10 Year Member!
- Feb 5, 2011
- Location (City and/or State)
Edna said:I'm glad you have opened up this topic as a discussion thread. It seems like our forum has a way of dealing with questions about CFLs that would tend to bring a halt to discussion and any discovery of truth. When we ascribe motives to to the questioner, such as thrift or convenience, that discourages questions. When we simply repeat the mantra "CFLs are bad" over and over again, that stands in the way of information.
Neal said:The problem I have with this debate is that most of the arguments I have seen against CFL's have lacked the specifics and details as to what brand of bulb was used and how it was used, and instead have labeled all CFL's as inherently evil. On the same hand, there have been MVBâ€™s that have had issues which have had equally severe consequences as the CFLâ€™s have hadâ€¦yet we never read any threads or tirades over them.
I donâ€™t think there is anyone who would disagree with the better safe than sorry mindset...I certainly have no need for them currently, and do not recommend them. But, I often change lighting set ups, and to help any future decisions I make I would be curious to see if the issues have been with all brands of bulbs being set up as they were designed, or if it is some type of operator error. As of yet, I have not seen enough details to really establish some sort of conclusion about CFLâ€™s.
I am glad that Michael made this thread as well, and that there are others interested in learning more.
StudentoftheReptile said:My main objective of this thread was to help clear at least SOME of the confusion surrounding them, mostly for those who still had questions and/or were still stubborn enough to still use them. I figured since there are:
- 4 principle brands
- 2 principle bulb shapes (coil/spiral and straight/U-shape)
- 2 different mounting orientations
...there could be some pattern behind this madness, given all the possible variables. While I'm not necessarily trying to justify or advocate these bulbs, I feel it behooves us as hobbyists to make sure what we're saying is true. It almost is like saying "Don't ever feed your tortoise lettuce!" Okay...well, yeah iceberg lettuce has virtually no nutritional value and obviously, no lettuce should be used as the sole food source. But other lettuces are not harmful if used to compliment a well-rounded balanced diet.
I look at the statement "All CFLs are bad!" kind of the same way. Are they really?
I could say "All tube fluorescent bulbs are bad" because one blinded my tortoises. Well, the truth of the matter is that I was using a Zilla Desert 50 T-5 bulb on a tropical forest species (redfoots). Not the brightest idea I've had, but I learned and the tortoises got better, thankfully. My point being, it would not be accurate for me to dismiss all tube florescents because of that one experience, would you not agree? If I was using a Zilla Tropical 25, would the same thing have happened? Who knows?
So back to the CFLs...are all of them really bad because of one brand? is it because people weren't mounting them properly? Were they using 10.0 desert series bulbs on tropical species?
Even though it is somewhat out of date, I think that uvguide.co.uk is still the one of the best sources. The numbers are probably useless, but the ideas in general can help how you approach this.
I think the following points are important, and explain why the issue may persist even if there is no manufacture/design defect:
A combination of other factors apparently increased the risk of photo-kerato-conjunctivitis with these lamps even further:
- In some cases, product literature did not give adequate information. It is essential that lamps are not sold without clear recommendations regarding suitable basking distances and the hazards of over-exposure. Many reptile keepers are unaware that there are any risks associated with close contact with a fluorescent UVB source. The history of fluorescent UVB lamps is such that they are often perceived as "weak" sources of UVB and keepers are often advised to position them close to the reptile.
- When placed in aluminium reflectors, in some cases UVB beneath compact lamps was increased by more than 700%. The extreme increase in UVB underneath aluminium reflector domes has not been widely known, or the hazard recognised, either by manufacturers or hobbyists.
- Most of the lamps have a low visible light output. They are therefore less likely to induce an aversive reaction, or pupillary constriction, when in the reptiles' line of sight. They do not "look like" very intense, direct tropical sunlight.
- Most of the UVA output of these lamps is not in the visible UVA range for reptiles, since the threshold for vision is about 350nm. This reduces even further the visual impact of the lamp to the reptile.
- Fluorescent lamps produce a small amount of heat. This is insufficient to deter a reptile from a close approach, and in fact the gentle warmth may even prove an attraction.
Even though the lamps now come with instructions, how many people really read them? I think most of the recent problems were caused by the way the lamps were used, and human nature. While I will argue with you all day about the lamps being designed for both mounting orientations, I do think there should be some consideration before just sticking the CFL in any old dome fixture. And using one of the combination hoods can be beneficial because it couples the CFL with a heat source.
wellington said:Edna said:
None of the links are updated, 2009. The link you posted, well foreign to me. What I got out if it, is that one of the zilla bulbs puts out pretty much 0 uv. Most of us don't even know how much uv is exceptable. A simple experiment, without risking a torts eyes, by a member that has a meter, a few do, and this could possibly all be put to rest. Just a thought for any of you that wants to use them.
I doubt it would make a difference in how this forum approaches this topic.
Tom said:I've gotta say... I'm a bit sick of this issue. I don't understand what the problem is.
I've never seen anyone say to someone who has used a CFL bulb with no problems, "Yes you did have a problem..." There is no doubt that some percentage of people have used them without issue, right?
Now, is someone arguing that those that DID have a problem really didn't? Is that what we are arguing here?
I don't get it. SOMETIMES these bulbs blind reptiles and cause eye irritation. Sometimes. Not all the time. Only sometimes. This is not some problem from when these bulbs first hit the scene and needed some bugs worked out. I'm still seeing these issues within the last few months. The best policy, the only sensible policy, is to just not use them. If a noob asks a question of someone with experience, isn't it simple to just say, "Sometimes those cause problems. I recommend against them. Simply use this, this, or this instead..." What is wrong with that? Why all the discussion? There are other products available that do NOT cause these problems.
Our local unhelpful troll posts another pointless argumentative post on some other thread, and it leads to ANOTHER discussion about this same issue? Frustrating.
I love you too, Tom.
Discussion is one of the ways we learn. And when people are unafraid to ask questions or post their opinions/experiences, it's works even better.