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Cheap lighting option?

This is a discussion on Cheap lighting option? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Thats exactly what I am going to be doing in my 30 gallon. Got my sockets today. I will only be using 10-15 watt ...

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Cheap lighting option?
Old 11-17-2011, 03:27 PM   #21
 
Thats exactly what I am going to be doing in my 30 gallon. Got my sockets today. I will only be using 10-15 watt bulbs though. Oh, one thing to think about....the 26 watt bulbs are bigger around than the 10-15 watt bulbs so you need to make sure you will have room in the rain gutter to fit the socket and bulb. It will probably fit, just may be a little tight.
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Old 11-17-2011, 04:04 PM   #22
 
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Yeah I will look into that thanks.
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Old 11-17-2011, 05:28 PM   #23
 
It all depends what you mount inside the rain gutter fixture and how densely planted you want it. You can use spiral power compacts. These are cheap bulbs and easy to get. The downside is they have a lot of restrike especially mounted horizontally. There also fat which is annoying as certain sizes don't fit. If you go with those bulbs I would personally have at least 2WPG to get decent medium light levels. I use them to grow plants and prefer them over all the T8 fixtures I have laying around. Your tank is slightly deeper though.

You can get those same sockets at Menard's for around $4. Remember reflectors! In the end lighting levels come down to how much light gets into the tank, not how much is above it.

You could mount some NOT5 bulbs in there. It would probably be more expensive though. Even if you used home depots lights. Then the bulbs will be harder to find and more expensive. Though last time I was at HD they had 4100K T5 bulbs. You could get away with those, but the lighting will look crappy IMO. For the spiral compacts most stores carry up to 5500K, fleetfarm does carry 6500K ones which have a pretty good appearance.
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Old 11-17-2011, 05:42 PM   #24
 
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Is there a way to mount the CFL vertically?
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Old 11-17-2011, 05:49 PM   #25
 
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Oh and the reflectors well I was reading your thread How to retrofit your light for cheap and you use the aluminium sheet or roll for a reflector. Where did you get that at? What thickness is the sheet you are using? Also will that work in the rain gutter?
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Old 11-17-2011, 06:05 PM   #26
 
Yeah they can be mounted in whatever direction. Its just that they normally fit in a hood horizontally unless you have a really tall hood.

Something I thought about while typing that last post has really got me thinking all of a sudden. I kinda wish I hadn't thought of it since I should really be studying for a test tomorrow..... Basically CFL's are self ballasted, meaning the ballast is contained in the base of the bulb. Now CFL's are cheap, where as electronic ballasts generally are not. Basically I wonder what bulbs you could run off a spiral CFL ballast if you took apart the bulb. In the end the only downside of a spiral CFL is its shape. In theory a ballast is a ballast and a bulb is a bulb as long as the ballast can provide a high enough voltage to initially light the bulb it should light. I could see an issue with being able to maintain that high voltage over longer wires. You could work around that though....

I'll probably kill a spiral CFL tonight >.>
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Old 11-17-2011, 06:23 PM   #27
 
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Well my next question is a rain gutter tall enough to mount a CFL vertically? If so then I could do it that way using 3 or 4 single sockets in the gutter.
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Old 11-17-2011, 07:46 PM   #28
 
The reflector is called aluminum 'roll' and you can get it at most home improvement stores for pretty cheap. I think its around $5 for 10 feet. The one that is 6" wide works the best IMO. Its pretty floppy stuff when you start out with it flat, but once you put in the bends it stays much stiffer. Stuff it really sharp though so best use gloves if your forcing it. Its sliced me really good before.

Rain gutters are not tall enough for vertical mounting. Horizontal mounting works, its just studies with a PAR meter show vertical mounting gives you more light at depth.

I answered my question about powering different bulbs off a spiral CFL. I've only done one, but so far the answer is yes! I haven't really figured out what that means yet or if there is any real gain in doing this lol. I've only tested one bulb. A 13 watt spiral CFL 'driver' can power a 13 watt bi-pin power compact bulb just fine. I might try a 15 watt T8 just to see if it will light, but thats kinda pushing it. I'll probably grab a cheap 14 watt NOT5 and some larger spiral compact bulbs tomorrow and mess around with them. It maybe a lot more technical then you want to deal with.



This is the quick and dirty setup, this is NOT how I would recommend doing things. Just showing that it works. The light bulb socket can be completely removed and the driver wired directly to the power cord.
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Old 11-17-2011, 08:04 PM   #29
 
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Yes your right that's a little more technical then I think I am capable of doing. My question is what could you gain from doing that? Also let me say this. This is what I am wanting for this a tank. A light fixture capable of given me medium lighting or just a little more. I just don't know the best way of doing this with least amount of money (If that makes sense). I just don't know how to achieve that?
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Old 11-17-2011, 08:15 PM   #30
 
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I have read that one thread you wrote today and some others about the gutter fixtures and pretty sure I can do that. Seems straight forward enough. Which is why I was thinking about doing that but if that's not going to give me enough lighting. Is there something else I can do along those lines?
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