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You're probably right with the MH lighting as they take a minute or two to
strike an arc and then a few more minutes to come up to full intensity
(faster for smaller lamps). I'm not sure if the new solid-state ballasts
are any faster for MH lamps, but I would assume that the time delay for
them to come to full brightness is still an issue. In my own fixtures, a
power outage of more than a few seconds results in a wait of a while (10-20
minutes) before the lights will restrike by themselves. They will strike
faster if I unplug them for a while and then plug them back in.

All of the power compact (PC) lights I've seen for use in aquariums have
been instant-start types that do not appear to be affected by power
interruptions. I do mean *instant* too -- very, very fast. They also
provide more light for their size and last longer than VHO flourescents.
For some reason when you mentioned "60 gallon" the image of a 60-Hex comes
to mind fo me where the size factor would be important. Not sure if that is
actually the case for you though. Hmm, not that I see you're talking about
the long 110 watt VHOs I'm guessing you don't have a 60-Hex :-)

I don't have a lot of expierience with VHOs and haven't used them for some
time (I like MH better), so I can't really say much about them.

BTW, you could try using a computer-type UPS to keep your stuff running
during short outages. For a lot of the shaded-pole motors used by aquarium
pumps you need a pretty decent approximation of a sine wave to get them to
turn (cheap UPSes use a square wave that will make the motors hum, but not
run). The cheapest such UPSes I am aware of right now are the APC units
(http://www.apcc.com). Tripp Lite and Best Power make some too but I'm not
as familiar with them.


>    I'm currently using standard fluorescents on my planted tanks, but I'm 
>setting up a 60 gal. tank planted with mangrove saplings, and so looking >into 
>more intense lighting to suspend over the tank.  The electricity in my 
>apartment building can be erratic at times with power failures lasting 1 to >5 
>minutes not uncommon, so I fear trying metal halides would result in a 
>disaster.  The two next best options seem to be either 4 96-watt power >compacts 
>or 4 110-watt Icecap VHO's.   
>    Does anybody have any thoughts, suggestions or experiences on which >option
>(s) might be the better way to go?
>Much thanks in advance for you help,
>John Phillips

Waveform Technology
UNIX Systems Administrator