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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #387

I am new to aquatic plants, but I'm enjoying it emensly...  My current planted
tank is a 70 gal tank with 3 40watt Triton bulbs.  I am considering upgrading the
lighting system and would like some advice, since the whole thing seems comfusing
to me...  I see 3 options: (correct me if I'm wrong)

1)  More bulbs
    I only have room for 1 or maybe 2 more bulbs on my current setup
2)  VHO ballasts
    I was looking at the IceCap 660
3)  Metal Halide
    I don't think this option will work for me due to the location of the tank
and the
    lack of ability to hang a fixture above the tank.

With those three options, I am leaning toward the VHO since I could use my
present bulbs, and add VHO bulbs over time.  It also allows me a maximum or 440
watts of light.  Here are some of my questions:

Which option would you choose and why?
How many watts is too much?
How many watts is too little?
How will the sudden introduction every morning of xxx watts effect the fish?
Should I consider a dimmer?
Where is the best place (read CHEAP) to purchase the equipment?
How should I evaluate efficiency, and how does this effect the plants?
Is an electronic ballast really worth the extra cost?
How can I justify it to my wife?  :)