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I'm setting up my first planted tank and I'm curious about the installation of my ballasts, their placement and cooling issues I might have.
Wiring the ballast up in the hood didn't seem like a good idea because it's cramped enough the way it is. On top of that I might have too much lighting for my tank. I took some pics but it's kind of hard to really see the ballasts but I would like to hear suggestions/projections on my installation.
The tank is 60g 24" deep. I have 2-55W kits from AH supply. I have noticed a decent amount of heat being put off by the lights and the ballasts but it's not so hot that I can't touch it but I haven't run the lights for 8hrs either.


Right side ballast directly above the XP3 filter, mounted to the top back area inside the cabinet. All the wires are taped up to this ballast, will that make it run hotter?


Left ballast- wires aren't taped to it. From the little amount of time I have run the lights they seem to be about the same temperature.

I've got a handful of computer fans that I can wire up to help cool all this stuff if it's necessary.

Here's a shot of the hood- kinda hard to get it all in perspective.




here is a shot of the front-

The wires in the middle run from the ballasts to the lights. I'm going to run them inside a 1.5" piece of pvc pipe as well as the hoses on each side of the tank so it just looks like 3 vertical posts running up to the hood instead of wires and tubes.

Any input is appreciated
Adam
 

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Most ballasts recommend no more than 165-185°F at the hottest spot on the case. A non-contact IR thermometer will tell you exactly, but if you can keep your finger on the hottest spot for more than 5 seconds, you're well below that. To put that in perspective, you can't do the same with the hottest water out of your tap, which is typically at 125-130°F.

Running it even cooler is good, and may extend the life slightly; but nothing to obsess about.

If you wanted, you could replace the tape with zip ties or string. Also, wood doesn't dissipate heat well. In my fixture, I glued on two 1"x1"x0.5" wooden shims, then screwed my ballast into those. With the back of the ballast no longer pressed up against the wood, air can circulate behind it and keep it cooler.
 
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