ADA style light bar, HQI for cheap - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 77 (permalink) Old 02-13-2008, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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ADA style light bar, HQI for cheap

I had a smaller spot I could place a nice little tank so I decided to have a 38 gallon custom glass tank made. I figured I wanted a decent looking ADA like stand without spending 300-400$ and several days of labor(now the ADA stand is well worth it if you paid yourself the labor for a few days work/planning, getting the materials).

I spend one afternoon and a bit more time waiting for the drying paint to cure.

Cost for the materials:

22$ for the wood, 8$ for screws and construction brackets, no table saws, Home Depot employees did that, 9 $ for paint, 4$ for handles for the door, 4.50 for the hinges. I used a screw gun, a roller brush to paint, clear coat urethane.

Light rail: about 1.50$ for the metal 1/2 bar.
Bender was about 29$.
Brackets were 1.69.
A couple of screws, already had a pipe cutter.
I made two bends.

I drilled 4 holes to attach the hanging kit to the bar.
I attached the rail to the stand, snapped in the light.

So it ran about 85$ out the door.
Some items folks already might have, so it might be even cheaper.

The light is a HQI fixture I got for 135$+15$ shipping with a 10K bulb and ballast. It's every bit as good as the Ocean lights From Aqua Medic.

So for about 220$, I have everything except tank and filter.

I have never liked ADA's lily pipes, I call them silly pipes, they are PITA to clean, look ugly if you do not clean them, break very very easily, suction cups all come off every now and then too, never liked hoses running up and down the sides of the tank.

So I will drill bulk heads into the custom tank and not have any of that in the tank or on the sides.







The HQI fixture only weighs 2-3lbs tops.

I know several other folks have made conduit light bars for their tanks, this one has the double bends so folks can get an idea of the various hanging designs they can make and chose from.

If you screw it up, so what?
The metal pipe is dirt cheap.

Regards,
Tom Barr




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post #2 of 77 (permalink) Old 02-13-2008, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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In case you are curious, this is what a bender is, quite simple really





You can extend this design for longer systems and attach one end to the ceiling also. Or make a left and right matched pair of these and attach it along the back and use a connector in the middle for longer hoods, this will add more support and get the rails off the sides and not just have J style pipes pointing right out at you.


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Tom Barr




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post #3 of 77 (permalink) Old 02-13-2008, 09:53 PM
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Looks neat. I was thinking of doing something similar to hang my strip light instead of leaving it on the pitiful little plastic stands it came with. My only concern is the farther away the light is from the top of the tank, the less light actually going into the tank, correct?

At least w/ my CurrentUSA strip lights, it seems like the light doesn't all go straight down (maybe the AHS ones do? Never tried them), so by hanging my strip light say 10" above the surface, I would be losing a lot more light, no? Sorry if I'm being confusing.
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post #4 of 77 (permalink) Old 02-13-2008, 10:15 PM
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You could even cut a small line up the bar to about parallel with the fixture to hide the cord in. That way it would be much more *minimalistic* and then paint the cord gray.

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post #5 of 77 (permalink) Old 02-13-2008, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
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The wire will get tied the rail BTW, I ain't done
Just most of the work is done.

I just did a larger version of this same design using 3/4" pipe for a 24" Aqualight pro coralife hood(150 HQI + 2x 65w).

I'll tie two together for the 72" and 48" hoods with a connector.

They are pretty study.

And look good.

With using the wire hanging kits, you can adjust from right at the water surface up about 2 ft.

This gives me a wide range of light intensities to play and work with.

If any one wants, I also have some new zip rapid adjustors from Sunlight direct(4 pairs) for sale(20$ ea plus shippping cost). I opted to use nothing but the wire adjustors and bought the Coralife hanging kits as well.

The adjustors are pretty nice, but not my thing.

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Tom Barr




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post #6 of 77 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 12:43 AM
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Ok, you've probably already thought of this but I figured on saying it just in case. Why not drill a small hole in the pipe and run the cord through it? Sure beats tying it off I think.
Looks great BTW.

