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Old 10-19-2005, 08:03 AM   #1
cyberia
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Need Advice: Outdoor MH for planted tank


Hi all,

I was planning to install 2 x 70 watt for my 4 feeter. I plan to buy those outdoor MH used to light up advertisement or building. It is cheap and using double ended MH bulb. I don't want those special made MH for aquarium as price is a concern. The unit is compact one with electronic ballast. Although compact and slim, it still measured a bit like a typical 15 inches monitor.

My question are:

1. Does the outdoor unit MH suitable for indoor use ?

2. Would the electromagnetic wave goes interferring with my electronics or even harmful to human ?

3. What are those possible bad factors to be considered?

4. What is the different between single-ended and double-ended MH bulb in terms of advantages ?


Regards,
Ed
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Old 10-19-2005, 02:56 PM   #2
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Hi. I see you are in M'sia so the way I use billboard MH system can be copied by you on a very very low price (which can get to around $40-50 right here). If you are going to use such system, make sure you do a research in the availability of high Kelvin MH bulb (which happens to be 150W as the most favorite size for billboards here). Should you find 150W to be easily available, stick with it. I suggest using 150W Osram 5500K. Do not worry about it is stated as a 5500K, I see that this bulb is too white to be called a 5500K, more like a 6500+ K fluoroscent to me. It is darn cheap also at a mere $10 or so (It must have been Osram licensed Indonesian or China product). As far as seeing how it burns, it looks almost the same as the aquarium counterpart.

Does it works? yes. I installed a CO2 injection yesterday on my 260 gal tank lit by 3 x 150 billboard MH and plants started to pearl within an hour (they usually did this only during water change). This is a proof that such MH effective in kicking plants into photosynthesis. Just be sure to pick a fixture that fits to your tank in terms of light coverage (look at the reflector and see how wide it beams... you have to adjust the height from water if it beams too wide/narrow)

1. Does the outdoor unit MH suitable for indoor use ?
So far I say yes. With 6 hours a day of full 3 x 150W blast along with 4 x 40W fluoroscent, the fixture remains steady burning and output stays constant. I have been using it for almost a month, and a well known shop I know had it running for almost a year without any failure. It does not melt or toast. Just be careful to light it in a considerable duration at once and give it a descent air circulation. If it stands the heat of day, cool of night and blistering sun when its hot, acid rain, pollution , etc, it should be able to survive indoor.

2. Would the electromagnetic wave goes interferring with my electronics or even harmful to human ?
I dont know about this. Older type ballast uses rolled wire in the system which utilizes magnet and electromagnet wave, and it seems no one have problem with that. I have my MH running within 4m from my wireless telephone, 5m from my 2M communication radio system, 3, from my TV and I have my mobile phone in my pocket when I did my tank. No interference so far. My mobile phone actually is a more electromagnetic generator, my monitor flickers whenever I'm about to receive SMS or a call.

3. What are those possible bad factors to be considered?
Aquarium supply shops hate you for being such a cheapskate kidding....
Well it is clear enough safety is the concern here. At just $40-50 a set, you have to be careful of what you choose. Be safe and pick the best billboard system you can find and make sure you did a very save routing for the wiring and stuff. I mean this is a DIY project and it is demanding in terms of care when setting up.

4. What is the different between single-ended and double-ended MH bulb in terms of advantages ?
I dunno about this.... maybe someone knowledgeable can explain it. So far I have seen only the type of MH bulb that has a fitting on both sides of the bulb (guess it is the double ended MH bulb). Advantages : so far I have seen only the double edged one, so definately better availability and lower prices.
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Old 10-20-2005, 02:27 AM   #3
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3 x 150 w MH ! Can fry eggs with that setting ?
I think for 4 feet tank like mine, will need only 2. Imagine the size of MH here can be as large as a 15" monitor.

Yes, the LFS hates me very much. I am so cheap-skates that I use bottled mineral water to do my pH pen calibration.

Thanks for your reply anyway. In the long run, MH bulb can last many years. That will save me money on changing 5 x FL (full spectrum) every year.

Will consider that.
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Old 10-20-2005, 12:32 PM   #4
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Man, I would hate to have your electric bills! IMO MH lighting can be too hot and too intense, but that's just my personal taste Medicineman, that tank is a monster!!
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Old 10-20-2005, 01:28 PM   #5
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Keep it for two or three years then in terms of electrical bill, the price I save for using billboard MH will be the same as the pricing of a new T5, compacts or a genuine aquarium MH system.

I'm not too worried by electrical bill right now. The MH only light up for 5 hours a day for a quality full blast to get the plants into top gear photosynthesis. The rest comes from 4 x 40W fluoroscent for ambient lighting. I guess light quality can topple off lighting period but never otherwise (think of the plants grown outside, full blast sun reaches them only to several hours and not for a whole day)

Definately I saved a lot in terms of initial cost which is great and likely to grow whatever I want in the process (depends on how well do I fertilize, CO2, etc). I prefer to use MH system then using T5 or compacts in the first place because of the pricing/light intensity. I saw on the light/watt table that MH burns as efficient as T5/compacts (even a bit better). I was so distressed at the beginning when I have to find a good source of lighting for such a big tank at price as low as possible, because I know I need at least 2,5W/gal to grow nicely. I ended up paying a visit on a LFS and there I saw a 300+gal tank lit with 3 x 150W MH fixture that looks so odd. After interrogating the keeper, he admited that those are gardening MH fixture, a gift brought by his friend from Singapore and I'm sure I have seen it somewhere else locally. I was right. They use it everywhere from inside malls, offices, gardens and especially every single of so many billboards that glows up the night. I ended up hunting billboard MH since it is supposed to be more indestructible. I got more than what I'm looking for. That 2,5W/gal thing is only for small tank, in a big tank such light level wash out the colour of the top plants. I'm satisfied with the penetration and intensity for each inch of the tank surface. I'm able to grow many things so far and even java moss wall as well as java moss carpet on the bottom (with a newly added pressurised CO2 system things are going much better).

Monster?
Better than returning to saltwater reef setup... to do it the correct way I have to use at least 4 of that MH for a full 8 hours. And seeing how 20,000K bulb cost.... pheew I'll think twice..
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Old 10-21-2005, 01:38 AM   #6
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Ok, I have one more question.

Can I plug the billboard MH into any house-hold socket or do I need to modify the main fuse amp ?

In Malaysia, our voltage is 240 V, most using 13 A fuse for normal household eletcronics. Main fuses are ranged from 10 A to 20 A.
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Old 10-21-2005, 08:52 AM   #7
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I'm not a good one in electricity but what I did is I asked the shop which sells me the system to give it to me as a ready to use one. I told the guy that I'm using it for planted aquarium and emphasize it that way, which means 5500k daylight bulb is a must and he have to set the system with house compatible sockets and fuse.
I think you dont have to worry about this as the shops which sells billboard MH are likely to sell it as parts, not as a system. The casing goes separate so you can choose which size, coverage, quality you want. The electrical components are options which to be selected, there are pure chinese brands, german licensed products and true quality components. The bulbs goes separate also ranging from yellowish to whitish. opefully in M'sia it goes the same to ease up your problem. I'm sure the billboard MH voltage would be the same as house voltage because it goes from the same source of power poles, without any further transformers and such other than the electrical company standards.
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