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Metal Halide lighting

I've just installed the metal halide lighting for two new tanks.  These are
the first MH lights I've had, so I don't know if what I have learned about
them is typical or atypical.  Perhaps someone here can enlighten me.

The ballasts are made by Energy Savers Unlimited.  The bulbs are Coralife
5500K, 175W.

I thought for a while that I had defective units.  Sometimes when I turned
them on they would immediately glow slightly, warming up to full intensity
in two or three minutes.  Other times ... nothing.  No light at all.  This
happens quite consistently if they were turned on recently - turn off a lit
bulb and turn it back on and there is no light.

Eventually I discovered that if I just leave it turned on it will
eventually, perhaps 5 or more minutes later, begin to glow and then come up
to full intensity.

Is that normal?

Observation number two:  Three bulbs turned on within a few seconds of each
other will blow a 15 amp. GFI circuit within a minute or less.  A meter
shows me that they draw about 2 amps when first turned on, about 1 amp.
when in the dull glowing stage, and slowly back up to 2 amps as they warm
up to full intensity, BUT when they are flickering, just as they begin
glow, there is a spike associated with each flicker that is too brief for
my meter to register fully.

Is that normal?

I can get around the startup problem by staggering the start times on the
times (which I was planning to use anyhow) but I am concerned that a brief
power outage during the day will cause  all four to start at once, almost
certainly blowing the circuit.

The very act of seeking sets something in motion to meet us;
something in the universe, or in the unconscious responds as if
to an invitation.  - Jean Shinoda Bolen