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Fluorescent lighting problem

I have a 55gal aquarium setup using 4 48" T12 fluorescent tubes.  There are
2 Tritons and 2 PennPlax Ultra Tri Lux.  I am using two "standard" rapid
start ballasts from Advance Transformer rated for 2, 40watt 48" T12 tubes.
Recently the lights have begun having a problem starting.  I can move all of
the tubes to a "cheapie" fixture in the garage and they start fine.  I can
move the "cheapie" tubes in the garage, to the tank, and they start fine.  I
finally mixed 1 Triton with 1 cheapie tube, and they also start fine in the

Do Tritons and other lights become harder to start as they get older?
Has anyone else experienced this problem? And if so,  how did you resolve
What would be the suggested ballasts for my situation.  (maybe the cheapie
ballasts from the garage?)

I'm not sure this has anything to do with anything, but....My lights are
mounted in my hood with plastic clips screwed directly to the Oak lid and
there are no metal reflectors used.  I have simply painted the inside of the
lid with a VERY white paint to act as a reflector.  The ballasts are mounted
in the cabinet below the tank and are grounded, but nothing is grounded in
the hood.

Sam Dotson
sdotson at firstam_com <mailto:sdotson at firstam_com>