We grow most of our plants under fluorescents. Also some experience with MH and HPS. TONS of info on our setup at our web site at the culture link. In a nutshell- we don't use expensive horticultural tubes; 4' shoplight fixtures with warm and cool white tubes alternating in a 1:1 ratio. 40 watt T12s work best for us althogh some say they've found T8s with higher output than 4' T12's. NOTE many comparisons compare lumens PER WATT *not* total lumens. This sways the favor to T8s. Have played with using more warms/more cools. Have noticed some plant legginess with less than two cool tubes out of four or under HPS. T5s are the rage these days- great for small collections (due to startup costs and bulb expense), but if you have lots of plants HIDs or T12/T8s are probabyl better IMO. I could rant all day about this, but would rather see exactly what info you're after to focus my response.
If you don't want to use HID lighting, the next best things I know of are VHO and compact fluorescents(also called PCs). I didn't know about these types of lighting until I got into keeping corals, and most of my corals need more light than the average Vanda.
Both of these types of lights are typically sold by their Kelvin temperatures, and for plants you will want a number below 10,000K preferably a 6,700K (at least for aquatic plants).
I still use plain old 48" 40w cool white fluorescents(10,000K I believe) in a shop light. I can't see spending a couple hundred dollars on lighting and not having HIDs.
I use fixtures with 4 bulbs, 3 40wt cool white : 1 40 Wt warm.......they have done well with me...have them on for 15 hours/ day. I'm not familiar with t5's....will they work in regular fluorescent fixtures? Take care, Eric
They recently installed new lighting fixtures in my work place. The fixtures are about 20 feet in the air and have 6 tubes each. When I hold my hand about 6-8 inches above the floor I get a noon day type shadow. Are these the t5's being discussed? I contacted the supplier and the fixture (4 or 6 tube) runs about $180 and the tubes (approx. 50 watts each, total output unknown other than as described above) are about $8 each. So that is a little over $200 startup. How does that compare to other lighting systems?
I am comparing this to a compact flourescent fixture that puts out 500 watts of light and uses 65 watts. These are $45 each.
The first fixture is way cool, but is it too much for my planned plant room? I could cover the whole room with it, but the compacts would allow focusing the light where needed.
Go to www/4hydroponics.com ( go to grow lights - grow light systems)for more info and pricing. The price you quoted is possibly less through than through a regular dealer but you can get interesting info here.