I've found that the GE Daylight Ultras are the way to go. They're rated at
5000K, have a crisp _white_ (not yellow!) color. No idea on the CRI, just
liked the way they looked. All the natural colors of the fish show _very_
well under them too (orange is orange, not glowstick orange... blue is blue,
not greenishbluishsorta... etc). I've also found that salmon pink and
yellow colors show very nicely as well (for example, would you ever have
thought a johnny darter would have GOLDEN pelvic fins? Or a mudminnow would
have an opalescent BLUE anal fin??? Beautiful! :).
The best part... They're only about $6-$7 each (I get mine for $5 at a local
General Store). Any lighting "wholesale" place will have them, so I'd check
there if you can't find them at any of the usual retail places.
There are other alternatives, such as the different Coralife lines, the URI
Aquasun, etc... But you'll pay at least twice as much. Looking here in the
Foster and Smith catalog, they have the lower end Coralife lines (as opposed
to the URI) for twice as much... And shipping for lights is horrible. So
you can only guess what they'll be at the LFS.
Oh, and the plants jam on them too. I haven't had any difficulties in a
variety of planted tank setups.
As for photography, I'm still figuring out the ins and outs of flourescent
photography. I can get a decent shot every now and then if a specimen is
over some white sand and light is reflecting about (for example, I have two
of the GE Daylights over one of those 33 long aquariums). But, usually, I
have to play with the contrast and brightness in Photoshop to get a pic to
look just right. Usually, they're too dark, and I wouldn't have any shots
if I didn't have the good macro lense because I have to shoot right _at the
glass_ to avoid the flash showing up in a picture. If I do it manually,
without the flash, I get a _lot_ of blurry shots (I'm an on-board features
kind of guy ;). So it's a balance of many evils to get the desired effect.
I'm seriously considering setting up a metal halide "box" just for
photography. I have all this old reef equipment laying around... Might as
well get some pleasure out of it ;)
Sunlight is still best. I still have my 2 1/2 gallon that I'll take outside
if I want to get a good shot. I can keep the specimen in there for a few
hours, feed it, get it all comfy and then shoot it with natural light. Same
song and dance streamside. For now... Here's about all the aquarium is
gonna offer :)
----- Original Message -----
From: "David Smith" <idleweed_at_tusco.net>
To: "nanfa" <nanfa_at_aquaria.net>
Sent: Monday, November 17, 2003 5:51 PM
Subject: NANFA-- lighting
> Hello all,
> I installed a four foot flourescent fixture above my aquarium and need
> advice about tubes. I want to take photos and I also want to grow plants
> (photos are most important but would like both). I know that the closer I
> get to 5500 Kelvin the more like daylight the light is but will a
> flourescent at 5500 Kelvin also grow plants well. Is there some other tube
> or combinations that I should use for this? Thanks for any help.
> Dave Smith
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