After scouring the internet to find a low budget hanging light fixture, I found only a few snippets of useful information. After having a crack at making my own on a (very) student budget, I decided to share my method in making what, I think, is a successful solution to a problem many experience.
This is the finished product. In total it cost me about £20 (could probably be done for less, with more imagination).
I began with the following:
Aluminium Tape (Was hanging around)
Wire coat hanger (Also "hanging" arounds
Square-line PVCU guttering (£5.79 for about 8ft)
Jack chain (used for hanging baskets etc. - £1.89 p/m)
Medium screw hooks (£4.68 for 12)
'Rope Grip' (£3.28 for 4)
I started off by cutting the guttering to size. I measured my light fixture, and left 1" on either end. This allows for an margin of error, and keeps the fixture nicely contained.
I measured to find the appropriate support point for my light bulbs in relation to their position in the guttering. Since I used an Arcadia unit, I marked where the clips would normally fit at either end of the bulb.
I then measured the depth of the end caps themselves. Since the lengths of wire coat hanger will be holding the bulb in place, it is important to ensure a snug fit between the plastic guttering and the wire coat hanger.
Drill holes where appropriate. For me, this was about 1.5" from the outer edge of the guttering, and 1" from either end.
Line the inside of the reflector housing with the aluminium tape. I got the best results by smoothing the tape on with a cloth as a I pulled the backing away.
Push the wire coat hanger through the holes to create supports for the bulbs.
The coat hanger can then be bent to lock it in place or cut, depending on how neat you want to be.
With the bulbs removed, measure 3" in from either end (length ways) of the guttering, then measure an equal distance from front to back to get a point in the middle of the guttering.
Front to back:
End to end:
Measure up holes to fit the rope grip hooks, bearing in mind these will be used to attach the chain to the reflector.
Feed the rope grips through one end of the chain, and attach to the reflector. Repeat for either side.
The screw hooks will then need mounting in the ceiling. You will need to measure the distance of the hooks in relation to the grip hooks on the reflector (I measured the distance from the wall to the grip hooks, and the centre of the tank to grip hooks).
Once assembled, I went from this:
Light way too close to the surface. Algae galore.
Results remain to be seen, but I can adjust the height as I see fit
(I know its off centre; my measurements suck).
I hope this has helped someone. I realise my articulation may be slightly off, since I've had a couple of celebratory beers after my creativity outburst, but don't hesitate to critique/enquire.
Thanks all, and sorry for the monumental post!