Advance tar ballasts

Coralife ColorMax
PennPlax Ultra Tri-Lux
PennPlax Ultra Tri-Lux

       0"     12"     24"     36"     48"     60"
20" 1320    2980    4050    3880    2640    ????
15" 2320    3920    5330    5230    3720    1540
10" 2320    4250    5740    5630    4080    2140
  5" 2210    4000    5280    5320    3750    2070
  0" 1220    2880    3960    3930    2820    1200

The following values were for the new kits. The bulbs were centered in the 
hood side-to-side (5" gap from the hood to the end of each reflector and 5" 
between the refelctors in the middle).

New bullbs; AH Supply 55w kits, silvered reflector
Brand new bulbs; all 55w CF bulbs
Electronic ballast

Sylvania 6700K + 6700K
Philips  5300K + 5300K

       0"     12"     24"     36"     48"     60"
20" ????    5540    6660    5810    5120    3050
15" ????    8420    8800    8160    7400    6020
10" ????    9555   10430    9280    8440    5020
  5" 3670    8520    9620    7450    6230    3280
  0" 1700    5280    6630    5930    4950    1800

I was puzzled by the apparent 20% difference from left to right. I'll make 
more measurements after the bulbs have burned in more to get a better 
comparison with the old origianl bulbs.

Overall, the tank is much brighter (80% was a very good estimate) and the 
color balance looks good to the eye. The 5300 bulbs in the front help bring 
out the fish and plant colors.

Very impressive product.


George Booth in Ft. Collins, Colorado (
"The web site for Aquatic Gardeners by Aquatic Gardeners"

Hot Lights

by Bill Wichers <billw/>
Date: Tue, 09 Jan 2001

On my two tanks lit with 55w CF lights I have to use small (approx 2") 
fans, but not so much for keeping tank temps down but rather to improve 
lamp efficiency. I've never had to use fans on regular flourescents. I 
think the secret is to use enough proper ventilation that the lights can be 
cooled by convection. Leaving an open back and a small gap between the tank 
and hood will work, and somewhere I came across the excellent idea of 
installing duct grates (like used in houses on air ducts) on the top of the 
hood. Enough convection should be able to cool most flourescent hoods.

If you have to use a fan, you will want to use the quiet fans, which 
usually run on 12v DC. I have tried the so-called "smart" fans too, which 
sense the temperature and speed up as the temp rises. Either kind of fan 
can be found new from and some of them can be found 
surplus from places like and 
(Mendelson Electronics). There are quiet AC fans but they are harder to find.

I suggest leaving a small space between your hood and tank and making sure 
there are some vents on the top of the hood too so that you can take 
advantage of convection. The heat of the lights will create natural air 
currents from the bottom to the top IF there is a way for the air to get in 
at the bottom and out at the top. I have a 400w MH fixture that is cooled 
by nothing but convection and it works great, so convection can be very 


>I have built three wooden light hoods during my short career.  The first
>was for a 120 gallon tank.  It uses an IceCap VHO ballest which is very
>cool, but the 4 110 watt flourescent bulbs are not so cool, and I found
>had to retrofit the hood with an exhaust fan to keep the temperatures
>78 degrees.

[more hot tank stuff deleted]

>The third was for a 10 gallon tank.  I used AH Supply's 2x36 bright kit
>with the 17.5 inch reflector.  Very nice kit.  Good bunch of people to
>work with too.  The lights raised the temperature of the tank into the
>stratosphere.  My liquid crystal thermometer didn't go that high, but I
>estimate it was body temperature or above.  I need to install an exhaust
>Exhaust fans are noisy.  My impression is that everybody else is not
>having to do this.  Please let me in on the secret.

Light bulb advice

by Biplane10/
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000

I found an alternative source for cf bulbs at I realized 
that I will do much better with pc lighting in some cases. In a tank where 
I've got reds depending on light levels, I frequently change light bulbs. In 
a *low light* tank which is low light because of lack of foresight and 
investment, I, also too frequently, have changed light bulbs. In both, I've 
experimented with bulbs ranging from $4 to $15 a piece. Considering the 
frequency with which I changed bulbs, one cf per 18 months - 2 years or so 
ought to be a money saver for me.

The cost was $10.50 for 50 watt, 5000K bulbs (GE). 55 watt, 5400 K bulbs, had 
a price of $16.50 (Sylvania). They seem to be just setting up operations and 
had to do a little research. By this, I mean they don't stock these bulbs, 
but can get them. 


> Me too. I think they are as about as good as it is going to get. It sort of
>  pisses me off because it has taken a lot of fun out of DIYing your own
>  system. I put in quite a bit of effort to build a custum light fixture and
>  it is still not as good as those kits. The more I learn about fixture 
>  the more I like the AH Supply stuff. Too bad the lamps cost so much money.

