rarely you can find stand off end caps for a florescent bulb at the hard ware store, but if not drs foster and smith sells the endcap kits. ballasts are readily available at any major home improvement store, and for a total investment of around $50 you can make a light fixture either out of an old 4 foot strip light or a piece of rain gutter. pm me for a link to the thread where I built one, and also where Zof built one. I can send you pictures of the several home made strip lights I built and use every day.
the home built approach lets you make exactly the light you need, and you can tailor it to use exactly the bulbs you want that your hardware stores carry. All but one of my 5 current tanks uses $5 (or less) home depot bulbs, and 4 of them are planted tanks.
byron is right... (has he ever not been?) most anyone with multiple tanks and at least a few years into the hobby has a drawer, corner, nook, or closet full of junk bulbs that cost between 15 and 50 bucks that were worthless. I myself have a whole pile of T12 bulbs that only lasted a few months.
FWIW, my fun tank is a planted 55g thats doing well with 2 24" T8 bulbs, and my 110g has java moss growing like crazy and its only got 1 48" T12.. id say its even brighter than my 55.