IME it depends on what bulb you are using. UVI bulbs generaly last 9 months to a year. But it also depends on alot of factors like how long is your light cycle do you have fans blowing on them to keep them cool. There is alot of factors than contribute to bulb life.
I haven't seen any data on this yet. I wish I had a Par Meter but I don't. Most places that I've read indicate that they have a life expectancy of between 16 and 24 months. I think that we will definitely hear more of this in the future. Life expectancy does go down of course if you're overdriving them. If I come up with any hard data I'll post it. If anyone else has any research data I'm sure that there are a lot of us who would like to know.
I hear you. I've got the ballasts, the reflectors and a couple pair of end caps and stand offs. I'm accumulating what I need gradually and hope to move to T5s early next year. I'll give up my shimmer for a cooler running set up with less current draw. The only other way is to go with a smaller tank and I don't want to do that.
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