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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Im planning on creating my own DIY lighting for my 125g. Im looking for med/high light. I also would like to hang this light. I was thinking of metal shop lights painted black to go with the black metal stand.

Where can I get the things?
What would I need?
How many bulbs/watts for a med/.high light on a 72" tank?
This is my first DIY, let alone lights besides my T's for my 55g.
 

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Shadow, one thing that you could do is build a nice looking enclosure to house the lights in, that way you can do a REALLY inexpensive lighting setup from Home Depot. They sell cheap Shop lights and they have bulbs there that are 6700k spectrum. I got 64W of 48" T8 lighting for $15. :) The price will be a bit higher for 72" bulbs and shop lights but I am certain that you could put together somthing that will put out 250-300 watts for $100 or less.
 

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Hang two 36" shop lights

I'm not positive if they have them in all the Home Depots and Lowes, but I know they sell 36" shop lights that can be easily hung/mounted side-by-side lengthwise to get you good lighting options. Of course preference would be T-8 bulbs, but I've seen T-12's in that size too.

I've had great luck hanging shop lights from chains for my wife's indoor plants. I haven't used this option for my tanks yet, as I'm just working with 10g aquariums still. I may end up rigging a light fixture for my 55g once I find a place to put it. Luckily it's a standard 48", so it is much easier to find shop lights for cheap.

You might find some useful info on the Krib as well:
http://www.thekrib.com/Lights/t8.html#12
 

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There is a 48" fixture at Lowes that you can buy for 8 bucks...its a standard shoplight. Its made for T-12's but it states that you can use T-8's instead. A buddy of mine just bought one and with the bulbas included, he spent about 15 bucks.

This is the cheapest route I can think of.
 

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48" fixture'd work fine for the ballasts and such. You can always cut it down to accept 3' bulbs, or alternate the 48" back and forth much as the aquarium fixture folk do anyhow.

The odd thing is you spent a fraction on the 48" of what you will on 36".
 

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And here is another option, if you are willing to use pigtails...

I saw a fellow on another forum mount bathroom light fixtures, yknow, the cheap mirror'd ones, and install pigatil flourescents in it. Yes, pigtails lose some to the inner coil restrike, but it is a whole lotta light, prehung, for a few dollars...

Could mount them on the top with the bulbs hanging down, mirrors already behind them, paint the rest of the interior white...
 

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Sorry to rain on the parade, but trying to use shoplights to light a 125gal tank to med/high levels won't work too well.

Two reasons: 1. 4ft shoplights usually house 2 40W or 32W bulbs, which a) won't get you the necessary light output and b) adding more shoplights doesn't work either, what you would need are stronger lights.
2. Shoplights are made to spread light evenly throughout a shop, if you hang them over your tank they will spread light evenly throughout the room, instead of directing it into the tank.

I'd suggest looking into T5 or PC bulbs. For a medium light tank, you could go with 2 96W PC bulbs (check AHsupply.com for kits with good reflectors).

Or you could go the T5 route (which I do with my tanks). There are good T5 reflectors available, ballasts like the Fulham Workhorse that can drive the bulbs, and 3ft T5 HO bulbs are 39W each, so if you put 6 of them into your canopy you would look at a evenly lit high light tank.

If that is too much DIY you could buy kits like on ebay http://cgi.ebay.com/READY-FIT-T5-3F...3550469QQihZ019QQcategoryZ42225QQcmdZViewItem or from various other aquatic light suppliers.

Sometimes trying to save money ends up expensive. :smile:
 

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K, educate me. This is not meant as argumentative, I want to learn from you.

Lumens are lumens, no?

T8 bulbs are T8 bulbs, no?

Assuming 1.5" per light, I can easily fit ten T8 bulbs over a 125. 320 watts, 2.56 watts/gallon of T8 light, which is arguably the most efficient flourescent light in terms of wattage/lumens. This would be at least mid light level, especially over a tank so large, no?

Yes, would need superior reflectors to mess with hydroponics kit capabilities - but I can install all ten light setups for less money than that one retro kit from ebay (takes some time and a bit of lumber, but still).

Don't reflectors work regardless of the bulb behind (in front of) them? One could just as easily get some retro reflectors from similar ebay sources to match the reflector spec, or is there such a difference in those kits versus say getting sheet stock and bending it?

I'm not understanding why it wouldn't possibly work - and I want to know, I'm learning in all of this, as I would rather DIY even if it costs the same, to say I did it...

