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FAQs about Metal Halide & Halogen Lighting Repair

Related FAQs: Metal Halides 1, Metal Halides 2, Metal Halides 3, Metal Halides 4, Metal Halides 5, Metal Halides 6, Metal Halides 7, Metal Halides for Small Systems, Metal Halides for 40-200 gal. Systems, MH for 200 gal. Plus Systems, Metal Halide Lamp Issues, Metal Halide Fixture Issues, Metal Halide Heat Issues, Compact Fluorescents, Regular Fluorescents, Lighting Marine Invertebrates, LR LightingTridacnid LightingSmall System Lighting,

Related Articles: Metal Halide Light, & Lighting Articles, Coral System Lighting,

Keep those fixtures elevated, otherwise free from splash, spray...

Where to go for repairs? Electrical, light fixtures 7/27/09
Greetings aquatic friends!
<Hello Nick.>
I just wanted to ask a real quick (hopefully) question that I'm unsure of how to search for as far as which keywords to use, so I must first apologize for that. I'm having some problems with my light fixture which is a 6' fixture with 3X175 watt mogul metal halide bulbs and 2X160 watt VHO's.
One plug/switch controls 1 MH bulb, one controls 2 MH bulbs and the third controls the 2 VHO's. All of a sudden something kept causing my aquarium electric to trip my GFI, so I went through each device that was plugged in and found that the switch/plug that controls the 2 MH bulbs seemed to be the one tripping everything. I unplugged it and flipped the switch off and wrote Marine Depot (which is where it was purchased from) regarding what I should do. Let me also say that Marine Depot has always been absolutely fantastic to deal with in everything I've ever bought from them. Their customer service has impressed me greatly.
<I have always experienced the same.>
Anyway, I received a reply saying that they thought there was problems with something faulty in the ballast and that they had a replacement pack of ballast "innards" for that system, but that it doesn't come with directions and is tricky so they suggested having an electrician do the work on it (in other words buying the ballast replacement "innards" and having an electrician swap all the "innards" out).
<It is fairly straightforward if you are comfortable doing the work.>
They also said that I could upgrade the ballast with electronic ballasts but that that would be even more complicated and they would insist that I use an electrician for that. I'm not sure which option I'm going to take, but I'm now realizing that I have absolutely no clue who to contact that would do that type of work. I tried contacting and explaining the situation to some residential and commercial electricians in the area via email, but have gotten no replies at all which makes me think that once they read the scenario of what I'm asking for, they don't want to do it and figure it's not even worth replying to.
<Tis my experience with many electricians. Also, at least here, there is a shortage, sometimes they do not reply for weeks due to abundant work.>
So, now I'm wondering if I'm looking in the wrong places and possibly need an electronics repair shop or something of the sort, but really have absolutely no clue.
<Yep, just look up electrical repair, even tool repair in the phone book.
I would even go as far as to take it to them before ordering the new ballast. Your issue could be as simple as a loose or corroded wire. One thing that always helps me locate such services is asking who they
recommend when an outfit tells you no they don't do that kind of work.>
While I know you probably can't tell me a specific place in the Baltimore Metro area to take it to, do you have any idea the TYPE of place that would do something like that? Okay, thanks so much. You guys are as fantastic as fantastic gets and I thank the aquatics gods every day that we have you all in our lives. You are all gentlepeople (men and women) and scholars and I love you all. Thanks sincerely and millions of times over-Nicholas Sadaka
<Thank you for such high praise! I do hope this helps you locate somebody.
Scott V.>

Shattered UV glass   4/9/09
I accidentally splashed water on one of my UV glass lenses and it shattered.
Pretty freaky while my arm was in the tank. The bulb didn't break though, (150w HQI).
<Good... a principal function of such "cover glass" is to prevent such splashing (and explosion) of such lamps>
I powered it down to be safe and removed as much glass frags from the tank that I could get to. It's one of three halides on my 72" fixture. I have notified the guy I bought it from a year ago who sells these constantly on EBay in an attempt to purchase a few lenses in case this happens again. Probably never will having gone through it once though.
In the event he doesn't sell just the lenses and I'm out of luck, is there a site where I can get replacement shields for off-brand stuff.
<Mmm, actually... most any glass can function here...>
To be honest, I don't even know the name brand of the fixture I have. It didn't have one to begin with. It's not Odyssea though. Anyway, this fixture has been just fine otherwise, this was just clearly my being "a bull in a China shop" while doing a water change. Luckily I have mostly LPS and a couple softies, so they should be able to get by on just actinic lighting for a week I hope.
<Should be fine>
Assuming it should probably take that long to get a new shield. Would it be acceptable to go to my local hardware store and have them cut a piece of glass for me the right size?
Would it need to be the exact thickness or could it be just close?
<The latter>
Needs to be tempered I guess, I don't know if they sell tempered glass at hardware stores? What do you think?
<Mmm, would be best if tempered... was the piece that broke?>
Do I do dare even run the lamp without the shield in the meantime?
<I would if you are not able to directly look at it... but I would replace the splash shield/UV filter... Again, most all glass will function effectively>
<Bob Fenner>