Re:George going to the bright side

by Thomas Barr <tcbiii/>
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2000

> Since our tank is 60" long (150 cm), it sounds like we would want 4 36/40/55
> kits. Two 22" reflectors could be centered nicely in both the front and in
> the back halves of the hood.

Does this tank have an overflow at one end or both ends? I believe that the
kits are for one reflector:one bulb ratio (for 4 reflectors)therefore you
can stagger the lights to cover both ends while having a small amount of
overlap in the middle of each half. This overlap will give you two bright

Ioverflow                            overflow I
I     --------------      --------------      I
I     --------------      --------------      I
I                                             I
I ------------       Extra    --------------- I
I ------------                --------------- I
- -----------------------------------------------
 The rear lights you can keep away from the overflow and towards the center
on the back and the front row can come out to each front corner edge with a
gap in the middle(or you add a 13watt or another 55watt there for extra
light but you likely will not need it unless you like Riccia foregrounds
etc). That extra light makes a nice night viewing source. Or you can bring
the two forward lamps closer together but not as far as the rear lamps.
60 inches will not make to much difference though.

 It looks like the 55w bulbs have the best color
> choices. But given the "better efficiency" of CF (true?) and the wonderful
> reflectors AH Supply touts, I'm wondering if 220 watts may cause us trouble.

I'd say you'll get almost double the lighting. The color of the 6700's is
nice and grows *everything* well. **Getting use to the increase of nutrient
use and CO2 consumption will be the real transition. Watch things closely
for the first month, prepare to prune/test. I'd go with 5400K in the rear
and 6700K in front. Of course you can play with it from there since you can
just switch them around to see what you like best:)

> We have been very content with 160 watts of "better" bulbs (Ultra TriLux and
> Triton). 

Me too. Triton is my fav T-12.

Any thoughts on how 220 watts from AH Supply kits would compare to
> 160 watts of Ultra Tri-Lux/Triton light with OK reflectors?  Mea culpa, I
> was ignoring the lighting threads until just recently.

2x the light I'd say off the top. Don't feel too bad. My plants are getting
tanned at over twice that amount of light. It takes some getting use too for
us but the plants seem to love it.

Try as a noted APD'er noted not too long ago:)
16.50$ for 55w 5400K bulbs. Not too bad.
It's more than the T-8's  but 12-20$ more for a once every 3-4 years useable
life ain't too much to spend:)
FWIW, I have every had a PC bulb burn out yet on any plant tank. Well into
the 4 year on one unit and my 20 gallon(2x55watt) is around 3 years.
I like the 6700K bulbs but I know the mix of 5400-6700K is a very nice look
plus great for the plants.

I think a great thing about the PC's also is the weight. Building hoods out
of light material makes getting into and out of tanks a snap. Making that
chore easy should be a primary concern for anyone into aquatic plants as we
do need some pruning every now and then:). I don't like bulk hindering me or
preventing access. The PC's are super for this without going to an open top
tank which reigns supreme for access. There are some little plastic holders
sold by JBJ for this type of open top tank set up as well. I'm thinking
about trying those out.
This issue is worth the extra money for sure. Those nice reflectors are
super too.
You don't get those reflectors with T-8's although you could buy them but it
would double your cost for those.
I like T-8's and for the budget minded they are hard to beat. And you also
have the reflectors already so it wouldn't cost as much but brighter can be
fun too. Hard call on this but I'd lean to the PC's. You are totally into
plants after all:) May as well go first class:)
Tom Barr

square pin PC bulbs

by "Cameron Case" <cameroncase/>
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002

After a search involving 20+ mail order sites/catalogs, I've got some 
recommendations to help anyone else that wants bulbs for square pins 
(AHSupply still seems to be the best choice for straight pins).  All prices 
are for 28watt 6700K bulbs (since that is what I was looking for) is $16.95 and is $14.  The former has 
online ordering, the latter will let you sort of place the order, but they 
have to get back to you (shopping cart, but no online billing).  These two 
were the cheapest I found, but I've no knowledge of the quality of  the 
products or the customer service (though I'm about to find out).  I'll post 
again when I know more than just prices.

I hope this helps someone, if not now then in the archives.

Cameron in AL

p.s. from all this I guess I've answered my last question...there seems to 
be no such thing as 36watt bulbs in the Japanese / Panasonic / square-pin 
arrangement.  If there is any potential damage from running a 28watt bulb on 
a 36watt ballast, some one stop me.  Otherwise, I'll take a shot at it.

Up to Lighting <- The Krib This page was last updated 17 February 2002