$2 Fluval Edge DIY Mylar Balloon Reflector - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 04:11 PM
Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 21,015
Originally Posted by Jaguar View Post
I remember reading just recently that unless a reflector's surface is completely smooth, it doesn't make much of a reflector at all.. the wrinkles/creases throw the light off. I was going to put aluminum foil in my hood until I read that. You'd get extremely similar results from just using a flat white spraypaint.
You can do experiments to see if this is true. I did, and found that aluminum foil, even wrinkled, as it usually is, is a great reflector, better than white paint, but not a great deal better. Aluminized mylar was a poor third in my tests. It is hard to understand, perhaps, but excellent reflectivity does not mean a good mirror surface. Excellent reflectivity means 95% of the light hitting the reflector is reflected. A mirror surface means there is very little distortion when using the mirror, but it may reflect only 50% of the light hitting it. Ordinary glass mirrors have poor reflectivity, since there is no reason for them to have good reflectivity. Mylar balloon material also has a good mirror effect, but not generally good reflectivity. Aluminized mylar that has good reflectivity will also have a thick coat of aluminum, otherwise some of the light goes right through the mylar and aluminum. That means it is expensive.

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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-25-2011, 12:46 AM
Algae Grower
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Toronto Canada
Posts: 18
I just bought a cheapo T8 from Home Depot. I liked the idea of the "diamond" fixture and it looks more shiny. Another fixture had a gull wing type of metal reflector, which looked better, but the bulbs were far from the reflector.
The brightest light seemed to come from the $ 18 white skimpy reflector that has the bulbs up close.

I think I'll get another one - 128W of T8 on a 2' tall tank should be able to reach the bottom with a decent amt. of light.

I tried it with some foil and with mylar, but the white seems just about as good
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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 02:23 PM
Algae Grower
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Toronto Canada
Posts: 18
I've been checking out the reflector a bit more closely.

I put a piece of foil doubled over, as an edge between the two bulbs, and circling under the bulbs.

After tweaking the foil a bit this way and that...

I looked at the reflector with sunglasses on, and squinted eyes to reduce the brightness

The bulbs themselves actually look LESS bright than the foil areas
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fluval, fluval edge, hagen, mylar, reflector

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