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i have a 55 gallon tank. i want to get a light fixture and or hood. i want 2+ -3watt system i do not want to spend a bundle on it though . i currently have a total of 30 watts not enough to keep many plants alive. i saw the home made shop light article and i was intriqued by it. any one else make one? or know of any affordable options out there? no co2 low maintenance tank.

thank you
:cool: brian
 

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If asthetics are not your worry. you can go with shoplights fitted with plant frendly spectrum bulbs.
OR if you have or want to make a hood. AHSupply.com has some good quality retrofit kits that work great.
 

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there is a large sticky thread about odno. It will get the most out of a shoplight.

That said, I have one, it works amazingly well, it is by far not my first choice in lighting.

Lighting is a game of nickle and diming you to death. You could put 3 shoplights with full spectrum bulbs over your tank. Then you will want more, which means odno, then you will want more, which means better reflectors, then you will want more - which means pc. Now we have arrived at AHSupply. It is probably a lot cheeper to start there than go down the other dark path to get there.

That said, I started with LIGHT (250 watt HQI), but now I want more...
 

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ODNO is Over Driven, Normal Output.

Once upon a time, offices had 8 ft flourcent bulbs about 1.25" round. Then to conserve energy they went to 4 ft bulbs about the same length - these are known as t12's.

T12's are rated at 40 watts per bulb with magnetic ballasts.

Then T8's (about 1" round) came out. With electronic ballists they put out about 25% more light at 40 watts - and the industry bo-ed them. Seems everything was already designed arround the amount of light a t12 put out. Offices did not need 25% more light, but saving electricity was another matter. So T-8 electron ballists were programed with a standard ballist factor to burn t8's so that they had t12 light output. T8s did this at 32 watts.

As such some ballists (with a higher ballist factor) burn bulbs a little brighter than others. But you can trick a lot of electronic ballists into thinking you have a different bulb installed. By tricking them you can get them to overdrive a bulb and put out more light.

An added bonus is some bulbs become more efficient at producting light as wattage is increased. Net effect is by burning a t-8 bulb at about 45 watts they appear about twice as bright as they do at 32 watts.

Anyway, please read the ODNO sticky for real numbers and explinations.
 

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Would the shoplight work as well as the aqualight that is in a link above?
To grow plants in a 55gal tank? Not at all. The shoplight would allow you to maintain a few selected low-light plants, while the Aqualight would require a strict CO2 and fertilizer regimen, but you could probably grow many different plants.

Shoplights, especially with magnetic ballasts, T12 bulbs, and no or mediocre reflectors are not a good choice for planted tanks. They are simply too dim.

If you find one with an electronic ballast, T8's and decent reflecting shape you might have found the cheapest way to light a tank. If you use an appropriate ballast to overdrive those T8 bulbs, you are getting somewhere.
 
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