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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-23-2008, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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diy canopy

I am wanting to build a canopy for my 55 g. It has standard dimensions: 48" long, 13" deep. I want to use helgymatt's design but I'm unsure of dimensions. Maybe he'll see this and post the dimensions of each of the pieces. My greater concern is lighting. Is it okay to just go to the local hardward store and pick up for instance a shop light type of fixture and put it inside the hood? This doesn't seem right as I think I would need something to block moisture from the lights. I have of course found lots of canopy designs but few talk about the lights inside.
TIA Oh and here is a pic of helgymatt's design. I will be staining it rather than painting.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-23-2008, 10:37 PM
are you experienced?
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the lighting really depends on what plants you want to grow, low, medium or high light.
how much light you use will also tell if you will need co2 or not. 2 wpg usually needs co2 not to have an algae problem or alot of excel. the shop lights work ok for low light tanks. you would be better off with t-5 fixture and bulbs in the long run,. you can usually buy a light cheaper than you can build one, but not always.
how much money can or do you want to put in the hood and lights?

you say you will stain the hood instead of painting it. if you want it to look like a store bought stained piece you will have to be a good carpenter as stain grade building is alot harder than building a paint grade hood. all the cuts need to be very tight and nail holes will have to be puttyed and stained to match. stain is 10x harder than painting. this is why i havent done a stained hood yet.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-23-2008, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
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I was thinking medium lighting. Maybe I haven't looked in the same places for lighting as you cause it generally seems pretty expensive.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-24-2008, 12:24 AM
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I'm glad to see you have decided to build your own canopy! As far as dimensions go, I can't give you the exact ones because I don't have it anymore. What I can tell you is how to build it and figure out the dimensions yourself.
Here are the dimensions of the boards - this is an end shot just like what the photo shows.

The only other dimension you need is the length of the boards - just cut them so you have a little gap so they will fit over the tank frame. Install a small piece of wood inside the canopy so it will rest on the frame. The back of my canopy was left open because I needed room for power filters and other equipment. One tip I have...remember to install the boards the right way so they don't warp out. Look at my pic. You will see the face board was installed wrong and the board warped out because of how the grain of the board goes. If I would have flipped the board, there would have been less warping. The top board (front one) is how the boards should be attached. I think the thread I made should explain most of the other details. Let me know if you have any more questions.

You could use shop lights if you wanted. My first lighting system was shop lights that I put new ballasts in to overdrive th bulbs 2x. You can search ODNO (overdriven normal output) T8 lighting if you want. Although this is a little cheaper up front, it is more work, requires some wiring skill, and the reflectors are very poor. The better option would be to go for Power Compact or T5 lighting. AH supply has nice kits DIY kits that could be easily installed in a hood like this. I would think a 2x55 watt kit would be good for a 55 gallon. T5's are also an option. There are DIY kits or you can just buy a fixture. They would be more expensive than power compacts, but considered more efficient and better.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-24-2008, 12:35 AM
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Here is a link to the thread I made at APC.
And another shot of the canopy.

You can see the board I used inside the canopy to support it on top of the frame. If you plan to install a shop light, you may consider using some "L" brackets instead because you will have a hard time fitting a normal shop light in there with the end board pieces.
Something like this to give you more clearance inside the canopy...
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-24-2008, 12:47 AM Thread Starter
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Hey thanks you all! I knew you'd come through.
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