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Tube Changing

Author Topic: Tube changing  (Read 9798 times)

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Offline Stan798

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Tube changing
« on: February 10, 2013, 06:42:36 PM »
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I have had my Aqua One 620T for around 18 months now and it's still fitted with the original tubes. I remember reading somewhere that aquarium tubes should be changed every 12 months or so. Should this be taken literally or is this a myth put out by manufacturers to sell more product? My aquarium is planted with anubias which seem to be thriving so I don't think there is a problem just yet. If I should be looking at replacement, are there different types (LED's for example) that I should be considering. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Offline Sue

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Re: Tube changing
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2013, 06:54:10 PM »
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I've had my tubes for a good while, but like you I only have low light plants. Hopefully one of our plant experts will be able to tell us both if we do need to be changing them  :)

Offline SteveS

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Re: Tube changing
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2013, 11:58:08 PM »
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If you have real plants, Fluorescent tubes should be replaced regularly. Their output will diminish over time. If you use artificial plants, it's really an aesthetic decision. How often depends upon what type of tube you have.  There are basically three main types that I am aware of that are used in tanks:
  • T8 tubes are (usually) straight tubes, 1" in diameter.  Replace every 6 months or so.
  • T5 tubes are (usually) straight tubes 5/8" in diameter  Replace every 12 months or so.
  • Compact Fluorescent Lamps or CFL  Replace every 12 months or so.

As for LED replacements; they are available.  However, retro fitting them onto your current tank may be a lot of work.  Also they can be very expensive to purchase, although they have lower running costs.  Without knowing the sort of lights you currently have, it's hard to suggest alternatives.

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Offline Sue

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Re: Tube changing
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2013, 08:38:00 AM »
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In that case, I definitley need to chane the tubes in the 125 litre as they're T8s and have been in there for a couple of years. The one T8 in the 50 litre is the one that came with the tank in May last year - the only problem here is that I had a nearly new tube in the tank that leaked, which used the same tube. I thought I'd swap the nearly new for the brand new but couldn't undo the end caps  :-\ Unless they've worked looser, I'll have problems changing the 50 litre's tube.
The end caps are also supposed to be changed annually, so I'd better get a pair of those too for the 125 litre.

Offline Stan798

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Re: Tube changing
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2013, 06:18:28 PM »
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I've found replacement bulbs online but don't know which one to go for. One is described as PL18W Bio-Lux fluorescent tube which is described as giving a soft warm light (8.0K) The other is PL18W Sunlight/Tropical Mix (14K/8K). Would it simply be a matter of personal preference or would one be better than the other?

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Offline SteveS

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Re: Tube changing
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2013, 06:50:33 PM »
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Both of those are a bit blue for a freshwater tank.  There are better options; PL18W Aqua One Sunlight 7.1K Fluorescent Tube would be the one I would go for, but, as you say, it is rather down to personal choice.  What sort do you currently have?  If you are happy with those, just replace them.

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Offline Stan798

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Re: Tube changing
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2013, 08:34:28 PM »
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I'm not sure SteveS. I've had a look but there doesn't appear to any markings on them. Looking at the aquarium when the lights are on I would say that they could be the sunlight ones. Many thanks for your advice.

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Offline ColinB

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Re: Tube changing
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2013, 10:03:46 AM »
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Hi Stan - I've had the same problem as you, needing to replace a AquaOne compact fluorescent bulb. Mine was a 2-pin 18W PL bulb and I can only find 11W 2-pin PL. My LFS only had the Tropical light, not the Daylight, so I got that and I've wondered why my algae load has gone up. It was fine before but the higher energy light (8000k) promoted the algae. The one below is 6500k.

I've just ordered two of these (one spare) for 1.96 + VAT whereas my LFS wanted ~14 per bulb >:(

....  http://www.lampspecs.co.uk/Light-Bulbs-Tubes/860-865-Daylight_3

If this isn't quite what you're after there's loads more including 4-pin PLs.

