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How often do you change VHO bulbs?

  • 6-10 months

    Votes: 11 17.5%
  • 10-12 months

    Votes: 27 42.9%
  • 12-14 months

    Votes: 14 22.2%
  • after 14months

    Votes: 3 4.8%
  • other or change when they burn out

    Votes: 8 12.7%
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A goof
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have talked to a few different people about changing bulbs, I was wondering how often you generally change or plan to change VHO bulbs.

Thanks

Jon
AKA Brooke's hubby
AKA LEw
AKA Jonathan
 

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Jon,
I run URI's with an Ice Cap 660 ballast and try to change bulbs every year whether they need it or not!;) I've read that good bulbs with Ice Cap can run as long as 18 months but feel like 12 is a good time for a change. With old-style tar ballasts, it's been my understanding that bulbs won't last as long and recommendations were for changes every 6 months. I never used tar ballasts for them so I have no personal experience.
Dick:)
 

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Going Broke
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Fishdaddy, where did you read this?

Did someone do a spectral analysis of the URI bulbs? I would like to be able to prolong my bulbs. Changing out 14 bulbs every 6 months gets costly. And this doesn't include the MH bulbs.
 

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Reefcam,
This has been the topic of articles and discussions among reefers who have used Ice Caps.
See this article by Sandy Cohen, reprinted from FAMA:
http://www.icecapinc.com/famaarticle.htm

This info is also on Ice Cap's site:
http://www.icecapinc.com/

Many times manufacturer's claims are exaggerated but in this case, IMHO and IME, VHO's last a lot longer on electronic ballasts!
Dick:)
 

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I have come to the same conclusion as Dick on this, one year for me too.
Steve
 

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A goof
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That has been my idea as well. A few people say to change them out every 6-8 months but Ice cap says they last upto 18 months so I usually change them every year give or a take a few months.

Thanks everyone

Jon
 

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I would say 6 months max. 50buxx worth of new bulbs every 6months is a peanuts to garuantee good heath of your animals. flourescent bulbs are notorious for shifting spectrums over time.

Speaking of lights........theres a big ole metal halide fixture shining up at a sign on the awning thats right below my window. one of these days that puppy is gonna disappear, heheh.
 

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Going Broke
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That's where I was heading. The article on Ice-cap does not take into account on the light spectrum after 6 months, 1 year, 1.5 years. The person who wrote the article just mentioned about how might it still looks.

There's no PAR measurement or where the color spectrum resides after long usage. My bathroom light looks just as bright from the day I installed it. That was 6 years ago. But my eyes can't tell me that the light is showing more red.

I remember there was an article, which I can't find now, that talked about flourscent bulb's spectrum shifting after 6 - 8 months, even though the PAR rating was the same.

I guess all I want to see data on is what is the light spectrum after certain periods. The article on ice cap is all talk but no concrete data. Just some initial chart that's hard to see. :)
 

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Hey Jim, where did you find a lightbulb that lasts 6 years??? Man, I need to get me some of those!

I bought my VHO's used, so I'm in the process of switching them out. One every 3 months, that works great as far as timing. 4 bulbs, one every third month comes to a year. $50 bucks a pop=$200 a year. Maybe I will get that dual MH now, it's about the same to replace those each year.


hmmmm... now if I get the wife some flowers....

-Big Dave
 

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Someone suggested to me marking the date on the bulb when you plan to change it out. I know little things like that help me remember chores.
 

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I'm embarassed to say but my URI's are pushing two years. They are only actinics though. I'll prolly change them soon since you brought this up.
 

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Interesting thread.

Marking the bulbs with a sharpie doesn't work, the marking fades after a few months.

URI's 50/50 and 03's seem to go the distance for 13 to 14 months without more than 10% loss of PAR after the initial 70 to 90 hour burn in If any of you would like the info, I have it written down with 2 sets of 4 72 inch bulbs with ICECAPS. I cannot speak for bulbs with tar ballasts, as I did not have the meter when I had the advance ballasts (fluorescents).

Tar ballasts do seem to make the lifespan of the bulbs around 6 or 7 months, I notice in my logs that when that point is reached with a bulb set that I see more algal growth on the glass (as witnessed by scrapings every 3 to 4 days as opposed to once a week when new, could be a coincidence, not really sure, I have always attributed this to red-shift, but have not tried to document this)

Might look at some of the stuff Sanjay Yoshi has published on the icecaps, as well as documentation at icecap site for info and data on red shift vs PAR for the bulbs on icecaps.

Hope this helps.
 

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I remember going thru this a while back, Personally I run mine longer than a year but try to change them about then. IMO changing them sooner is wasting money, but you can run em till they die as refugium lights
 

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Hey Tom, what about a small strip of masking tape with the date on the end cap?
 

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Nick, the masking tape will loosen from heat over time :(
You might consider getting one of them wipe boards, a small one will do, assign each bulb a # and write intall date along with projected changeout date. They are also handy for wish lists, ecording dates something was done or added, notes to self to check up on whatever. Just dont leave the dry markers where the green brittle star can get at them, man can they scribble a lot :)
 

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Doug1 said:
I remember going thru this a while back, Personally I run mine longer than a year but try to change them about then. IMO changing them sooner is wasting money, but you can run em till they die as refugium lights
Heh heh heh!!! This IS true, now if I could just get those 72" bulbs under the tank for the refugium....:D

Nick, Good idea, although I have found that with a years usage under the intensity of the lighting for most reef aquaria, everything pretty much bleaches :cool:. Prolly best to mark the endcaps with tape as you suggested, possibly covering the writing with another piece of masking tape to protect the legibility, but also write down the date in your log book (you DO keep a log book, don't you???:p )

2 cents worth, I believe...
 

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Whats a log book????? :p
 

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....I have found that with a years usage under the intensity of the lighting for most reef aquaria, everything pretty much bleaches
If y'all want truely permanent markers, get them from an art supply store. Look for pens containing true india ink, or, go with black acrylic paint. Art supplies are rated for lightfastness, not just permanence. A couple years under ultraviolet lamps should not fade these. :wavey:

BTW, I change my vho lamps when they die :funny: about 3 times a year. I run the normal output lamps on my vho unit and they usually last about 4 months before one lamp dies and I'll just replace all 4 lamps at the same time. They work fine, the spectrum is good, and they are cheap. $6. for 4 lamps three times a year still beats the cost of a single vho lamp! I still have yet to find a cheap alternative for actinic lamps, but I'm still looking!:)
 
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