lighting comparison vho vs. power compact

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Aquarium Advice Activist
Nov 17, 2004
Illinois USA
I already have a 90 gallon tank with a canopy setup with a icecap 660 and 4 x 110 VHO. The icecap ballast is capable of running 4 x 96 watt Power Compact. Should I convert from 440 watts of VHO lighting to 384 watts of power compact lighting.

Supposedly the PC lights last longer (12 months) vs. VHO. Can't make a claim either way.

PC is great because its easier to fit more bulbs over the tank.
I think it is up to you, but the PC lights are more expensive but last longer. I alos have heard that the VHO are more true to the deep actinic color and the PC tend to be a little more washed out. I do not have VHO so it is just what I have read and heard.
I hope I think I understood you right...You can run PC lights off of a Icecap 660 ballast? I have the same setup and hate the VHO lights for one reason...they are big and take up all of the room I have. I would love to run PC lights as I have 2 icecap ballasts...I only have room for one set of 4 VHO bulbs....If this is the case then I can run 2 ballasts and have enough room for all of the lights!!
My personal opinon is to stay with VHO. I have both VHO and PC. I first had PC and loved them and then got the VHO. Both used the same specitrum 2 X 10K and 2 X Actinic. I like the color apperance of the VHO better. I also replace my PC bulbs every 9 months. There is a noticable color shift after 9 months to where I feel my corals are at a disadvantage if I left the bulbs for another 3 months before I replaced them.

I am currently at 10 months with my VHO bulbs and I dont plan on swapping them out for another two months.
I just wish I could do something with my second ballast that is just sitting waiting to be used. I am very limited on the room I have under my canopy and if I were to hook up the lights (even 2), I would not have anough room to even stick my hands down into the water. Literally the light are 2 inches off the water and the canopy is about 3 ft from front to back...arg!
That was my thought after reading that article.

The thing that got me was the fact that they seel PC setups....for more $$$
More $$$ = more profit, and they still steer towards VHO.

I'm looking into the VHO's from there as well...

The Icecap ballasts will run any fluorescent bulb you can wire up to them. They will run VHO, HO, NO, PC, T-5, ect... VHO's, according to Icecap, will last for 12 months using their ballast. I just replaced two of the 6' bulbs on the 180 (URI bulbs) and I can't tell a bit of difference...of course, I'm blind as a bat too and that might have something to do with it. The old bulbs were almost a year old. I think Phillips makes a 48" 10k NO bulb that will give you good performance on the Icecap ballast (VHO level output) at a much cheaper price. You can even wire up different kinds of bulbs if you wish...2 VHO and 2 PC's. If I were you, and I already had the VHO's, I'd stick with them. JMHO.
I assume you have 4 110-watt VHO lights is all?? If so, Im impressed. And encouraged. I am going to try and set up 2 more lights in my canopy and use my second ballast that is laying around.
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