DIY Lighthood ideas - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-08-2005, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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DIY Lighthood ideas

Okay fellow DIYers...

What is the best reflector for your light hood you have made and from what?

I need some ideas for my lighthood I am building. It is for an eight foot long tank (240 gallon).

Thanks for the help!


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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-08-2005, 01:42 AM
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Wow! That's a big tank! What kind of tools do you have access to? Do you have a sheet metal brake? If not, I'm not sure I would make them for that size tank. I'm sure you'll want maximum efficiency of your lights therefore getting the uniformity and correct angles on those reflectors will be key...

As for materials, I'd check with your local metal supplier to see if you can get lucky and score something already plated or something... Not sure how they make the reflectors sold with lights. Cause I think if the sheet is already plated, it would chip when bending it. I think they use sheet metal and then get it plated.

Aluminum can be polished to a mirror finish but it might not be able to handle some of your relector's angles. (Depends on your design) Another option I thought of was using mirror glass.

Other than that, I would search the web for a lighting manufacturer who makes reflectors or something. I'm sure you can find something. Especially for the size you'll need. like: http://www.arcadia-uk.com/en/130fluo...eflectors.html

I've seen better ones but I can't remember where right now...
Let us know what you end up doing. I'm curious!

Yves

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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-08-2005, 02:24 AM
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https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=3434

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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-08-2005, 12:34 PM
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Hey Aftica, there isn't any custom reflector discussions in that thread is there? I just see a howto for building a hood. He says he bought the reflectors along with his lights from AHSupply. Was there something else in that thread?

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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-08-2005, 03:39 PM
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Well - the question was "What is the best reflector for your light hood you have made" - I guess you could read that 2 ways...
  • What is the best reflector for your light hood you have made?
-OR-
  • What is the best reflector you have made?

I read it as in the first example... but I can see how it could easily have been intended as the second example, and suspect that the second example is indeed the correct interpretation.

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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-08-2005, 03:49 PM
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I would just use white paint!

I remember reading somewhere that, on a percentage reflectivity scale, white paint is at around 88% while polished aluminium is between 90-95%. The best is a special coating type which I think you can get from AH Supply that reflects around 97%.

I really don't think that the extra reflection you get over white is going to make that big a difference in your tank unless you're at the very lower end of enough wattage for your tank.
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-08-2005, 03:55 PM
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The thing with the reflectors from AHSupply is the shape versus the reflectivity. It aims more light into the tank rather than back on the bulb. Even my 55W CF in the reflector gives me an instant headache when I look at it.

However, I don't think that in your case it would be cost efficient to go with thsoe light just for the reflectors. I would just paint it white unless you were planning on buying fixtures anyway but it would take like 8 96W fixtures to get you over the 3WPG mark.
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-08-2005, 04:53 PM
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What I did in the past on my 30g (only 36" long) was buy a 48" polished reflector for a 2 tube light fixture from a lighting supplier. I fabricated some ends and painted the outside of the thing black. Works quite well and looks pretty good too (I think I should have spent more time painting it though).

I think you could order two of these and add supports in the middle or something. They do come in 96" lengths though, so you might try to look into that. You'd have to look into pricing to see if they are more economical than other options.

Here is the style of reflector I used..
http://www.acuitybrandslighting.com/...strials/EJ.pdf

Here is a journal of my version, the pics don't work. I can try to put them back up if you are interested though..
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=2999


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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-08-2005, 05:30 PM
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Just another idea in the very cheap area...

I used white raingutters as reflectors. They are really bad because the angle isn't what it needs to be. However, based on that idea, you could use a 4" white PVC pipe and somehow cut it in half. If you place the bulbs correctly the angle should be very good for reflecting lights into the tank.

Just mentioned that because you said "DIY".


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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-09-2005, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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reflectors

I have done the rain gutter thing over my two ten gallon tanks and am very pleased with the results. (1) 32 watt bulb four times ODNO(80-85%) for about 3 watts per gallon for each of the tens. (2.96+-)

The X large white PVC is a great idea for flourescents, I don't know if it would hold up to the extreme heat of metal halides.

Has anyone tried the roll-on semi-metallic roofing junk from home improvement stores?

For that matter, what about colored spray in bed liner for trucks? It probably has good UV protection too.


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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-09-2005, 01:21 AM
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I've used everything i can get my hands on to make a decent reflector, and so far the best one I've come up with, (on the cheap that is) is to use a particular alumium foil which on one side is matt and the other is fairly well polished and quite reflective. I use Spray glue to coat the matt side and then lay sheets of it down in my hood to give the maximum reflective area. It works quite well.

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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-09-2005, 02:36 AM
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Get a piece of aluminum, say 3/32" of suitable size and before you bend it it all, start polishing. It really isn't that hard, especially if you have a buffer like you use on cars.

Start with red rubbing compound, then use white polishing compound. for a 2X4 piece it takes about an hour, maybe less.

Aluminum around here though ain't cheap.

I really think it would be wise to look into a pre-made reflector from say AH, I know the urge to DIY is strong but sometimes is just doesn't make much sense.

Personally, I think using a white reflector alters the appearance of the light, in fact I had two floodlights, I replaced the white reflector in one with a piece of aluminum flashing which I polished out of boredom and you tell the difference, but maybe it was brightness, looked like color shift though.
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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-09-2005, 03:17 AM Thread Starter
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I agree, Aluminum just reflects "more accurately " I guess you could say. I am not a scientist, but it would make sense that a color in the color spectrum would tend to taint the color of light when they come into contact.

"When any two things touch, they take on the characteristics of each other."

- some scientist dude

Anyone here tried mylar? The type they use for hydroponics?


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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-10-2005, 03:10 AM Thread Starter
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Nice hood Aftica!!

Found some mylar on Ebay:

MYLAR

I am thinking of gluing it like Curare did to the hood. I might also build up a reflector from wood for inside the hood and attach it to that.


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Last edited by Badcopnofishtank; 03-10-2005 at 03:11 AM. Reason: forgot something
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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-10-2005, 04:26 AM
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I have heard of people using mylar, and I've used silvered plastic tape and there is one problem which aluminium takes care of.

Heat.

The mylar may end up shrinking and warping and possibly catching fire if the ballast is on it or close to it.

THe aluminium makes a nice heat barrier.


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