Hope this helps.
Colin

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Offline Stan798

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Re: Tube changing
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2013, 04:56:12 PM »
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Hi Colin. Thanks for that. I've had a look at this and it certainly is similar in appearance to the ones in my tank. Electricity is a black art to me so I have no idea whether it being 11W instead of 18W will make much of a difference. The one's I had been looking at were rated 18W but they were original Aqua One lamps at 13.99 and 15.99 respectively. Bearing in mind that I have to replace  two lamps it is quite pricey. 1.96 definitely sounds more like it! From your post re the algae growth I take it that the tropical bulb is much brighter than the daylight bulb?

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Offline ColinB

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Re: Tube changing
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2013, 05:34:32 PM »
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Yep - the tropical is rated at 8000Kelvin so that's giving out more light down at the blue end of the spectrum so this light has more energy. The one I linked to is rated at 6500K, less blue and a 'warmer' appearence. They say it's 'in the post' so if you want and wait until I get it and try it out then I'll report back on comparative colour and apparant brightness - the algae growth report will have to wait. :)

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Offline Stan798

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Re: Tube changing
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2013, 06:51:11 PM »
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That would be good Colin. The current bulbs have been in for 18 months so a few days more won't hurt. I hope that they do the job for you.

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Offline SteveS

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Re: Tube changing
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2013, 11:44:13 PM »
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The wattage for these tubes relates directly to the length.  I can't give you any specific examples for the types of tube you need, but for example a 24" T8 tube is 18W.

The difference between an 8000K tube and a 6500K tube isn't that it's brighter, it is a different colour.  Now, it being a different colour may make it look brighter to the human eye, but our eyes are more sensitive to some colours than to others, hence Colin's use of "apparent brightness".  Anyway, 6500K tubes are the usual standard tubes recommended for planted tanks

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Offline Stan798

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Re: Tube changing
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2013, 05:05:27 AM »
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Thank you SteveS. That makes things a lot clearer. 6500k tubes are what I need to look for.

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Offline Sue

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Re: Tube changing
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2013, 08:34:33 AM »
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Regarding Steve's comment, my post-grad chemistry supervisor once told me that the human eye is a pretty accurate judge of wavelength (colour) but a poor judge of intensity. He was talking about comparing a blue solution to a pink solution and the need to run a spectrum to find out how much was dissolved in there, but it still applies to light tubes.

Offline SteveS

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Re: Tube changing
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2013, 11:35:29 AM »
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I'm not sure I agree with your chemistry supervisor.  The human eye is much more sensitive to light in the Green/Yellow area of the spectrum than it is to the Blue/Red area;  The opposite to the sensitivities of plants. 

In addition, the eye is very good at intensity, it is the brain that lets you down. (Doesn't it always?)  The iris does an excellent job of maintaining a constant intensity image.

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Offline Sue

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Re: Tube changing
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2013, 12:46:30 PM »
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What he meant was we are very good at telling the difference between shades, but we are not good at comparing the intensity of different colours.

Offline ColinB

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Re: Tube changing
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2013, 01:31:46 PM »
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Poo! I popped out for 20mins and they tried to deliver the new bulbs while I was out. Y'all have to wait 'till tomorrow for my in-depth critique..... or something.

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Offline SteveS

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Re: Tube changing
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2013, 05:17:39 PM »
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Poo! I popped out for 20mins and they tried to deliver the new bulbs while I was out. Y'all have to wait 'till tomorrow for my in-depth critique..... or something.
I think they wait outside until you go out before they try and deliver.

I got interested in your difficulty in finding a PL18W tube for your lights today and have come across a cautionary tidbit of which I was unaware.  Did you know that there are 2, at least, different types of socket for 2-pin compact fluorescent tubes?  They are known as G23 and G24.  Bulbs from one type will not fit in sockets intended for the other type.

http://www.sinolec.co.uk/lamp-holders/242-g23-f269-a.html and http://www.sinolec.co.uk/lamp-holders/243-g24-f448-d3.html refer.  The G23 specifies 11W, the G24 26W.

