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Discussion Starter #1
I am building a canopy similar to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wcCdAahOwQ
I am wondering what would be my best option for reflectors. I was looking at vinyl guttering, 10ft is less than 4 dollars but I think it is to deep and wide for this application. I have read about using 1 1/2 in pvc split down the middle and am curious if anyone has done this and what the results were. I am open to any and all suggestions I just think there is a better way than lining with aluminum foil or white paint but maybe one of those are the best options.
 

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I have built 3 canopies and on some I used the inside white plastic part of the fixture and some I just screwed the bulb holders to the wood like in the video . On all I just painted the inside white exterior latex and put the metal foil type of duct tape under the bulbs . Has worked for me , although I have not checked PAR before or after....lol
 
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If I be you and I made them already but didn't use them. Purchase the oven foil protectors that fit on the bottom rack of your oven. There large, flat and can be cut and molded to fit any shape.
 

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While it seems to be kind of crude, I currently like adding simple twisty CFL bulbs to the canopies I retrofit. With the switch to LED, I'm finding the CFL real cheap and use simple bulbholders without need for ballasts, etc. With the cheap price, I just add far more bulbs until I get plenty. While the light is not used terribly efficiently as it tends to splatter in all directions, I like the overall economy due to the lack of expense upfront. Also I came into the game running incandescent so any type CFL seems cheaper?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
While it seems to be kind of crude, I currently like adding simple twisty CFL bulbs to the canopies I retrofit. With the switch to LED, I'm finding the CFL real cheap and use simple bulbholders without need for ballasts, etc. With the cheap price, I just add far more bulbs until I get plenty. While the light is not used terribly efficiently as it tends to splatter in all directions, I like the overall economy due to the lack of expense upfront. Also I came into the game running incandescent so any type CFL seems cheaper?
Definitely would be an advantage to going this route. I had thought about going with two 23 watt cfl. But I think I would have to make the canopy taller or mount the bulbs horizontally. The main reason I am going the route I am is I already have two brand new unused zoomed tubes and the fixtures, ballasts, starters, etc.
 

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This is what I did. Used T2, CFL, Philips, 23 watt, 1600 lumens, Also attached is the spectrum from the bulbs that Philips sent me.

I'm also considering replacing some these bulbs with red and blue 23 watt cfls.

@thedood
I know what its like to work with what you got though
 

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Discussion Starter #8
@MCSLABS Ive been following your thread to see how it works out. One of the issues I have is that this is going on a tank for rcs so I am going to incorporate a cooling system in the canopy composed of computer fans. I really need to keep this as low profile as possible and keep the fans close to the water with the canopy. If I ran cfl I would have to mount them vertically to get the most efficient use out of them as extra lights would generate more heat and would defeat the purpose, I havent done the math but I am sure I would have to add 3 to four inches of height to the canopy for a vertical mount vs the tubes. I will most likely use cfl or maybe home made led setup in my next project which is a 55g I am going to look at next week and hopefully come home with.
 

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I just go for what I have on hand as a starter on most projects. It seems silly to spend the big bucks for lighting that we may not get right anyway and have to change out in a couple months, if we have several of the parts on hand for building something different.
I gradually worked my way into planted tanks by using CFL twisty bulbs on simple bulb holders. That seemed to be the only sure way for me to completely custom build what was needed without getting more than suited the tank. My first lights for plants were just simple boxes laid on the cover glass and strung along a cord so that I could add or change them very easy. There is a bulb holder meant for temporary construction lighting which just clips onto the wire. Those run around two dollars and are so easy to install and move on an extention cord that it really never seemed right to go any other way.
Another point to keep in mind when designing lights is the way bulbs change. You can pay and install the greatest bulbs on the market but they still will drift off the original spectrum as the dust inside falls off. Changing out cheap bulbs often can get you better results than using a really expensive bulb that is too old.
 

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@thedood, I ran into the same problem, I didn't want the hood, canopy to be of larger format than the tank itself. Takes about 5.5 inches of depth to run a 23 watt bulb vertically, then 3-4 inches over the water, your looking at the canopy being almost 10 inches off the top. Pretty much why I ran them horizontal.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
@thedood, I ran into the same problem, I didn't want the hood, canopy to be of larger format than the tank itself. Takes about 5.5 inches of depth to run a 23 watt bulb vertically, then 3-4 inches over the water, your looking at the canopy being almost 10 inches off the top. Pretty much why I ran them horizontal.
I have the addition issue that I am going to be putting this on a shrimp tank and require cooling so I need to make the lighting as efficient as possible so I require as little as possible and I am going to be mounting fans in the canopy under the lights which is going to add 4 to 5 inches of height.
 

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This may be slightly late and off-topic, but I saw this video and I think this is my next canopy/light build:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ui6kSWNnt2s

The strips are fairly cheap, easy to install, run cool (I'm assuming they do as they are LED) and you can even get the optional remote control.
An added bonus for me is that I can order them in the 10000K that I prefer.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
This may be slightly late and off-topic, but I saw this video and I think this is my next canopy/light build:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ui6kSWNnt2s

The strips are fairly cheap, easy to install, run cool (I'm assuming they do as they are LED) and you can even get the optional remote control.
An added bonus for me is that I can order them in the 10000K that I prefer.
There are pretty cool diy videos out there for led. I hope you start a thread and keep us posted on the results. I may do similar on my next build.
 

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This may be slightly late and off-topic, but I saw this video and I think this is my next canopy/light build:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ui6kSWNnt2s

The strips are fairly cheap, easy to install, run cool (I'm assuming they do as they are LED) and you can even get the optional remote control.
An added bonus for me is that I can order them in the 10000K that I prefer.

Either that ceiling is really low or that guy is a giant
 

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Looking into this many moons ago for a reef tank. The research I found said that a simple smooth white painted reflector is as effective as aluminum sheet/foil.
 

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