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Old 06-22-2003, 10:38 PM   #1
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Fixture

The flourescent fixtures at http://www.indoorsun.com/Pages/fluorescent.html or most any hardware store seem much cheaper than the fixtures you would find made for aquariums. They seem like the same thing although there is a significant price difference, there must be some difference between products?
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Old 06-22-2003, 11:28 PM   #2
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hrmm, that one they have pictures looks like a shoplight

24 and 36" shop lights are harder to find, so that store might be a valuable source for those, if one is to go the shop light route

the prices on their MH systems seem to be about the same as the low-end aquarium models
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Old 06-23-2003, 12:24 PM   #3
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I have a two bulb shop light fluorescent fixture sitting in my basement, I am thinking about making my own hood if I decide for my 55 gallon to be fresh. What is the difference between the shop light fixtures and the fixtures you would find at a place such as hellolights.com, or marinedepot.com?
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Old 06-23-2003, 02:40 PM   #4
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well, asthetics aside, shoplights use cheap ballasts ... either magnetic which are decently efficient (in terms of energy usage, not light output), or low-end electronic which are inefficient in light output and enery usage ... and usually the have a hum to them as well

hellolights, ahsupply and other use high-quality electronic ballasts, which operate at a very high frequency (eliminates hum and makes the bulbs brighter) and are very efficient in terms of energy usage and light output

you could use the shoplight as a bulb holder (gets you the sockets, wire, chassis, etc), and then wire in your own ballast, which will get you more light, less noise and some energy savings.

ge and sylvania both make fairly efficient and realitively inexpensive electronic ballasts that you can get at HD or Lowes, but those ballasts still don't match the output of something like an IceCap or Workhorse
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Old 06-23-2003, 03:08 PM   #5
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What is the difference between the shop light fixtures and the fixtures you would find at a place such as hellolights.com, or marinedepot.com?
The shoplights are not made for wet area usage. They don't have near the wattage the others do. They are not made to be mounted inside a canopy, rather just hung from the ceiling. The reflector on a shoplight is nowhere near as efficient as the ones designed for tanks.

Having said all that, I use shoplights over 2 tanks I have in my basement, where they don't have to live up to my wife's decorating standards. The tanks are open top, with the lights hung on chains from the ceiling. I grow low-medium light plants in one of these tanks, no problem. In the long run, I suspect the ends, where the bulbs snap in, to rust or corrode, but not a problem yet. I inspect them regularly, no interest in starting an electrical fire.
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Old 06-23-2003, 03:36 PM   #6
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ah, good point about the corrosion ... I have noticed a calcium salt build-up on the reflectors of the shop-lights I'm using over my goldfish storage tank, but haven't noticed any problems with the sockets. It looks like they are brass clips inside the plastic shell, which should hold up to moisture well

also, the ballast is rated type 1 or 2 outdoor (whatever that means), so I'm sure it can handle a bit of moisture

if I'm still using these shoplights long enough for the steel to start rusting through the paint, then shame on me for using them so long
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