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Discussion Starter #1
Finally had time to put this together, 12,800 lumens, at 6500K. All of the plants I have are bright sun plants and have been doing poorly on the light that came with the tank, 40g bow front, 20 inch deep. Just need to paint this thing and get it mounted.

First pic is testing, second foiled in with no bulbs, third is bulbs and lit up, its like looking at the sun.

The whole project cost me about $45. Lumber was from a construction site near by, I had the wires already. Can't wait to get it over the tank.

Just noticed I forgot to put in the 8th bulb.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Got a call in to Philips to see if they can provide me with the full spectrum analysis for these bulbs, you know they got it, its a matter of if they will send it or not.
 

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Your light uses 184 watts of electricity! That is more than a 4 tube T8 light. If you make simple thin aluminum reflectors for each bulb, shaped like \_/, like a rain gutter, with the bulbs running down the center, so the side wings each reflect a full image of the bulb into the tank, you can use half that many bulbs and get the same amount of light intensity. It takes a little work to do that, but not much.
 

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Your light uses 184 watts of electricity! That is more than a 4 tube T8 light. If you make simple thin aluminum reflectors for each bulb, shaped like \_/, like a rain gutter, with the bulbs running down the center, so the side wings each reflect a full image of the bulb into the tank, you can use half that many bulbs and get the same amount of light intensity. It takes a little work to do that, but not much.
Any reason why a piece of gutter lined with aluminum foil wouldnt work?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
yes its 184 watts but that 184 watts is generating 12,800 lumens, enough so that if I feel its to many I can back it off, hard to increase it after its made already. T2 cfl are 70 lumens/watt, thats pretty high except for LED's.

The whole box is a reflector. I thought about putting an additional reflector in but didn't see why it would have needed it. I dont' know if I'll need all 1200+ lumens or not but its there just in case.
 

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I think the suggestion @Hoppy is making will focus the light more? I'm going to subscribe to this as I want to make a good for my tank. I hope you keep us up to date on how it works.
 

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In a perfect designed hood you would have a paraboloic reflector that distributes the light in a 80~110 degree cone. It's why the clamp on work reflector lamps are such good choices if you don't mind their look.

I guess I'm not fussy, but I ran a 125 watt Phosphored Mercury Vapor 'yard light' in a big pendant parabolic over my 32 gallon tank for years in our old house. The extra light spill was used as additional reading light and also grew some houseplants growing close to the tank. Images of tank..
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Here it is on the tank. Sad to say I got a lot of ill looking plants that suffered from inadequate lighting. I do have a small amount of light loss, see back wall. I have already built reflectors and will see about proper orientation later. It looks good to me though. Originally I wanted to run the lights vertically and put a reflector on each bulb but the box would have been twice the size it is now, unsightly to me.

Not sure how much more I will mess with this, not losing a whole lot of light off the back side, less than first thought. Two more pics, one of the pics is the old Aqueon bulb that was over it originally.

To get an appreciation for the brightness look at the lamp on the right, there is a 23 watt 6500k 1600 lumen bulb in that lamp, compare the pics. The lamp appears as the brightest object when looking at the aqeuon lamp and the darkest object when the new hood is on the tank.

Time to start looking for some more plants.
 

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Can you shorten the legs and move it closer to the water?
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Can you shorten the legs and move it closer to the water?

I wish I could but the HOB filter is only a 1/2 inch off the hood now. I made it adjustable for height so when I get the DIY filter I made running I'll be able to drop it an inch or so. Its sitting 3 inches over the tank now.

Did I mention I hate the aqeuon filter that came with the tank. Design flaw that thing is. The motor and electric are submerged beneath the water line.

Ain't this something. A pair of forty cent glasses (defraction glasses) that will let you view the spectrum of any light of interest. We got a school supply store here, I think I will stop in to get a pair.

http://www.rainbowsymphonystore.com...BXe94w2PMv05jeTeLyleeIRccF8Y13brIcaAkO78P8HAQ
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Couldn't figure out how I was going to get 8 bulbs in a hood like that while maintaining a shape of 10 inch by 29 inch. This bow front can be a trick to deal with.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So far so good, starting to see new growth emerge on some of the plants already. Had to take the snips to some that weren't looking so good.
 

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You loose an incredible amount of light with a cfl, by mounting it horizontally like that. A spiral CFL, does its best work on the side you have pointed at the opposite sides of the canopy, rather than at the tank.
Also just painting the inside glossy white is virtually as good as lining it with foil.... sometimes even better. I think for spiral CFL bulbs the best is to use those aluminium bell shaped lights you see in warehousing etc. You'd probably get the same lighting with half the bulbs (cost) than you are now...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Problem was, looks vs efficiency. To mount those bulbs vertically and use a reflector on each bulb would have made the over all box (hood) much larger than it is now. The bulbs along with the socket and a reflector would have made them over 7 inches in height, along with having to be 3 inches above the tank to clear the filter would have looked, well, unsightly.
 

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I got this concept through my thick cranium while trying every lighting DIY on the SW side years and years ago.

The very first "parabolic" reflector was made by Ice Cap. They also made one of the very best T5 ballasts at the time. I just gave a way the last T5 reflector I had hanging around

If you look at the shape of the reflectors that are built into stock T5 units, you'll understand what they try to achieve a lot better. As has been mentioned here already, it's not that what you're trying to achieve won't work, it's just that if you could incorporate a better reflector, it would be more efficient use of the light that the bulb creates. Spiral CFL's are about as inefficient as a light source can be for what we try to to put them to use for. It's not that they won't work, it's just that they could be a whole lot more efficient for the wattage they consume. The whole white vs. reflective surface thing was pretty well hashed out too. A clean white inner surface was just as effective as even mirrors. In the end analysis, the parabolic shape of those reflectors do the most efficient job of reflecting the light generated by a round T5 bulb downward to where we have use for it. The shape of a CFL just can't be compensated for, the way a T5 can be with a parabolic-shaped reflector. Again, nothing wrong with your DIY hood. You're just not getting the most bang for 184W.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Good news / Bad news

Good news plants are growing and turning brilliantly green

Bad news, so is the filamentous algae that came with the plants.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'll post this here and again in the lighting forum

Philips came through for me and sent the spectrum from the bulbs I am using. What do you think
 

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Nice setup. I am also using philips LEDs but I only want a low tech tank. I have a 90G 4x2x1.5 with four 9 Watt 800 lumens LED bulbs and two 18 watt 1600 lumens LED strips. Lights are in there since last 4 months. No plants yet. But I also don't get any Algea. I wonder if its enough for low tech.
 

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