Safe finish for DIY light fixture? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-27-2006, 07:41 AM Thread Starter
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Question Safe finish for DIY light fixture?

Hello,

Can anyone give me the scoop on what kind of wood finish I can use that will be fish/shrimp safe? I have a big ole' can of this. Think that is safe? Wasserpest's DIY article about constructing a cheap, plywood tank touched on this subject, but no definitive answer was given as far as I can tell.

I am currently building a light housing for my AH 2x13 kit to fit under the hood of my Eclipse 6. When I first got the kit, I fitted it using the example they used to have posted (nano-reef) using acrylic tubing and PVC end caps. Since then the tank has been torn down and I'm starting new.

I have constructed a wooden box from poplar and glass to hold the lamps and reflectors. I will mount the ballasts away from the tank, closer to the plug to avoid the scorching temps I got after mounting them to the back of the hood.
Right now I am trying to have the light fixture sealed to prevent moisture from entering. Is this a bad idea? Will the lamps generate too much heat this way?

Anyway, thanks in advance for any suggestions or comments. I've got lots of DIY projects, and I will post pictures when I get this one all finished up. I am also working on plans for a DIY nano-chiller.

-Ben
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-27-2006, 01:50 PM
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For mine I have used just regular wood sealer or shilack. The hood is not IN the water so I didn't worry about it much. As long as it kept my wood safe/protected and un rotted I was happy. Once it is dried totaly I don't think it should be a threat to your fish/shrimp ect. (mine are ok)

The fumes while coating and drying ARE indeed harmfull and should be done outside, well away from any tanks, and make sure it is fully dry before returning it to proximity to your tank.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-02-2006, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaylee Skylyn View Post
For mine I have used just regular wood sealer or shilack. The hood is not IN the water so I didn't worry about it much. As long as it kept my wood safe/protected and un rotted I was happy. Once it is dried totaly I don't think it should be a threat to your fish/shrimp ect. (mine are ok)

The fumes while coating and drying ARE indeed harmfull and should be done outside, well away from any tanks, and make sure it is fully dry before returning it to proximity to your tank.
Thanks for the advice! I read up on shellack (actual shellack, not urethane varnish) and it's one of the few readily available finishes that is food safe. I was also looking into using tung oil, but it was >$20 for a small can at Home Depot, and it didn't look to be Food Grade. Instead, I picked up a can of shellack for about $6. Unfortunately, now I don't know what to do with it.

I wired up the lights to test and I forgot how hot the bulbs get; too hot to hold in my bare hands. I don't think a sealed enclosure would be a good idea.

Would it be okay to vent the enclosure from the top, but still keep it under the black plastic "hood" of the eclipse? I'm worried about moisture build-up inside, where the bulbs are.

I'd appreciate any advice or comments. Thanks!
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-02-2006, 09:46 PM
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It helps a lot to mount a little 12 vdc fan in DIY hoods, to force ventilate the light enclosure area. I found that moisture collected under my hood when I didn't have the fan running, causing the wood to warp. The fan eliminates much of the heating of the water by the lights too.

Shellac is not a good finish where moisture is going to be around. Shellac turns white when it gets wet and stays white. Polyurethane varnish is a good choice, and you can apply it over a shellac based primer if you wish, but it really doesn't need a primer. Use at least 4 coats of the urethane. Tung oil is another bad finish to use if moisture will be present - it does not build up a coat on the wood, so the finish ends up being very, very thin.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 02:52 AM
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Hey folks,

I just finished a diy hood, and had the same delimma. I talked with my paint guy at the Lowes I work at and we came up with a great solution. They make a product know as "Tough as Tile". It is a tub and sink refinishing product that is epoxy based, it is designed for constant moisture and being an epoxy product if you follow the directions and let it dry five days it becomes extremely hard and bright gloss white, which makes for a good reflector. I just put mine on my 55 and I have two shop lights in it for lighting. I will see how it goes as I stock the tank and put in plants, but I think it is going to be completely safe for fish plants and shrimps.


Ryan
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 03:44 AM
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^ Thats great info. Thanks for sharing!
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 04:42 AM
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spar varnish is a great sealer for canopies. if you want some reflective quality, use flat white paint.
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