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Old 06-05-2011, 04:30 PM
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Default T5 Light Bulb Quality/Cost Differences

There is tremendous variability in the cost of T5 HO light bulbs. I have found bulbs online for as little as about $2.75 and as much as $28 dollars.

For people with knowledge in this area - how much difference is there between bulbs? Assuming I get bulbs with the same color spectrum I want, does the total number of lumens vary that much between a cheap bulb and an expensive one? Are there other factors (besides longevity, I suppose, I could see that varying a lot) that are important to consider?

Talking about bulbs here, not fixtures. Thanks for the input.
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Old 06-05-2011, 05:02 PM
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Default Re: T5 Light Bulb Quality/Cost Differences

I have noticed a difference. I have two 17 watt 6500k T5's, one I got for $15 from my LFS and the other for $5 from a hardware store. The one from the LFS is much brighter then the hardware store's.

Maybe its a bad bulb. *shrug*
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Old 06-05-2011, 05:37 PM
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Default Re: T5 Light Bulb Quality/Cost Differences

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Originally Posted by Arpeggio View Post
I have noticed a difference. I have two 17 watt 6500k T5's, one I got for $15 from my LFS and the other for $5 from a hardware store. The one from the LFS is much brighter then the hardware store's.

Maybe its a bad bulb. *shrug*
There is a good chance that the one from your hardware store isn't a HO, and the one from the LFS is a HO, which would account for the visual appearance of been brighter. A normal T5 only gives off about the same amount of light as a T8, whils a HO gives of considerably more.

Of the tubes I have tried, 3 of the best are HO 865s from Osram, Philips and GE. All of these were just as good as tubes costing a lot more money, and all of them cost me about 4 (GBP), as opposed to the 10 to 15 we pay over here for aquarium makes of daylight tube.

One other thing to keep in mind, 8,000k tubes LOOK brighter than 6,500k tubes, but give off the same 'quantity' of light, this is because the 8,000k tubes give off a 'whiter' light, less yellow, so our eyes perceive them as brighter.

Hope this helps.

Ade
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:16 AM
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Default Re: T5 Light Bulb Quality/Cost Differences

brand will have a lot to do with price. for example, buying a pet store brand bulb ex: zoo med, coralife etc.. will cost more than a "no name-ish" brand like philips or GE.

what you really need to look at are the exact specs for the bulbs as not all bulbs are alike. there are many small variations in bulbs even if they are all called the same thing. their ranges and output may be slightly different from different brands. for example you could have an actinic bulb with 460nm or one with 470 or even 420nm. they are all labelled actinic bulbs. the same could go for bulbs in other ranges.
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Old 06-07-2011, 03:15 PM
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Default Re: T5 Light Bulb Quality/Cost Differences

Thanks for the responses. The critical questions are longevity and particularly number of lumens. SMall differences in spectrum do not really concern me, but it doesn't make sense to pay half as much for a bulb that's half as bright. How much does brightness vary between bulbs? That's the critical issue for me.
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Old 06-09-2011, 04:13 AM
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Default Re: T5 Light Bulb Quality/Cost Differences

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Originally Posted by npaull View Post
There is tremendous variability in the cost of T5 HO light bulbs. I have found bulbs online for as little as about $2.75 and as much as $28 dollars.

For people with knowledge in this area - how much difference is there between bulbs? Assuming I get bulbs with the same color spectrum I want, does the total number of lumens vary that much between a cheap bulb and an expensive one? Are there other factors (besides longevity, I suppose, I could see that varying a lot) that are important to consider?

Talking about bulbs here, not fixtures. Thanks for the input.
The quality of the glass and phosphors that goes into making a bulb can vary.
An example is that I have just replaced some BlueMax full spectrum bulbs (expensive) that were only 6 mo. old. I was very disapointed because they did not hold their color spectrum well at all... great at first... but cheap(?) phosphor degraded quickly and they soon "yellowed" out.
I know reef folks are familiar with this problem and many re-lamp every 8-12 month to counter the phosphor breakdown and loss of the spectrum that the bulbs had when they were "fresh".
BTW..I like zoo med Ultra Sun for a T-5, they seem to hold up well and have pleasing crisp daylight color. They are made in Germany.
That factors into the cost as we all know, since they are not coming from a
3rd world country somewhere made by kids getting 20 cents an hour if they are lucky.
And when it comes to UV producing Bulbs, the quality and composition of the glass is critical so that harmful low low wave UV B <390 and UV C gets filtered out and does not penetrate the glass to reach the animals.
Hope this helps. Todd
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