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Cheap lights and dirt

  I found a "Lights of America" shop light today for under $7 US on sale
today.  It measured less than 7 inches across, and when I got it home, I bent
the outer lips in to 6 inches.  It fits nicely over my 55 gal.  If I had a 75
gal, I could get two of them on it easily.  

1)  I got curious about why it was so lightweight.  I went looking for the
ballast, and what I found was a little white thing about 2 inches square and a
half inch thick in the circuit where the ballast should be.  Is this one of
those electronic deals I keep hearing about?

2) The box said it was compatible with all 48 inch T-12 bulbs, including 25,
34, and 40 watt.  Will it run enhanced output 40 watt bulbs like the Triton?
And is there something significantly different about T-8 bulbs that would
cause trouble with this thing?

3) I know that a standard 40-watt bulb has between 31oo and 3200 lumens (or is
it lux? I can't ever keep these things straight).  Is there a way to find out
the actual rating for fancy bulbs that they sell at the the LFS and places
like Pet Warehouse?  Andwhat about those bulbs rated for 8100 Kelvin and even
10,000 kelvin?  Do higher color temps imply more PAR?  Or is the 6820 Kelvin
of "sunlight" bulbs actually better? 

I've also been thinking about this "clay" thing.

4)  has anyone tried the stuff that they make into ceramic, stoneware and
porcelain?  Is it too messy?  I'd be willing to bet it has a fairly high
mineral content.

5) Where can I find this agrilite?  If it is similar to laterite, but way
cheaper, I'd like to soak it in a bare tank and see what happens to my water
after a couple of weeks.

Bob Dixon