Re: Radionics tubes. 4' (2) 20 watt reflectors

In our area most of the standard 4' light strips contain two 20watt 
radionics tubes.  In trying to make a buck the suppliers have outdone 
themselves on this one.  Cost of replacing 20 watt bulb is about the same 
as a 40 watt so this fixture will cost 2x for bulb and starter replacement.

In asking around I understand reason for two 20 watts is the tiny balast 
can be incorporated into the hood and the entire system costs a little 
less for the manufacturer than a singe 40 watt fixture.  So he saves a 
buck and we end up paying potentially hundreds over the life of the system.

If that weren't bad enough they molded a tiny 45 degree plastic web on 
each side of the light socket (on each end).  This is why the larger 
less expensive 20 watt bulbs can not be used.  I cut these away with a 
pair of electrician pliers and now use standard diameter 20 watt bulbs.
In the long haul I would recommend getting rid of the cheap 4' fixture 
and replace it with one of the two 4' bulb units available mail order 
for about $80.  They give much more light and replacemnt bulbs are about 
half as much for a K-Mart plant bulb (GE plant & aquarium F40PL/AQ wide 
spectrum cost $4.97 + tax).  I was paying about $10 for the 20 watt jobs.

This is just another example of how a little knowledge can save a few bucks.

from Earle in northern lower Michigan where coral once grew.