I've read several posts but realize I am woefully ignorant of lighting issues. Which would be better: Phillips F40T12 Plant&Aquarium 40watt, or Verilux wide spectrum F40VLX/WS? Thanks, Joe, Winnipeg
Depends what you want to use them for. Neither bulb is cheap. I suspect you can do better for a lot less money.
If you want a wide spectrum high-CRI bulb to mimic sunlight then look at the GE Chroma 50 or 75, or even a Daylight Deluxe such as the one from Sylvania. There are plenty of similar bulbs but not any better and they cost more. The Verilux is an overpriced triphosphor and the spectrum just isn't so great. I'd love to tell you more but I just can't find any reliable information on this bulb. If you just want some blue light to mix with other lights then almost any 6500K (or 5000K, or 7500K) bulb will do.
The Philips Plant & Aquarium is one of those "blue and red makes purple" bulbs, although its actually just a funny pinky shade of white. Sorry, I don't have any detailed specs for the bulb, just inferring from what it looks like and a small amount of published information. If that's what you want then compare prices with the Sylvania Gro-Lux Wide Spectrum, which also has the funny pink look (some people say oraange or purple, but nowhere near as purple as the original Gro Lux). Personally, I don't think this type of bulb is any better than a generic cool/warm combination, certainly not enough to justify the cost.
Lastly, if money is no object then buy a Metal Halide, good spectrum and lots of light. They are easy to find starting at about 100W and would be far better than fluorescents for producing high light intensity over a small area.
Thanks Shrubs_n_Bulbs. Money is a concern. I mentioned those two bulbs because the first was recommended by the guy at Home Depot, and the second at the 'garden centre'. I'm going to look around here for what you suggest and see what they have. Joe, Winnipeg