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Re: tank setup questions

On Wed, 12 Jan 2000, Kevin Vigor wrote:

>    First, I am building a custom hood. While I don't yet own the
> ballast for the fluorescent bulbs, I have noticed on several ballasts
> a warning to the effect that the bulbs should be mounted within some
> distance of a grounded reflector. This is a problem, since I don't
> intend to use a metal reflector at all (the hood is wooden, and (if I
> can find some) I will use mylar for a reflector, otherwise just white
> paint). So, the questions: is this true of all ballasts? What happens
> if I don't provide a grounded reflector? And should I worry about
> grounding various metal bits (like screws) that are in close proximity
> to the bulbs?

Those was the directions on my rapid-start ballasts.  The ground was
needed as an aide to starting but you might get away without it.  I used a
piece of aluminum flashing inside the hood and grounded it with a screw
through the right rear corner of the tank from which I ran a wire to the
ground line of the ballast.  You may not have to do this, but I find it
always best to follow the manufacturer's guidelines.

My preheat ballasts didn't require a ground near the tubes.

>    Second, the dread question of filters (I'm sorry, I know this is a
> religious topic here, but that won't stop me...). I want to use a
> cannister filter to minimize surface disturbance and to reclaim the
> space behind the tank previously taken up by a hang-on filter. My
> choices have come down to the Magnum external or the Fluval 4
> internal. The Magnum looks more solid, and has more local presence (I
> can find filter media easily, which isn't true of the Fluval); the
> Fluval is cheaper and requires zero plumbing. So: anybody have any
> data which might make this choice clearer?

<after quietly meditating, then bowing to of the cardinal points and
tossing a handful of petals on the breeze...> I have a Magnum 350 that I
use when I need to filter something (it's a rare event).  It's a great
filter for occasional use but for continuous use there are probably better

Roger Miller