Semi DIY lighting - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-10-2004, 08:11 AM Thread Starter
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Semi DIY lighting

i'm brand spanking new to properly looking after a planted tank. I have a 33 gal on and industreal shelving unit holding another 33 gal non planted tank. My space is lacking as well as my budget. I went by my local home hardware and picked up to reflector clip on lamps and 2 of those incandesent blub, flourecent look a likes. I don't know if any one's going to know what i'm talking about. It's a compact flourecent light, popular for household use as it saves energy. Anyway, the specs on the package say 25 watts that equal 100 watts of a incandesent light, and it's 1750 lumens. Now is this sufficient for a 33 gal? at 3 watts a g, i need 90 watts and in theory i should have 200 watts? am i correct?

The other thing is why do people measure light needed in watts, watts is a measurement describing how much energy is used in lighting the bulb. It would make way more sense to describe light needed in Lumens, as lumens are the measurement of light output. Is there a coralation between watts used and light output?
anyway i appreciate and help, tips, info, ect
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-10-2004, 01:43 PM
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Well, I'll let people argue the watts vs. lumens thing...

But wattts per gallon is usually for flourescents, not incandescents. So you've actually got less than 2wpg if I'm reading right that you have two fixtures that are 25 watts each.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-10-2004, 03:54 PM
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Couple of different things...

Both watt and lumen are good and bad to describe bulbs. They are loosely correlated, but keep in mind that lumen is measured taking the sensitivity of the human eye into account. This does not match the photosynthetic action spectrum, and therefore isn't much more useful than using watts. Also, knowing how much lumen a bulb emits tells nothing about how much light goes into the tank. This is where lux (lumen/m2) comes in, which nobody uses, because it is different in each case, and again, not specific for plants, which are our focus here.

While CF (compact fluorescent) bulbs like you are using can work, you need to consider the actual wattage, that's what we are referring to her. So Turbo is absolutely right, take the 25W instead of the "replaces an xxx incandescent bulb" wattage.

Larger tanks can not be illuminated evenly with these bulbs, unless you use a lot of them, with special reflectors. I am using two of the U-shaped ones for a 10 gal tank, works well, but there are areas that are lit better than others. Using spiral shaped ones makes things worse.

Also, the regular CF bulbs have a "warm-white" color temperature of around 2700K, which makes planted tanks look really ugly-yellow (of course, personal preference... some might like that) and IME they can grow awesome algae too.

If you are set to use these bulbs, I would look for some that have a 6500K temperature. There are some available in HD that are 19W, with four of them evenly distributed over your tank, along with some reflectors, you might be able to grow plants.

On the other hand, regular fluorescents will light a tank more evenly, and use much less space than the bulky clip-on reflectors would need.


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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-10-2004, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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ok,
for my set up i don't have a whole lot of over head. If i went to a hard ware store and picked up a flourecent light unit, not a compact, and the average flourecent light is 25 watts, i'd need to fit 4 tubes?
any suggestions on how to attach it to my shelf? It's not made out of wood, so i can't screw it on. It's metal grating. Maybe if i drilled holes in the top of the unit and threaded through zip ties or something?,, hmmm

oh another question. I have a sliding glass lid. I need it to keep my cats from drinking the tank water, does this effect the light at all? I know that glass filters UV and stuff.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-10-2004, 08:35 PM
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I know this tends to be a bit controversial so I'm only recommending this based on my own experience with the product.

I have a 30 "cube" which measures 20" X 18 1/2" at the top. I use two Lights of America "Fluorex" floodlights on it with fantastic results. These units have 65 watt, 6500K, 4550 lumen bulbs in them and fit perfectly on the glass lid, although I do have them retorfitted into a custom reflector. They work great as is, I posted a picture of the tank here:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...75350#poststop

As you can see, growth is not problem


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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-10-2004, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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Your tank looks beautiful btw
ok, do you have a pic of your relector? I have no idea how to make a reflector. Would it be like molding tinfoil into a cone type shape?

These america fluorex floodlights go in any conventional incandecent holder?
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-10-2004, 11:26 PM
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I can get some pictures in a day or two, but no, the reflector is actually made from a sheet of aluminum that I polished and bent myself, but really isn't hard, just some elbow grease is all that's really needed.

The lightbulbs are a proprietary fixture though, you should be able to purchase them at HD for around $30-35 dollars, you can use them as is or take them apart and retofit them as I did.


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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-11-2004, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
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and two would work for my tank which is 33 g?
It's 36" long, some one mentioned having uneven lighting, if i only had two would i maybe have a problem with that? and could that be solved by reflecting it to make a more even lighting?
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-12-2004, 12:26 PM
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I would assume the uneveness issue could be addressed by customizing the reflector for the most part, you'd have to experiment with it.


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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 07:34 AM Thread Starter
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awsome, thanks for all your help ^_^
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 07:44 AM
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Newticus,

That is the exact fixture I use on my newly setup 30 hex. Here's the pic on my web :
http://www.msnusers.com/webnino/30gl...oto&PhotoID=21

You can't really count the total wattage to wpg. The design of the bulb is really inefficient and lost many of its intensity on restrike.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 07:48 AM Thread Starter
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I couldn't get to your site. : (
It said page not found
But it's the floodlight set up with reflectors?
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 07:50 AM
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It should work now, sorry
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 08:16 AM
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Newticus,
If I were you, I would go with 96 watts PC. The reason I went with Fluorex was because it's an odd size or dimension tank. I have very few choices. It's either Metal halid (my wife didn't let me hang anything from ceiling), Quad light (only 10000K) or Fluorex. I was just hoping it could penetrate deep enough to grow carpet plant. If not I will order Metal halide.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-15-2004, 03:20 AM Thread Starter
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PC?
and 96 watts in total for my tank? I'm sorry if i seem dense but...
I may scrap the smaller idea. I found these flourecent ballasts at work. They're compleatly adjustable to size, a little expensive then i could mount them on some wood. Aluminum sheeting would be the best for a reflector right?
Now is there some technique for making your reflector work really well? For example and specific angle or whathave you?
These ballasts are going to cost around $40-$60 CD (Canadian Dollar) Might it be possible to find cheaper ballast at HD?
Or I get 2 more compact flourecents and somehow make a canopy of sorts?
Too many options, and i'm really not sure which is the easiest, or cheapest
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