Fluorescent Lighting Control Units
Help and advice on shopping for: Fluorescent Lighting Control Units
Fluorescent lighting control units supply power to fluorescent light tubes. They include end caps which attach to each end of the fluorescent lights to power them and make them glow. The control unit plugs into a mains electrical socket and turns the lamp on and off via a simple switch. They can work either via magnetic ballasts or electronic ballast but both work in a similar way and have a simple on/off switch. Electronic ballasts eliminate tube flicker in fluorescent lights. They are also known as control gear.
LED lighting has its own controllers but if your aquarium still uses fluorescent light tubes then you need one of these to light it up. Mount the clips inside the hood, fit the end caps to the tube, clip the tube into the clips, plug in the three pin plug, and switch it on.
End caps are splashproof but the fluorescent lighting controller itself isn't, so keep away from the fish tank's water surface. The fixture does not facilitate dimming.
How to choose a light control unit
With fluorescent tubes the length, wattage and diameter of the lamp matter. Look on the bulbs to see the length (usually in inches,) the diameter (T8 or T5,) and the wattage of the lamp. Then use the drop down menu to select the right unit for your lamp. All controllers power just one lamp, with the exception of the Ultraseal Double unit, which will power two lamps. T8 stands for 8 eighths of an inch (1" diameter,) and T5 stands for 5 eighths of an inch (5/8" diameter.) Unfortunately, neither lamp nor ballast is transferrable. T5 won't power T8 and vice versa.
How do you control fluorescent lights?
Fluorescent lights are controlled just via an on/off switch. If you want the light to come on and off at set times plug it into a plug-in timer, not supplied.