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which would you guys choose for a 80 watt bulb? I have a 5'9" tank I am going to need to light up. I plan on doing two bulbs at first until I can get CO2 set up on the tank. After I get CO2 Ill upgrade to 4 lamps above it. I've heard good things about the Ice cap ballasts (660 model), are there any other cheaper alternatives to run 320 watts of lighting? Its a 130 gallon tank. Also where is a good place to get reflectors? Has anyone tried making their own? I have access to metal shears/breaks.

Thanks in advance



http://www.aquabuys.com/page/aqb/PROD/ss_80w-t5-tek-retro

Or would you guys just buy something like this to save the headache?
 

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I think I would go for the retrofit kit rather than try to make reflectors, which would very likely be significantly inferior. Two of those kits should be enough for most plants, if not all plants, but they should be separated by at least 6 inches so you get good uniform light at the substrate.
 

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Ice Cap Ballasts overdrive bulbs not sure on the 80 watters but the 54 watt bulbs get overdriven to about 85 watts so that would really drive out some light. I would use the Work Horse ballasts and I wouldnt make my own reflectors for the reason Hoppy said.
 

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My tank is a 110g tank {60x18x24} I have 3 ballasts {2 banks each} 6 t5 54w in my canopy.

Reef Geek is where I order my retro fit, I went with the SunLight Supply Tec 2
and never had any problems with my set-up, Ice Cap are the best they do overdrive the lights .

Each kit comes with : { T5 high-output fluorescent retrofit kit complete with Sunlight Supply Tek 2 individual parabolic reflectors for each bulb made from 96% reflective German-made aluminum, Universal AccuStart Triad electronic ballast with color-coded wire bundle with quick disconnect, power-cord, moisture proof end-caps, standoffs and choice of bulbs from any of our current selection of high-quality lamps. Kit sold complete except for mounting screws. Some assembly required. Ballast engineered specifically to run T5 high-output bulbs for optimal performance and longer lamp life. (Don't settle for inferior T5 electronic ballasts, like the Workhorse, that are commonly sold with other T5 retrofit kits.) Runs cool and produces virtually no noise. Warranty: 1 year. }

http://www.reefgeek.com/lighting/T5_Fluorescent/Sunlight_Supply/Tek_2_Retrofit_Kits/

And they do offer 80w t5 kit.
 

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I have tried the Triad Ballasts and have not been happy with them and have been useing the work horse for 5 years and they are still going strong but this is just my experience with them.
 

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Workhorse is a decent ballast. If you want something a little fancier -- something that is supposed to be easier on the bulb, I recommend Sylvania 49161 (QTP 4X 54T5HO) or its equivalent (e.g., an Advance ballast). Watch the prices though -- the 49161 used to go for ~50 on diyreef, but they're no more.

As for reflectors, rather than bend your own you could just paint the inside of your hood white if you're really trying to economize. It isn't great, but it's a lot better than nothing. Otherwise buy em, but watch out on shipping costs. I've had good luck at aquacave.

The real opportunity to save vs. the kits is in the end caps. All these kits include waterproof end caps which are overkill, in my opinion. Almost none of the commercial fixtures use waterpoof/resistant caps, so why should you? Something like this: T5 socket. In both the case of the sockets and the ballast, I highly recommend calling your local commercial lighting suppliers to see if you can find a deal.
 

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I would only use those tomb stone style endcaps if I was useing glass tops if I wasnt useing glass tops I would make sure to use the waterproof endcaps but thats JMO.
 

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Will this lighting be on a FW Planted tank or a SW Reef tank???? I ask because in the pic it looks like I see a soho tang.
 
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