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> You hit it right on Anthony. I also use shop lights with great success. My
> tank has been up for 1 and a half years and Ive just had to replace one of the
> shoplights. Not bad for 9.99
On the other hand...
'bout a year and a half ago I built a 4-foot, 4-tube light hood with
external hybrid electronic ballasts and internal shielding. The hood
weighs maybe 5 pounds, cost me about $70.00 all told and gave me an
attractive and effective fixture. This design and the instructions for
building it are at the Krib.
With the left-over materials, 5 feet of 5-conductor wire, two preheat
ballasts and two starter sockets I built a similarly-designed, 36-inch,
two-tube hood; total additional cost about $25, and it could have cost
Now with the same left over materials, inexpensive ballasts and starter
sockets I'm building two two-tube hoods for 10 gallon tanks. I could use
old parts and build them at no cost, but I'm going to buy new parts and
When that's done I'll have enough materials left over for a two-tube hood
for a twenty gallon tank.
And I've had hours of entertainment building them and explaining to
impressed visitors just how I did it :)
Shop lights make some sense where your willing to sacrifice appearance,
performance and long-term costs in favor of low up-front costs. The
36-inch tank that I built the second hood for and the two ten gallon tanks
that I'm now building hoods for used strip lights in makeshift covers,
wired together and sitting on top the tanks. Simple, effective and
inexpensive, but also heavy, inefficient, ugly, cumbersome and a little
dangerous. Now with the time and available materials I can replace them
with better long-term solutions.
The hoods built from good material and equipment have been worth the
rather small incremental cost.