You do have to do a little wiring, but they send
instructions. I recomment if you order from them that
you purchase the reflectors also and build your own
enclosure.... a few hours with a saw, glue, brads and
waterproof coating will allow you to make a good
looking enclosure... they also have free plans for
Be aware that the 4 watt per gallon rule doesn't
really apply to tanks 10 gallons or less. Smaller
tanks need comparatively more light than large tanks.
The actual requirement is usually over 2 watts per
gallon for most plants when you are first setting up
an aquarium, anyway unless you want to grow plants
that demand lots and lots of light. The recommended
way to start is over 2 watts per gallon with fast
growing bunch plants like rotalla indica, hornwort,
etc and then after you have won the war with algae and
the plants have taken, you can up the light level and
include more light demanding plants like Ammania
senegalensis or Rotalla macrandra.
The other great way to start a plant tank is to
convert a shoplight to t-8 bulbs and the HO ballasts
they require. The bulbs are pretty cheap...less than
$3 for a 4100 K bulb at Home Depot and the ballast is
under $40. T-8 bulbs are much more efficient than
t-12 bulbs and can last up to three years before you
need to replace them though 2 years is a better time
While at the show in Chattanooga Kim Bryant put on a
very effective demonstration with compact
fluorescents. He plugged one in and allowed the light
to shine on the audience...it was as blinding as
looking at the sun even as far away as the audience
was... regular issue lamps for aquariums are a joke
compared to compact fluorescents or t-8 lighting.
When I went through Home Depot to look at their t-8
bulbs I found ones at 4100 K certainly balanced enough
for aquarium purposes. If you want to learn more
about lighting and growing plants I recomment you
subscribe to the AGA email list which is also located
at actwin.com and read through the extensive listings
at the krib.
Aquarium Hobbyist Supply url follows:
--- Bruce Stallsmith <fundulus_at_hotmail.com> wrote:
> >The 4 watts per gallon rule applies to most
> fluorescents, including the
> >compact fluorescents you are talking about.
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