Re: Shattered UV glass   4/10/09
Hi again Mr. Fenner.
Thanks so much for the quick response and helpful information.
I just wanted to follow up on my shattered UV lens situation. I did go to my hardware store and have a piece of glass cut to the size I needed and fit it back in and it did work, but only for about 5 minutes and it broke in half. It didn't shatter shooting fragments everywhere, but there is broken glass to deal with yet again. I guess this is proof that tempered glass is an absolute must here.
<Mmm, is better as stated...>
The glass piece I had cut was half the thickness of the original lens and only cost me 50 cents for the attempt. Now I have to shell out $40 to get a new original one made.
Knowing what I know now about the affects of a little water splashing, I am inclined to raise my fixture up higher. So help me out here. With my 3 150 watt HQI's, growing LPS and a few softies, how high can I go? A foot?
<A good distance>
The tank is 6 ft long and 17" from the surface to the top of the deep sand bed (4"?).
So while I wait for my new UV lens to show up in the mail, I have taken your advice and am just running the light anyway.
<Should be fine... just avoid splashing...>
It is not in anyone's line of eyesight but I think its awful risky without a glass shield because you have to not have any drops of water hit that bulb. I don't know how you guys do it with those screw in types that have no shielding ever. Don't those people ever have bulbs shattering with a fish jump here or a water return line splash/sprinkle there?
<Occasionally, yes, folks do>
As a further note, I have now seen the advantage of doing my water changes from now on BEFORE the halides come on for the day, much less chance of a splash on the UV lens with my big mitts in the tank siphoning out Cyano.
And like Bartle's and James used to say, "we thank you for your support."
<Tasty. Bob Fenner> 

Metal Halide questions--help asap 3/30/09
Please help ASAP!
I am still new to reefkeeping and am having a problem. First of all, I heard that MH lighting was the best. I have a 55 gallon tank, so I found a used MH fixture online used at a very decent price. The fixture isn't labeled anywhere so I am not 100% sure of the brand.  The fixture is 48" long, and contains 2 250W MH double ended bulbs. The outer edges are actinic bulbs, and down the center led moonlights are. My tank has been running wonderfully for around 8 months and mixed soft and
hard corals, along with fish have thrived. Is it too much light though for the tank?
<I little overkill for a 55, but for keeping light loving corals/clams, should not be a problem as long as your tank temperature isn't going through the roof.>
The bulbs are labeled 20K blue 250W. I was told the fixture was a Corallife brand.  Now for the problem. A few days ago 1 of the lights went out. So I attempted to narrow down the cause to ballast or bulb. I unplugged the working light and hooked up the ballast to the none working light.  Nothing. So narrowing it down I have isolated the problem to be bad bulb on one side.
To confirm this I attempted as many combinations of hookups. No matter which ballast was hooked up. Only the same light would work. So I order a bulb online. I order a CoralVue 14k 250W double ended bulb, disassemble and install the bulb. Still nothing. So I pull out the bulb that was working before, put in the brand new bulb, and again nothing. I swapped and tried every combination I could.  Results--1 bulb working in both fixtures with both ballasts. Bulb would light up almost immediately.  New bulb, & other bulb--would not work in either fixture.
<Well, one bulb was gone to start with and I'm guessing your problem may lie with the new CoralVue lamp being a probe start type lamp, and your ballast is a pulse start.  Most 250 watt DE lamps are pulse start. Pulse start lamps do not have a starting probe electrode as in the CoralVue, but start by way of a high voltage pulse, typically 3 to 5 kilovolts.
I've got records on most bulbs that indicate the start method and type of ballast required, but CoralVue is just listed as a ? but it is a probe start lamp. Problem here is most folks think any HQI lamp will work with their ballast and that is not the case.>
So I thought I would just leave 1 working for now, and I put it back together, set it atop the tank. Roughly 3 minutes later the working bulb explodes.
<Didn't like that.>
Now all I have is my actinics running, with a lot of livestock in the tank.  How long until I get this fixed before I have major die off?
<To be safe, I'd say a week for light loving SPS/LPS. Could be longer, but I wouldn't want to chance the Zooanthellae dying off which is called bleaching. I am assuming you have corals and as the fish without light, it isn't going to be a problem.>
What do I do? Is it possible the ballasts are too weak to light the bulbs?  The ballasts do not have labels, they are encased in metal with a switch, and removable power cable.
<Is there a manufacturer listed on the old lamp itself? If so, replacing with that brand/type would ensure you would have had the right lamp for the ballast you have. There are no numbers stamped on the ballast itself, like an "M" and a number? Best to take the fixture to a local electrical shop and see if they can test the ballasts for you before investing in more lamps.>
Help Help help! I can give more details.
Thanks for your time.
<You're welcome you poor dude. James (Salty Dog)>

