DIY Canopy and Lighting. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-30-2006, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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DIY Canopy and Lighting.

I'm actually in the process of making 2 canopys for 2 10G tanks. I'm doing this cause I want to try something new. With all the experimenting I'm doing, I'd figure this one would be a good start for something that I might want to do later down the road with a larger tank. So to start it off...

I'm going with fluorescent bulbs instead of the AHS kits. So I would guess that I'd nee T8 bulbs instead of the larger T12s. SO with that in mind, how much would I need in terms of watts for high light plants? If the WPG applies, then I'd like to go with 3WPGs +. I'm going to be using acrylic hurricane shutters that I can easily get for free from my pops in laws job. He tests shutters and glass for hurricane resistance and they throw all these things away. The shutters are shaped like W so the bulbs and ballasts would fit in perfectly with some modification.

My question is.

WPG for the 10G tanks.
White Paint or Mylar.
What bulbs. (Company and Wattage)
Tank cover. (What can I use to prevent water from splashing on the bulbs)

If I need to go down to T5s, let me know. I want the most light out of these canopys I'm doing.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-30-2006, 07:54 PM
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tank cover - just get some glass cut to fit.
what bulbs - i like GE's aqua rays.
white paint or mylar - if you have a good shaped reflector and can get good mylar then i would go with it.
wpg - ALOT!! more the "3wpg". it is all about intensity. i plan to do a 10 gallon soon and will prolley have 50 watts over it just to be safe.

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-30-2006, 08:17 PM
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I made my canopy for T8 bulbs, using electronic ballast, and it ended up costing more than if I had used an AH Supply kit. It was great fun, is very unique, looks pretty good, but now I really wish I had taken people's advice about AH Supply. Another problem I ran into was the difficulty in finding T8 bulbs for a 24" fixture, without paying PC-like prices for them.

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-30-2006, 08:22 PM
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If you get an ahs kit, you will be happy with it. it is a lot less trouble and you will get quite a bit out of them as compared to using white paint to reflect the light.

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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-30-2006, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys for the response. Hey Hoppy, how much did your final bill come out to? If it's more expensive than the 1x55W kit from AHS, then I'll just stick the AHS and go with the 5WPG and save the headache.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-30-2006, 10:25 PM
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I also built a hood for 10 G tank with T8's in mind. I had 4 T8 15 watt 65ks and they sucked.The bulbs were way to close together to be effective.
I bought a 3 foot pc reflector ,cut in half and mounted 2 28 watts pc bulbs.(10k,65k).
The difference was amazing and my plants grow nicely now.
IMHO just get ahs kit or someother pc setup because the T8 won't cut it.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-31-2006, 04:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deeplove
Thanks guys for the response. Hey Hoppy, how much did your final bill come out to? If it's more expensive than the 1x55W kit from AHS, then I'll just stick the AHS and go with the 5WPG and save the headache.
I checked my spreadsheet from when I built it - the lights cost me $88 - that is for 3-24" single tube fixtures, the ballast, a wood shaped-reflector with mylar surface, and three bulbs plus miscellaneous parts. The hood added another $50 or so to the cost. Just remember - I had a really good time making it! I do have some photos of it, but not on Shutterfly right now.

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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-31-2006, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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Where can I get mylar from? And how much mils should I get?
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-31-2006, 04:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deeplove
Where can I get mylar from? And how much mils should I get?
You can do it right and buy it from hydroponic supply places - around 3 mil as I recall. Or, you can "save money" as I did, and get a space age thermal blanket, which is a thinner mylar from a sporting goods store. That stuff was nearly impossible to work with, but it does work. One of the web based aquatic stores sells the good mylar in small pieces but I can't find the bookmark for it now. Remember, part of the fun is researching to find suppliers!

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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-31-2006, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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Talking

Well, I just found a site and ordered around 4ft of the stuff for less than $20 shipped. So let's see how that works. Since most of the material I'll be getting will be free, I'm going to experiment with it to see how much I can get for less $$$. If it works out, then I won't need to go with AH Supply. But if it doesn't turn out all that well, then I'll go with them.

So do I go with T8s or T5s? For the 10Gs tanks, I want the most lighting for them as possible. Glosso, Riccia and blah blah. High Light plants. How much do I go for as far as WPGs? Which is better in terms of T8 or T5? A lot of light but not overkill. Let me have it guys.
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-31-2006, 08:58 PM
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Why not the 1x36w or 2x13w kits from AHS? That would keep you way below the 5wpg you were afraid of. And the 55w bulbs are really too long for a 10 gallon anyway. I had a 36w kit over a 15XH and it was great, plenty bright for what I wanted it for.
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-02-2006, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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I'm actually going to go through with the regular flouros. I might as well since I'm like a block away from the Man's Store (Home Depot). I already have the acrylic shutters and I'll be cutting away this weekend. I hope to have enough space for 2 or 3 18"s and 2 ballasts. If not, then just 1 ballast and 2 18"s.

I'm probably going with the 18" 15W 9325 GEs. So what I want to do is get 2 ballasts to turn on bulb and the other to turn on an hour later and blah. 30W total so that should be like 3WPGs right? Good enough?

Has anyone done something like I'm planning to do and if so should I use a fan also? Should I place something between the lights and water?

And basically... WIll it work?

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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-02-2006, 04:26 PM
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You don't need a fan - just vent holes. I suggest that you use a glass top on the tank to separate the electric parts from water condensation. And, if you use a timer you really need electronic ballasts, because timers have a hard time working with the high inductance of a magnetic ballast. You can order electronic ballasts on the internet. When I made mine, about all that I used the fixtures for was the bulb connectors and the metal shell to hold them in position.

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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-02-2006, 04:28 PM
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deeplove:

The WPG is a rule of thumb which breaks down for small tanks. (Gal is a vol or 3D, plantable is area or 2D).

So plan on 3 WPG for medium light.

If you go higher make sure you have CO2/nutrients to avoid an algae farm.

Spend a moment to price 20 gal (12X24) or ?15 gal? (12X24?) as the more standard size (20" vs 24") increases your lighting options. The 20 Long/29 have the same problem (30")

Read the thread on ODNO if you do go T8.

Moved to Tucson.
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-02-2006, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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Hoppy, thanks for the reply. Maybe you can show me your fixture so I can get an Idea on what I'm looking for the 10G tanks.

Blue, I hope I get this right so don't think I'm dumb or something but here it goes...

I've read on how the WPG rule doesn't really apply to smaller tanks, which I think is less than 20G. So correct me if I'm wrong. When you say that I should spen time looking for lighting for a 20G/15G, you're telling me this because it's more readily available than what I mentioned as far as using the 18" tubes as to using 24" which is what I see the most? Or is it because you're telling me to buy the actual 20G/15G tanks because it's easier as far as the options?

Cause for the time being, I'm doing all this on the 10G tanks that I have.

Oh, and I'm reading on the ODNO info also. Now I'm lost.
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