The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 20 of 36 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
322 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

I have been roaming this site for a little while now but have not yet posted, so now I would like to ask my first question. You all are a wealth of information, thanks!

I am a college student setting up my first planted aquarium so I am on a budget.

Here is the question:
Can I use two of these lights (even though they are not made for aquariums) over my 55 gallon aquarium?
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=208484-13537-234SLESW&lpage=none

I got the idea from reading this AGA article:
http://www.aquatic-gardeners.org/budget.html (under lighting section)

If these would work are there any modifications that I would need to make (e.g. waterproofing)?

If I could get by using these for 4 or 5 months I would be able to save enough money to upgrade.

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
162 Posts
I used a shop light over mine along with my coralife FW aqualite and my plants grew pretty good. The shop lights are fine, but keep in mine that they don't come with a good reflector. Basically you’re going to lose quite a bit of light because its not focused into your tank. However using two sets of the shop light over your 55gal is better than nothing. Just upgrade whenever you get the chance. Till then you may look at creating your own reflector using mylar or something (just do not use aluminum).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
Yup, white is the next best thing from a mirror finish. Try hitting up Home Depot or Walmart if you can. They have a cheaper version that's only about $8 each. You can also get (2) 6700k T8 at home depot for $7. Good luck. (I'm in the same shoes as you :D)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
803 Posts
I've done a lot of reading about this and it seems that aquarium lights are so expensive because they are labeled "aquarium lights" or "grow lights". That's about it. It's a convenience thing ~ rather than do the research to learn about kelvin ratings and such, the general public wants a no-brainer. So sellers give it to 'em and charge 'em for it. ;) It's just like rubber liner in ponds ~ Goodyear makes roofing liner and pond liner both. When they switch the production line from making roofing liner to making pond liner, they simply stop the production line, switch out the stamps in the machines that label the liner "Roofing" to "Pond - Fish safe" and crank it back up. The only other thing they change is the stamps at the end of the line that say "20cents/sq. ft." to "$1.99/sq. ft." Seriously.

When you get your money saved up, you might want to look into AH Supply's lighting kits. I've read extensively on this forum and other webpages about lighting, and AH Supply seems to have the best lighting for the best price. Sure you can get cheaper lights, as you are doing with the shop lights (and as I'm doing at the moment with compact spiral bulbs and those cheapo silver cone-shaped reflectors from Lowe's), but both of our solutions aren't very efficient at getting light in the tank. There's a LOT of spillover into the room from my system, plus lots of restrike (light hitting the bulb again) and lots of light lost due to inefficient reflection (the silver things I'm using aren't that great of reflectors). I have one tank that has the lights mounted in regular receptacles against the white painted bottom of the shelf above ~ still not the most efficient. I'm having to use more watts because of these problems. Once I get AH Supply's kits, I can go from using 45 or 60 watts via my current setup to 36 using one of their setups including their awesome reflectors.

Oh, yeah ~ welcome to the forum! You're going to love it here. :biggrin:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
Fluorescent tubes are measured in 1/8th inch increments, so T5 = 5/8 of an inch diameter, where T12 are 1.5" diameter.

PCs are power compacts, as in the AHS kits, which are basically bent T5 tubes, but because of that there is more restrike and thus less efficient than T5s.

SLRs are single len reflectors which is the secret behind T5's efficiency as almost all the light produced by the bulb is directed right into the tank.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
322 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Fluorescent tubes are measured in 1/8th inch increments, so T5 = 5/8 of an inch diameter, where T12 are 1.5" diameter.

PCs are power compacts, as in the AHS kits, which are basically bent T5 tubes, but because of that there is more restrike and thus less efficient than T5s.

SLRs are single len reflectors which is the secret behind T5's efficiency as almost all the light produced by the bulb is directed right into the tank.
ah.... I feel enlightened. Thanks darkfury
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
322 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I've done a lot of reading about this and it seems that aquarium lights are so expensive because they are labeled "aquarium lights" or "grow lights". That's about it. It's a convenience thing ~ rather than do the research to learn about kelvin ratings and such, the general public wants a no-brainer. So sellers give it to 'em and charge 'em for it. ;) It's just like rubber liner in ponds ~ Goodyear makes roofing liner and pond liner both. When they switch the production line from making roofing liner to making pond liner, they simply stop the production line, switch out the stamps in the machines that label the liner "Roofing" to "Pond - Fish safe" and crank it back up. The only other thing they change is the stamps at the end of the line that say "20cents/sq. ft." to "$1.99/sq. ft." Seriously.

When you get your money saved up, you might want to look into AH Supply's lighting kits. I've read extensively on this forum and other webpages about lighting, and AH Supply seems to have the best lighting for the best price. Sure you can get cheaper lights, as you are doing with the shop lights (and as I'm doing at the moment with compact spiral bulbs and those cheapo silver cone-shaped reflectors from Lowe's), but both of our solutions aren't very efficient at getting light in the tank. There's a LOT of spillover into the room from my system, plus lots of restrike (light hitting the bulb again) and lots of light lost due to inefficient reflection (the silver things I'm using aren't that great of reflectors). I have one tank that has the lights mounted in regular receptacles against the white painted bottom of the shelf above ~ still not the most efficient. I'm having to use more watts because of these problems. Once I get AH Supply's kits, I can go from using 45 or 60 watts via my current setup to 36 using one of their setups including their awesome reflectors.

