Cheap, easily obtainable full-spectrum fluorescent bulb
April 23, 2015 7:47 AM   Subscribe

I've read and been confused by many other AskMe's about this, so here is all I want to know: What bulb can I go out and get at Home Depot or Lowes, for under $20, that is a full-spectrum fluorescent that will fit into your standard ~24" housing? This is for a bird kept inside.

I don't need to know how they work or what the wavelengths or warmth is or any of that, just need a brand and name or a link to a Home Depot or Lowes page. Here is an article with background on proper lighting for birds, much of which I don't understand.
posted by fiercecupcake to Pets & Animals (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
As recommended in the article you linked, something like this should do it. It's easily acquirable, but not something you can get at HD/Lowe's.

If you're going the HD/Lowe's route you need something with CRI higher than 92, "daylight" (5000k) spectrum and decent wattage/output, but they're harder to find.
posted by Karaage at 8:29 AM on April 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

spamazon will be easier than hd/lowes.

here is what I use for bonsai, full-spectrum:
- regular screw-in bulb LED
- agrobrite/hydrofarm T5 tube (incl. enclosure)

obvs. birds != trees, but the theory is the same.
the plants all survived winters indoors with these lights on a timer, let's call that a win?
posted by dorian at 12:40 PM on April 23, 2015

re-reading the article, I think Karaage makes the best recommendation with those specific tubes - Lumichrome 1XC. (NB: the ones sold on that site say they are T12, if that matters vs. your 24" housing)
the higher CRI is what really determines "full spectrum" - i.e. the presence of UVA/UVB that the birds need. and the lower color temperature (not to mention the brand itself) is what the article suggests. (plus 5000/5500K will be visually more pleasant than anything higher)

trying to look up about the specs of the (I thought were quality, but...) lights I'm using -- the LED one doesn't mention CRI at all, and from what I can tell, the T5 tube is a surprisingly low 82. good enough for bonsai trees, but likely insufficient for birds. my apologies.

long forgotten memories from raising turtles:
if you try pet/aquarium/reptile stores, beware spectrum+"high output uvb" reptile bulbs. it seems "close enough" and it serves at least one similar purpose in helping prevent metabolic bone disease, but otherwise is a bit too strong for birds, not to mention too much exposure will start to damage non-avian/non-reptile eyesight (i.e. yours)
posted by dorian at 2:51 PM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Well, this wasn't cheap, but I got tired of trying to figure out what I was going to buy and how I was going to mount it, and my housing was old and crappy anyway, and I decided to just throw money at the problem and I'm very happy with it so far.

I bought a FeatherBrite light and housing on Amazon. Very pleased with shipping time, construction (made in USA, too!), and ease of use. Hopefully this will solve our weak weather woes!
posted by fiercecupcake at 11:49 AM on May 28, 2015

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