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Old 02-21-2003, 06:10 PM   #1
hcwo
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I would like to build a canopy to fit my 20 Gallon Xtra High tank. The measurements for the canopy would be the exact same as for a 10 Gallon. I would like to put 3 to 4 18" T8 Florescents like Flora Glo's.

I know I will need wood, the fixtures, balast or balasts [not sure how many] switches, starters, reflector, etc. Could someone guide me through this?

With the 4 bulbs I can get alot of wattage and mix some blues in there for effect.

Thanks ahead of time.
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Old 02-21-2003, 06:24 PM   #2
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I built this canopy for my 20g High Reef (regular High, I didn't even know they made an extra high! pretty cool).
I used an 4-F32T8 ballast to run four 18" bulbs. I'm only running two in this picture, but I eventually ran two pairs in series each overdriven 2x. Shoot me an email and I'll walk you through it.
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Old 02-21-2003, 06:25 PM   #3
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By the way, an 4-F32T8 ballast is readily available at Most Home Improvement Stores or Lighting Supply stores for around $25.
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Old 02-22-2003, 12:48 AM   #4
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for 7 dollars at lowes you can get an 18" "under the cabnet light strip". You just tear apart the plastic outside and just save the sarter, ballast and endcaps. It comes with tubes but they are cool white which has a ugly blueish green hue. It can be tricky to get the encaps and everthing in the right place. You will probably have to put the ballasts on the outside of the hood. Also you will probably want to put glass over top because this kind of light fixture is not made to be put over water which it says cleary on the warning label
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Old 02-22-2003, 02:15 PM   #5
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I don't have a Lowe's around my area so I guess I'll look at some other hardware stores [Home Depot]. Also, I'm gonna study this other "Over driven" lighting system as posted earlier. Haven't made up my mind yet on which way to go yet.

I've got another project too. I need to make a C02 reactor. Don't know which I am gonna do first. Gathering all the info for the two and doing alot of reading too.
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Old 02-22-2003, 11:53 PM   #6
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I went down to the local hardware and just like you said, I picked up 3 "under the cabnet light strips" for $6.99. Next week I will get the wood and screws and start the assembly. When finished I post a picture. I already have a glass lid.

My question is now, what bulbs? Coralife flora gro? zoo med? GE? [these seem over priced except for the GE] As I was there I saw a "18" Sylvania "gro light" it said it was for aquarium's and it was only $6-7 each.

Also, should I get a 4th "light strip" if it will fit?
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Old 02-23-2003, 02:40 AM   #7
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I used Birch Plywood , it looks nice and takes stain well...
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Old 02-23-2003, 11:47 AM   #8
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What about wood for the canopy? The stand looks like pine and then stained an oak color. Also, what about any waterproofing? What's needed there?
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Old 02-23-2003, 01:21 PM   #9
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When it comes to materials you can pretty much use anything that your woodworking skills and tools allow ya. I used the Birch plywood because it was the easiest to work with without making it a major furniture type project.
But if you have a pine stand you can build the canopy out of pine and stain it to match....
This is how the Birch Plywood looks after i stained and varnished it.


If you would like to stick with pine that would be also very easy to do since sizes of up to 1 x 12" boards are usually stocked at any lumber store. Just sit down and think of how "tall" you want your canopy to be and buy the pine boards accordingly.
For example...If I was to do my canopy pictured above with boards I would have bought 1 x 12" Pine to use since this canopy stands about 11" high.
If you wanted a lower canopy just go to 1 x 10, 1 x 8 etc. (its all up to you)

After it was built and stained I used Spar Varnish to seal the wood... it is an int/exterior clear varnish that will protect stain and wood from moisture...

DIY Canopies are actually very easy and very "cheap" to build. That one in the photo cost me about $45 to build ( - lighting of course)
That amount includes the wood , screws , hinges , stain , varnish...the works !

If you need help just email me the exact dimensions of your tank and I will see what I can come up with.
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Old 02-27-2003, 08:55 PM   #10
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GulfCoastAquarium,

How do you feed your fish? LOL.
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Old 03-01-2003, 01:55 AM   #11
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What kind of finish did you do? Looks like a burled finish.
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Old 03-01-2003, 02:12 AM   #12
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That is the look of the grain of Birch plywood and one coat of the stain.
Then 2 coats of Spar Varnish over that.
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Old 07-13-2003, 04:45 AM   #13
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Buck, I am looking to seal my canopy which I just constructed following your example.

I am amazed I got this far without screwing up big time and so I'm a little worried about the sealant.

"Spar Varnish" is a type of sealant rather than a brand name, is it not? Is it easy to apply? Also, does it take a while to dry between coats?
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