Re: What lights to buy?

>I'm about to upgrade the lighting on my 29 gal. tank and would appreciate some
>I am under the impression
>that a 5000K fluorescent bulb is a 5000K fluorescent bulb; is that correct? (
>at least to a first approximation.)

Yes, partly. Lamps also differ by lumen output (amount of light), spectrum,
and CRI. CRI (color rendering ndex) affects how your fish and plants will
look under the lamps--100% is accurate rendering of colors. Folks here have
said red and blue spikes in the spectrum are good for plants but that lumen
output is far more important.

>Now for the ballast. I've found an electronic ballast which will run 2 40w
>tubes. The guy said I could put the shorter, 20w tubes on it with no problem.
>Is he right? (You notice I trust the APD posters more than the salesman!) Is
>it likely to work to run two tubes? or do I need to find one specifically for
>my bulbs? What other questions should I ask? This ballast is $28.

Sure it'll handle lower wattage lamps. It's higher wattage you have to be
careful about.

Other questions: Is the ballast for T12 lamps? (It's important to match
ballast to lamp for lumen output and lamp life.) Is it a rapid start
ballast? (Instant starts shorten lamp life.) Is it a parallel ballast? (So
that one lamp can keep burning if another burns out or is removed.)

>I also need endcaps and starters but I'm less worried about them as they seem
>to be easier to match up once I have the tubes and ballast. Or are there
>components I've forgotten?

Endcaps you can get at any hardware store but if you're putting the lamps
in existing fixtures, you can use the old sockets. You should not need a
starter for rapid start electronic setup. Starters are old/obsolete
technology. If you're talking about a switch, you can get one at a hardware
store. I plug my lights into a timer that's in turn plugged into a surge
protected power strip. The timer switches the lights on and off.

Greg. Tong
San Francisco, CA, USA
gtong at sirius_com

"Every infinity is composed of only two halves."