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Old 10-14-2008, 01:07 AM   #1
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Can I replace actinic bulb with regular one?

Hi. I am in the process of setting up a Biocube 29. It comes with one regular compact fluorescent bulb (36W, 10,000K) and one actinic compact fluorescent bulb (36W, 10,000K). I plan to have a freshwater tank with live plants, so I don't need the actinic bulb. Does anyone know if I can simply replace it with a non-actinic bulb identical to the other bulb?

Thanks!
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Old 10-14-2008, 01:18 AM   #2
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Welcome to AA!

Yes, you can replace it with a regular bulb, but that would make it quite a bit of light over a 29g tank, and could lead to algae issues.

On the other hand, the actinic, while it has no benefit to FW tanks, it does help make the colors in the fish pop, and there's no harm in using it.
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Old 10-14-2008, 01:29 AM   #3
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Really? I thought I needed about 3W per gallon which would be about 90W and I only have 35W with the single regular CF. My understanding is that I can't count the actinic bulb towards the 90W. But if I don't need that much, that's great news!
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Old 10-15-2008, 12:43 PM   #4
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It all depends on what you want to grow & how much work you are willing to do .....

At 3 WPG, you are edging toward high light territory, which means a high tech, CO2 injected, fertilized setup. You have much wider choice in plants with a high tech tank, but it is more work.

The CF's are more efficient than regular fluorescent. You can multiply the Watts by 1.4 or so in calculating your WPG. So your 36 W CF will give you 1.75 WPG .... pretty decent as is. You can grow most low light plants & maybe some medium light. You can try your current setup & see how the plants do. It is easy enough to get more light if you need it by swapping out the actinic bulb.
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Old 10-15-2008, 12:46 PM   #5
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with that much your almost guaranteed to need co2. i would leave it how it is unless you want to deal with co2 and ferts. the actinic doesnt help much but it does make thing look good.
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Old 10-15-2008, 01:45 PM   #6
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Thanks!

Thanks everyone for the info! I am a novice, so I don't want to deal with CO2 and fertilizers, at least not for now. I will see what I can grow with the single 35W. By the way, if I did add a second CF 35W, would it be possible to only turn it on for a couple hours or so? Would that make it so that I had more than a single 35W, but not enough to need CO2?
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Old 10-15-2008, 01:54 PM   #7
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you can make your own co2 with yeast and sugar. and just get a bubble defuser. and if you want plants you will need this. all i did was get an old gatorade bottle drilled a hole in the cap and stuck and airline tube in it ran it up the the tank and in to the bubble defuser. kept my plants happy.
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Old 10-15-2008, 03:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psellers View Post
By the way, if I did add a second CF 35W, would it be possible to only turn it on for a couple hours or so? Would that make it so that I had more than a single 35W, but not enough to need CO2?
You may very well be able to get away with both on the whole time.

But I would start with one bulb only on for a "noon burst" so 3-4hrs in the middle of the other bulbs light period. Then you can slowly increase the time that second bulb is on till you get algae issues or it works. By slowly I mean like every 2 weeks add 15mins-30mins of period to the "noon burst", this will give you and the tank time to adjust and see if any algae sprouts up
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Old 10-17-2008, 01:07 PM   #9
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By the way, if I did add a second CF 35W, would it be possible to only turn it on for a couple hours or so?

It depends on how your lights are wired. If you have 2 separate plug-ins, one for each light, it is easy to run them on 2 timers.

OTOH, if both bulbs run off one ballast, then you can only turn both on or off together. If you setup has 2 ballasts but one plug, then you would have to do some rewiring to get independent operation of the lights.
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Old 10-18-2008, 08:33 PM   #10
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If you are going to run them both on seperate timers, I suggest overlapping the 2. i.e. don't turn on bulb one for 8 hours and bulb 2 for 2 hours midday. Instead, run bulb 1 for 5 hours and bulb 2 for 5 hours with a 2 hour overlap. This will help to keep your bulbs on the same replacement schedule.
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