No Contact in MH Pendant 2/8/09 Hey Guys, <..and gals, hello Chris!> I was replacing the bulbs last night in my PFO 250w metal halide pendants. It's a double ended unit and while I was installing one of the bulbs, I bent the metal contact inside the pendant. Here is my crude drawing: So, I took the light apart to straiten the contact, and while I was putting it back together, a small wire clip that slides over the narrow part of the contact broke. <!> This clip pinches the ends of the contact so the light bulb stays in place. Now, when I put the light in, it just slips out when it's hung. Fortunately, I have two pendants, so my tank is still getting light. My question is if there's any way to repair this myself? I'm not entirely sure on what material the wire clip was and I really don't want to order an entirely new contact over a silly piece of wire. If I fiddle with it, the bulb stays in place for a bit and will fire, but my friend completely burnt his unit this way so I'm not too interested in doing that. Any advice would be appreciated. <A few ways to do this. A stainless wire can be used to fabricate your own, but for the trouble and cost, I would either look for a direct replacement or just buy a new socket. If you know the manufacturer I would contact them first, you may very well get one free of charge. Otherwise the folks over at HelloLights.com are very helpful with such issues.> Chris <Welcome, Scott V.>

MH Bulb will not fire 12/14/08 Hello <Jay.> I have been running metal halide lighting on my reef tank for 4 months. I have decided to replace my 14k bulb with a 20k bulb (both 400w). The new 20k wont fire. <!> The igniter tries to light it with an electric arc every 15 seconds or so, but the gas wont ignite.. I have tried it for 2-3 hours on end, but eventually, the igniter quits firing and its just dark. I have read about "break in periods" for new bulbs, but this one doesn't seem close to lighting. I re installed my 14k bulb and it lights instantly. <Good.> My ballast is a "reef fanatic" brand that my LFS sold me as a lightly used unit. I don't see any indication of a brand on the new bulb. I bought it from a local coral propagation company that uses these bulbs in their facility. Does it sound like a problem or should I keep trying to overcome this "break in period"? <If the thing won't light at all one of two things are happening. Either the bulb is just flat out bad or it is pulse start, while the ballast you mention is probe start. Hard to know without knowing what the bulb is. Do you have a friend that may be able to try the bulb out for you, preferably with an electronic ballast?> Thank you!! Jay <Welcome, Scott V.>

It's annoying... could it be more? RF fluorescent/MH noise issue, Outer Orbit   2/3/08 Hi, I have an 48" Outer Orbit. When the fluorescent lamps come on, they make the kick on noise, then about a minute later they go silent, then about 30 seconds later it makes the kick on noise again, repeat, repeat, repeat,.... The lights stay on the whole time, and the metal halide lights do not present the same problem. Any suggestions? Thank you, Emily <Mmmm, I'd be contacting the maker re... or whomever you bought this fixture from... it likely has repair issues. Bob Fenner>

