An optimized 10gal canopy - The Planted Tank Forum

 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-10-2006, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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An optimized 10gal canopy

If things ain't broke, I get bored and try to fix them So I have this 10gal hood now for a few years, and it works great, therefore I want to get rid of it and try something new.

Goals here are to make a decent looking hood, using less wattage than now, and getting more light into the tank. Currently, 2 13W PC bulbs combined with AHS reflectors are using 30W of energy.

I want to reduce that by 50%, and at the same time get more light coverage. I am going to use a single 15W T8 bulb, and overdrive it to ~20W. The current AHS 13W reflector will be replaced with a larger AHS reflector, like the ones used for 55 and 96W PCs.

As often in life, everything starts with a piece of scrap wood, an old electronic Helios ballast ripped from an unused fixture, leftover pieces from AHS reflectors, a bulb and some endcaps.



Features that I want to implement - a thermistor controlled fan to be used in Summer, some high powered LED beams to highlight nooks and crannies in my tank, as well as the usual blue moonlight. I am thinking of using a plexiglass/lexan cover screwed to the fixture to prevent bowing. Plus I want easy disconnects for the lights and fan on the back so I can remove the canopy easily for water changes.

Oh yeah, there is no rush to get this done at all... if it takes a couple of months, fine.

Any thoughts, experiences, things I should be aware of or implement or avoid?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-10-2006, 10:34 PM
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Have you checked out Quantam Aquatics T6 bulbs? They use the same endcaps and ballast as T8s, but are thinner and may or may not put out more light in general. I'm not sure about overdriving them though.

I use one with a homemade mylar reflector, and can grow a pretty good variety of plants in my 15 high. Overall, though, I really wish I had a 36 cf.
fixture.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-10-2006, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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I haven't checked out those T6 bulbs, thank you for pointing them out. Petsolutions seems to have a good selection at decent prices...

I have a few GE 9325K Aquarays and AGA 8000K bulbs sitting around from previous purchases, so I will use those first.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2007, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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LOL. It's been a while... No rush though.

In the meantime, I made great progress. Managed to cut some wood. Bought some acrylic that will cover the hood from the bottom. Scoured that and broke it to size.



Also, I got the little LEDs.



Like I said. No rush.

Need to get the fan. Got a transformer that can drive the LEDs, need to find a resistor to reduce the voltage from 5.15V to 4.7V.

Give me a few months...
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-04-2007, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
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Procrastination is great... this little project had been sitting for a year in my garage, untouched but not forgotten.

Finally got some time on my hands, and decided to quickly finish it up before it gets pushed off again. Originally I had great ideas with this canopy (LED lighting, controlled cooling) which I scaled down for the sake of simplicity. Still there are a few interesting details that I wanted to share...



The AH Supply reflectors work well for T8 bulbs. I had some pieces that I combined in this hood, they were originally part of 36" reflectors. Toward the tank, the canopy is covered with a piece of clear acrylic (Plexiglass). That has some advantages - lighter and easier to remove from the tank than cover glasses, good protection for the parts inside the canopy that don't like to get wet.



To extend the lifespan of the acrylic, I covered it with a piece of regular stretch film. That protects it from ugly water stains, the film can be changed whenever it seems necessary.

The bulb (here I am using a 15W GE Aquarays F&S bulb) is overdriven to 21 Watts with an old electronic ballast that I had laying around. Even so, the bulb doesn't get hot, and there is no need for a fan at the moment.



Whenever I get around to it, I will paint the canopy, add a little LED night light, and some sort of hooks on the side that prevent it from sliding into the tank when upright.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-04-2007, 11:02 PM
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Good job, more pics...
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-04-2007, 11:55 PM
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Cool little project. I'll be sure to check back on it in 6 months or so...lol

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-05-2007, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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Hehe, yes, I'll post an update in a year or so when it is completed.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-31-2009, 04:39 PM
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soo... about those completion pics a year later (or two) hahaha
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-31-2009, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Hehe, forgot all about this. Besides adding a little blue LED nightlight, I never changed it from how it looked in post #5. It worked well enough. In the meantime I took down this 10gal tank and now the canopy rests with others of its kind in the garage.
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