Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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iamntbatman 08-16-2008 03:21 AM

Lighting Ballast Question
So I have this 29g tank that I've had cycling for a while now. I hadn't gotten around to messing with the lighting until today. It has a regular single-tube T8 strip light, which is all I really need since I don't plan on having any live plants in the tank. I bought the whole setup used, so I wasn't surprised when I tried the lighting and the tube only lit up a little at the ends. One trip to Home Depot and a brand new bulb later, it did the same exact thing.

Is it possible for the ballast to go bad? Is there really anything I can do other than just buy a whole new light? If you depress the button just slightly while the light's already "on", you can get the whole bulb to light up brightly for an instant. Don't know if that helps.

fish_4_all 08-17-2008 01:41 PM

I don't know the technical terms but the ballast, or the starter part of the ballast is going out. It is not providing enough juice to light the whole bulb or there is a weak connection from the wiring.

Home Depot does have new ballasts if you want to mess with replacing it. The newer electronic ballasts will work best as they can adjust to the light bulb size. I think they have ballasts now that wuill drive T12-T8 and T8-T5 but not sure. AHsupply would be a good place to ask if you want to do some do it yourself.

To help prevent this in the future, try to get a fixture that protects it from moisture. I have burned up a shop fixture because I had it too closer the tank. I now have the new one 8-10 inches above the tnak and have no sign of condensation or water problems.

iamntbatman 08-17-2008 03:21 PM

Well, the whole setup was bought used from a guy I can say with confidence probably thought up new and brilliant ways to destroy and abuse equipment. For example, this guy remodeled a bathroom: he put in new tiles for the floor and walls, then flushed his extra tile grout down the toilet and was baffled when the toilet wouldn't work. He bought a new bath tub unit with the holes for the water fixtures on the wrong end of the tub and installed it anyway. I think he just boarded up that bathroom and hung up an "out of order" sign.

So you get the point; who knows what he did to this fixture. It's just a cheapo strip light, so I'll fiddle around with it today and see if there's a bad connection somewhere. If I can't fix it, I'll just take the whole guts out and get a shop light from Home Depot.

okiemavis 08-17-2008 03:50 PM

Sounds like there's not enough power getting to the bulb. Are you sure the wattage he told you is correct? Otherwise I'd assume there's some wiring problems going on there.

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