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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I needed a stand for my 56g but didn't want to spend $2-300 at least, and I wanted something that went with the furniture in my living room. So, I made one! I used the frame from this DIY: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1169964

Then I put a skin and a top on it! It matches my coffee table and side table perfectly, except that they have turned legs. I didn't even want to go there- I'm not a master woodworker by any stretch!



It cost me about $75 not including paint which I still had from refinishing the other furniture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone! Now.... to build the light fixture. My pair of 24" Sun Blaze T5's came in and I'll have to mess around with the brackets a lot to get these to work. Still debating building a whole canopy/hood assembly or just a housing for the lights that I can suspend or set on top of the tank.
 

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For easy maintenance a hanging light is many times better than a big, massive hood, which can't easily be removed. I learned this the hard way several years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ah, thanks Hoppy! Decision made!
 

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^2nd that. I've been working on my stupid, heavy, PITA hood for a month now. I just got it up and running last night. Although I still need to add 3 coats of poly, two more hinges, and a few other odds'n ends. Basically, another weekend of wood working, instead of fishing. My honey do list is PILING up, and the weekends keep getting colder.
 

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For easy maintenance a hanging light is many times better than a big, massive hood, which can't easily be removed. I learned this the hard way several years ago.
+1 on that. If you hang the light, I would recommend using mostly thin flexible steel wire for appearance purposes. But do yourself a favor and make it easy to adjust the height--I did this by making the final stretch to the ceiling hooks out of that cheesy chain used to hang light fixtures. So if I want to adjust height, I just move the links up or down.

Also, that big heavy hood approach looks...well...ugly to me. If you want some ideas you can look at the build in my signature. (Ignore the tape, which has become a running joke.) But if you want inspiration...then try out some Krenov.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Oh, that's nice! Thanks for the tip! Mine is probably going to be either a plain old box, either black or stained to match the stand top.

I'm not sure where to start with this though- for a 24" deep tank (30x18), two 24" T5HO's spaced 6 inches apart and staggered- I'm trying for low-med light. There will be a glass top on the tank and the lights will be 2" from the bottom edge of the hood/box/enclosure thingy I'm building. Should I start on top of the tank, or go ahead and start with the light hanging?
 

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Start with the light hanging. Especially at the beginning, too much light is liable to cause an algae explosion. (Will you be using CO2?)

Also, trust me when I say that you really can't appreciate what a PITA it is to have your light sitting on top of your tank until you work on a tank where there's nothing to remove before doing maintenance.

And by the way, if the DIY bug has bitten you hard, you could always go with LEDs...when I was at your stage in my tank build, RedfishSC and Hoppy seduced me to the dark (light?) side. I'll never go back to fluorescents again.

And...don't do a "plain old box." The fixture will be at eye level, so you want it to feel like it's part of the stand. If you feel like your skills are limited, try making a basic rectangular box, then add some simple trim molding to it. Paint the box, stain the trim. Voila. It will look great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm hoping not to have to use CO2. Low tech if I can find the perfect balance!

I was going to get some wrought iron 12-14" wall plant hangers to suspend the light from as I have wrought iron stair railings in the room and I think they would look great. I could probably manage putting a little trim on the box- I do have a miter saw.

I already have my T5's so I'm going to stick with those. If I go LED I'd have to ask my electricity savvy husband to help, and he's already grumbling about me setting up a tank in the first place, LOL. As it is, I'm going to have to ask him to replace the two blindingly white cords with one black one so it won't be so noticeable.
 

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You could do something like chopping off the top of a stand identical to what you have, right above the doors. I think I would make it smaller - perhaps 4 inches less across the length, and 4 inches less from front to back, and maybe 3-4 inches high. That would match the stands design, but still be a hanging light. Perhaps better looking would be the same thing but with the stained wood "top" on the bottom, with the center cut out, something pretty easy to do with moldings. I like doing scale sketches to get a better idea about what proportions to use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
You could do something like chopping off the top of a stand identical to what you have, right above the doors. I think I would make it smaller - perhaps 4 inches less across the length, and 4 inches less from front to back, and maybe 3-4 inches high. That would match the stands design, but still be a hanging light. Perhaps better looking would be the same thing but with the stained wood "top" on the bottom, with the center cut out, something pretty easy to do with moldings. I like doing scale sketches to get a better idea about what proportions to use.
Great idea! The total assembly of the sunblaze lights with the reflectors are 2 inches, so I was wanting to go 3 inches lower on the enclosure to keep the bulbs out of direct line of sight if someone's sitting on the couch. Too much, do you think? If the enclosure is shorter than the tank, we are counting on light spread if it's raised, to reach the edges of the tank, correct? I do need to draw this out...

Also, I was thinking the same thing about the molding- wrapping the bottom with the stained trim. Actually I may wrap the top in molding too, but keep it simple and painted to match the body. That would also enable me to use a lightweight luan without worrying about the shredded edges that sometimes happen when I cut it across the grain :icon_redf. Like I said, I'm no woodworker!
 
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