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> So, looking at the pre-made light fixtures I've contemplated the Perfecto,
> Oceanic and CSL Britelite.
JBJ makes a nice light and it has an open top plastic rail set up that is
quite nice(Azoo has a similar elevated plastic clips for their CP FL's hood
set ups) if you dislike glass hoods etc. They are quite cheap compared to
the other Companies mentioned and come in a 55 watt for the 29 gallon tank
or you can add 2x55 in the 29 and have them off set somewhat to spread the
light over an even area better.
> One thing I would advise is plan in advance. Setting up several tanks in the
> past 1+ year has been a big expense. Much better to do it right from the
> start. Meanwhile I have purchased lighting that I don't think is doing a
> whole lot for my tanks. 4 NO flourescents over a 29 gallon should do an o.k.
> job of lighting it, yet placed in Perfecto strips, it's inadequate and
> lighting over the tank is not uniform. If money were is not a problem,
> there's units that cost several hundred dollars in PetsWarehouse catalog. I
> think the Phazer Units from Red Sea look pretty decent.

I often see these T-12 and T-8 bulb set ups haphazardly laying on top of
tanks. Scary. You are certainly right in paying for a good quality light set
up from the start. A small wooden box is all you need to make for your tank
and then you can add the A&H lighting stuff inside. Many Home Depots and
other Hardware places have 1/4" thick popular wood that works super for
hoods. It's light and soft but looks nice. I use their 2 1/2" wide strips
and a 8 inch(actually 7 1/2") and can add 2x55 watts into any tank size with
good spread from 24 to 48" with ease. They will cut the wood to length for
you. No sawing wood, only a small amount of drilling for the brads cord
A little nailing(predrill the holes) to hold it together and some paint and
I'm done in a hour or so. Looks much nicer than the guts or old ugly
Perfecto light strips IMO.
I've built about 7 of them and they all look great, no problems and where
perfect clean fits for all the PC's and reg 15 watt FL's bulbs(say a
2x15watt cheapy 6$ 15watt fixture for a 10 gallon). Even to girlfriend wants
tanks in her place now they look so good:)
> Temporary modification on the 55 gallon tank included constructing one of
> those raingutter compact flourescent strips at
> http://members.carolina.net/hyrb/lighting.html. Unfortunately, this strip on
> the front of one side of the tank is so bright, that many plants tend to lean
> towards this light, the taller of which shade the lower-growing plants
> nearby. Maybe I should just make a bunch of these and place them over the
> whole tank?

Look to what you first said at the start.,...go first class and get good
lighting from the start. This cost the most of any item folks will spend on
the tank for plants usually. It also cost the most of any electrical device
you will spend for upkeep and operational cost.
A light weight easy to remove nice box is not a hard item to make. Adding
the guts after is a snap also.
I hope this helps or gets some minds a going:)
Tom Barr