DIY reflectors. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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DIY reflectors.

I just wanted to throw this out here, I bought a 2 bulb shop light for my 20 Gal tank, It didn't have a reflector. It's just one of the "box" type of fixtures. Anyway, I was trying to find a good way to make a reflector. I came across a few pieces of "Drip Edge" for roofing a house my Brother in-law had. The first minute I looked at it, I thought it would make a perfect reflector to add to the sides of the fixture. So, I took it home, I wasn't impressed with the reflectiveness of it, but, I decided to sand off whatever kind of finish that was on it, & polish it up. It looks Great! It worked out perfectly! I'll post a few pics of it tonight. It was VERY inexpensive (seeing I got the pieces from my brother in-law.. LOL!) I'll throw in a few pics of theproducts I used to polish it too if interested...

Steve X.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 06:21 PM
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Contact AH Suppy. They sell great reflectors and they're not too expensive.

A H Supply - Easy Ordering

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 06:25 PM
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Steve - that's cool that you were able to make a cheap reflector with stuff your brother in law had laying around - I'd love to see specs and pics if you have them, and I'd like to hear more about how you did it.

This might be a good solution for some of my super-cheap low-tech tanks that I plan on setting up. I would spring for ah-supply reflectors, but making it myself is so much more satisfying, especially if I can do it cheap!


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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 06:41 PM
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Please post some pictures...

I used raingutters before, lined them with Mylar, and it worked so/so, the angles were not optimal, and after a couple of months the Mylar got so brittle that it started raining down into the tank.

I looked into polishing Aluminum before, and it seemed like an awful lot of work. Plus, once it has the desirable mirror finish, you need to coat it with something else to prevent oxydation/fogging up.

AH Supply reflectors work pretty good for T8 bulbs...


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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 06:58 PM
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Hey Steve. I'm really interested in seeing pics. I know there are a lot of apparently reflective materials (i.e. mirrors) that actually do a really poor job of reflecting light. I'm just curious to see how yours turned out.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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LS6 Tommy, I looked into getting a reflector from AH Supply actually. But, they didn't have one I was looking for. As I said I have a 2 tube shop light. I didn't see anything that would cover both lights & kind of wrap around them to keep the light out of my eyes. Maybe if you see a pic, you'll understand what I mean. I Do like the products made by AH though.

Sure Jen, It was cheap, but, if you don't have the buffing compound & a buffing wheel, then you won't really be able to polish it up too good. I used some 400 grit sandpaper to remove the clear coat finish it had on it. Then I used 2 compounds on it, one to rough polish it (which made it look good by itself) Then I used a polishing compound & it looked GREAT! It didn't take too long to get a good shine off of it. It's NOT a mirror finish, but, very reflective (if that makes any sence).

Wasserpest, So far I haven't noticed it "fogging up" or Oxidizing... Not saying it won't, but, it just hasn't yet. I was actually going to use some clear enamel, which I'm sure will work well, I just wanted to get it on, seeing it was blinding everyone that was looking at my tank. (Granted it was mainly only My Kidz, My Girl, & I, but, still, I didn't like getting blinded... LOL!)

Solstice, I have heard the same thing about mirrored reflectors not working as well as a white reflector... I don't know how much "extra light" that would normally be shot out into my room is going into the tank, But, it looks brighter just by the light NOT shooting into my eyes, & that is the bigest benefit I could see. Plus, I'm sure that it has more light entering the tank instead of losing it from the front & back of the fixture.

I'll get a couple of pics up tonight.

This is the style of fixture, only mine has 2 bulbs, (24" long fixture, with T12 bulbs.) This is why I was looking for something that kind of wrapped around the edges.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-07-2006, 01:47 AM
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Pics please... Looking for a cheap way to do a reflector myself.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-07-2006, 04:56 AM
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A really cheap way is to use tin foil. I use it for my low tech tank. (I know is quite sad but it works)
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-07-2006, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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SORRY! I didn't add pics yet! I was out Truck shopping, then out for dinner lastnight with my Woman... Didn't get home till late. I should have enough time to do it tonight. I'll just be hanging with my daughters.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-07-2006, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.sandman View Post
A really cheap way is to use tin foil. I use it for my low tech tank. (I know is quite sad but it works)
Tin foil is MUCH worse than white paint though... you would be much better off painting the reflector/background white.


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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-07-2006, 08:03 PM
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Someone on Aquarium Advice made DIY canopy with reflector. He used flashing as the reflector. Seems to work well.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-07-2006, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquamanx View Post
This is the style of fixture, only mine has 2 bulbs, (24" long fixture, with T12 bulbs.) This is why I was looking for something that kind of wrapped around the edges.
AH has a double tube reflector that would rework for that purpose beautifully if the center-to-center
measurements of your sockets is the same as the reflector.

Tommy

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-07-2006, 09:01 PM
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This is the reflector that Tommy LS6 is referring too.
Part 36217 - MIRO 4 Reflector for two 36 watt compacts side-by-side
17.25"L x 7"W x 2"H.
Price: $24.99

You can see a picture of it here with a 2x36w PC kit. 36 or 55 watt Bright Kits
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-07-2006, 09:42 PM
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It is very possible to tear down one of those light strips, remount the sockets, locate the ballast in a different location, and thus be able to fit the two bulbs to an existing reflector. But, to do this you need to be sure to carefully mark the cut wires so you can put it back together correctly. You can also then use an electronic ballast instead of a magnetic ballast which is most likely what the existing system comes with.

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-08-2006, 02:20 AM Thread Starter
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All good points! But, this was FREE, & it's done now...

The reflector doesn't show off how reflective it really is in these pictures. I know the AH one would be better, but, I'll get one of those for the next tank I do.





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