One of the options I am considering t oget a bit more light for my tank on the cheap is to use two undercabinet light fixtures in a wooden box that I would place over a glass topped aquarium. I would paint the inside of the box gloss white. While I realize that this will perform with sub-optimal efficiency it would still be better than the single tube I have now (the one that came with the hood). The two fixtures will cost as much as an electronic ballast at HD but I would not have to do any wiring or buy endcaps or cords. Has anyone had any success with this method? Are there any safety concerns as the undercabinet lights were not designed to operate over an aquarium. Would the Perfecto dual lamp strip seen at this link be any good?
I made a wooden box to set on top of my tank. The top of it opened up with a hinge and small chain to keep it from going to far and would hold it open. The light fixtures where secured to the bottom of the top. The problem I had was heat. This is easy to fix but the box was to big and looked wrong. And it was a pain doing maintenance etc.
Before I would use those undercounter lights I think I would look into using the spiral screw-in CF bulbs. It isn't hard to make a simple canopy - look at AH Supply website http://www.ahsupply.com/diy.htm for one example. Then attach cheap bulb sockets in the canopy and screw in the highest wattage spiral bulbs you can get. It won't be efficient, but it will supply a lot of light.
I also recommend AH Supply. I have the AH Supply dual 96w 36" Compact Fluorescent kit. I had a single 96w 36" before, but have found I needed the dual to get to the 3w/gal rule of thumb. Their stuff is reall good and not as expensive as you would think.