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Old 08-02-2005, 08:08 PM   #1
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comparison of compact fluorescent lighting fixtures

I have a 29-gallon tank that I want to set up for South American plants and fish. I set up the tank a year ago with a JBJ Formosa SS-JD2 compact fluorescent fixture, using a single 65 watt 6500K daylight bulb. I had temporary success with cabomba and total failure with several radican swords. This time I want to increase the amount of light, and possibly change brands.

I am considering three fixtures. All of them hold two 65 watt compact fluorescent daylight bulbs:

1) Coralife Freshwater Aqualight -- Double Linear Strip (two 6700K bulbs)
2) Current USA Orbit (two 6700K bulbs, two moon lights)
3) JBJ Formosa DX-JG3 (two 6500K bulbs)

Has anyone tried any of these fixture/bulb combinations? Which combination was best for your plants? How quiet was the fan? What company makes the best bulbs? What company would you recommend? I assume that moon lights wont hurt a freshwater planted tank ... am I wrong?

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Old 08-03-2005, 12:08 AM   #2
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First off, welcome to AquariumAdvice Island Boy

I have a tank with the Current USA Orbit fixtures and love them. They are a little pricey but they've worked beautifully for me: the fans are quiet and the moonlights really make watching the tank at night interesting (and no they don't bother the plants or fish).

With CF lights, 6700K is probably the best bet for a good plant bulb. Any lights within the 5000-10000K range should work just fine for keeping plants but in tests the 6700K lamps have been shown to emit the most photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) of any CF lamp. If you like the color of 6700K then I would go with it.

I can't say that one company makes better bulbs than another. I get all my lights from www.hellolights.com. They've got great prices and their bulbs have always worked great for me.

Do you realize that CO2 supplementation will be a necessity if you've got nearly 4.5 watts per gallon of light over a tank? You will need to consider CO2 and a fertilization regimen because that much light will be driving your plant growth like crazy and without CO2 you'll end up with horrible algae issues. There are some great stickies in this forum that explain CO2 and fertilization

As to your problems with the radican swords - swords are heavy root feeders and so benefit greatly from a nutrient-rich substrate. Using a specialized plant substrate or supplementing the substrate with root tabs will do wonders for helping your sword plants grow

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Old 08-04-2005, 02:12 PM   #3
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I have a Current Satellite on one tank and a Coralife Aqualight on another.

My next tank will have another Current for sure. The moonlights are a great feature and the mounting legs simply slide in. Im not a fan of the clumsy mounting of the Coralife legs.

I love my Satellite so Im sure the Orbit is even better.

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Old 08-04-2005, 03:23 PM   #4
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I agree completely with Travis, and I think the single 65w is perfect for this size tank, and is plenty enough light to grow just about whatever you want. I'd try root tabs for your substrate feeders (like crypts and swords) and otherwise try different plants that you like and see what works.
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Old 08-04-2005, 04:16 PM   #5
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I like Coralife myself.
If you do go with 2x65w, you'll have to inject CO2, and lots of it. Even with 1x65w, I'd inject CO2.
Former advisor and planted tank geek...life's moved on though.
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Old 08-04-2005, 04:16 PM   #6
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i have a 72" coralife aqualight setup with moonlights--4x96. i replaced the blue actinics with 6700k bulbs to go with the 10,000 daylight bulbs it came with. it's a nice light--and one of the more "stylish" ones--if that's important to you (i went for the price and the fact that i have smaller coralifes on my 29g tanks and like them). HOWEVER the fans are VERY loud. much louder than i expected, so overall i'm kind of bummed.

hope this helps...
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Old 08-09-2005, 08:38 PM   #7
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What light fixture did you decide to go with and where did you get it? I was all set to go with coralife until I heard about the loud fans.

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