Preparing to Build a DIY light figure - Questions. - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-12-2009, 01:06 AM Thread Starter
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Preparing to Build a DIY light figure - Questions.

I am in going to be building hoods for a 20g and a 5g nano shortly and because I am on a very tight budget i decided I would build the lights.
I plan on documenting my progress and writing up a DIY thread on this project but still have some questions before I being. I have done some digging around on here about lighting and DIY setups but could not find the exact information I am looking for.

First up is the 5gal
Ive read on here that people have had success growing plants with 6500K energy efficient bulbs. I know these bulbs also have a considerable amount of restrike but am not very concerned about this just yet. With the materials that I already have in posession by using this method I could have a completed hood for the 5g for about $15. They way I figure, Its worth a shot. If it works well than great, if not oh well, I only have $15 into the project. Anyway, regarding the energy effiecent CF bulbs my question concerns watts. With these energy efficient CF bulbs I do not know how to gauge the light. Since watts is a measurement of power and not light I do not know if I am supposed to gauge them by how many watts they actually are, or how many watts they appear to be. For example, a 13watt energy saver CF bulb is supposed to be able to take the place of a normal 60watt bulb.

My main question is whether I should judge the bulb by its own power rating or its comparitive power rating. I know im not explaining what I mean very well, but hopefully somebody understands what I am getting at.

As for the 20g I was first planned to try this same method and either use more bulbs or just use higher powered bulbs, whatever got me to where I needed. However, while I was at HD today to pick up some ge silicon 1 to put a 3d backround in a tank I checked out their light fixtures. They had a 24" dual bulb T-5 strip for $22. I couldnt find any info on the kelvin rating of the bulbs that it came with however each bulb was only 14 watts. I was thinking about possibly using this strip for the 20g. However, I really do not know a whole lot about t-5s and am unsure with about how much light I would want for a standard 20H. Would 28 watts of t-5 lighting over a 20gal be sufficient? what about if I was injecting co2? Would the addition of a small UV lamp in the hood as well do the trick? I also found a 24" dual bulb t-12 fixuture and I could put in some 6500k bulbs for about the same price and get 40w. However, to my understanding I would be better off with 28w of t-5 than 40w of t12.

Im just looking for some suggestions as to what I should do for lighting. Both of these tanks are kind of experimental trial and error tanks and Im attempting to keep the cost as low as possible. Ive already decided on how im making the lights in the 5gal, just unsure on the bulbs. However I am open to any and all suggestions for the 20.

Thanks!
Zack.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-12-2009, 02:15 AM
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Before you start building, go shopping. Check thrift stores, Craig's list, FreeCycle, etc. Also, if you intend on building out of wood, ask. Ask on Craig's list in the tools or general section if anyone with wood working tools will help you build a hood. I know if I saw that request, I'd agree as long as I made all the cuts.

On my son's 5 gallon tank I'm using a 23 watt CF bulb in a incandescent hood someone gave away on Craig's list. There are six species of plants growing in it. The only algae is on the filter outflow which is very near the light.

For your 20 gallon, I'd still shop the free and cheap sites, but a dual T5 fixture with any type of bulbs for $22.00 is hard to argue with. As a guess, given it is a household fixture the bulbs will be 3100k to 4500k (Or possibly 10000k which some manufactures claim as daylight in T5 fixtures) which happens to be a fine place to start. Upgrade the bulbs - one at a time if you have to - later. You may find they work just fine for your needs.

If you go presurized CO2, besides blowing away your claimed tight budget status, you can add a second dual bulb fixture to your hood.

In theory a 14 watt T5 bulb should put out more light than a 40 watt T12.
In theory, theory and reality are the same.

