Help with DIY cfl lighting - The Planted Tank Forum

 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 07:53 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Missouri
Posts: 24
Help with DIY cfl lighting

Hello lighting gurus,

I have used threads from this site for a while now to help me solve problems and get ideas for my two low tech tanks. I must say there are some people here who know their stuff and I thank all of you in advance for help with my current situation .

I have recently acquired a somewhat odd sized tank: a 77gallon, or 75 long. The dimensions are 70.5" long, 21 high and 12 deep. I like this tank because it gives me the viewing area of a six foot tank and it is still small enough that I don't have to call in an army to move it or have any of the problems that comes from such a large tank. Any way, I have decided to build a custom canopy for it. Inside I plan on hiding a series of cfl bulbs to light the tank. I plan on painting the inside white as we'll. I will be dirting this tank with miracle gro organic and capping it, although I haven't selected what type of sand I'll use yet. I would like to avoid co2 and will dose with ferts and excel.

My questions are as follows. How many bulbs (6500-6700k 23 watt are what I plan on using) do you guys recommend I use? How high off the water should I set them up at? Should I use a mixture of 6500k and 5000k bulbs or go all 6500k? Should I use a splash guard and if so will I need to adjust the lighting to offset this in anyway?

My plant stock will be red and green crypts and some swords from my other tanks, Vals, and some type of shorter grass plant, probably dwarf sag.
Sliderfish is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 08:32 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
exv152's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,831
For a tank of that length you’re gonna need a lot of CFLs. CFLs are great for nano cubes or smaller footprints. But in traditional rectangular shaped tanks your best bet is to go with the longer tranditional flurescent tubes, like T5HO’s. Plus 23w CFLs are not very strong, and you’ll need something with a punch to penetrate 21 inches of height even if you're only doing low light plants.

Eheim Pimp Club,# 496
25g 60-P iwagumi , 33g iwagumi cube, 125g high tech, 7g cube, 12g long
exv152 is offline  
post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 08:39 PM
Planted Member
 
1987's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Green Bay WI
Posts: 237
I would point you in the direction of this:

Amazon.com: 4 ft. - 1 Lamp - F54T5-HO - Fluorescent Grow Light Fixture - Spectralux 6500K Lamps Included - Reflector Not Included - Sun Blaze 960320: Home Improvement Amazon.com: 4 ft. - 1 Lamp - F54T5-HO - Fluorescent Grow Light Fixture - Spectralux 6500K Lamps Included - Reflector Not Included - Sun Blaze 960320: Home Improvement

I have used these in the past with great results. You can pick them up at your local hydroponics store and still spend less than you would for sockets and CFLS

Making videos about fish stuff, and fixing things: http://www.youtube.com/user/Ifixstuf
1987 is offline  
post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Missouri
Posts: 24
What do you consider a lot? I was thinking 6-8 and would rather have 6-8 cfls than 4-6 four ft bulbs. I have seen 55 gallon tanks with four cfls mounted vertically that have no problem lighting the tank. My 77 is the exact depth of my 55 gallon, only difference is two feet more length.

I have little interest in staggering four ft shop lights. The point of the cfls is to have a clean uniform system. If I need to create a reflector this isn't a problem either.
Sliderfish is offline  
post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 09:39 PM
Planted Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: MI
Posts: 168
A T5HO is around 4500 lumens. A 23 watt CFL is about 1600. I view it as are you getting the same amount of light because otherwise its not at all fair to compare.

So if you think that 8 CFL is enough for your tank then it would be 12800 lumens. It would only take 3 t5HOs and you would have more light than that.

So comparing 3 to 8 bulbs do you still prefer the CFL?
fearsome is offline  
post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Missouri
Posts: 24
Well this is where I need assistance. More light is not always better IMO. I don't want to have so much that I am going to be crossing into a high tech project. The problem isn't what will give me more as much as what will fit best without breaking the bank. I have access to CFL bulbs and sockets and everything I need to wire them up at much cheaper cost than even shop lights as I am from a family of carpenters/contractors. A 15 Gallon column tank is taller than the tank I have so I know they will work...

So my question never was should I use CFL's or not...I am looking for people who have done this and may have experience with CFLs and how they set up their tank.
Sliderfish is offline  
post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Missouri
Posts: 24
I can wrap the entire inside of the canopy in polished aluminum flashing if I need to lol
Sliderfish is offline  
post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Missouri
Posts: 24
OK I just found my old 48" dual t5 I had on a 55 gallon tank. 54 watt t5ho tubes. It currently has a 10k and an actinic in it so I could just swap em out and use this fixture, but I am still thinking about doing the CFL's just to say I did...I gotta get out of the house before I build something I can't come back from and it consumes me lol
Sliderfish is offline  
post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 10:54 PM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Posts: 304
Vertically mounted CFL's work great on my 20H. I had to cut down to 2 and reduce them from 23w to to the little 13w guys to keep it in the low tech realm. I think 4-6 23W bulbs mounted vertically would be more than enough for Crypts and Dwarf Sag.
Tzac is offline  
post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Missouri
Posts: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tzac View Post
Vertically mounted CFL's work great on my 20H. I had to cut down to 2 and reduce them from 23w to to the little 13w guys to keep it in the low tech realm. I think 4-6 23W bulbs mounted vertically would be more than enough for Crypts and Dwarf Sag.
Sweet! Did you use any kind of reflectors or run them straight?
Sliderfish is offline  
post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 11:27 PM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Silver Spring, MD
Posts: 367
Sliderfish if you check out hoppy's, lighting with par, thread at 21" you would get 80-90 par. CFL's are great, I'm a bit peeved I switched out my cfls and brooder domes for a t5ho light. The down sides are aesthetics and spread. The light doesn't get into all of the corners. I read a thread that suggests painting the inside of the brooder domes white resolves the spread issue.
jkpedrita is offline  
post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Missouri
Posts: 24
Wow that's higher than I expected. I saw his detailed post with graphs a while back. I'll search it back out and see what it says about raising it from the substrate in order to stay medium low.
Sliderfish is offline  
Reply

Tags
cfl, diy, lighting

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome