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Old 07-13-2009, 10:23 AM   #1
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Noob with light confusion...

Good morning everyone! I have a 20gal tall FW aquarium that's cycling right now. I got it used, and it came with a 24" All-Glass light hood. I thought the bulb was bad, but it turns out it's the ballast. Takes about a minute to start up most of the time.

I was going to pick up a new ballast, but after thinking about it, I might just go with a nicer light. I was thinking about an Odyssea, but I've heard some folks having problems with them. Any other choices? I don't want to clean out the wallet on a new light, but I'm willing to spend some cash to get something nice.

I don't know squat about lighting, so I don't know what I need to be looking at. Right now I have fake plants, but might go planted at some point. Planning on getting a few Ram Cichlids, and maybe a Dwarf Gourami, and a few Cory Cats. Thanks in advance for the advice!
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Old 07-13-2009, 01:46 PM   #2
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If you want to go planted, it is better for you to upgrade the light rather than fixing the existing one.

You can get a retrofit kit for reasonable $ here:
36 or 55 watt Bright Kits

The 35W PC would be a good start for you. <If you want to go high tech planted, get the 55W, but beware of algae & other problems if you are not planted, has no CO2, etc.> People has good things to say about the AH kits. Stay away from the Odyssea ... cheap lights that lots of people have problems with.

Another option is the newer T5-HO retrofit kits. They give better light & has other advantages, but generally costs 2x the PC's.

BTW - head over to the FW planted forum & read up on the stickies on lights & other topics of a planted tank. That should help you in deciding what direction to go.
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:07 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply jsoong. I highly doubt I'll go planted with this tank - I have enough on my hands without having to worry about keeping plants alive! I just mentioned it in case there was a light that was good for both in case I lose my sanity and want to tackle live plants.

I've heard the Odysseas have improved in quality. Really like the look of those, but would rather my house not burn down! Heard they still run pretty hot, but this aquarium is in the living room and not in some kind of case or anything, so it's out in the open and should 'breathe' okay.
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29 Gallon tank - TBA
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Old 07-13-2009, 10:04 PM   #4
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Doesn't your light have a starter of is the ballast electronic? Did you work in New York?
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Old 07-13-2009, 10:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InfernoST View Post
Doesn't your light have a starter of is the ballast electronic? Did you work in New York?
Nope, no starter, it's electronic. And no, I don't (nor have I ever) worked in NY. All my working years have been spent here in good old GA
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29 Gallon tank - TBA
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:34 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfoust View Post
Nope, no starter, it's electronic. And no, I don't (nor have I ever) worked in NY. All my working years have been spent here in good old GA
I worked with a guy 20 years ago and his name was John Foust here in New York so naturally when I saw your screen name i had to find out. Anyhow, good luck with your lighting and take care.
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Old 07-14-2009, 08:00 AM   #7
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i did go the cheap route with the odyssea light and didn't have any problems except that the one i got was a t6-ho not a t5. i thought they were the same since the wattage was the same but the pin spacing and diameter of the bulb was different. could find any replacement bulbs for it anywhere but their website so i gutted the housing and installed t5 ballast and bulbs.

as far as going planted it's not really difficult if you go low light. you never have to water them either lol if you really doubt you would put plants in that tank the cheapest fix would be just to replace the current ballast.
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