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Re: [APD] Help With My New Tank!! -- or - Final Lighting Questions

Has anyone tried to adapt the inexpensive outdoor security MH fixtures
for aquatic use.  The seem to be significatly inexpensive and some
come with good reflectors.

Scott RH.

Yes, I have tried them, and they don't work as well as you might think. They use the same ballast, socket, and ignitor that a normal MH fixture has, but they enclose it all in a compact housing. I have a wall-mounted security light (a square surface-mount fixture), and I wouldn't recommend it for use on an aquarium. The fixture itself is very well sealed, and while this would be good to keep out water, the con is that the *entire* fixture gets *very* hot and there is no good way to cool it. Also, the reflector is just a roundish piece of flat, shiny aluminum (not even a very good polish on it). The fixture I have is also quite heavy due to the large aluminum casting the back is made from, and the heavy glass lens on the front.

The security lights are a good source of parts for DIY lights if you find some that are being replaced or otherwise scrapped. A typical fixture will contain a ballast, ignitor, and good ceramic mogul-base socket and some mounting brackets. Even if the fixture is dead, replacing the ignitor ($5-10) will usually bring it back to life.

The low-bay fixtures (warehouse lights) might be useful if you had a *really* big tank and could mount the fixtures several feet or more above the water surface. They are also very cheap and frequently show up surplus. Those fixtures (these are the kind that hang from the ceiling in places like Home Depot, Costco, etc.) have good reflectors and are usually well built. The only real drawbacks would be their physical size and the fact that they don't have much light spread if they aren't mounted very high since they are made to hang at 15-20+ feet above the surface. Unfortunately the low- and high-bays use special ballast arrangements and can't be easily adapted to other light setups if you find some and want to use them for parts.


***************************** Waveform Technology UNIX Systems Administrator

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