How to build an aquarium hanging light fixture :) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-10-2016, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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How to build an aquarium hanging light fixture :)

Hi all,

I am looking to purchase or make something that looks like the following picture. I am wondering if anyone has seen anything or knows where I can find some helpful instructions on building something like this? I have found a few light fixture hangers online but they don't fit. I am running into an issue that my stand doesn't go straight down, it has an overhang from where the tank sits so the bars can't attach in two places. In other words the bar would have to bend. (See pictures of my tank below).

Anyways.. Any advice or help would be appreciated.

I looked around the forum but couldn't find much. Maybe one of you have seen something out there???

Thanks!

This is an example.... My current light sitting on my tank is a Build My LED 48" light.


This picture shows the side of my tank to give you an idea of what I am up against.

[/URL][/IMG]This picture shows the ledge of the stand
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-10-2016, 12:47 AM
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Are you a DIY kinda person?
If so, 1/2" EMT in the electrical department of you hardware store (Lowes, Home Depot, Menards) will work just fine and is cheap. Creating the brackets for the back of your tank stand is a little harder but can be as simple as a couple of screws thru each conduit into the wood. A bender for the conduit is also fairly cheap. They may also have plastic end caps to add a finished look.


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2016, 02:32 AM
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I did the conduit thing for a tank. It fit me very well.
For clamping the light I did a couple things that fit me better as I wanted to hide the wire as much as possible. I drilled the conduit and added a rubber grommet so the electrical wire was inside the conduit, out of sight. Also for the mounting on the back of the stand, I had a clamp that is made for conduit, drilled into the stand back and used two to hold it upright. this let me swing the light left/right to get it out of the way when working in the tank. If your top extends out too far over the back a spacer board can get around that. If a table saw, etc. is on hand, cutting a channel down through a 2X can make a nice space to hold the conduit. For my use, I carve/sanded a wooden plug to fill the conduit end.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2016, 03:17 AM
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I always mount a shelf about 30" above the tank on the wall. Screw in some hooks where needed, use one of those cord hider tracks for tv equipment cables and just paint it to match the wall. Plus a couple of ikea decorative storage bins on the shelf to hold extra fish stuff is great too. Never enough room under the stand for everything. 1 container for test equipment, 1 for WC equipment, 1 for odds and ends I use often. I also have a bad back, so pulling an organized box off a shelf always beats digging through a cramped stand.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2016, 03:23 AM
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I built mine out of conduit as well, 3/4 though. I'm an electrician, so the bonus was that everything was free.

Just a noob


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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2016, 04:05 AM
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I'm with @The Big Buddha

A couple of plant hangers screwed into wall studs work also and there are many styles to chose from. And even I can do it. For the dirt-cheap price, shelf brackets are hard to beat and you can put the fixture on top (no hanging kit needed). Do make sure to secure the fixture before it goes swimming.

Chose the length that is 1/2 of your tank depth (front to back) +/- ~2".
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2016, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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What great ideas... I am so excited to do this. I have started placing plants in my HOB and need better lighting for them. I also think having the light a little further from the tank will be beneficial for some of the issues I have been running into!
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2016, 07:37 PM
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Good luck with the build. I hope we could all give you some points to ponder. Part of the challenge is deciding what will work best and how to mod it to fit us.
One point that I've gradually learned to ignore? Nothing I do ever looks as good as the magazine article! But then I found they have ways to cheat a bit. Like in your example? How well does the light really work? I don't see any electrical cord!

I've learned to live in the real world and let the magazines live in some other universe if it suits them.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2016, 08:22 PM
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I have always thought of having cables from the ceiling! If you can have a single cable comedown and attach to the light will be great! The power cable always makes things ugly then!
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2016, 08:46 PM
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I gotta say that power cords in the open drive me nuts. And that also applies to TV and stereo equipment and speaker wire (yep, I want that "magazine" look).

What I do is hide them between the sheet rock in the walls. Exterior walls are a bit harder then interior ones and going around corners is a major pain. If you want to string speaker wire across the room from the amplifier, going through the attic is a shortcut, depending on the house. I cover the holes in the walls with plastic caps used for wire management in computer tables. They are cheap, come in multiple colors and diameters. There are also wall plates that have a string / pull inside that connects to the cord / wire, if you ever need to un-plug the appliance. In the end, no wires anywhere (and your walls resemble swiss cheese).

Best done by an electrician.


Do share your cable hiding tricks.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-13-2016, 01:21 AM Thread Starter
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Ooooooo I didn't even think about the wire! The tank is under a vaulted ceiling so I can't really hang it from there. I will have to think about how to best hide it. I was thinking if I go the hanging bracket to make sure the bracket is black so there wouldn't be so much of a stark difference. Any other ideas?
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-13-2016, 01:50 AM
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Can't stand cables either. Here is what I do....




With these

CE TECH Flat Screen TV Cord Cover-A31-KW - The Home Depot

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-13-2016, 05:58 PM
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I was thinking of designing a clamp that can be attached to the wall and somewhat adjustable enough for height, distance from wall and from water surface that would fit most LED fixtures. Will also have cable management. Not sure if many would bite. I would buy one. Will absolutely have to look good
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-15-2016, 06:55 PM
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For the wood craft folks, a "sandwich" of wood to hide the wire is pretty easy. But with the cable system with small diameter wire, there is no reasonable way to get from the light to anything hiding the wire of the cord. I have done lots of wall fishing but it still leaves the problem of getting to the wall. Another problem of using a single wire for supporting the light is that when you add the electrical cord, it is almost certain to make the light hang crooked in some way.
Notice that the light is hanging a little off straight? I tried adding the loop of wire at the conduit to cure the odd angle but found I was better off to sell the tank and not try to make the light hang right!
I like Big Buddha's solution. Let the electrical wiring serve both needs and it will come straight down with the minimum distraction factor. Once you get the cord back to the wall fishing it down inside is pretty simple.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-16-2016, 04:10 PM
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Another option is to use curtain rods to make the frame. The holders are about 2 inches long to keep the rod away from the wall so that could be enough to get it around the tank platform when attached to the cabinet. Im not 100% sure but I think you get 90deg bend couplings for the rods. You could also look at the rods used to hold the top end of the glass for bathroom cubicles and associated fittings as another option.
The curtain rods are hollow so it might be possible to get a 3rd dummy rod in the center and make holes to pass your wires through to conceal them.
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