Edumacate the newbie please, I enjoy learning this stuff. :)
 

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I had similar difficulties when trying to come up with a hanging fixture for my 72" long 180gal tank. 72" is just an odd size for lights. Yes they make 72" lights and 36" lights but they are generally more expensive than the standard 48" lights. Seems like it would talk a lot of standard bulbs to achieve a high light level.

I desided not to do the DIY thing and bit the bullet and bought a 72" fixture from Hamilton technologies that was a combination of PC and MH bulbs. I paid thru the nose for it too (like $800). I attached some chains to it and mounted some hooks in the ceiling to hang it over the tank.

If you do figure out a cheap way of putting one together yourself, please post the details what you did. Cause I'd like more big tanks, but can't afford to spend anyware near as much as I did for the first one. Hehehe, the wife won't let me take out mortgages on fish tanks.. :D
 

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K, educate me. This is not meant as argumentative, I want to learn from you.

Lumens are lumens, no?

T8 bulbs are T8 bulbs, no?

Assuming 1.5" per light, I can easily fit ten T8 bulbs over a 125. 320 watts, 2.56 watts/gallon of T8 light, which is arguably the most efficient flourescent light in terms of wattage/lumens. This would be at least mid light level, especially over a tank so large, no?

Yes, would need superior reflectors to mess with hydroponics kit capabilities - but I can install all ten light setups for less money than that one retro kit from ebay (takes some time and a bit of lumber, but still).

Don't reflectors work regardless of the bulb behind (in front of) them? One could just as easily get some retro reflectors from similar ebay sources to match the reflector spec, or is there such a difference in those kits versus say getting sheet stock and bending it?

I'm not understanding why it wouldn't possibly work - and I want to know, I'm learning in all of this, as I would rather DIY even if it costs the same, to say I did it...

Edumacate the newbie please, I enjoy learning this stuff. :)
Wasserpest is talking about T5 bulbs which are more efficient than T8 bulbs. Say lumens for two bulbs are the same, one is a T8 bulb and the other a T5 bulb. The T5 will get more light into the tank due to it's diameter.

Good reflectors are specifically designed for specific bulb types. AHSupply's reflectors are superior for PC bulbs whereas IceCap or SLS reflectors are meant for T5 bulbs. The finish on the reflectors are also important. AHS carries polished MRO 4 aluminum reflectors which directs most of the light from the bulbs into the tank. As far as I know, there haven't been any superb reflectors for T8 setups.

If you buy 10 T8 bulbs and buy sheet metal and bend them ideally, then it might possibly work...but it'll be a good amount of work to bend all the reflectors nicely, etc..
 

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ingg -- placing 10 bulbs side by side over a tank adds a whole new meaning to restrike, wasted energy, and lots of heat. This setup would make a reflector completely unnecessary, no space for it to reflect anything into the tank. Bunching a lot of bulbs to get to some wattage is not the solution.

Don't get me wrong - T8 bulbs are a wonderful thing, good efficiency, good price, easy to use. But shoplights are not the best thing to light a big tank to medium/high levels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I was thinking of using the shop lights [matches the stands frame] and adding reflectors to the top and getting some ballasters [i believe thats what they were] then add some nice bulbs from the LFS I believe they were 100+ watts each and just adding a moon light to it some how as well.
Im not planning one using normal store bought bulbs I was thinking a little more expencive. The other option the LFS gave me was building a hood but I want something I can hang.
They actually have the ballasters I would wire into the shop light frame. But I do not think 2 100+ watt bulbs would be good over the 125g I thought you needed atleast 4 bulbs over something this big.

I bulbs were 3x+ the gallons. It just been a while since I talked to him about them it was around 130+ watt bulbs
 

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I built a light box (not a canopy, just a box to house the lights) with 4 x 96W PC bulbs that sits on top of my 150 gal tank. It sits on top of the tank on legs so that it's about an inch off the glass top, but I could've easily hung it. I pretty much used 1" thick pine wood in 6' pieces to build it. Cost about $20 in wood. I put the 4 x 96W PC kit from AH Supply in it. The whole thing is just spray painted black to match my black wood stand. Be aware that most of the shop lights at Home Depot, Lowes, etc. use ballasts that are cheaper construction and heavier than the electronic ones found in aquarium lighting kits.

Depending on how high you want to hang the lights, you may be better off going with 3 metal halide pendant lamps instead. Stagger them about 2 ft apart at the 1, 3, and 5 foot lengths. They'd definitely be much less bulky than some sort of enclosure for any type of fluorescent lights.

David
 
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