Metal Halide Burn In Period??? 12/18/06 Hi, your web site has been a great help over the last couple of years.  But, know I think I finally have a question, that I cannot find on your site. I recently upgraded from a 55 gallon reef to a 120 AGA.  With the upgrade, I also decided to switch over the metal halides, since I want to eventually get into acros.  I have 2x250watt MH with electronic ballast and also 2x96 powercompact actinic.  This whole system is new to me, I just received it last week.  To my disappointment, the unit only came with one 10k double ended HQI bulb. <Whoa, whoa.  You say you have a 250 watt dual MH system, then you say it came with a HQI bulb.  Both of these systems are completely different.  I'm guessing you have a HQI system.> This bulb works in both units with each separate ballast, so I know the system is capable of working.  Since I only had one bulb, I thought I might as well upgrade to two Hamilton Tech 14K 250 watt. After installing these bulbs, nothing has happened.  No light whatsoever.  I even placed the original 10k bulbs to make sure the unit was still working. <And it does?> Now the new bulbs have been in for about 30 hours without nothing.  I was told by one supplier that this was a normal initial burn in period and since the bulbs were different it might take 24-48 hours.  Is this true, I thought during the burn in period, the lights still came on. <What mental institution is this supplier located at?  There is no such thing as a burn-in period.  As you say, the bulbs should light, period. I'm guessing the lamps you purchased were defective.  Did this unit come as a complete kit, or is it a complete fixture?  Very unusual in that they would only send one lamp with a two lamp system.> Please  help, I am completely lost with what to do next. <Send me a link to this site if you bought them on-line.> Thanks <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Greg

Re: Metal Halide Burn In Period??? 12/19/06 http://www.aquatraders.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=307 Thanks for replying so fast. <You're welcome.> here <Here is> the link for the lights i <I> bought.  the <The> light system works with the bulb that they sent currently.  when i <When I> say they only sent on <one> bulb, they actually left on <one> out of the system - i <I> assume by mistake.  i <I> hope this helps answer the question regarding why this supposedly electronic ballast will not light up the hamilton <Hamilton> 14k. <The ballast should light the Hamilton lamp.  I'd make sure there is no protective tape on the contact pins of the lamp.  If not, I'd be sending the lamps back to the dealer.  In future queries, please cap words that begin a sentence and proper nouns, it saves me time from having to do it before they are posted on the dailies.> thanks <Thanks> again. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Lighting/MH Bulb Problem   5/9/06 Hello, I have a 75 gal. LR tank (24" deep) with a ritteri Anenome and 4 Clarki clowns.  My suspended MH bulb is mysteriously shutting off then restarting every 5 minutes or so.  I've had the bulb for ~ 6 months.  I know you recommend 10,000K spectrum.  I'm going to buy a new bulb tomorrow, any specific brand you would recommend?  This ballast requires a screw-in type, 250 watt bulb.  I was using an Iwasaki Clean-Ace 250W, 18,000 lumen, 6500 K, and was going to look for a 250 W, 10,000 K. IYO, is this likely a bulb issue, vs. a ballast issue? (I know you're not electricians, just thought you might have experienced this with your own MH lights).  I assume if the ballast was failing the light would not come on at all, do you agree?  <I happen to be an electrician Kevin.  If you have a standard (non-electronic) ballast the problem is generally with the bulb itself.  An electronic ballast could be causing this problem as most have a current sensing device built in and will trip when excessive current is detected.  A defective current sensor could trip prematurely.>  I've always changed my MH bulbs while they were still functioning, so have never experienced this.  The light is on a timer, set for 12 hours.  Today, it kicked on, warmed up and got to it's natural spectrum (2-3 minutes), then dims and shuts off.  Then, ~ 5 minutes later, it kicks on and does the same, it's been doing this all evening.  Is this what MH's do when the bulb is failing?  <Yes, if it isn't a ballast related problem.> My poor Anenome is getting a workout, opening and closing.  It (Anenome) has always had the same 12 hour photoperiod.  I hope this brief light screw up doesn't stress him out too bad. <Kevin, I'd just replace the bulb.  If it is the ballast, then you have a spare bulb.  I'd put my money on a defective bulb as the problem.> Thank you very much, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> -Kevin  

Metal halide slow warm up 7/12/06 Hey!!! <<Hey what?!?!?  Sorry... couldn't resist!>> I have a quick question regarding metal halides.  I just bought a metal halide fixture made by Current USA called the SunPod DE HQI.  This is my first metal halide fixture so I'm new to this.  My question is, is it normal for metal halides to take around 15-20 minutes for the lights to start up? <<No.  Metal halides usually take a few minutes to reach peak intensity, but they should fire within seconds.>> I don't know if the fixture I got is defective or is this just a characteristic of metal halides.  When I switch it on, the fans on the fixture do come on, but the lights don't until 15-20 or maybe even 30 minutes later. <<I would contact the manufacturer for support, or if that is not possible, the vendor that sold you the fixture.  It is possible (however unlikely) that this is a characteristic of the system you bought.  If not, it should be replaced.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

