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Old 01-02-2005, 05:36 PM   #1
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Lighting- Ideas on fixing a 55g "walmart special"?

I just switched my tank over to sand/driftwood/live plants this week, and my next project is making sure my lighting isn't total crap. I have a 55g (4' long, 1' wide) "Walmart Special" tank. Yeh, i know they aren't great, but I've had it for like 3 years now and it was given to me. Anywas, Im not sure if youre familiar with the way they are set up, but they have 2 lighted hoods that measure 23" in length each, with a small divider running between them. They are stocked with an 18" 15w bulb each. So, in other words, not NEAR enough light.

What, in your mind, is the cheapest and easiest way to go about changing things up so that I can get 100+ watts into my tank? I looked at several aquarium supply sites, but the main problem is, none of those retro-fits or bulbs seem to fit the setup I've got. I KNOW someone out there has to have had this problem before, because Im sure Walmart sells thousands of the 55g kits a year. Would I be able to find 18" 55w bulbs to put in my hoods? Or would i have to buy whole new hoods? Or what?

Any help is greatly appreciated!
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Old 01-02-2005, 05:43 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA!

I don't know if you've seen these:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...&N=2004+113030

I guess it all depends on whether you have a two/four pin setup.
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Old 01-02-2005, 05:48 PM   #3
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I have the 2pin, which seems to be one of the big problems
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Old 01-02-2005, 05:56 PM   #4
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It's possible that one of our members who have dabbled in this will offer you some help. It may turn into a DIY project (which is sometimes fun). The link I provided has a number of other set-ups including conversion kits (which run some $$$). Check it out in the meantime.
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Old 01-02-2005, 07:06 PM   #5
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i think i have the same tank.. its like an aqua-tech sort of brand thing or whatever? i was thinking about just getting two 24" CF fixtures

http://www.hellolights.com/241xcofraq1x.html <-- like that
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Old 01-02-2005, 11:29 PM   #6
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I second thanew's suggestion. You might be able to retrofit your existing hoods with DIY compact fluorescent, but I think saving a couple bucks is not worth the work and risk. That looks like a good price too (depending on shipping).
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Old 01-03-2005, 01:29 PM   #7
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I have the same setup and I added a Current-USA Satellite 48" (2 x 65watt):

http://www.thatpetplace.com/Products.../Itemdy00.aspx

or

http://petsolutions.com/product.asp?pn=42901003

I personally didn't want to mess with building it myself, so I just bought the cheapest highest wattage light I could find. I think it was actually cheaper than retro fitting my old hood (same as yours) and then buying the CF bulbs on top of that. Those bulbs are expensive (relative to standard flourescent).

Unfortunately, I did decide to replace the bulbs that came with it (10k + actinic). It made my tank have a blue hue to it and the actinic is not really useful in fw. I ended up replacing them with 6700k bulbs.
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Old 01-03-2005, 08:32 PM   #8
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A 48 inch compact flourescent is the way to go but not cheap. You can get glass for the top of your tank and pick up a twin 48 inch shoplight to set on top. This will give you 80 watts for less than $40.00
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Old 01-04-2005, 11:03 PM   #9
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If you are looking for the cheapest possible:

http://www.aquatraders.com/aquatrade...products_id=77

I haven't ordered from them, but I've stared at this page 20 times now. I think the wife would shoot me for buying more for the tank. You would probably want to switch to 6700K bulbs instead but it still seems cheaper to me. I may just stare at it one more time before bed.
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Old 01-05-2005, 07:31 AM   #10
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I agree with BassnMan. I originally picked up a single light strip for my 75 gal, cost 100$ plus a new bulb.. I added a double strip from homedepot, attached 2 4' 1x4"s to the sides to elevate it and put it over the tank, 200% + light for about 60$ cdn (t8 fixture with electronic ballast), much cheaper and the height off the tank seems to add more light.

I vote for glass top and a shop type light.. or use oak to dress up a double strip and it will look nice aswell
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