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adventures in budget DIY lighting

This is a discussion on adventures in budget DIY lighting within the Freshwater Aquarium Equipment forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> nice selection of plants there!! I demand pictures once all is planted, pleaseee You building DYI CO2 bottle now too??? You're quite the handy ...

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adventures in budget DIY lighting
Old 01-03-2010, 01:18 PM   #11
 
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nice selection of plants there!! I demand pictures once all is planted, pleaseee

You building DYI CO2 bottle now too??? You're quite the handy man aren't you???
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Old 01-03-2010, 07:33 PM   #12
 
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truth is angel, i hate paying aquarium prices for stuff that doesnt require it. fish i will pay for, and things like gravel or specific backgrounds, and heaters or filters i will pay for. things i can make myself for cheap, or things i can make that arent commercially available is my current hobby.

not that i cant buy a light for my tank, but i cant buy one for a reasonable price that does what I want it to do, exactly. so ta da! lol this way I have the ability to tailor it exactly how I want it, I even have the ability to mix and match bulbs, which is another experiment for another day lol

this tank will get home grown co2 at some point, just not sure how I want to go about it just yet. the lights the big nut to crack, once im happy im probably moving on to the custom filter for my 110g.
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:29 PM   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beetlebz View Post
truth is angel, i hate paying aquarium prices for stuff that doesnt require it.
AMEN to that one!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by beetlebz View Post
fish i will pay for, and things like gravel or specific backgrounds, and heaters or filters i will pay for. things i can make myself for cheap, or things i can make that arent commercially available is my current hobby.

not that i cant buy a light for my tank, but i cant buy one for a reasonable price that does what I want it to do, exactly. so ta da! lol this way I have the ability to tailor it exactly how I want it, I even have the ability to mix and match bulbs, which is another experiment for another day lol

this tank will get home grown co2 at some point, just not sure how I want to go about it just yet. the lights the big nut to crack, once im happy im probably moving on to the custom filter for my 110g.
You may be interested in a filter system I learned overseas...googel hamburger mattenfilter, works great in any tank from 10g to 100g or more neat clever lil system IMO
More ideas: Nice black background: Walmart Car Tint as deep black as you can get it and shine's nice
Substrate: Playsand or Poolsand, also the places that you typically would call for gravel etc for your driveway, check them out for buck natural colored gravel (our guys laughed at me when I said I needed 50-60lbs and told me to just pull the darn truck up)
CO2 I hadn't built myself yet but read several articles bout it. My best connection (before the move) was a VERY reputable Killi breeder, he had that stuff down like no tomorrow to built

Honestly, a lot of it is simple money making at the petstores, I will NEVER understand for the light for example why I go to the petstore and get the bulb for $20 a piece and the very same light, same watt, same K same all at the home store for $5 or less.....That goes with soooo many things in the tank world, its silly....
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Old 01-04-2010, 12:22 AM   #14
 
Heres my wooden beast that powers my 55gal. It houses a pretty high end retrofit kit though and some $10 moon lights. I built it still in highschool with really no wood working experience. I did have a miter saw to help me though. Also when using wood predrill all nail holes. Its easier to design a wood enclosure to allow for heat escape. Its been a year and this hood only shows a very slight warp from the ballast's heat(which gets too hot to touch). Since I went with a square design the glass tops only open 90 degrees. I made two hooks to hold the lids open. I have designs for a hood with the same shape as a all-glass hood, but haven't tried it yet.




If you still have the original strip light, its cheaper and easier to retrofit it with spiral compacts than to build a completely new hood. The bulbs you have are too big though, you need 13-14watt spiral compacts to fit inside the striplight. Using rain gutter is next cheapest then wood. Wood though is my favorite as it always looks the nicest in the end.
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Old 01-04-2010, 05:59 AM   #15
 
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I really like that mikaila! aye, the smaller bulb clearance is the principle reason I didnt want to use an incandescent hood. I have smaller nvision 14 watt bulbs but really the difference is one im not sure im willing to sacrifice :) ill see what I can find for scrap materials at the shop today, and get back to you guys. wood isnt out of the question!
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:09 AM   #16
 
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Nice job there on the hood mikaila!!!!

Here's what I came up with for solution when I couldn't find what I wanted for stand nor hood....The top lid is just simple piano hinges and the lights are 2x4ft under it you can slide back & forth how you want to...It was my first ever wood work, but I think it turned out pretty decent
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Old 01-05-2010, 06:18 AM   #17
 
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Im lovin that angel :) nice work! I need to build a new one for my 110g soon enough
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Old 01-05-2010, 07:26 PM   #18
 
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Thank you...I'm sure a true carpenter would find something to 'complain' about as far as looks...but hey it was my first shot on wood work and I like it.

You know I giggle each & every time I see your new signature there now...... :D
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Old 01-10-2010, 09:39 AM   #19
 
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woot update time lol I scored some old raingutter and caps from work as sort of a proof of concept project. My wish is to build a hood that puts out as much light uniformily as my big contraption did, only with a smaller foot print that preserves my ability to access the tank. Again i stuck with self-ballasted bulbs to keep the extra wiring down and to allow me to vary the amount of light by adding and removing bulbs, and changing wattage. bulbs used currently are 18w fiat 6500k daylight bulbs for the time being only because I added a TON of plants over the last week, want to give them the best chance to root and establish themselves before i go screwing around.

so far the light doesnt spread the light out as much as the first version did, still dark at the front of the tank at the top, but seeing as this variation of the light is 1/3 the size and doesnt light up the whole room, i can live with that lol

I added the wooden wings just to be on the safe side, as I removed the versa top during the photo taking session for some modificiations. the light actually rests on the tank rim but id rather be safe than sorry. now that the proof of concept has been a resounding success im venturing out next week or next weekend to buy either new white plastic gutter or aluminum gutter for the final version. the final version is also getting streamlined water resistant wiring and wire grommets :)
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Last edited by beetlebz; 01-10-2010 at 09:41 AM..
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Old 01-10-2010, 10:01 AM   #20
 
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The lights you got def will help your plants thrive.

Sounds like the inside of your gutter is not reflecting enough throughout the tank. What works for me is either Vapor barrier for 'reflector' or the stuff you use on building tin roofs (sorry I'm not DYI enough to know the proper name there), its like a roll of sheet metal super long and maybe 1ft wide that you cut to size between your house wall and tin roof, that stuff cut and bent into shape you want it works superst for reflector.
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