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Old 02-12-2012, 12:27 AM   #1
mindy
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diy canopy question


i just got a new tank (SO excited) and we have to build a canopy for it.

i am planning a VERY simple square top that i am going to paint black to match the stand. i like clean lines.

my question is how do i do the lights? i am planning to install some fluorescent tube fixtures in there. do i have to protect the bulbs from water splashing up? or, will they be ok if they are a few inches above the water?

the tank is 66 gal, 4 feet long and about 20 inches deep. i don't plan to do co2, or at least not yet. what do you suggest for bulbs? i have 2 4500 K 15 watt bulbs. if i get 2 more like that, will that be enough? if not, what do you suggest?

thanks!
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Old 02-12-2012, 12:53 AM   #2
proaudio55
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You didn't mention if you're planning on growing any plants, but if you do want to: I'd go double or triple the wattage of light (you didn't spec exactly what your bulbs are: CFL, T5, T8, T12). I'd also recommend at least a few 6500K bulbs so you hit more of the "blue" spectrum.

As for protecting the bulbs, I'd really encourage you to get a glass lid for the top. That will slow down your evaporation rate as well as help keep your bulbs clean.
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Old 02-12-2012, 01:56 AM   #3
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Here is a easy diy but would need to make it fit your tanks out side rim.
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:09 AM   #4
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yes, i plan to grow plants.

how many watts should i have if i plan to do a pretty low tech tank. i don't think i will have many high light plants. i don't plan to do co2. if i eventually do it down the road, it will most likely be diy with yeast. the lights i have right now are called "sun glow" and they say they are 4200 K (oops, not 4500 like previously stated). they are t8. i really don't know if they are any good. they are new in the box but came with the tank i bought second hand from my friend.

if i do a glass top beneath a wooden canopy how will i feed the fish?

inkslinger, there is no link in your post.
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:39 AM   #5
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can i use this?

http://www.kent.ca/kbs/en/product.js...&catalogId=922

do i need a special fixture because of the moisture?

or this one?

http://www.kent.ca/kbs/en/product.js...&catalogId=922
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:48 AM   #6
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I have an open T8 fixture whose bulbs are about 1/2" above the waterline, with an HOB. No corrosion issues yet, after 6-8 months. Based on this experience, I think I'd remove any fixture covers with any new fixtures.

In a setup where there was actually splash - water shooting up over the waterline - I might rethink things. But unless surface agitation was actually violent, I'd say screwit.
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:59 AM   #7
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do you think either of the above 2 light fixtures will work?

i don't think i will have much of a problem with water splashing. i can't be 100% sure though since the filter is a canister filter and i haven't ever had one of those before.
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:12 AM   #8
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I can't see any difference between the two fixtures you linked. If you're going to get a T8 fixture, go to your local big box hardware store (I don't know what's around in CA). If they have a shiny reflector, they'll provide more lighting. But other than the reflector, you can assume that any 2XT8 fixture is probably identical to the next.
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:24 AM   #9
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thanks

those links are from the local big box hardware store. haha! best i can get around here. and i have to drive about 220 km one way to get it! boo for living in the middle of nowhere.

i could put something reflective inside the canopy to direct more light down.

thank you again for your help.
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:05 AM   #10
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Adding aluminum foil to the reflector is a big step, and nothing to scoff about! Seriously, repurposing anything can be an extremely cost-effective method to increase the functionality of a planted tank. I don't know what's available up there, as I said, but if there's anything like http://www.homedepot.ca/product/4-di...k-light/972629 then you've got about as much light as you could need.
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:49 AM   #11
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I also think you'll be fine if you don't have a lot of surface agitation. -but this is something you might want to check at different water levels, if your tanks are ever neglected long enough to loose some volume.

If you are still concerned, I believe you can usually find waterproof end caps online. I've also heard of people using things like bicycle inner tubes, or plasti-dip (I think that involved directly soldering the leads to the bulbs, which would make changing them somewhat troublesome). If you are going to use T5, you could probably use the larger diameter shrink-wrap.

But, all that is probably overkill, I think these were mostly used on reef setups, where there was surface agitation, salt deposits, and concerns about the glass absorbing UV or something.
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:31 AM   #12
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thanks guys

i am sure i could find lights like that. i can't wait to get this started. i will have to go into town to get some supplies, i think.

i have a light fixture that came with the tank. it is water resistant and has 4 ends so i could put 2 bulbs in it. it is for a reptile enclosure, i think. my friend used to have a turtle in the tank. it is an exoterra light cycle unit so it slowly brightens the light and then dims it after. can i use this? it is just cap things that are attached to wires and a box. if i can use it i can make a box and then line it with something reflective (maybe aluminum foil) and that would be it.

what do you think?
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