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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently picked up a 90 Gallon Long (6') AGA tank from craigslist and I've started planning a hood and lighting for it. Originally, I was going to stagger 4' bulbs to try and get as much lighting as possible without either end of the tank being too dim, and ODing each pair of bulbs by using a 4xF32t8 ballast. Then I stumbled across the thread describing how you can run flourescents in series, and it got me thinking. I could either run 2 36" (F25t8) bulbs, or a 4' (F32t8) and a 2' (F18t8) bulb side by side in each row to give me the length I desire. Considering local availability of bulbs (not many choices in 3'), I'd probably go with the 4 and 2 setup.

How well do you think a 4xf32t8 ballast would do if I used 2 rows (4 bulbs totalling 144" or 12') of lighting?

If you do not agree with my idea, what do you suggest that won't break the bank?

I'd probably upgrade to 4 rows of lighting eventually, but I just need something to get me started instead of the stupid 4' shop light i'm using right now.
 

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I wouldn't go with F18s. Choices are not good and really not worth the cost. The same $ will purchase better quality F32 bulbs.

Overlap 48 inch T8s and over drive them as you planned. If the middle of the tank should be too bright, paint a foot or so of one or two tubes to block it. I doubt 4 over driven T8s will be too bright though. I've had four on my 48" 70 gallon and thought that was quite nice. You might want to leave some room for another pair or two pair in the future.
BUT...
If you have to purchase ballasts, consider starting with a two tube T5 HO setup and adding more later. The next addition would be reflectors that clip on each bulb. Then possibly more tubes later.
 

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Why not use T5 bulbs? They are much brighter, more efficient, and there are some excellent reflectors available. Initial costs are a bit more (if you were planning for the cheapest T8's), but assuming the same light level, you will use less watts, so over time you'll save.

With two of those ballasts you can drive 4 bulbs up to ~50W each which should be enough to grow most plants. You could run them in NO configuration first (one lead to each bulb) and then later when things have filled in wire it to OD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I wouldn't go with F18s. Choices are not good and really not worth the cost. The same $ will purchase better quality F32 bulbs.

Overlap 48 inch T8s and over drive them as you planned. If the middle of the tank should be too bright, paint a foot or so of one or two tubes to block it. I doubt 4 over driven T8s will be too bright though. I've had four on my 48" 70 gallon and thought that was quite nice. You might want to leave some room for another pair or two pair in the future.
BUT...
If you have to purchase ballasts, consider starting with a two tube T5 HO setup and adding more later. The next addition would be reflectors that clip on each bulb. Then possibly more tubes later.
I wasn't concerned with the middle being too bright, but instead the ends being too dim. I've never seen a staggered setup in person, but my OCD was telling me that it would look weird.
Why not use T5 bulbs? They are much brighter, more efficient, and there are some excellent reflectors available. Initial costs are a bit more (if you were planning for the cheapest T8's), but assuming the same light level, you will use less watts, so over time you'll save.

With two of those ballasts you can drive 4 bulbs up to ~50W each which should be enough to grow most plants. You could run them in NO configuration first (one lead to each bulb) and then later when things have filled in wire it to OD.
I'd rather not use T5s because I'm trying to keep this project as cheap and simple as possible for the time being. Local availability and price point pretty much killed the idea of T5s for me. For around $50, four 48" ODNO T8s which should limp me along until I can get a house and kick this hobby into overdrive.
 
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