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Melted ballast?

When I moved my tanks, I took the oppurtunity to check
into why my lights were acting up.

The lights were Home Depo off the shelf 2 tube 4 ft
shoplights.  I had 2 under each hood, Wired to a
single cord.

Over the 35 gal thw bulbs were 6 inches above the
They were 25 inches above the 55 gal (to allow for

While I had the tanks set up temporarily in an
unairconditioned attic, I began having problems.  The
lights would turn themselves off after a few hours. 
Then one fixture on each hood stopped working.  

When I disassembled the lights to see what was up, one
ballast of each pair was "melted".  By this I mean
that there was a carbon discharge covering the inside
of the casing near the "black box".  As though
something in there had melted and spurted out under

To replace the burned out fixture, I went to Wal-Mart
and bought a new one for $6.75.  It turned out to be
set up for hanging by a chain, and since I didn't want
to bother with taking it apart to mount it some other
way, I just hung it.  So it hangs lower than the othr
fixture, with it's bulbs 3 inches above the top of the
tank.  I judt used it as it and didn't wire the cords


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