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Electronic Ballasts (Yeah Again!!!)

Hello Everybody,

OK, I did a search already on the past articles here but I'm STILL confused.
I opened my two el cheapo 36" dual bulb flourescent shop fixtures I'm using
over my planted tank and discovered that they installed ballasts intended to
run two 48" T12 bulbs. I run T8 bulbs of various flavors.  The fixtures are 2
years old and have always run hot, presumably because the extra output not
used by the shorter bulbs is thrown off as heat????  I'd like to replace them
with electronic ballasts properly sized for T8 bulbs.  My trusty Grainger
catalog offers a plethora of choices.  How do I tell if I need Rapid Start,
Instant Start, 30 watt or 25 watt (energy saver?) bulb ballasts?  I'm
currently running Sylvania Gro-Lux lamps ($8), some remaining Tritons and/or
a warm bulb to balance color.  Apparently 36" bulbs are awkward for suppliers
here because the Vita-Lites, Ultralumes and similar bulbs are all priced as
high as the Tritons (about $20).  I have a total of four bulbs so changes
every 6 months gets pricey.  Thanks for any help.