Red Light Source - Metal Halides?


Dec 20, 2013
Hi all,

My first post here. Been reading Ray Peat/Danny Roddy/FPS, and other Ray Peat inspired bloggers for a couple years now. Have made lots of dietary tweaks but still haven't gotten around to red light.

So I've read (seemingly countless) threads on this topic, and it still feels like there is a bit of confusion, and that maybe there is something better out there than the typical incandescant 130v bulbrite bulb.

I used to raise live corals--which require special, very intense lighting, known as metal halides. Metal halides put out waaaay more intense light, and do it while using less energy and lasting longer than incandescents. So I'm wondering why no one seems to have thought of using metal halide bulbs. (Granted they would be significantly more expensive than a $3 incandescent bulb). "Metal-halide lamps have high luminous efficacy of around 75 - 100 lumens per watt,[2] which is about twice that of mercury vapor lights and 3 to 5 times that of incandescent lights."

From a quick search on line, it looks like it's possible to find metal halides in the red spectrum: ... ts_id=1042

Any thoughts on why this approach may be wrong?


Jul 24, 2013
It’s an excellent question and point. I am only offering a few guesses:

Since self-ballasted metal-halide bulbs are pretty recent, so there may be less of a track record.

The risk of explosion, such as at the end of bulb life, may be small but can be hazardous.

Since there are relatively few indoor residential applications of the light, there’s less experience and research at home and in the lab.

There can be color variation both during the warm up time, and during the “burn in” early use phase of the bulbs.

Also, the bulb mentioned, at 1000 watts, may need extra care in use, and also in making sure the fixture stays cool. I’d like to explore the uses of this light source more, may starting with a lower wattage in my work spaces.


Jan 1, 2013
Has anyone used Leds ?
Seems to be the future of lighting.


Thread starter
Dec 20, 2013
Yes, Such_Saturation... that's the normal spectum for halides... not typically strong in reds.

However, this one looks like it would work: ... bulbs.html

Check out the chart... ... mage/2279/

Though maybe not... it has more in the red spectrum, but the spectrum may still not be ideal.

I've also been looking at these:

But not sure about the intensity of the light output relative to incandescents/halogens/halides etc. Will leds be effective?


Dec 13, 2013
Metal halides are typically bluish, as are LEDs. LEDs have the benefit of not producing a lot of heat, actually less than fluorescent lights. However, they are currently expensive. HPS (high pressure sodium) lamps are high in the yellowish spectrum, not sure about red. From what I remember, HPS produces a lot of heat though, and they aren't very efficient. Compact fluorescent bulbs release phenol and other potentially toxic compounds probably because the plastic part gets heated. Incandescent bulbs only take up a little space, and buying all of the fixtures would be expensive. I was thinking about buying normal fluorescent tubes and putting them on a shelf, then taking a piece of glass painted red (with glass paint), and mounting it to the shelf so all of the light coming through is red. I bought red CFLs until I found out about airborne toxin emissions.
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