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Aquarium Supplies

Power Compact Bulbs Information

Reef Aquarium
There are four main color temperatures available for power compact bulbs: 6700k daylight white; 10000k daylight white; 7100k or 460nm blue; and Actinic 03 or 420nm. 6700k daylight white bulbs are generally the brightest of all the bulbs. The color of this bulb tends to be more of a yellowish/white bulb. Plants tend to thrive under this color temperature as will your corals. 10000k daylight white bulbs are more of a “crisp” white light with just a hint of yellow. This bulb tends to be not quite as bright as the 6700k bulb, but can be more pleasing to the eye, especially if actinic or blue lighting is not used. 7100k or 460nm blue bulbs help to “wash out” the yellowing of the 6700k or 10000k bulbs and can make the tank more appealing to look at. It tends to be a very bright blue bulb compared to an Actinic 03 (420nm) bulb. Actinic 03 or 420nm bulbs tend to be more of a purplish/blue color. The Actinic 03 (420nm) bulbs really help to fluoresce corals more than any other bulb. It will help green, reds, blues, etc. to really jump out of corals.

Bulbs can be all one color temperature, or they can have a mix of colors to achieve a desired look. These mixed bulbs are generally referred to as 50/50 bulbs. One tube will light up one color, while the other tube lights up the other color. These combinations include:
  • 6700k/10000k combination bulb. The advantage to a bulb like this is you will get the intensity of the 6700k side of the bulb, but also the more desirable (visual look) of the 10000k bulb mixed into the bulb.
  • Actinic 03 (420nm)/7100k (460nm) combination bulb. The advantage to this bulb is you get the brightness of the 7100k (460nm), but also the color enhancing of the Actinic 03 (420nm). It should be noted when this bulb is turned on, the 7100k (460nm) side is so much brighter than the actinic 03 (420nm) side, it appears the actinic 03 (420nm) side isn’t even working. But if you stick a dark piece of paper between the bulbs, you will see that both sides are working.
  • Actinic 03 (420nm)/10000k combination bulb. One tube will light up bright white and the other tube a purplish/blue color. The advantage of this bulb is it tends to be the most visually appealing. If only a single bulb is being used (or two bulbs end to end) over the tank this will give you a nice mix of white and blue for the tank.
  • 7100k (460nm)/10000k combination bulb. Similar to the actinic 03 (420nm)/10000k bulb, one tube will light up white while the other tube lights up blue. Since this combination is using the 7100k (460nm) blue instead of the actinic 03 (420nm), it tends to be a brighter bulb. Again, if only a single bulb is being used (or two bulbs end to end) over the tank this will give you a nice mix of white and blue for the tank.
Bulb Replacement Guide
Bulb Types Life of Bulb*
Normal Output Fluorescent 6-12 months
Very High Output (VHO) 6-12 months
Power Compact (PC) 9-12 months
T5 High Output (T5HO) 9-18 months
Metal Halide 9-12 months
LED (non-moonlight) ~5 years (50,000 hours)
* Manufacturer Recommendations

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