Oh, yeah ~ welcome to the forum! You're going to love it here. :biggrin:
Ive been looking at AH supply and this looks like it would be the way to go. I dont, however, have any electrical experience whatsoever (though I do consider myself a fast learner). Will this be a problem or are these thing pretty easy to set up?

Also how difficult is it to build a case to hold the lights. Anyone have any good/cheap suggestion on how to do this?

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
803 Posts
I haven't bought one yet, but from what I've read both here and on the AHS site, there are detailed instructions that come with them (be sure and ask for them to make sure they're included, just in case). The case (hood), however, will be a bit more difficult unless you have some simple woodworking tools and the experience to use them, or know someone who does. They're really simple to make ~ just a box made to specific dimensions AHS gives you. But if you don't have ANY experience cutting and working with wood, I wouldn't try it yourself. Do you know someone who has this kind of experience? And maybe the tools?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,466 Posts
hello, can you pass on all the info you get on lighting to me im in the same boat and at the failing end of the spectrum :(, and building a hood shouldnt bee too difficult any high school level text book on woodworking will contain enough information to give guidance on how to build somthing suitable with modest tools failing that, use a load of duct tape and use the line "funtion over form" :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Yup, white is the next best thing from a mirror finish.


Strange as it may seem, white is better than a true mirror. It goes

Polished Aluminum
Matte White
Mirror

(something about the light refracting through the glass twice)

Just line the interior of the shop light with aluminum foil (spread flat and get the wrinkles out) and you'll gain 10% lux over the white interior. If you want to spend a few bucks, buy some of the solar tube extensions they sell at Lowes or HD and use them to line the light fixture. http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=104634-58-104634&lpage=none

Make a brake from some wood pieces and you'll have your own TEK reflectors.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
803 Posts
I have experience working with wood. The problem is I that I don't have the tools. I may be able to find someone who does.
And if not, maybe you can pick up a jig saw or cheap circular at a pawn shop? That and a screw gun or even a drill and you're in business.

I stumbled across this light. Will it provide enough light to grow HC in a 55g (130 watts)?
I don't know about growing HC under that wattage. It's about 2 1/3 wpg and I think that's considered low to medium light. I'm not positive, but I think HC needs high light, which is about 4 wpg if I remember right. But then again, Tom Barr says there are only a very few plants that won't grow under 2.5 wpg ~ don't know if HC is one of those or not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,466 Posts
And if not, maybe you can pick up a jig saw or cheap circular at a pawn shop? That and a screw gun or even a drill and you're in business.
.
forget that, more money and more hassle,
making a hood (following handy hints from my old school text book).
you will need
set square
pencil
timber suitable kinds include pine, maple, walnut and plywood
get the top section cut by the woodshop if they wont go somewhere else
pva woodglue 10minute setting varity
hand saw (NOT a hack saw)
panel pins/nails depending on thickness
sand paper (most important part as far as finish is concerned)
and remember meausure twice cut once!

ill do a picture tutorial when i make my hood at the weekend. till then its nothing too complex using hand tools just dont think fancy it only has to be a rectangular box at the end of the day

good luck though its always worth it if you take your time and have a look at basic techniques
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
322 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
forget that, more money and more hassle,
making a hood (following handy hints from my old school text book).
you will need
set square
pencil
timber suitable kinds include pine, maple, walnut and plywood
get the top section cut by the woodshop if they wont go somewhere else
pva woodglue 10minute setting varity
hand saw (NOT a hack saw)
panel pins/nails depending on thickness
sand paper (most important part as far as finish is concerned)
and remember meausure twice cut once!

ill do a picture tutorial when i make my hood at the weekend. till then its nothing too complex using hand tools just dont think fancy it only has to be a rectangular box at the end of the day

good luck though its always worth it if you take your time and have a look at basic techniques
Yeah, this is starting to get more expensive than just buying a pre-made light. Grrrr every time I find a cheaper alternative it ends up being to good to be true.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,466 Posts
mmm i know the feeling well
the tools you need arnt expencive and youll use them again and again but it could be your best bet to look in the local shop ofter they have hoods suitable and cheap because theyre mass produced

i wouldnt turn down diy often friends or family have the tools and will help for beer money, hell id make you one for the cost of wood but your stateside and im uk. dont give up they'll be someone/somthing :smile:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
803 Posts
Isn't that a cool idea, Garuf!! Once painted, the wood glue won't let go due to humidity, right? If you make sure the cracks are filled/covered well, it seems like it wouldn't. I'm lucky in that my stepsons are trim carpenters, so they're making my hoods for me, but that is a great idea for someone who isn't so lucky.
 
1 - 20 of 36 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top