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Compact light replacements

    I've been lurking around the list for quite a while, may have sent 
in a reply to a message once. I have seen lots of valuable 
information, and now I have a question of my own. 
    One of my aquariums is a 14 gallon plexiglass hexagon which 
came with its own unusual light fixture, a small plastic box with 
a plexiglass bottom containing one 12" 8 watt flourescent tube with 
a remarkable output (which I enhanced by adding a reflector). It has 
an external "power brick" device which I presume is the ballast 
(rated for a single lamp of 7-9 watts), and a starter socket that I 
added so I could use a timer (I think I did post a question to the 
list back when I wanted to do that, and was given some very 
helpful instructions). The sockets for the tube are mounted at 
opposite ends of a part made of that white plastic that turns 
yellow, cracks, and falls apart (probably especially when exposed to 
UV light due to being right next to a flourescent aquarium/plant 
type tube). The sockets are very stiff as well and I would at least 
like to replace them (I'm afraid I'm going to break the tubes 
installing or removing them).
    It is this plastic part that has given me fits, it has 
disintegrated to the point where I can't reassemble the lamp after 
a recent cleaning. I could use duct-tape, but would rather not. I 
would really like to either replace the white bit, or, even 
better, relpace the "guts" of the lamp with a socket for one of the 
new compact (U-shaped) eight or preferably 9 watt tubes which 
should provide better light output in the aquarium's new home 
where there is less indirect daylight, and also potentially 
cheaper replacement of bulbs.
    Can this be done (my local "Home Depot" store doesn't even 
have anything resembling the parts. except perhaps for sockets 
for conventional tubes. Can anyone reccomend a good 
supplier (presumably online) for the kinds of parts I want. I am 
also interested in any opinion about whether or not my ballast 
unit could support the kind of lamp I am interested in. 
    The ballast unit is made by Radionic Industries Inc. and is 
labeled thusly (Direct qoute of everything but the UL listing seal):
"CAT. NO. WP-789 for one 6-7-8-9 watt
120V 60Hz 18A
Indoor use only Taiwan

    I want to keep my plants happy in their new home, and this 
fixture is the physically biggest thing that this tank can 
accomodate (the enclosure is speciffically made to fit an opening on 
the top of the tank, so I am hoping for your advice about what to do.