View Full Version : Plasma Arc Lighting Not So Great?

10/01/2010, 11:02 PM
I was seriously looking into plasma lighting on a new aquarium and there are a few problems with the marketing on these things. I'm sure this has been brought up already but my searches were unsuccessful.

First off, why are they using lumens as the unit of measurement? It's been a long time since I've seen anyone refer to lumens with reef tanks. Obviously lumens are going to result in better numbers for their lower Kelvin lamp when compared to a metal halide 10,000K lamp.

That brings me to my second problem. Why are they comparing a 290W 5500K plasma light to a 400W 10,000K MH light? Again, it's been brought up numerous times that light output increases with lower Kelvin lamps. Shouldn't they be comparing their light to a 250W 5500K MH light? When I look at the lumens of a 250W 6500K MH lamp it looks very much the same as the plasma light, maybe even better.

Lastly, why are they bringing up CRI? We sacrifice CRI when we use our bluer lamps. This has always been an acceptable comprimise with the bluer light reefers like better. Going back to the 6500K MH, it too is going to have a higher CRI. Probably in the same 90-96 range as the plasma light.

I understand that this is all "clever" marketing but what am I missing here? The longer lamp life is the only real benefit I can see plasma having over metal halide.

290w Plasma light:
15,000+ initial lumens
5300K CCT
95 CRI
25,000 hrs

250W Metal Halide:
18,500 initial lumens
6500K CCT
90 CRI
10,000 hrs

MH numbers look better to me (more efficacy). What am I missing here? Doesn't seem like an improvement over MH to me.

10/01/2010, 11:50 PM
they do work well for coral growth . yes the light is yellower the higher you turn them up . they dont have a brilliant blue hue to them and need supplemental lighting to get that "pop" in colors . they do last much longer ,give off less heat but they are infants as far as technology and coloration . i have personally been involved with a few tanks that use them as primary light but its best to have some t-5s to get that look that we all have now been accustomed to liking . i dont know if i helped but that all i have is my personal experience . one more thing they do have very good light penetration for deep tanks and can burn corals that are to close .
different strokes for different folks . i think the future will be in the leds as they are really figuring them out at a much faster pace than the plasma's .

02/05/2011, 03:08 PM
i switched from mh to plasma. got rid of 2x250w mh bulbs,ballast and reflectors plus the heat that the mh put off. here is a video of my tank


02/05/2011, 04:11 PM
lol that was a great video. I have to start playing with my iMovie now