Easy, cheap and effective DIY reflector - The Planted Tank Forum

 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-10-2003, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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Easy, cheap and effective DIY reflector

I went through several iterations of selfmade reflectors, and finally I think I found a very good solution.

So I went to HD and bought a glass cutter ($3.75) and a sixpack of mirror tiles ($10). I already had some silicone glue and a steel square to help cutting the glass.

I have NEVER done that before, but once you figure out the right pressure scoring and breaking the glass is pretty easy.

I cut a few strips of 4x1.5 inches and glued them into the hood of my brand new 10 gal AGA. Did it on one side and took the picture.



I would say it easily doubles the light that goes into the tank. Actually I think it more than doubles it, but who cares. The two 10 Watt bulbs light up the tank sufficiently, definitely more than two 20 Watt bulbs with the original "reflector".

I will keep cutting and adding mirrors to all my fixtures, except the two from AH supply... hmmm, maybe those too.

The only disadvantage I could see is the added weight. For the little 10 gal hood it doesn't matter, larger ones with lots of fluorescents might be difficult.

Anybody tried that?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-10-2003, 11:22 PM
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I haven't used mirror tiles, as long as the glass isn't very think they should make excellent reflectors. In the past people have used regular mirror glass which is 1/4" thick plate glass. Too much light was lost going through the plate glass twice in order to reflect back. Personally I use mirror reflective mylar which is almost weightless and can be attached with spray or contact adhesives.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-10-2003, 11:22 PM
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WOW....did you get all the parts at home depot?

I am going to try this in my 100 gallon and see how it works!

Regards,

Mike

Mike
100 Gal Planted, two Filstar XP3, Milwaukee SMS 122 pH controller, Milwaukee reg/bubble, compressed CO2, reactor 1000, 7 WCMM, 12 Ottos, 14 neons, 1 SAE, 3 German blue rams, 2 Florida Flag Fish

10 Gallon...20 Endler's live bearers planted, peat/kitty litter/sand substrate

15 Gallon...Just Schultz Aquatic Plant soil
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-10-2003, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Hampton
I haven't used mirror tiles, as long as the glass isn't very think they should make excellent reflectors. In the past people have used regular mirror glass which is 1/4" thick plate glass. Too much light was lost going through the plate glass twice in order to reflect back. Personally I use mirror reflective mylar which is almost weightless and can be attached with spray or contact adhesives.
The tiles are thin... I have been using mylar as well, but had problems with it shrinking and bubbling close to hot PC's. For regular fluorescents that get only hand warm it is still an excellent choice.
The mirror lets you shape your own reflector, while with mylar you need something shaped to attach it to.

Yep, the tiles and the glass cutter and the metal square are from Home Depot. Try it on part of a bulb... and you will be amazed at the difference too.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-10-2003, 11:37 PM
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Wasserpest,

I will post a pic in a day or so about what it looks like (my hood) The bulbs are very close together. I think that All I will be able to do is just glue the mirror tiles on top as a roof and perhaps put some at an angle on the front of the hood....at least a fraction of the light will get in there right? We shall see...I know the angle of incidence should equal the angle of reflection so only a little may be put back into the tank but anything will help.

Mike

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100 Gal Planted, two Filstar XP3, Milwaukee SMS 122 pH controller, Milwaukee reg/bubble, compressed CO2, reactor 1000, 7 WCMM, 12 Ottos, 14 neons, 1 SAE, 3 German blue rams, 2 Florida Flag Fish

10 Gallon...20 Endler's live bearers planted, peat/kitty litter/sand substrate

15 Gallon...Just Schultz Aquatic Plant soil
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-10-2003, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
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Hmmm yeah of course... you don't want to BLOCK any light either, even if it is with mirror tiles :lol: If the bulbs are too close together that might be tricky.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-01-2004, 02:03 AM
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Where do you buy this reflective mylar? I went to HD today and asked two sales people if they had it but each only showed me those reflective numbers for mailboxes.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-01-2004, 02:25 AM
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Is a mirror more reflective than a metal polished reflector? Where can you buy metal reflectors locally?

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-01-2004, 02:42 AM
Ace
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Ya mirror wins.If not how can mirror reflect LAZER rays used in super high security buildings..(is my mind going to far from this topic?)

New Tank!

80 g, Eheim Pro II w Hagen Surface Skimmer, TetraTec IN-1000, JBL Aquabasis and Sand subtrate,
1st 40w Lighting: 40W Marine Glo
2nd 80w Lighting: 2 40W Power Glo
3rd 80w Lighting: 2 40W Aqua Glo
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-01-2004, 04:53 AM
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Good job!

I've considered just buying som AHS reflectors for other projects, but think I'll go with the mirrored tiles now.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-01-2004, 01:52 PM
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The AH Supply reflectors are designed to work with a twin tube PC light. They would not work nearly as well with any other type of light. One of the things that makes a good reflector great is when it's designed to work with a particular type of bulb. A reflector made for T8 bulbs would be much different than a reflector made for T12 bulbs.

If I remember correctly Specular Aluminum is a better reflector of light than mirrors are because the SA reflects from the surface and with a mirror the light has to pass through the glass twice. Mirrors are used many places like security systems because they are CHEAP, not because they are the best reflector.
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