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T-8 Light and Ballast Questions

Hello everyone,

Iím trying to figure out what I need to set up the lights for my tank.  Iím 
going to try T-8 lights for the first time. I have a few questions before I 
go to the light store to buy everything .

1.    I  know of two bulbs mentioned in the APD often.

GE F32T8/SPX50

I know these are the new energy saving bulbs.  Looking in the Pet Warehouse 
catalog I noticed Sylvania makes a 36 watt 48Ē T-8 bulb which they say 
consumes less wattage, and Zoo Med makes a 32 watt 48Ē T-8 bulb.  Are either 
of these the energy saving T-8ís like the GE and Philips.  Are there any 
other bulb options?

2.  A second thing I am confused about is the ballast.  I think what I have 
read suggests getting a ballast with as high ballast factor as possible and 
also an electronic instant start ballast.   Beyond that Iím not exactly sure 
what I am looking for.  I do know I will need five 48Ē long bulbs.  I think 
this means I will need 2 different ballasts.  I tried getting on the 
Motorola website but couldnít find where the ballast section was.

Could anyone using T-8 bulbs give me a model # of a ballast you would 
recommend.  I donít want to get a ballast that doesnít work with the lights.

3.  As far as the wiring goes is there a primer anywhere on the web for 
setting up your own lights?  I am concerned about the electrical safety 
involved versus just buying a commercial light setup.  Maybe Iím making this 
out to be harder than it is but I havenít done anything like this.  I have 
always used the strip lights that come with the tank.

4.  I know I will need a reflector.  Checking the Krib I saw everything from 
using mylar to white paint to aluminum foil.  I saw an Aqua Mirror 
advertised in the Pet Warehouse catalog which says it is good for both T-8 
and T-12 bulbs.    In an archived  post somone wrote that the best shape for 
T-8 reflector was the shape of McDonalds Arch and then putting the light in 
the center.  This Aqua Mirror is definitely not that shape.  Would it still 
be better than plain aluminium foil or mylar?

I know these questions may seem simple for some of the experienced folks on 
the list but electronic projects have always been scary to me. Hopefully 
this project will give me the confidence to put T-8 lights on my other tanks 
and get rid of the strip lights for good.



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