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What do I need to light an aquarium?

PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:31 pm
by DominicJ
Well, thats it, after two years and being reasonably sure my aquarium lights have been tripping my RCD, my 405 outlet slipped, drenched them thoroughly and removed all doubt.
They are wrecked, two days on a radiator to dry out and they trip the RCD every time they are plugged in.

I've taken them out and am preparing to take them apart, but, assuming they are irreparable (also, am I allowed to cut them open and play with them?), I'll be looking at replacing them with some nice shiny T5's, or perhaps some funky LEDs.

But if we assume T5s for now.
I know I need bulbs, and a ballast, but is that it?
No case? Or plugs? Or fittings? Is all that included in "ballast"?

Re: What do I need to light an aquarium?

PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:58 am
by Big Den
To be honest, if you don't know what you are doing it's best left alone. It would be better, and safer, to purchase a complete new lighting fixture, loads for sale on ebay or aquarist classified. The new led systems look good but very expensive at the moment.

By the way, a 'ballast' is a device that limits the voltage that goes to the tubes, a 'starter' is normally used in line with this.

Re: What do I need to light an aquarium?

PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:25 am
by DominicJ
Happy to buy a complete set, struggling to find anywhere selling them that I could retrofit to my tank, but they are all the ceiling hanging units.
Iquatics dont seem to sell starters, which was one of many confusing bits.

Re: What do I need to light an aquarium?

PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:40 am
by DominicJ
Ok, I've cracked the side caps, and have a better idea now.
There doesnt appear to be a starter, unless its in the small unit, but its not with the switches.
The "unit" is just an inch an half or two inch piece of U shaped steel, and inside, theres the ballast and the wireing. The Lamp holders are cheap plastic and the clips inside have cracked, they dont hold tight anymore, so water vapour has been getting in causing the intermittent problems, and the spray has full on wrecked it.

Re: What do I need to light an aquarium?

PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 11:34 am
by DominicJ
Cracked one of them open, bulb holders, ballast, some sort of spark plug?

One of the plastic wire junction boxes has shorted and melted, between a ballast and bulb, the other ballast on the pair has brown either rust or burn marks.

Is the, for lack of a better term, spark plug, the starter?

Re: What do I need to light an aquarium?

PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 1:20 pm
by Big Den
(Is the, for lack of a better term, spark plug, the starter?)

Yes some use different types, but all need this to fire up the tube.
It sounds to me like you have units not designed for hanging over an aquarium. I have a couple of those type in my loft, they normally come with a diffuser that clips over the tube.

Re: What do I need to light an aquarium?

PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 3:58 pm
by DominicJ
When you say diffuser, could you mean reflector?
If so, yeah, thats what I have.Image

Basically, that's what I have, unsalvageable?
If so, what do I need to replicate that as closely as possible?

The Iquatics hanging stuff is fantastic, but my tank would evap dry (and I'm reliant on my lights for some warmth)
Stuff like
http://www.seapets.co.uk/products/aquar ... -watt.html
I'm not sure how I would fit, the controller would just sit on top, but there doesnt appear to be anything to hang the lamp holders to the top or the tank with?

Re: What do I need to light an aquarium?

PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:24 am
by Big Den
If you wanted to use the one in the link you will need some spring clips attached to the lid, to hold the bulbs. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/like/22073401 ... =92&ff19=0 The controller can then sit on the top or anywhere else the cable length permits.

Re: What do I need to light an aquarium?

PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:40 pm
by DominicJ
Chucked all the electrical stuff, just kept the bulbs and a few bits and bobs, but popping in to my FLFS tomorrow to look at an interim solution.

Re: What do I need to light an aquarium?

PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:45 pm
by malakye
You can use something like this
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/AQUARIUM-FISH ... 2a03530a24

This one is only for an example, there are different sizes and prices available.