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post #1 of (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 03:43 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1
LED light fixture for 2-gallon tank using components

I wanted to build an LED light fixture that would fit a 2-gallon tank, support demanding species like Hemianthus callitrichoides, and be affordable. I had limited DIY experience, but I found components from that made the project tractable. Photos below show the fixture and diagram how it was built.

Perspective view

Top view irectlink

Front view (including tank) irectlink

Total cost was about $85. This cost does not include tools and supplies. Working continuously, assembly would probably take 5-10 hours (excluding dry times for adhesives and solvents).

The fixture has been in use for 5 months. It has supported a wide range of species (Cabomba pulcherrima, Eleocharis parvula, Hemianthus callitrichoides, Limnophilia indica, Ludwigia arcuata, Ludwigia palustris, Rotala rotundifolia, Myriophyllum tuberculatum). Growth has been relatively lush—I’ve gotten a good carpet of H. callitrichoides. The light is also strong enough to give yellowish-orangish color to L. arcuata, L. palustris, and R. rotundifolia. I dose 0.15 mL Flourish twice weekly and use DIY CO2. Livestock is Neocaridina heteropoda var. red.

-4 LED Moonlight kit ($42 + $12.66 shipping;
*2x2 Cool White XP-G (specially requested for additional $2 because kit includes 2x 2 XP-G Royal Blue by default)
*1x Moonlight Driver with Power Cord
* 1x Start & End Kit
* 1x 4 inch Standard Connector
* 2x 12 inch Extension Connector
-4x60 Degrees LED Lens ($4 ;
-10”x1” Heatsink ($9;
-1/8” thick acrylic sheet ($2)
-2xbookshelf brackets ($15; Rubbermaid)
-picture wire (already had)

-power drill with 1/8” bit

-thermal adhesive (Arctic Silver)

-acrylic solvent
-screw driver
-razor blade knife
-aquarium-safe silicone

Assembly instructions:
(i) Drill 2 holes on each side of heat sink using 1/8” bit (1/4” from edge; see photo for placement).
(ii) Attach 2x2 Cool White XP-G to heat sink using thermal adhesive (see
(iii) Connect together the 2x2 Cool White XP-G, start connector, end connector, standard connector, extension connector, and moonlight driver with power cord (see Test that LEDs light.
(iv) Attach lenses on LED boards using superglue (see
(v) Cut parts 1 and 2 for acrylic splash guard (see photo). Cut parts by scoring acrylic with razor blade knife and snapping the acrylic along the scored lines. Drill 2 holes on part 2 with 1/8 bit ( 1/4” from edge; see photo for placement). Make sure holes overlap those on heat sink.
(vi) Weld together parts 1 and 2 of splash guard using acrylic solvent.
(vii) Attach splash guard to heat sink using small drop of silicone
(viii) Mount bookshelf brackets on wall.
(ix) Using picture wire, hang heat sink (with LEDs and splash guard attached) from bookshelf brackets. Thread the wire through holes on heat sink and brackets. Twist the ends of wire to secure (see photo).
(x) Using zip ties, secure the extension connector on the moonlight driver and mount the driver to the bracket. Wrap the start connector around driver and secure zip tie around it. (This prevents the connector from being pulled out from the driver.) Secure the driver to the bracket by using a second zip tie.
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