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post #7 of 77 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 05:19 AM
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that's a great idea, a trick I learned from my Dad for fishing wires in conduit is to use piece of thread or other light string with a fluffy wad of tissue tied to the end, poke that through the hole then suck on the end of the pipe with your vacuum cleaner to pull the thread through. Once you've got the thread through, you can pull a piece of larger string back the other way and use that to pull the wire. It works so much easier than trying to get a piece of limp string around bends and out the end of the pipe.
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post #8 of 77 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 05:41 AM
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Hey PB,

Very neat DIY project. I have thought of building something like this before but never got any good ideas. Thanks for input.

Also, I was wondering if you also have information on the tank stand. What materials and what is the design like?

Thanks,
Dexter
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post #9 of 77 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 12:30 PM
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Where did you get the fixture, Tom?

BTW, nice DIY!

Cheers,
Jens


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post #10 of 77 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 01:43 PM
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Very nice DIY project. I love it.

I was also thinking about running the power cord through the conduit. Should be pretty simple and would make it that much more sleek.

Definitely keep the updates coming. I can't wait to see the tank and other accessories on the stand with the lighting on .

Thanks,
AndrewH


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post #11 of 77 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 01:44 PM
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Youd have to cut and extend the cord to get it in there. IMO its easier and just as clean to ziptie it.

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post #12 of 77 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moogoo View Post
Looks neat. I was thinking of doing something similar to hang my strip light instead of leaving it on the pitiful little plastic stands it came with. My only concern is the farther away the light is from the top of the tank, the less light actually going into the tank, correct?

At least w/ my CurrentUSA strip lights, it seems like the light doesn't all go straight down (maybe the AHS ones do? Never tried them), so by hanging my strip light say 10" above the surface, I would be losing a lot more light, no? Sorry if I'm being confusing.
Well the actual distance the light is above the tank isn't extremely important as far as loosing light from the fixture to the tank. With the extra height, say 10" in your case, the light only has to travel through air for the 10", not water. You will loose a little light while it's going through the air but nothing like if you were trying to light through an extra 10" of water. If you say, raised the light to 24" or something more extreme you might start loosing a significant amount of light, but it's still not as much as if trying to light that distance through water. I guess what I'm trying to say is, the rules for lighting through water don't apply when lighting through air.

That being said, there is another factor that might allow less light into the tank the higher you raise the light source above the tank. The light's reflector can be so wide that as you raise the fixture, it eventually starts to go outside the tank.

Thanks,
AndrewH


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post #13 of 77 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 02:06 PM
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Nice work Tom!

I guess Im cheap, I bent my pipe before I left Lowes instead of buying the bender.

The conduit works like a charm, heres the one I made for the zero-edge, holding a 250DE pendant.

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post #14 of 77 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
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If you leave the tag on the bender, you can also return it and say they already had one at the job site

That's cheap too
But I'll keep it for when I want to build and install things, I have other projects outside this hobby they are useful for.

Here's the newer one I did fpor the 60 Gallon cubes, note: this hood weights 24lbs, so these things are pretty strong, this is a 3/4" pipe and stands about 80 inches tall. Pretty stable too.



Regards,
Tom Barr




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post #15 of 77 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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The wood for the stand is just some cheap ply from Home depot.
I use angles for construction framing, also very cheap and strong, and I can use screws. It also helps to pull imperfections in the straigthness of the wood and seal up any gaps.

I use exterior acrylic paint I had laying around after a shed rebuild. So 3 coats, + 2 coats of urethane seal clear after. Dries quick. Any water/dirt just wipes right off then.

You can sand it and then spray paint it for a nice mirrored finish, but it really did not matter too much to me.

It suited the goal.

Having spent a lot of time making cabinets and other items, I take short cuts and also no longer have access to a nice wood/plastics shop, so I try and makes things that look decent, but I can build 1) Fast, 2) Most any shape, 3) Cheap.

Otherwise, simply based on time alone, it's worth it for me to simply hire a cab maker.

These tanks are being set up pretty slowly, but I have less time than many folks and I have 5 to set up.

Regards,
Tom Barr




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