The only 18W tubes I could find were the expensive aquarium specific type.http://www.aquarium-parts.co.uk/acatalog/Aqua_One_PL18_Lighting_Tubes.html and http://www.tropical-and-marine.co.uk/acatalog/PL_Lighting_Tubes.html but the 18W tubes here look like 4 pin G7 or G11 fittings!

Thank god I don't have to sort through this mess!  I'm looking forward to tomorrow though  :)

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Offline ColinB

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Re: Tube changing
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2013, 05:26:23 PM »
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Thanks Steve. A quick browse and compare shows that I've ordered the correct one for the AquaOne fitting I have. G23 - but that was luck 'cos I wasn't aware of the two fittings. Thanks for raising it.

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Offline Stan798

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Re: Tube changing
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2013, 08:26:42 PM »
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Steve, these were the ones I was looking at. They are original Aqua One replacements. From what has been said earlier in this thread it looks like the PL18W Sunlight 7.1k is the one for me. The company specialises in Aqua One spares and they're based in my home town so it's a bit of a result!

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Offline ColinB

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Re: Tube changing
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2013, 10:13:10 AM »
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Ah-ha! I was in this time they called. (Actually, I was still in my pyjymas!  :-[)

So this 'new' tube is a 'daylight' 6500Kelvin and replaces the AquaOne 'tropical' of 8000Kelvin.

My initial views (i.e. one cup of coffee's worth)  of the lamp is this......

1. Except for the word 'AquaOne' stamped on it - it's identical.
2. It costs 12 extra to have the word 'AquaOne' stamped on it and put in a nice (read environmentally catastrophic) bit of packaging instead of a recyclable cardboard box.
3. It's a warmer, softer light to look at.... a bit like the difference between a fluorescent tube and an ordinary filament bulb. The 'tropical' light was more blue and 'harsh' to my eyes.
4. The light that travels through the tank doesn't pick out as many colour differences. The plants look a more uniform shade of green, my male cherry barbs aren't quite as cherry red. However; the dark bands on my five-band barbs have more irridescence. The 8000K blurb does say: Enhances fish colours, and so perhaps it does.

I'm trying not to fall for the placebo effect of 'I've just spent money on this so it must be better' (my bike always goes better after I've cleaned it  :) ) so I'm going to spend a day or two living with it, then change back for a day or two.

Final verdict..... the jury's still out.


EDIT: Stan, if you decide to go for the 7.1k Kelvin I would be very interested to hear your views. It might just be the happy medium that's...er...well,... happy for me and the fish.

EDIT #2: I suppose, in all fairness, that some of the extra cost must be due to short production runs to make the bulbs specific to the aquarium trade. I know I shouldn't try and post anything even vaguely intellegent before at least three cups of coffee. :)

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Offline Stan798

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Re: Tube changing
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2013, 07:26:29 PM »
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Colin, I probably will go for the 7.1k. This is described as 'sunlight' whereas yours is described as 'daylight' which may explain the difference in kelvin rating (getting the hang of this now :D) My gut feeling is that this will be very similar to what I have at the moment (original fitment). The change of bulb in your tank will not mean that it's now better (or worse), just that it appears different. Give it a week and see. I'll let you know when I've fitted the 7.1k.

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Offline SteveS

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Re: Tube changing
« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2013, 09:20:58 PM »
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All this "daylight", "sunlight", "pro-glo", "gro-mix" whatever is just verbiage;  It doesn't really mean anything.  The important factor is the colour temperature.  6500K is the normally recommended value because it's the best widely available tube for growing plants. Your proposed 7100K tube is very close to this and is closest to 6500K of the Aqua replacements.

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