$2 Fluval Edge DIY Mylar Balloon Reflector - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-24-2010, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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$2 Fluval Edge DIY Mylar Balloon Reflector

Here's what I did with my Fluval Edge canopy and a balloon and so can you...

Lights:
- upgraded to LEDs, replacing the Halogen Bulbs.
- took apart an ikea floor lamp and used the socket and cord to zip tie a 10w Coralife mini compact.

I zip-tied the bulb to the provided canopy like many others have done. I used electrical tape to secure some aluminum foil to the lighting arm where the bulb touches in order to add some heat protection.

Reflector:
- I took apart a Mylar balloon and turned the hood that came with the aquarium into a giant Mylar reflector. A cheap alternative to maximizing light. The mylar shields the plastic from getting too hot where the bulb touches. The reflector really helps with the compact fluorescent bulb. The angle isn't ideal but there's only so much you can cram under the fluval canopy.

The entire cost of this reflector $2















Check out my Fluval Edge Journal



Last edited by Fat Guy; 01-25-2010 at 05:48 AM.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-24-2010, 08:36 PM
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good idea
i hope that space is enough

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-23-2010, 04:33 PM
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Interesting. Any problems with heat?

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-23-2010, 06:33 PM
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If you were worried about heat you could stick the mylar to some plastic card or something and mount it so to leave a gap between it and the mesh. I might have a go at that myself.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-23-2010, 05:27 AM Thread Starter
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I haven't had any heat issues. Works well (better with the reflector than without). A fun project to do if you have time.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-20-2011, 06:31 AM
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Could the same be done with some tin foil instead of the balloon? Or is the balloon more reflective?
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-25-2011, 04:01 PM
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Could the same be done with some tin foil instead of the balloon? Or is the balloon more reflective?
Yes, you could use aluminum foil instead. Mylar is actually the name of the plastic film that the balloon is made of, and in this case they've aluminized the plastic to make it reflective as well. The plastic is fairly tough stuff and relatively easy to work with, unlike foil.

Google-fu tells me that the shiny side of aluminum foil is approximately 90% reflective, mylar is approximately 95% reflective, so there is a small difference between the two. Whether that 1/18th increase in reflectivity is important or not is up to you.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-25-2011, 06:55 PM
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so i did that a couple months ago to my 3 gallon tank. after 6months of running looked at light and the Mylar is clear. i saw a couple of tiny flakes of shiny Mylar around tank. looks like humidity and temp dissolve the metal part of the film. just a heads up
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-29-2011, 04:54 AM
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I wonder what material or process is involved to adhere the aluminum to the Mylar? If there is some type of glue used, maybe it breaks down over time. They are designed to hold Helium right? I don't know if that has anything to do with it though. I'll bet the thin aluminum gets brittle with expansion and contraction from low levels of heat over a period of time, and slowly loses purchase of the Mylar.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-29-2011, 09:14 AM
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Another option would be to use double sided tape and roll kitchen foil over it. It has a bit better reflectivity and more durable in long term. Mylar will loose its coating over time in heat and moisture
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-30-2011, 12:59 AM
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Another option, although a bit more pricey, is Nashua foil tape. It is used primarily for duct work, is water resistant and has a short term temp rating of 200 degrees F. Goes for around $25 a roll of 2 1/2 inch x 60 yards.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-13-2011, 05:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bustah8 View Post
Another option, although a bit more pricey, is Nashua foil tape. It is used primarily for duct work, is water resistant and has a short term temp rating of 200 degrees F. Goes for around $25 a roll of 2 1/2 inch x 60 yards.
There is a Nashua foil tape sold in e-b-a-y for $18 shipped.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 04:00 AM
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 04:45 AM
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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.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 06:00 AM
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I used tin foil... meh. Looked pretty shatty but better than nothing I guess :p
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