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Re: light pendants

>Since we're talking about lights ...
>Ever since I discovered The Optimum Aquarium 12 years ago, I have been
>dreaming about an open aquarium with hanging lights. But all I can find
>here in Canada are the black, ugly, street-light sized pendants from
>Hamilton(?) - a far cry from the white or cream colored, counter balanced,
>good looking lights in TOA. I found that Dennerle used to have something
>nice looking too.

If you use a high-temp enamel you should be able to a paint a pendant. 
Can't say I've tried it though...

>To my question: With an open aquarium, which pendants do you use? Are there
>any that can hold PCs? Or will I be required to go for 125 W metal halides?
>Anything nice looking out there?
>Currently, I have a 40" long tank with a semi-open wood hood and a 96W PC.
>I think I may need two or three pendants.
>Any ideas?
>Michael Eckardt

175w MH will probably be cheaper, the HQIs are more expensive generally, 
and they greatly reduce your chances of DIY success due to the more 
difficult to find parts. You can DIY MH fixtures using reflectors like the 
Spider Lite and separate ballasts and save a lot of money, but a fair 
amount of work is required if you need a finished appearance. The easiest 
way to do it would be to either use the ceiling-hung pendants or build a 
wood box and mount DIY lights underneath, and then suspend the entire box 
above the open-top tank. Drs foster/smith have some  lights that look quite 
nice, but they are also very expensive.

There are PCF pendants, but they don't have the intensity of an MH fixture. 
I haven't seen long ones that can take the 96w bulbs either, although that 
might not mean they don't exist somewhere. I think the PCF pendants are way 
overpriced too, usually listed costing the same or even more than an MH 
fixture that could be significantly more powerful.

My own lighting is all DIY, and my pendant design is an open-frame design 
using reflectors from Aquatic Lighting Systems 
(http://www.aquaticlight.com) and an aluminum frame with rollers that allow 
the fixtures to run on a cable management ladder from Homaco. The idea is 
to be able to move the lights to the side to allow tank maintenance, and 
then move them back easily when done. Aesthetics didn't matter much since 
the setup is for the basement, and you're supposed to be looking *in* the 
tank, not above it :-) The fixtures are for 175w MH bulbs, using Advance 
ballasts that I get from a local wholesaler for about $25-30/ea as a kit 
with the ignitor cab and a mounting bracket. I use a surplus ventilated 
aluminum enclosure to house the ballasts that was about $20 from Fair Radio 
Sales (http://www.fairradio.com). It's all connected together with some 
special connectors and some 105C water resistant cable that I ordered from 
one of my suppliers at work. Total cost for 3x175w MH setup is about 
$200-250 this way, excluding bulbs.

For nice looking ready-made stuff check the Drs foster/smith catalog. They 
have a lot of lighting stuff now, some of which is nice to look at. Pricing 
tends to be high though, although I think they are competitive with many 
other mail order places.
Waveform Technology
UNIX Systems Administrator