DIY lighting help - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 05:17 AM Thread Starter
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DIY lighting help

If anyone can help I appreciate it.
I am attempting my first planted tank after being inspired by this site. I am on a tight budget and decided to try and make a cheap end lighting system. I bought 3 10.5 inch Brooder Clamp Lights and 3 200w equivelant 6500k spiral daylight cfl bulbs. I also have a coralife 65w 6700k cfl hood and bulb they all sit on my tank that is 36x13x20. I'm trying to grow dwarf hair grass and java plants
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 04-02-2013, 10:35 PM
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I can supply my own DIY anecdote if it helps, though I'm not certain what specific help you're looking for. I took two strip light casings from a couple cheap hoods for 29-gallons and cut their backs off, then bolted them together. The resulting space was enough room for 4x24in t8 bulbs, each 15-20 watts. I simply bolted the connectors to the top of the hood and ran the wires out the back. I then bolted a piece of mylar to the inside top. I mounted two ballasts to the back, each to power two bulbs so I could use staggered timers. While the structure is a little flimsy, it does the job nicely and has worked for over 4 years with no issues. My biggest concerns were heat and too much flexing but neither proved to be a problem. The inside of the hood gets to about 90 degrees after extended running, which doesn't pose any hazard to the materials used. My advice is to be mindful of how hot your bulbs get in comparison to the materials you use, and make sure to follow the wiring instructions on any equipment you buy (though spirals have internal ballasts). And use a glass canopy.
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