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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in the planning phase of my 75 gallon and am currently being held up by the lighting. No matter how often I try to figure it out I end up getting confused (sorry).

I have a 29 gallon, moderately planted tank that has been successfully running since July. It is low-tech, it has a coralife 65 watt light fixture and I dose flourish, excel and trace. I want the 75 gallon to also be a low light/low tech tank.

I can't afford to go the 'easy' lighting route for the 75 gallon and just buy another expensive fixture so I was hoping to throw one together. I am handy enough to build a canopy but very uncomfortable with the idea of wiring my own lights. What I am contemplating is using T8 flourescent shop lights. 2 bulb fixtures start at $20 and I figure I would need 2 of those. I could direct mount them to the canopy, leave the back open for ventilation (or add fans) and be done with it.

I'm sure someone has already tried this but after searching this forum and googling I have found articles about diy canopies but nothing electrical or diy lighting that gets way too electronically complicated for me to safely try.

Will this work? Or can someone point me to something low cost that is not likely to end in a house fire?

TIA
 

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i did the exact same thing for a 20gal Long tank using 2 24" shoplight fixtures...

it works just fine...and as far as wiring...you would only need a standard 2 prong plug off of any old broken electrical junk you have laying around (i used a cord from a broke iron)

you just connect the positive and negatives to the same leads in the fixture...wire them in parallel...add your bulbs and youre set

nothing complicated about it really...
 

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Since a 75gal is so deep, you might consider adding one or two T5s (NO) into the mix. If they're on separate switches, this would give you lots of control.

I think it would work.

I'd plan to add fans, you're likely to need them especially during the summer.
 

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Ignore anything mentioning positive or negative when dealing with AC current. AC stands for alternating current. Only DC - direct current - is spoken of as having positive and negative wires.

AC current in the USA uses black, white, and green wires.
What matters is black connects to black. White connects to white. Green connects to other greens and the metal of the fixture.

Most "shop lights" have a four to six foot cord with a plug on the end. If you want a timer, purchase an outdoor grade timer with two or three outlets. Plug the timer into the wall and both lights into the timer. That way you'll avoid having to do any wiring.

The issue will be mounting them in your canopy. Take a tape measure with you when you shop for lights and measure them. Mine from range from 48" to 49.5". If you get wide ones, you may have to do some extra work on your canopy to accommodate them.
Since you are looking to use T8, make sure the box says the fixture will use T8 bulbs.
 

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There is nothing to wire. Attach the fixture to the canopy and plug it in.


Mine came from Lowes, I think it cost about $20. Not in a canopy though. They also have some cheaper ones that are black, so the reflector part would need to be painted white.
 

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If you are going with T8 shoplights then there is no wiring to be done, they usually have a plug and some come with a switch. They are made to be used out of the box.

If you go with single or dual striplights from HD, Lowes, etc that are made to be mounted on the ceiling and wired in, then you will have to connect your own cord. This option will allow you to use T5 NO which are more efficient than T8. The T5 striplight cost a little more than the T8 striplights.

GL with whatever you choose and keep up posted!
 

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In my opinion the T5NO two tube lighting strips from the big box stores are a waste of money for an aquarium. There is no room for a decent reflector. The tubes are too close together for good light spread. Better to purchase T5HO from the beginning. If someone gave me some I'd use them... After replacing the ballast. ;-)

And, contrary to some peoples postings, some shop lights do require wiring the cord to the wires in the fixture. In my experience, the boxes they come in mention that they can be direct wired, on the outside so one need not be surprised. It's a big country. Products selections vary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone for your help. I am going to Home Depot tomorrow to do some further investigation. With any luck I won't get kicked out for loitering :D

I was flipping through the Fosters and Smith catalog and they have a Nova Extreme T5 fixture that comes with 2 54w HO lamps. I might go with this as the reality of burning my house down gets nearer.
 

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Hehe, I always loiter at my local HD. :thumbsup:

Btw, if you look at Oldpunk's 50g low-tech journal, he modified a shoplight chassis with a T5 NO dual lighting strip and a PC reflector.

Maybe you could mount single T5NO lighting strips spaced a bit apart in your canopy to get a more even spread of lighting. You could also figure out how to mount a reflector behind the bulbs to give you more efficient use of the light.

The Nova Extreme is a decent fixture but T5HO will prolly give you high light, depending on how high off the top of the tank you position it. Coralife has some T5NO fixtures if you decide not to DIY.

Just some suggestions. :)
 

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I am looking at the T5 HO shop light with a electronic balast at home depot it is this faux diamond plate mirrored reflector so it will have good reflective properties. I have a T12 48" shoplight in my 75gal right now but it needs to be replaced.
I wired the balast on the out side of the tank to keep it a little cooler (but not nessarry).
 
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