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Re: First off...

AVukich at aol_com sez:
>      I have fallen heir to the typical flourescent light that comes with a 
> 20
>  gallon tank...the bulb is a whopping 15 watts...I guess I should be happy
> ll
>  at least be able to see the fish...I'd like to get some feedback on what
>  everyone feels is the way to go to up the amount of light utilizing the
>  existing hood and light assembly...while I'm aware some might say to
> a
>  shop light over the tank I'm leaning towards utilizing the existing unit
>  nothing other than aesthetics....I really don't know at this point whether 
> or
>  not theres a cost effective way to obtain something in the neighborhood of
>  watts to the gallon.....can one purchase a high output ballast for that
>  of a hood and not be concerned about having to air cool it in some
>  fashion....any and all feedback will be greatly appreciated....I'd really 
> like
>  to know my options on this subject before I make a decision

There are two different sizes of 20 gallon tanks.  20H and 20L, and they take
different length light strips.  I would guess that you have a 20H, otherwise
it should have a 20 watt light rather than 15W.

I have a 20H, (which is 24" long) with a glass top and a light strip that sits
on top in the back.  I replaced the 15W strip light with a 40W "F40/30BX
SPX41" fluorescent light a few months ago, and I made a temporary reflector
for it with a piece of 4" PVC thin-wall sewer pipe that I split in half
lengthwise and lined with aluminum foil.  It looks better than I expected, so
I have not been in any hurry to build a more aesthetic reflector. The ballast
just sits on a shelf out of the way behind the aquarium.   I am using a
ballast with a really high ballast factor (1.10), so it is kind of like having
45W or more light.  These are really efficient lamps; my jungle val is reddish
in color from the high light, and before I took it all out the hornwort was
bronze colored and growing like a weed. 

There are 50W lamps that are the same size *and* produce more light per watt,
but they take a different ballast.  When this lamp burns out (it is rated for
20000 hours of use) I will definately replace it with a 5000K lamp instead of
4100K, cuz it is acceptably white but slightly yellower than I would like.

best regards,