MH Not Lighting   7/28/06 Hey guys -- <And gals.> Love your site... now to the business.... We've been running a 75 gallon take for about 10 months now - we have a Coralife Aqualite elite lighting system with 2 175W Metal Halide bulbs on it along with the PCs - all of a sudden one of our metal halides started not lighting all the way - I figured since the bulb was about 8 months old, it might have died - so we went to our local store a picked up a new bulb - the new one does the same thing - the center gets semi-bright, but there is no output into the take... The other 175W bulb in the fixture is fine... any ideas as to what we can do to fix?? <Sounds like the ballast for that lamp is bad.  Igniter voltage more than likely too low.  Hopefully you have a one year warranty on the fixture. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, Brian Re:  Metal Halide Not Lighting   7/28/06 Thanks for your prompt response -- <You're welcome.> We did find out that the ballast is bad - never thought about a warranty - but we will def look into it - I think that our other solution is to just upgrade the ballasts to 250W -- is that something that is easy to do?? can one just buy new ballasts and then put 250W bulbs in the fixture?? <The 175 watt MH fixtures were designed to dissipate heat for two 175 watt ballasts, and, I don't believe 250 watt ballasts would fit into the fixture. I'd check with the manufacturer.> Once again I want to tell you how much we appreciate your site, we are new to the hobby and got in very quickly - along with our 75g - we recently set up a 29g mini reef - which is doing amazing - just added two true Percs - While on this topic, I hope you don't mind if I as another question... On the 29g we are running another Coralife lighting system with 2 65W PC 50/50s -- we have about 60lbs of rock, some from our bigger tank to help spread the Coralline algae - the tank has cycled for about a month before we added the fish - so, now onto my question, we were wondering if you thought there was enough light in there to support a small anemone for the clowns, since they have appeared to have bonded already -- <A 29 gallon tank is too small for an anemone.  Water parameters can change too fast.> if you take the total size of the tank, we have about 4.3 Watts/gallon -- if you take into account the displacement of the rock, the Watts/gallon are significantly higher, <Rock displacement means nothing in regards to lighting.> probably close to 6Watts/gallon - I appreciate your assistance and once again think your site is an amazing source of info, and we never would have gotten as far as we did in the hobby without it... <Thank you for your kind comments.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks again, Brian MH lighting fire...!!! - 03/25/2006 Hello WWM Crew, <Hi Rori - Tim answering your question today!> Tonight disaster struck!!! I love my fish tank and have been a reef tank hobbyist now for about 5 years, but tonight my fish tank SCARED THE CRAP OUT OF ME!!!! I do not know what to do??? My wife and I were sitting watching T.V. when all of a sudden we both smelt a plastic burning smell that got pretty strong. We started looking around the house because it smelled like something plastic was on fire!!! Then I walked into the fish room and the room was filled with smoke!!! It turned out one of my ballast to my Coral Life HQI's was smoking pretty badly. Now I'm not talking about a little smoke I'm talking there was a fire going on inside the case of the thing and smoke was pouring out of it, and it filled the room with black smoke. Now I am so scared thinking about what would of happened if I wouldn't have been home, my house could of burned down! Another thing I don't understand is I am very cautious when it comes to building something. I have these ballast bolted to my stand with a dedicated fan blowing right on them. Also I have a circuit protector that will shut everything off if anything goes wrong. Looks like none of this stuff helped out, I honestly think that if I was not home it would of started a fire, and it would of eventually turned into a electrical fire. I am debating now if this is worth the risk. I am so disappointed that I spent so much money on these Coral Life 150 Watt HQI's and they fail like this. I will be contacting them about this situation I have run into. In the mean time I have all the lights turned off in the tank due to I am scared the other two ballast are going to catch fire like this one did. So now my corals are in the dark for now??? Any advice what would you do in this situation??? Anxiously awaiting your helpful response on what I can do??? Thank You!!! P.S. I took the ballast apart and in the case where the actual round ballast is inside is all swollen looking and melted inside!!! <That is very concerning indeed! Do contact the company and include in your correspondence very detailed information on your current set up so that they may identify any problems with your arrangement. Also do a search through online forums - to my knowledge, this is not a common occurrence but there is of course the possibility of a bad batch of ballasts - in which case you may be saving many other aquarists from potential disaster! Try to find out exactly what caused this - and please do keep us informed so that we may warn others of this situation! In the meantime, you will need to take care of your livestock. Make sure that you do a number of considerable water changes - I am concerned that some of the smoke may have become dissolved in the aquarium water and can potentially cause significant harm. Your corals will need light or they will not survive for long - I would suggest, if you are presently unable to comfortably provide them with adequate lighting (your situation being completely understandable) then I would suggest contacting a fellow reef keeper or your LFS to see if either will hold your corals until you can rectify your lighting situation. The same applies to your fish, although clearly these are less dependant on light for their survival. Keep a close eye on your fish as the stress of this incident may cause disease outbreak. As I said, please keep us informed as to your findings! Thank you and wishing you the very best of luck!>

