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45 Gallon plant tank

Greg D Pillar <pill0020 at tc_umn.edu> wonders how to light a 45 gal with
dimensions 36"X12",X24" deep.

The 24" deep, is that from front to back, or like the water depth?  I assume
that it is the depth of the water.
Are you handy?  If you are I would suggest building your own hood using 4
36" florescent tubes.  Depending on the hood style and based on the fact
that 36" tubes are only 35" (of course you still need endcaps which take up
space) you should be able to fit the 36"ers.  This gives you 2 and 2/3 watts
per gallon, which is a bit low for a tank that is 24" deep, but this should
be enough for most plants, and short of bumping up to a MH system this is
the best you can do.  There are always compact bulbs, but I know nothing
about them, so I can't advise about these bulbs.  They may be an alternative