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Old 12-21-2015, 09:04 AM   #1
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Need fluorescent bulb guidance for 38 gallon Aqueon hood

I bought a 38 gallon Aqueon tank and hood about five years ago at Petland. I use colorful "silk" type artificial plants and have a nice array of colorful fish, mostly tetras including long fin red minors, neons, and "featuring" pink, yellow and blue Glo-Tetra (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi).

So I am loving my tank .... and the original bulb in the hood burns out. No big deal I think so I go to Petland to get a new bulb. I told the guy I had artificial plants and he sells me a "Tropical Sun 550K Daylight," 24", 17 watt T8 bulb.

I get it home and my gosh ..... the light is so bright that the fish (and the fake plants) lose most of their color and and the effect is more like a floodlight than an aquarium light.

So here's the rub. In the five years I've owned the tank, I never cleaned the "gunk" off clear the plastic on which the light fixture sits. So I cleaned it off when I replaced the bulb (it was filthy) so I don't know how much of the new "brightness" is attributable to the new bulb and how much is attributable to removing gunk from between the bulb and the aquarium.

So I think to myself ... I'll just go with a lower wattage bulb .... hopefully with some sort of "cool blue" look to it (as oppose to the current "white hot" look).

So I google it and find on the drs foster & smith, there are five types:

50/50 Bulbs
Actinic (Blue) Bulbs
High K-Rating Bulbs
Natural Daylight/Plant Bulbs
White Bulbs

Aquarium Lighting: Fluorescent Bulb Selection Guide

After reading each description, it appears I probably want a 50/50 bulb ... but it looks like I am stuck with a full 17 watts which appears to be standard for the 24" size. If it's too bright .... I may need to put something between the bulb and the aquarium cover.

Suggestions or guidance would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 03-18-2016, 08:53 PM   #2
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I'll answer my own question ... it may help someone else.

I was placing an order on Amazon anyway so I ordered an Aqueon 00451 24-Inch Colormax T8 Fluorescent, 17-Watt.

Although it had several bad reviews ....... I decided that for $8.99 I'll take the chance.

Works perfect. The tank looks pretty much like it did before. The new bulb produces a much "softer" light and the fish are back to showing their great colors. I suspect this is the same or similar model bulb that was in there originally since it is an Aqueon hood.
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:23 PM   #3
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Bulb color can make a big difference on how things appear. I once picked up a bulb that was supposed to enhance plant growth. It was dimmer which did not bother me but it made the blue danios appear flesh tone to slightly pink. Ugh. I returned it for a bulb which produced a cooler/bluer color. That was a while back and I can't recall the brands/models.


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