Metal Halide Troubles 5/16/05 Dear WWM crewperson, First let me express my gratitude for your continued dedication to informing uneducated primates like myself on how to better sustain life forms in small, water-filled glass box.  <Thanks for the kind words! It really is our pleasure!> I've been trying to get my DIY dual 175 watt Metal Halides working and thought I was successful until this week. The lights have been working fine for the last 3 months, but now that the bulbs have properly "burned in" they continuously cycle (turning on, slowly brightening until they get to a very intense level, flicker then turn off for about 10-15 minutes). I know this is tantamount to a mortal sin with DIY equipment, but I don't remember any brand names. The guy who sold me the ballast 2 years ago said it was 175 watt, so I purchased two 20000 Kelvin 175 watt lamps. I was thrilled when everything lit up and worked, but now I'm wishing I'd just spent the extra money. Is there any way to salvage this situation? Best Regards, James  <It sounds like your ballast is mismatched to your lamps. Your ballast components should be labeled with an ANSI number, and if not you can search the internet for a table that will allow you to match the transformer and capacitor ratings to the ANSI number. Lamps are manufactured to work with certain ballasts. See here: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-06/jg/  for a great table of which lamps work with which ballasts. This table does not include info for pulse start or probe start lamps (which your 20K's might be). Be very careful working with these ballasts! Charged capacitors can deliver a dangerous shock! Best Regards. AdamC.>

Aging MH Ballasts? 5/26/04 Hi WWM gang! Again thanks for everything.... <Always a pleasure!> I've searched the FAQs for relevant articles on MH ballasts/lamps, and couldn't find a discussion on a ballast's lifetime. The questions I have are: How long should a ballast last, do they fail gradually or just "kick the bucket", and if gradually what are the indicators. <Ballasts do fail, but I have never heard of one that does so gradually... They just quit, or in the case of tar ballasts, sometimes burn up.> I purchased a 175W 10,000K Venture from my LFS and replaced one lamp, and the bulb was dead in roughly 3 days. Haven't talked to the LFS about this yet but want to make sure I'm on the right track before I ask for a replacement. I'm hesitant to install another new lamp until I can assure myself the Ballast is not the culprit. TIA, Jeff Hamilton <Hmmm... Could be a couple of things. Bad lamp, bad ballast, or the wrong lamp for the ballast. Try the lamp on a another ballast to be sure that the lamp does not work. Try your old lamp on your ballast to be sure that the ballast works. Every ballast should be marked (could be inside the enclosure) with an ANSII number. The ANSII number of the ballast must match the lamp. For example m57 indicates 175w Metal Halide. Find the number on the ballast and check it against a reference on the internet to be sure you are using the correct lamp. Hope this helps! Adam.> 

-Splash guards are your friends!- Hi There! <Hellooooo, Kevin here> I recently purchased a 4x96w power compact retrofit kit from PFO lighting and having some difficulties. The kit came with 2 96w actinics and 2 96w 1000K bulbs from Hamilton tech. <Hah, go figure PFO is selling Hamilton's lamps...> I placed the bulbs about 2 inches above an open 40 gal reef tank. <Ooo my, that's a no can do.  Note that the end caps on the lamps are NOT waterproof, the lamp clips and reflector are both metal which will rust in short order without protection. This fixture is not meant to be placed so close to the water! If you plan on keeping it this close, you'll need to devise an acrylic splash guard to protect your investment or your bulbs will continue to pop and your fixture will look like the titanic.> Within 1 week of use, the two 10000K bulbs have cracked/shattered, while the actinics are still working fine. What's going on here? <The cracking/shattering is clearly from water splashing on the hot lamps. It's unlikely that the lamps are defective, but who knows.>Is there something that I should know about these types of lamps that I'm doing wrong?. or is it possible that the lamps are defective? Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks, Marc <Get that thing off of the water or use a splash guard and you'll be all set. Good luck! -Kevin>

