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Old 10-09-2003, 02:05 PM   #1
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Lighting question

I have a new 55 gal tank. Last weekend father inlaw and I built a stand. He is using the left over birch to make a canopy for me. I'm thinking it is going to be 49 inches long, 6 tall, and 13 wide. Would it work to pick up 2, 2 tube shop lights from walmart, or home depot. and mount inside the canopy. This would give me 4 48 inch tubes. Would this be enough to grow some plants? nothing too exotic.

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Old 10-09-2003, 04:07 PM   #2
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4 standard 48inch tubes total 160 watts. That is about 2.9 watts a gal in your 55. So yes that is a fair bit of light maybe even enough to require CO2 injection. Search for the DIY CO2 injector thread

Unless you use the 32 watt economy tubes then you get about 2.32 watts a gal, still quite good.

I am asuming standard 48inch t12's, t8's seem to give more light per watt.

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Old 10-14-2003, 09:40 AM   #3
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lookin at my 30, which is similar in width to your 55 (13 inches), I would not be able to fit a pair of shoplights on top of it, without removing the HOB filters from the back.

as a solution for this, I took a single shop light and rewired it to be 'overdriven'... so each tube is receiving approximately 64 watts from an electronic 128 watt ballast.

also, this is a high efficiency electronic, so it is good at converting energy into light... most of your 'bargin priced' shop lights contain either a basic magnetic or inefficient electronic ballast; up to 50% of the energy they draw is wasted... the wattage may read 160 watts on a pair of shoplights, but you'll hardly see that as output.

your best bet would be to buy some of those $5 shop lights if you see them anywhere, along with an electronic ballast from GE or Sylvania. saving the sockets and wiring from the shop lights, discard the fixture itself and build the sockets directly into your canopy wiring them up to a single or a pair of electronic ballasts.
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light, lighting

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