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Action53 10-14-2012 01:01 AM

Custom lighting on a budget, help me please

I have one of these floresent lights leftover from my garage, it's 4ft long and 10 1/2 inches wide. I have a bunch of skinny (slightly bigger than a dime) sylvania 32 watt bulbs for it. I also have some fatter (between quarter and half dollar) superior lamp heavy duty F40T-12/xtra brite bulbs but I dont know the wattage(they don't say). Does anyone know the wattage of these? Will either of these work for my planted tank? I want to cut plexi glas or acrilic to fit the top of my tank then hang the fixture I have from the ceiling. I have a 50 gallon tank measuring 1ft wide, 4 ft long and 20 inches deep. I'm on a super tight budget and my two 2ft fixtures with 18inch bulbs aren't cutting it.

Action53 10-14-2012 02:33 AM

I googled the heck out of it and this is what I found. The superior lamp bulb is a T12, 5100K, 72 watt, 3700 photonic lumens and 6050 seeable lumens. I have no Idea what all that means but hopefully it'll help answer my questions.

Steelwolve 10-14-2012 03:14 AM

It will work, it just wont be optimal growing conditions for high light species. Its K rating stands for "Kelvin" and refers to the color of the bulb from what I have read 5000-10000K is where u wanna be with most people saying that 6500K is the best for growth. But it all depends on what you have planted. As for the wattages more watts=better but the Watts per gallon rule is outdated at this point so I wouldnt be too focused on it. Just use it till you can get something, better thats what im doing. I run 2 40W 6500k t12s and 2 20w 5000k t8s over a 90g with a shoplight fixture. I want to upgrade soon but honestly my plants are growing pretty well with what im using now. Also I paid 10$ a side for some cheap 1/8thick plexi from lowes to cover my tank, it works but its warped and sagsl now and I wish I woulda got 1/4" thick. But of cousre thats twice the price:icon_roll Good luck and look at posts from Hoppy regarding PAR, its the measurement of Photosynthsizable:icon_eek:(is that even a word@!) light, basically.

lochaber 10-14-2012 03:38 AM

unless it's braced, plexiglass/acrylic will eventually sag. might want to get a pane of glass cut to fit the top of the tank.

accordztech 10-14-2012 05:39 AM

Use the 4ft diamond shop lights at home depot. I remember the par readings were Damn good because of the reflectors.

There was a thread about it a few weeks ago

Action53 10-14-2012 08:22 PM

I used the fixture I had and some plywood scraps from other progects and made a hood. It weighs about 20 pounds or so. I did it all today, I still have to sand it down and paint it nice but I don't think it looks that bad for $0 invested in it.
The lighting I'm currently using
Front View, I need to do something about the leakage around the seams.
Side view
Lid above the fixture open
Front open to access tank/feed fish
Looking up into the front at the fixture two 72 watt, 5100 K full spectrum T12 bulbs. They sit about 8 inches from the water.

Action53 10-20-2012 05:10 PM

Any more thoughts/suggestions?

TheFoleys 10-20-2012 09:55 PM

Paint the inside so it doesn't rot out. plain white will increase light stray light return.To make the outside pretty you can go to a craft store and get a centerpiece stencil to spray and make it stand out less. A strip of something glued on the inside will stop light from escaping the crack. Some little cabinet door knobies wouldn't hurt. If you buy rustoleum wood paint (not reg metal) it can be glopped on thick and smoothed with damp sand paper to get the plywood looking less plywoody.
Post pics as it comes along.

Action53 06-03-2013 01:07 AM

I finally got around to finishing it and I've done alot more aquascaping since the last picture.

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