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Re:A few beginner questions

Rick wrote;
>1) Lighting?? I haven't seen the use of halogen lighting
>addressed. A visit to Home Depot revealed that one can buy
>a low voltage halogen lighting setup that could be adapted
>for aquarium use (lawn lights) relatively cheaply. Power 
>supplies are available with built in timers, and it's 
>possible to add lighting in 20 watt increments up to the
> max that the supply is rated for (some go to 300 watts).
>Is there a downside to halogen lighting? What am I missing?

If you check the APD archives you will find the use of halogen lamps
has been addressed many times.  What you are missing is that halogen
lamps are very inefficient with more than 90% of the energy ending up
as heat.  In the long run fluorescent lamps are cheaper. For instance
you might use 160W fluorescents on a 55G but need 500W of halogens to
get the same amount of light.  Assuming your lights are on 12hrs/day
and you pay $.08/KWH the halogens will cost you about $120/yr more to
run.  You can build a very nice hood with electronic ballasts for much
less than  $120.  
Jim Spencer
Sayre, PA

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