Compact lighting is now most often sold as complete aquarium hood packages, with ballast, fan, and plug often included.
|To simplify what
compact lights are, is to call them fluorescent light on steroids.
These powerful and energy-efficient lights are available at limited aquatic outlets, and offer a nice
alternative to aquarium lighting. We would consider these lighting
systems the best overall "bang for your buck" and is the best
long-term economic value for high intensity lighting needs.
Compact fluorescent technology offers several distinct advantages over conventional fluorescent lighting.
These lights give considerably more light output, which in turn gives you a brighter tank.
Compact bulbs are smaller in size than the fluorescent tubes, and can put out much more light. The bulb life is long, too, with some manufactured bulbs lasting 2+ years. Longer bulb life saves money and time.
They consume less electricity than conventional fluorescent lighting, which makes them very efficient and economical.
Most compact fixtures are sold as a complete aquarium hood. Many of which are very attractive and multi-functional. However, retro-fit type systems, and do-it-yourself kits are also currently available.
Most power compact ballasts are timer-ready, and easily enclosed in a hood area, or underneath the aquarium. These are small and energy efficient.
These bulbs are also known for their depth penetration. The average aquarist probably doesn't know this, but with every inch of aquarium water that light has to penetrate, significant intensity is diminished. Most conventional fluorescent bulbs are dramatically effected by this. The compact lighting sources have tremendous efficacy and great reach.
For high lumen, and full spectrum lighting needs, some people mix and match the compact lights with metal halide, or fluorescent bulbs. This gives an effect matched by no other type of lighting, except of course, sunlight. The effects of this combination on saltwater reef aquariums is especially notable.
Most bulbs are sold from 28 to 96 watts per bulb, and offer many color renditions. Always keep the specimens in mind when choosing wattages and colors.
Supplementing compact lighting to other lighting sources offers the best overall results, especially for full spectrum, high-lumen lighting needs.
Compact lights can be constructed from scratch, and are also available in do-it-yourself kits.
Retro kits are available for compact lights that come complete with the bulbs endcaps, ballasts, and reflector.. These come ready to assemble, and are cost effective.
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