Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V1 #329

Daniel wrote Wed, Mar. 13
>        I'm just setting up a 30g tank, and I foolishly bought two 20w
>(24") tubes and an electronic ballast to power them, even though I don't
>know much about fluorescent lighting.  I hooked up the ballast
>(Coralife/Energy Savers Double Wizard T-12 kit) and lights (one 20w Triton
>and one 20w Beauty Light) according to the box instructions, but the lights
>won't light up reliably. Sometimes I can get both lights to come on if I
>rub just one of the bulbs with my finger-- as if the electric field in the
>bulbs is almost, but not quite, strong enough to get things going. What's
>going on? What might I be doing wrong?

First, check to see what type of bulbs you got.  There are pre-heat and
rapid start bulbs, and, for best results, the bulbs should match the
ballast.  The ballast should have a label that tells you the kind of bulb
it is designed for.

Second, if you made your own light hood, the lights may not go on reliably
if the hood is made of wood.  A metal hood helps the arc get started in the
bulbs, because a metal surface is parallel and near to the bulbs.  If you
made a wooden hood, you can fix this problem by lining the inside of the
hood with aluminum foil.  Since you said that the lights come on sometimes
if you rub one of the bulbs, that suggests that perhaps a strip of foil
along the backs of the bulbs might be helpful.

Try it and let us know what happens.  Good luck!

Paul Krombholz                  Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS  39174