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Discussion Starter #1
Guys, got any places were I might be able to order ballasts that I can use to construct "my own" light fixture? I just retrofitted my 10 gallon light strip today with AH supply's cf, and after a lot of frustration, got it to work, and actually realized how much fun and how much I save! 8)

For my giant clawed frog tank in the basement, I would like good lighting for the plants in the sump above and the anubias that will grow in the water. Same goes for the saltwater tank I plan to use the old clawed frog tank for......hehehe, yeah, this vivarium stuff is addictive.

Obviously, the "beast" light, 96 watt will still not be enough in my opinion, or at least a single one. But that would be 200 bucks there for two fixtures.

I am also going to put power compacts over my DIY mantella and tricolor tank. Its roughly a 40 gallon (really 20, as its two tanks in one), and if I add the prices for all the tanks (I may retrofit my firebellied cage too sometime) that's gonna be way too much green stuff, and not enough for the "living" green stuff that I would have to buy later on. Got any places were I can order separate ballast, the plug in cord, socket for cf, etc.?

Also, any ideas how to make a DIY metal halide fixture? I've heard of some weed smoking people doing (and not to make anybody suspicious) :lol: I would like to try it and see maybe I can grow water lilies in the aquarium in the basement, if its not too hard to do.

Those metal halides are way too expensive to order.
 

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I've found really good deals on all types of high intensity lighting on ebay.
You can find anything from bare ballasts, to complete kits.
 

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An inexpensive way to get more lighting out of standard flourscents is to "Overdrive" the lights.

In brief you would use an electronic ballast, that would normally drive two flourscent tubes, and wire it to drive just one flourscent tube. You don't double the light output, but probably get a 50% increase.

Here's a link to a thread that goes into more specifics - http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=175

Tim
 

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I will be selling metal halide lighting on my website very soon. I will offer DIY kits, retrofit kits, and individual parts. The sizes I will have available are 70W and 150W HQI and 250W mogul base. I am working on getting some nice pendants fabricated as well. I offer bulbs, but they might be too high in color temp for plants, however I will see if I can get lower kelvin bulbs. Right now I only have 10,000k and 20,000k, you're probably looking for something around 6500k. The HQI ballasts are electronic so they are much more energy efficient that the core and coil. The 250W is core and coil, but is much cheaper. If you want, I can get you a price on just the ballast if you let me know what size you are looking for.

Paul
http://www.firstclassaquatics.com
 

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I use a 70w Iwasaki eye 6500K (medium base) on my 37 gallon phelsuma tank. This bulb has A CRI in the 90's, it is a little blue for my taste, they also carry a 4500K, and a 3500K, these also have a high CRI, (96 I believe!), I think I might try the 4500k when I need to replace the bulb. It would make things alot easier if you could see the light in person, instead of ordering and hoping.
I run this bulb off of an electronic ballast I bought on ebay, I think it was under fifty bucks!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
yeah. If I can get some decent metal halides I can definitely try to grow tropical water lilies in my Xenopus tank. Other than that, I just need decent lighting for my other tanks, considering I like to have orchids and other flowering plants in there.

I tried my 10,000 K on my tinc tank, and its pretty bright, like a camera flash. Its a little blue, but enhances my tinc's green, blue, and gold appearance.
 

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I can get medium base 4000k 100, 150, and 175W metal halide that runs on a magnetic ballast. I am waiting on info for the Venture 6500k bulb too. I am also looking into selling power compact lighting.

Anything else I should look into? Most of this stuff is for the reef keepers, but it's easy to just add a different color temp bulb to the existing setups. The lower color temp is usually cheaper, so I can create some lower cost retrofit kits for you guys.

Paul
 

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Before you "overdrive this" or "supersize that"... I'd recommend that folks using standard (as in T10) flourescent shop lights try the T8 Shop lights.

They have an electric ballest. Supposedly use a bit less electricity and produce 50% more light!

The added bonus is the lights themselves do not break down nearly as often as the cheap shop lights.

Cost a little more but so worth it.

s
 

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Discussion Starter #11
anybody ordered from http://www.1000bulbs.com?

This place sells all sorts of ballasts, including metal halides. However, I have not found a ballast there that is 96 watt for cf.

How about hellolights.com?

Even though they are more for reef keeping, if you're a big plant person(I've got a collection of over 30 types of carnivorous plants, and a growing orchid collection), just normal "pothos" and "philodendron" just isn't enough.

Many of the plants available in the hobby for freshwater aquaria are too fragile for xenopus laevis, but they are naturally found with water lilies, irises, arums, anubias, etc. which are very sturdy but require huge light output.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
about reflectors, can one just use a standard piece of wood and paint it white with latex paint? Or, will it cause the paint to burn, off gas lead, etc.?
 

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I made the reflector for my hex (screw in cf's) out of wood, and painted it with white enamel, and have had no trouble with it. I don't think latex would hold up too well.
 

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I used glossy white enamel paint in the hood for my reef tank. It has four 95W VHO bulbs and has been fine for years. Your best reflector is going to be a polished aluminum type though.
 
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check out http://www.marinedepot.com/homepage.asp

and look at their lighting section under PFO retrofits and componets. I've purchased from them many times when I was running reef tanks. THe PFO ballasts always ran very well for me and i never had any problems with them at all. you can get a 175 watt ballast, spyder reflector w/ socket and 5500k bulb for like $180. of course they offer other ballasts and bulbs but it might give you an idea of a starting point.

Of course Paul might be able to put together a cheaper system.


Matt
 

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Yeah, I can do 250W retro fit systems for cheaper than that. Once we get a few more items and prices figured out, I will post a link to my lighting page. I am just a sales point for my business partner, all lighting will be shipped from his place in Florida. I just handle the advertising and web promotion. :D

Oh, and all of our lighting has free shipping, always!
 
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paul,

thats a nice thing to offer...those ballasts are not light and Marine Depot and alot of other places charge extra to ship them.

Matt
 

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Homedepot has high pressure sodiums and metal halides, which are both good for growing plants. The halide is better for growing due to the "blue light" it emits, high pressure sodiums are better for flowering plants due to the red spectrum it puts out. Last time I checked homedepot had 70w, and 150w metal halide and hps lights in the security lighting section. Here is a link for one of homedepots metal halides,
http://makeashorterlink.com/?C60A21199
 

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Whats halogen lighting, is it the same as metal halide?

Sorry, I am clueless when it comes to this stuff.
Ryan
 

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Has anyone thought of trying VHO lighting? I usually see ballasts, and bulbs on ebay for this. I am going to run 4 - 36 in vho bulbs on my reef aquarium. They have a, well, very high output. Very intense, and much cooler than metal halide. Only problem is the bulbs don't last real long, but you can get them for under $15 per bulb. I have thought about running 24 inchers over my frogs, but haven't done it yet. Soon though. Let me know what you think about this. They are very simple to wire also.

Ed
 
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