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[APD] IceCap ballasts hype or not?

Adam wrote, "What's the story with Icecap ballasts? Are they
just normal electronic
ballasts or are they something special?  Just wondering."

Check this message thread on the Reef Central list.
You will need to scroll down a ways to get to the relevant
parts.  On a 75 gallon tank I have been using a Ice Cap 660
with 4 NO lamps (Chroma 50 and other $5(?) +/- lamps).  The
setup has been in place for three years now.  I don't
understand all the techno talk about these ballasts but in
my experience I have been able to grow a large number of
light demanding plants. Growth near the substrate also
indicates relatively high light levels.  Based on postings
on this forum over the past few years It seems to me that
this tank behaves closer to what could be expected of a 5
watt per gallon +/- setup.  Getting this tank under control
was sort of like riding a bucking bronco (not that I ever
have), but once things started falling into place the tank
became a star performer.  Thanks to the good folks on this

So what's not to like?  Fill a tank like this with stem
plants and you will be pulling plants at least every week -
or maybe two if you cut things way back. I don't want to
spend that much time working on the tank so I have been
turning it over to lower light plants and mostly non stem
plants.  Now I want to see how long I can streeeeetch things
out between pruning.  So I have been considering reducing
the lamps to two 40 Watt NO lamps.  Anybody have any
thoughts on this?  Another option would be to change to keep
the 4 lamps but change to a lower output ballast or two T8
lamps with the Ice Cap.  In addition to reducing light it
would be nice to reduce heat also.

 Scott wrote (in part), "For my money, I like the Fulhams.
You can get them for
about $20-$50 if you can track them down.  They're the kind
AHS uses.  I have two IceCaps in my pile of unused stuff in
the basement. I replaced them with Fulhams."

Scott, I am curious, what was it about the Ice Caps that
caused you to pull the plug on them?  I can understand
advising someone to start with a much less expensive Fulham,
but why unplug the Ice Cap, unless, like myself, you want
less light?

BTW, the first four bulbs lasted 10 months. The second set
of four are now running 2 years +.

Jay Reeves

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