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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have a 29 gallon planted aquarium that presently has a shoplight hanging over an open top, giving me a total of 40 watts. I get decent growth, given the low light, but I would really like to accelerate growth and intensify my lighting. I just got finished designing and building my own CO2 reactor, which is working INCREDIBLE and I would really like to take advantage of it.

Here are some pics of the tank and working reactor:





Anyways, whats something cheap and powerful that I could use to boost my light power. Would clip on lights and a powerful spiral bulb help? I also was thinking about getting these small halogen accent lights that had good reflectors and were 50 watts apiece. On a college student's budget
 

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You could always overdrive the shop lights but that will only give you a slight boost.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
and how would I do that, by buying a new ballast? do they make three light ballasts because there is enough room between two of the lights to fit another T8 tube in there. Im fairly skilled at electronics so I dont think that it would be too hard to do
 

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You can buy a ballast for almost any number of tubes. I had a 3 tube ballast for my 29 gallon tank, which I ended up selling. I got mine on the internet by googling until I found a good vendor. I have to add that the 3 tube set up was not adequate. Four tubes would be much better - those T8 tubes are only 17 watts each, so 4 would be 68 watts, and if you take care making a good reflector you get to use most of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
say I didnt have time or money to build a four tube light and reflector system. Is there anything else that i could do?
 

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That tank with shoplight looks pretty good. I would recommend not going the halogen route, although it is cheap and sexy looking, they convert most of the energy into heat.

I would also suggest to overdrive your current light. If it is a two tube fixture, you have a lot of options. I would start with a 4 bulb electronic ballast from HD or Lowes.

Most straightforward OD would be to overdrive both tubes 2x. That would give you a small increase in light. If you want to go more extreme, and your current bulbs are 24" tubes, you can connect them in series so the ballast sees them as one 4' bulb, and then get some pretty extreme wattages out of them. Read the ODNO thread for details, and consider some active cooling if you go that way.

Good reflectors will always help... AH Supply sells some that you can possibly adapt for T8's, but they are pretty wide so two would not fit side by side into the existing shoplight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah i read up on it and I think I will try the overdrive. That definatly is the cheaper way to go. Also I have some clip on lights that i might be able to rig up to the back and provide some more direct spotlighting on things that I want to grow quickly. I know how to do the 2x overdrive, what do I need to do to connect them in series? I didnt even know you could do that. Also when i am overdriving the lights, how much faster are they going to burn out?
 
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