By the way, here an idea to consider.
http://www.marineandreef.com/Nova_T5...p/rcu01102.htm

They can be mounted in a hood or if you can find these brackets, you can mount up to six of them on a tank.
http://www.marineandreef.com/Current...p/rcu01099.htm
post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-12-2009, 02:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zack2112 View Post
Anyway, regarding the energy effiecent CF bulbs my question concerns watts. With these energy efficient CF bulbs I do not know how to gauge the light. Since watts is a measurement of power and not light I do not know if I am supposed to gauge them by how many watts they actually are, or how many watts they appear to be. For example, a 13watt energy saver CF bulb is supposed to be able to take the place of a normal 60watt bulb.

My main question is whether I should judge the bulb by its own power rating or its comparitive power rating. I know im not explaining what I mean very well, but hopefully somebody understands what I am getting at.
You would gauge them by actual consumption, that is a 13 watt bulb that takes the place of a 60 watt "regular" bulb counts as 13 watts over the tank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zack2112 View Post
As for the 20g I was first planned to try this same method and either use more bulbs or just use higher powered bulbs, whatever got me to where I needed. However, while I was at HD today to pick up some ge silicon 1 to put a 3d backround in a tank I checked out their light fixtures. They had a 24" dual bulb T-5 strip for $22. I couldnt find any info on the kelvin rating of the bulbs that it came with however each bulb was only 14 watts. I was thinking about possibly using this strip for the 20g. However, I really do not know a whole lot about t-5s and am unsure with about how much light I would want for a standard 20H. Would 28 watts of t-5 lighting over a 20gal be sufficient? what about if I was injecting co2? Would the addition of a small UV lamp in the hood as well do the trick? I also found a 24" dual bulb t-12 fixuture and I could put in some 6500k bulbs for about the same price and get 40w. However, to my understanding I would be better off with 28w of t-5 than 40w of t12.
The 24" t-5 would probably be the best way to go, but you would probably want 2 of those fixtures for a total of 4 bulbs over the tank if you're planning on a high-tech setup with co2 and ferts, if you want to go low tech/low light one strip should do, you just won't have the lush fast growth you get with higher light.

Have fun with the DIY...
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-12-2009, 04:36 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks DBosman and LogansDaddy for your responses.

DBosman - Thanks for the advice. As far as the 5 gallon goes, after taking somewhat of an inventory tonight at my house I am pretty sure I have all the materials and equipment I need other than a peice of glass I will have cut. I have all the tools also at my grandfathers old shop, Im pretty sure I have the wood there too. The 5 gallon is more of a just because project since I pretty much have everything already just sitting around. I just wasnt sure on the bulb. Im glad to hear you have been able to grow plants with one of those bulbs. I am curious though, what 6 species have you been able to grow successfully with it?

As far as the 20 goes I have been checking the forums as well as the cheap and free sites for lights. This was originally intended to be a low tech tank however I think I may end up running it high tech. After I re read what I posted it does sound rather ridiculous mentioning my tight budget followed by co2 injection. I actually already have the co2 system, It was my big chirstmas present this year. Ive got everything I need to transform one of my 55s to a high tech planted. However its serving duty as a growout for some severums right now and I am thinking I kinda want to try out the high tech approach on a 20g before I attempt it on a 55. Really right now the options for the extra 20 are still wide open. Im hoping my 20g tang project I am finishing up and the DIY 5g project can keep me busy until that 55 is no longer needed as a growout....
I just hate to have all of the equipment without a tank to use it on.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-12-2009, 05:21 AM
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I am building a light and canopy to go over my 20H and I can almost guarantee you that you can buy a light cheaper. Mine is roughly $75: $20 coralife 6700K 22" T5NO bulb, $15 Hagen Glo reflector, $20 Icecap endcaps, $20 Workhorse ballast.

I would recommend looking at the AH Supply kits, especially if you have pressurized CO2 because you should be able to do the 55W kit with no problem.

[/off-rant]
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-12-2009, 06:00 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the link Airborne! I have been leaning towards buying a light for the 20 if i decided to hook up the co2. I was given the link to AH Supply kits by a member of another forum when I was looking for lights for my 55g. However I received my 260w fixture as a gift and totally forgot about AH. I think if I decide to go the high tech route on the 20 I may order the 55w bright kit to put over it. Thanks!
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