2.5g Mini-bow LED Lighting?
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:31 PM   #1
Oneiros
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2.5g Mini-bow LED Lighting?


So, anyone who's every had one of these ubiquitous 2.5 gallon plastic tanks (usually by Aqueon) knows that the lighting is kind of a joke.

The newer model's filter tray blocks all the light in the left third of the tank (though it's really easy to get a quarter inch thick algae carpet growing on top of the filter pad). The socket placement means the right third of the tank is in more shadow.

I long ago ditched the filter tray for an Azoo Palm HOB filter. I've been using a Coralife compact fluorescent in place of the incandescent the tank comes with, but now I want to get the tank light more evenly. Has anyone modded one of these tanks with LED lights of any kind? If so, details please!

Oh, I can't do open top with those clip-on LED lamps... I have cats!

Last edited by Oneiros; 02-20-2013 at 04:49 PM.. Reason: Open Top disclaimer
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:49 PM   #2
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I've done this two ways, and both of them involve (EDIT: I linked the wrong bulb, and Basil's suggestion is a better choice!)

No matter which method you use, remove the plastic housing around the LED bulb. Makes the LED much brighter.

Then, you have two choices. Create a reflector out of aluminum foil to put behind the bulb, or paint with bright white paint instead of making a reflector. I've also seen this done with a soda can cut up, but the reflection is not as high. The bend of a soda can is a perfect fit behind the bulb, though.

Last edited by tekkguy; 02-21-2013 at 02:32 PM.. Reason: removed link
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:40 AM   #3
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Since the mini bow 2.5 uses a regular bulb socket and not a candelabra socket I would recommend this bulb from superbrightleds. Plenty of light and it should fit easily under the plastic splash guard.
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Old 02-21-2013, 02:31 PM   #4
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Ack, you're right, I linked the wrong bulb. Edited to remove the confusing link! The bulb you posted is a much better option and will probably be my next upgrade purchase for my daughter's tiny tank.
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:52 PM   #5
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Thanks for the link, guys.

Tekkguy, do you still experience unequal lighting in the tank with those bulbs? The area under the socket is rather shadowy normally.

When I posted this, I was thinking more along the lines of small LED strips that wouldn't use the socket at all. If such things exist.
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:04 PM   #6
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I haven't had any shadow with the bulb that I used (not really).

I have a tank I'm currently building with these: http://www.creativelightings.com/Sam...frs-sample.htm

I bought the white sample, and they're not very bright (but you can use a bunch). I didn't need more than that. With the 12v 2A power supply I'm using, I could probably run 50 feet of the strip ... lol.

So yeah, there are waterproof LED strips that you can get - you'll have to power them somehow, and if you don't need one continuous strip you'd have to do some soldering/silicone work to connect them and keep everything waterproof. The nice thing is that you can cut the strips every 3 LEDs to make shorter lines (although like I said, you'd have to wire them back together). You could, I suppose, buy multiple of the "sample" size and wire them in parallel instead of in series. That would save some soldering.

I'll try and take a couple of pictures of the strip I have.
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:11 PM   #7
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Standard BIC pen used for size reference.

Unlit:


Lit:
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Old 03-29-2013, 07:29 PM   #8
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Okay, I'm strongly leaning towards trying out these little sample strips. However, I really don't know a whole lot about hooking up DC devices to my wall outlet unless the device had a power adapter packaged with it

Tekkguy, what are you using for your LED system's power supply? I'm hoping I can find a power supply that will support doing the strips in parallel without ending up as big as the fish tank itself

Also, what type of power cord is that the LED strip is plugged into? Or is that the lead the strip comes with?
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Old 03-29-2013, 07:45 PM   #9
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I had a 12V wall brick laying around. Positive to positive, negative to negative. A bit of solder and shrink tubing if you have it, electrical tape if you don't. If you mess up and hook the wires up wrong, it won't come on and you'll need to switch them, but it won't hurt anything.

Actually, right now those wires are held together with alligator clips not solder, because it still hasn't been installed yet and I just lit it up for a second for the photo.
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