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Old 07-24-2005, 03:12 PM   #1
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Home depot shop lights

I have just finished assembling a 48 x 18 x 20 deep aquarium, approx 80-90 gallons. I am now in need of somw lighting for it and was wanting to build something ( mainly becasue I have built the whole thing so far and cost) I was wondering if you could use those 48" 2 bulb set ups from Home depot. The ones that cost around 20$ each and have 2 standard flourescent tubes in them. I am going to have Cichlids in this tank with no live plants. so I don;t need them to grow anything, just light the tank.

Any thoughts, or is there something else I can use that is inexpensive yet still pratical.
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Old 07-24-2005, 05:23 PM   #2
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Shop lights will work fine for your purposes and you can get them for as little as $7 :P
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Old 07-24-2005, 06:15 PM   #3
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the shop lights at most will generate about 80watts of total light, after you set up the lighting, you might find it too dimm for your tastes. luckly home depot has a nice return policy. i would suggest you get the 7dollar shop light (un-modied), try it out and see if you like it then modify it, if you need too.

you probably already know this, but you shouldn't run the unit over open water, make sure there is something blocking off the tank from the light.
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Old 07-26-2005, 11:01 AM   #4
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How can you modify it to gain more light, is this where you use 2 ballasts and run the lights in parralel, can it be done with standard shop lights?
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Old 07-26-2005, 11:41 AM   #5
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modifying the lights, is commonly called over driving, where you use a ballast that was intended to power 4 bulbs, and wire it so it only powers 2, the extra voltage/current is sent through the 2 bulbs and they generate more light as a result. do a search on the forum for over driving there has been at least 2 threads that went into good depth about the process.

however it can't be done with a 7 dollar shop light, you need to use a ballast (or fixture) that powers 4 bulbs and that is usually 4 bulbs @ 32watts per bulb, and those ballasts usually run 25-35 bucks, if i remember correctly.
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Old 07-26-2005, 02:20 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by JProx
modifying the lights, is commonly called over driving, where you use a ballast that was intended to power 4 bulbs, and wire it so it only powers 2, the extra voltage/current is sent through the 2 bulbs and they generate more light as a result. do a search on the forum for over driving there has been at least 2 threads that went into good depth about the process.

however it can't be done with a 7 dollar shop light, you need to use a ballast (or fixture) that powers 4 bulbs and that is usually 4 bulbs @ 32watts per bulb, and those ballasts usually run 25-35 bucks, if i remember correctly.
what about buying two shop lights and pulling the ballast from one and adding it to the other?
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Old 07-26-2005, 03:24 PM   #7
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oooh you got me, i totally overlooked that. he said modifying and i instantly thought he meant OD'ing, i am glad i have you watching my back billy.
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Old 07-26-2005, 03:49 PM   #8
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hmm, i was also thinking about this type of thing, but do you hang it up off of the ceiling? because the ones i saw had like open bottoms, and the lights like are lower than the reflecter thingy
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Old 07-26-2005, 05:15 PM   #9
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oooh you got me, i totally overlooked that. he said modifying and i instantly thought he meant OD'ing, i am glad i have you watching my back billy.
Actually I was thinking along the lines of overdriving to.

The typical shop light is a two bulb unit. If he bought two, rewired the existing ballast in one to drive a single bulb, and took the ballast from another and wired it to drive the other bulb in the first unit, he would have an OD two bulb unit...

think it would work?

More importantly, would it be worth the effort?
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Old 07-26-2005, 06:02 PM   #10
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short answer is yes, you can do that, there is always a risk of explosion when the switch is first flipped, but i would tend to think wiring up a 2-bulb ballast to power 1 bulb would be do-able, and mostly a safe endevor. however the ballast in those cheap-o 7 dollar fixtures, are usually magnetic ballasts, and for OD'ing you can't use them as you probably already know. i bought a 7 fixture from walmart a few months ago to replace a dead unit in my laundry room, and sure enough it had a magnetic ballast, but it gets the job done in the laundry room, but it won't work for od'ing.

well od'ing is always worth it, however in this instance its fundamentally flawed. instead of spending 14 bucks (2fixtures) you are going to have to spend 30bucks, plus misc expenses, endcaps, reflector, housing of some kind, etc. but at the end of the day 120 - 160watts of light, isn't to shabby for 30 - 35 bucks either.
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