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Old 12-27-2011, 05:17 PM   #1
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need help with upgrading to better lights

I'm not quite sure how to phrase this question. Here's my scenario.

I've been told I have low light. I want to upgrade my lights so that plants would do well in my tanks.

I'm unfamiliar with all the terminology, so please bear with me. You know how table lamps might have a sticker that says "do not put bulb over 75 watt in this fixture"? Do tank lights have something like that?

I need to know what to look for on my tank light fixture that will show me how high I can go in wattage.

And..... is wattage what I'm interested in when looking to upgrade?

Please help..... I'm so lost when it comes to this, it's pretty pathetic..... I need lots of help and maybe even a pina colada or two......
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Old 12-27-2011, 05:23 PM   #2
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You can only use the lamp that is intended for the fixture you have. If you want more light you will need to purchase a new fixture.
the ballast that's in your fixture will only support a certain lamp. House lamps have no ballast. They have a wire straight to the bulb. that's why multiple wattage bulbs will work.
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Old 12-27-2011, 08:27 PM   #3
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Thanks, that helps a lot.

Can you buy a new fixture for an existing hood? Or is the fixture itself entirely removable....

It amazes me how little I know about this topic.....can't wait for the learning curve to shrink.
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Old 12-27-2011, 08:31 PM   #4
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When you upgrade lighting, you don't use a hood. Here's a pic of one of my tanks so you can visualize how a T5HO fixture would look, assuming it's one with legs, not hung -

Front View -



Kinda-sorta top down view -

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Old 12-28-2011, 04:51 AM   #5
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I really like the look of those lights, I've seen them at one of our lfs.

So, that would be one option, right? Do I still have the option of upgrading a light fixture within my existing hood? Can I change the ballast out, in other words?
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Old 12-28-2011, 05:15 AM   #6
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Hey Lynda. Yes they make what you are talking about, they are called retrofit kits, although it seems like they usually cost around the same as an entire new fixture would.

Try ahsupply.com for power compact retrofit kits, I'm not sure about where you can t5ho's at but I do know they are available.

4ft tanks are great because the 48" t5ho fixtures are readily available and relatively cheap depending on what you are looking for. I got a 3x54w 4ft t5ho fixture with moonlight led's and a digital timer off of ebay for pretty cheap (i forget how much). I think the basic oddysea 2x54w fixtures are about $65 shipped as well.

Sometimes a LFS might have a good price on a fixture, there are a ton of different brands and all of the ones i've seen so far are pretty decent.
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