OT - compact fluorescent

OK, maybe waaay OT, but I've found a lot of general knowledge in this group.
I have an aquarium hood that takes a 55 watt CF. One of the U-shaped ones with 4 in-line pins. The fixture comes with dire warnings to only replace with the same kind of bulb.
55 watts is too much wattage for the tank without some extra doodads (mainly CO2 injection) - I get lots of algae growth. Eventually the plants will win out over the algae, but in the meantime ...
I went out looking for a new bulb. Turns out they don't make 55 watt any more, they make a 45 watt and a 65 watt. The stores all tell me the 65 will work, but they give conflicting answers on the 45 watt.
If someone here is well versed in the do's and don'ts of CF bulbs and fixtures, please let me know if a 45 watt will work. They're too expensive to experiment :-).
Thanks.
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My feeling is that if they have the same pin-out, a 45 should work.
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What counts is what the ballast says it will operate. Wrong lamp you might have short lamp life, or worst case overheat and have a fire. If its electronic they frequently operate over a range. If its magnetic they are usually a lot tighter range.
Mike M
On Sat, 13 Mar 2010 18:08:13 +0000 (UTC), Larry Blanchard

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On 3/13/2010 11:19 AM Mike M spake thus:

[please don't top post]
Yabbut, it's OK to run a lamp with a smaller rating; that won't harm the ballast. A larger lamp could. The 45-watt lamp should work just fine, assuming it fits the socket.
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Exactly. Fixtures/ballast have a maximum but seldom a minimum. The listed wattage of a CF is usually the output but the actual wattage being used is much less. Ex: a 65w CF bulb will use something along the lines of 23 watts and a 45w bulb will use something like 13 watts.
If the socket is a medium base, then you'll be fine.
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On Sat, 13 Mar 2010 16:34:49 -0500, SBH wrote:

OK I'll give it a try. Thanks to all for the responses.
BTW, my experience has been that on the incandescent replacement CFs, the 65W equivalent, 23W actual is indeed the case. For other CFs that don't have ballasts and aren't intended as replacements, the wattage given is the actual. At least for aquarium fixtures. A 65W CF gives a *lot* more light than a 65W incandescent.
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On Sun, 14 Mar 2010 00:25:44 +0000 (UTC), the infamous Larry Blanchard

My 23W CFLs are rated at 100W (incandescent replacement value) and put out a whole lot more lovely, blue-white light. None of that yellow crap. Your figures don't track. Absolutely all the CFLs I've seen rated 100W take between 23 and 27 watts.
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On Sat, 13 Mar 2010 16:34:49 -0500, SBH wrote:

Oops - my bad. I missed that line until after I'd responded. You obviously were talking about replacement CFs, and I was talking about the regular 4 pin CFs. Sorry.
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Actually, that would be my bad as I missed you indicating it being a 4 pin CF.
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A netiquette Nazi who uses made up words. Ok.
On 3/13/10 1:32 PM, David Nebenzahl wrote:

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Have also you considered an algae eater such as one of the mini sucker mouth cats or a mystery snail or two? How big a tank?
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Both are good choices. We had a yellow puffer fish that would suck in a red snail and pop out the empty shell. It was great when we got new plants from a tank that had red snails.
Martin
LDosser wrote:

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We had a toby that ate the whole snail and died. :(
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On Sat, 13 Mar 2010 18:08:13 +0000 (UTC), the infamous Larry Blanchard

I have a (website) client who does coral and aquariums. I passed your question on to him and will give you his answer tomorrow(?)
-- I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain. -- John Adams
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I just empty the hood and install an entire light fixture.
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When the beloved and I had a large hex column tank, we had two 20 watts in the top. one or the other or both...
It was 32" tall and 24" across the flats.
Martin
Pat wrote:

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Pin base CFLs have the ballast in the fixture. You need the same wattage. Pin base CFL bulbs are also cheap, because you're only replacing half of the functioning unit. Buy the same wattage generic bulb from Walmart, HD, whatever, instead of the repackaged, marked-up specialty bulb from the fish store. The only difference between bulbs of a given output is color temperature (degrees K). Match that figure, and you have the exact replacement.
As for the bulb stimulating algae growth, that's due mostly to blue output. 6500K daylights put out more blue and UV than 5700K "sunshine" and 3500K cool whites. 6500K bulbs are great for plant lights and hence for algae.
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On Sun, 14 Mar 2010 21:11:54 -0700, Father Haskell wrote:

So you're saying that a lower wattage bulb won't work? BTW, it seems 45 watt bulbs aren't available any more. I'd have to drop down to a 40 watt.

Agreed, but I have a heavily planted tank so want the 6500K. But your post does suggest an alternate solution. I could switch to a less effective bulb for at least a short time without harming the plants. Once the plants grew to a respectable size I could go back to the plant light. Thanks.
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Could you change the ballast? Donor CFL desk lamps sell for under $5 at Goodwill.

I haven't seen too much difference between plants grown under 5700 or 6500.
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