10-04-2011, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by zof
take a look for tube lights at the hardware store that are 6500k, save you some cash from buying the specialty bulbs from pet stores.
This. Home depot I know sells T5 fixtures for a good price. Pretty sure they are normal output though. $25 is wayyy overpriced for a single bulb. However I would like to mention that about 200 watts of T5 HO is too much over a 100 gallon unless you want to get into even more expensive CO2 and such required for high light tanks. IMO you should go with 2 tubes and leave it at that. As you get into larger tanks the WPG rule breaks down. You don't need as many WPG as a smaller tank does.
Retrofitting it into an existing canopy is pretty easy, I've built or modified a lot of lights though. You would just have to dismantle the shop fixture and mount the ballast and endcaps in the existing fixture. I would fashion some cheap individual reflectors out of thin aluminum sheet then place the lights so they are directing the light evenly over the base of the tank. The reflectors can be adjusted to help with this too.
Remember it doesn't matter how much light your fixture produces, its how much light reaches the bottom of the tank. I run power compacts and have 2.75wpg over a 20H and 2wpg over a 55 gallon. The 55 gallon has higher light though. I built that fixture to be as effective as possible. It has large reflectors from AHSupply that cost about the same as a bulb. Compared to the Current brand fixture on the 20H it directs a lot of the light down and across the tank with much lower light loss or restrike. You don't need fancy reflectors, but you can make some pretty decent ones for a few dollars if you know what you are doing. Reflectors have a pretty big impact on light levels at the bottom of the tank. I'm mentioning this because shop fixtures tend to completely skip reflectors. Retrofitting and modifying it could easily allow you to get a lot more light out of it.