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majorwoo 12-31-2012 02:06 AM

Old T8 hood converted to 4xCFL
So I decided I wanted more light. I had a 2xT5NO and the original single T8. I was debating running both, when I decided that I might as well just make the leap.

I took my old T8 hood (it helps if you have a beautiful assistant)

I took everything apart (one of the fun parts)

I removed the existing reflector:

And hammed it out, then rebent it to fit the shape of the hood after the old ballast, starter, etc were removed (you can see the scraps of metal where I cut it as it was too long after reshaping):

I went to Lowes and bought 4 generic light fixtures (Servalite H#884413 $3 each), a bag of wire nuts ($2) and a pack of bolts($2)/nuts($1)/washers($2) that fit the mounting hole in the socket. I drilled 4 holes where I wanted the lights to be (spacing them out roughly even) and started wiring the socket in:

I kept all the wiring under the reflector, and after putting it back in the hood roughly to make sure it fit:

Then tightened everything down and installed my bulbs.

I ended up with 4x 14w @ 5000k, I may look around for some other bulb options but the research done seems to indicate the color rating on the CFL's isn't as important.

I took some before and after shots of the tank itself, but the lighting difference in the room and the dust leftover from the Flourite sand attributes to some of the color differences that you see in the picture.



Having caught the DIY bug, I believe I need a pressurized CO2 system next, and I might modify my light in the future to have a lunar light like I saw some people using.

GeToChKn 12-31-2012 03:45 AM

I did the same with my fixture, I did 3x13w 6500K over a 20gal. Amazing plant growth after that.

For reference, under the T8, I had 1 val, about 3" long. It never died but never grew for over a year, just stayed at about 3". Switched my light and now about 8 months later.

majorwoo 12-31-2012 07:25 PM

It seems one of the CFL's was defective, as the bulb was cracked this morning. I returned the pack of 4, and I'm now running 4x 13w 6700k (which they didn't have yesterday when I looked for ~6500k)

So I'm happy it broke I guess :)

Sethjohnson30 01-02-2013 10:02 PM

So you have 4 cfl and 2 t5no?

majorwoo 01-03-2013 06:47 AM

No, sorry I removed the 2x T5NO.

This is roughly based on hoppy's work here:
and some napkin math based comparisons of the chart below, I suspect I am over 100 PAR with my CFL setup

*edit to add*
When looking at this chart note that these bulbs were mounted vertically - not horizontally as I did. This has been shown to be more efficient (vertically)

Take a look here:

I need to hookup with a local aquatic club with a PAR meter and really get some numbers.

Sethjohnson30 01-03-2013 08:23 AM

Wow I'm gonna give that a shot

majorwoo 01-03-2013 02:06 PM

For anyone who tries this, please note that some CFL's are larger then others. If you are retrofitting a T8 (or possibly other sized hoods) you need to make sure the bulb fits inside the hood. There were several different options of bulbs that fit, but some of them were much larger then others - especially if you were looking at the higher wattage bulbs.

I used the "micro mini Sylvania 6700k 13w = 60w bulbs" in the end. (Lowes had them, I'm just linking the amazon to show them)

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