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Dimming Ballast/Snail Dip


I have some questions.  First, I want to upgrade my hood to use a 4 lamp T-8
electronic ballast.  Looking through the Grainger catalog, I see some that
are dimmable.  What do these do to the life expectancy of the bulbs/ballast,
and how do you wire a dimmer to the ballast to control it?  I have my hood on
a timer and it turns on/off by itself but I'm sure my fish don't appreciate
the flash of light in the morning.  Can you wire a device to dim on/off
automatically?  Next, I've looked through the archives and FAQ and have found
treatments to kill/reduce snails on plants.  One method is to use potassium
permangate, but the stores I go to don't carry it.  The other is to use a
dilution of bleach.  What is the ideal concentration/time to eradicate snails
and their eggs on plants before adding them to the tank?  Thanks for the