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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #388

John Lemons wrote:
> 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
If you can add 2 more that's 200 total watts, almost 3w/gallon. That's
enough to grow most anything.
> 2)  VHO ballasts, I was looking at the IceCap 660
I have no experience with these. I'm sure someone will respond that
does. That said, most home centers and lighting suppliers carry VHO. So,
they'll probably be a great deal cheaper.
> 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.
You don't have to use pendants. Aquatic Lighting Systems
<www.aquaticlight.com/mhretro.htm> sells a retro fit kit that goes
inside the hood.
> 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? 
That depends, not only am I cheap, I'm also lazy. So, the cheapest and
easiest to get is what I'd go with.
> How many watts is too much?
> How many watts is too little?
Depends on what you want to grow, but 2-3 watts per gallon should do it.
> How will the sudden introduction every morning of xxx watts effect the fish?
> Should I consider a dimmer?
Don't use a dimmer, instead put each fixture on a separate timer with 15
min. between start times.
> Where is the best place (read CHEAP) to purchase the equipment?
Any place that doesn't have anything to do with aquariums. Try local
home centers and lighting suppliers.
> How should I evaluate efficiency, and how does this effect the plants?
Not sure what you mean, but intensity and color temperature of the bulbs
is what will affect the plants. You want bright lights with a mix of
color temperatures, between 3500 and 6500k.
> Is an electronic ballast really worth the extra cost?
From what I've heard, bulbs will last longer.
> How can I justify it to my wife?  :)
Oh Bob, Bob Ashcraft. Could you tell this gentleman how you explained
the new MH's to the wife.