Metal Halide, ballast going bad? 07/29/03 <Hi Chris, PF here today> Dual Ballast 175 watt  Metal Halide is what I have. I bought it used but I think it is made by PFO. My question is: I am getting ready to set up my new aquarium and was checking all of my stuff for it. I was checking my lights and the one of the lights works perfectly, and the other lights up and as soon as it starts to get really bright it flickers and shuts off. What would be causing this? Is the ballast going bad or the capacitor? I thought Anthony may have know something about this. He has answers for everything, I'm very glad he is a part of the WWM crew! All of you guys there have been wonderful in helping tons of people. The ballast are made by Venture Lighting I have sent two email and have not received a reply yet. The bulbs are not bad, just will not stay on. I am thinking it is the ballast but I am not sure. Is there a way that you guys know of that you can test out to see what is going bad? Please let me know what you think, I really appreciate all of your help! Thanks, Chris Hepburn <Well Chris, it does sound like the ballast to me. Have you tried contacting PFO directly? I had trouble with mine and they were a big help. You might want to check their website and see if they have a number to call. Sorry I can't be more direct, but electronics aren't my specialty. I assume you tried both bulbs in both sockets? You could also try an electronics repair shop, if your efforts with the manufacturer don't pan out. Good luck! PF>

Playing With Fire? Hi, I wanted to know if I could put a HQI bulb of any appropriate Kelvin range onto a plain regular regent 300 watt quartz Halogen floodlight. Is this possible. I intend in doing this if so. Because the current bulb is far to yellow and unsuitable for a reef tank.  My name is Ray. Thank you. <Well, Ray- I'd caution against trying any unknown bulb/fixture ballast combos unless you talk to the manufacturer first. You could cause a fire- or worse! Err on the side of caution! Regards, Scott F.>

Metal halide exploding Hi Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I was just wondering if you had heard of metal halide bulbs exploding very often?  <not often... but not uncommon. I've had it happen twice in ten years and heard a dozen or so aquarists have the same. Commonly occurs when placing a reef lamp in a cheap industrial fixture like those awful 400 watt units :p Seriously.> I know splashing water on them might cause it,  <of course> but I had one explode inside a pendant with a cover once.  <Hmmm... care to share the brand name? I have my suspicions just the same. Will be very surprised if it is an AB or Iwasaki although defects sure do occur. All assuming that this isn't an industrial (non-aquarium) fixture (some lack necessary components to run some reef bulbs)> Steve Tyree told me he had heard of it happening several times. Have you? <yep> Mitch Gibbs <kind regards, Anthony>

Re: Metal halide exploding Thanks Anthony, <cheers, mate!> At least I know I'm not completely losing my marbles.  <that makes one of us :p> It was a few years ago when mine exploded (imploded whatever). I had it in a Hamilton fixture and I don't recall the brand of the bulb anymore. It was 175watt either 6500 or 10,000K.  <interesting...yes. Perhaps just that 1 in a 1000 inevitable defects> It wasn't one of the Sunburst however. <heehee... I didn't mean to imply anything about a certain brand that seems to deliver exactly what one pays for :P> Thanks again see ya at MACNA, Mitch Gibbs <excellent, my friend! Be seeing you soon. Anthony>

Metal Halide Problems I am a beginner trying to get reef system up and running...2 actinic lights and 2 MH bulbs. 1 of the MH will light for a minute. then cause the ballast to flick a few times and then go out. I have tried switching ballast with working light to no avail. This bulb was difficult to screw in as compared to other bulb. I do not know how fragile these bulbs are. Any suggestions? I hate to buy a new one but will if I have to. <Well, here's the deal...There are a number of different bulbs that do not run on certain ballasts (for example-many 20000k bulbs). Also, the difficulty that you may have screwing the bulb in may mean that you have the wrong kind of base for your fixture! There are "medium" base bulbs and "mogul" bulbs, which fit into different fixtures. You need to Contact the manufacturers of the bulbs and/or fixture that you have, to assess what will work. Don't give up- but do read up! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

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