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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; --> @beetlebz & @Angel079 TY for the awesome thread. Retrofitted a loudly buzzing fixture from a 40 gal with a double socket and 2 GE ...

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adventures in budget DIY lighting
Old 01-25-2010, 05:33 PM   #31
 
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@beetlebz & @Angel079

TY for the awesome thread. Retrofitted a loudly buzzing fixture from a 40 gal with a double socket and 2 GE mdl 89094 6500K CFL bulbs from walmart. For the reflector, I just used aluminum tape (like heavy aluminum foil with glue on one side) to line the inside of the fixture. The tank looks great, and the whole upgrade cost less than a new bulb from a LFS. The plants are going bonkers.

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Old 01-25-2010, 07:28 PM   #32
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrogHerder View Post
@beetlebz & @Angel079

TY for the awesome thread. Retrofitted a loudly buzzing fixture from a 40 gal with a double socket and 2 GE mdl 89094 6500K CFL bulbs from walmart. For the reflector, I just used aluminum tape (like heavy aluminum foil with glue on one side) to line the inside of the fixture. The tank looks great, and the whole upgrade cost less than a new bulb from a LFS. The plants are going bonkers.

Glad to hear that feedback - Tank keeping does NOT need to be a expensive hobby.

And I bet ya my all your plants will thank you soo and thrive real well. And yes aluminum tape works WONDERFUL.....there's a LOT we all have in our lil shops at home that works great for tank DIY's...you just gotta have the idea to use it
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Old 01-25-2010, 07:47 PM   #33
 
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one of these days i will tackle the reflector issue. my boss at work used to make his own light rigs for salt water tanks.. after talking to him i did a handful of research and it looks like its at the very least possible that white smooth surfaces as reflectors do better for plants than anything shiny. will require some more thought, digging, and reading and of course my favorite part, experimentation :)

thanks for the feedback!!!
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Old 02-08-2010, 08:58 PM   #34
 
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just an FYI which i found amusing...

was at my favorite LFS earlier tonight, and the way its set up you need to pass through the reptile equipment section to cross from the fish room, to the fish equipment section. I happened to notice a "reptile" light fixture on the shelf which looked surprisingly familiar. It pretty much consisted of a plastic cover, a few wires, and 4 screw in sockets which hold 4 curly Q CFLs lol almost exactly like mine for my 20L planted tank only mine is made out of metal and took only a few hours including experimentation to build.

the best part.... mine cost about 10 bucks. theirs was 89.99 :O
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Old 02-08-2010, 09:20 PM   #35
 
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Ain't it crazy!? Tank supplies can be so overpriced something it sickening....
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Old 04-17-2010, 03:13 AM   #36
 
You know, this thread is really great! I've been planning on building my own canopy for a while now, and this has inspired me to go pickup the wood and hardware tomorrow.

I must admit though, I have a certain degree of expertise when it comes to indoor plant lighting... I spent years growing plants indoors using specialized lighting and homemade reflectors. I've got to say, what you heard from your boss, beetlez, is correct... Flat white paint is very effective.

There are a few reasons to use flat white paint instead of aluminum foil or mylar. First and foremost in my opinion is that foil and mylar tend to create "hot spots". Think about it this way... When you hold your watch just right in the sun and it reflects a tiny dot of super bright light in your eyes? That is similar to what happens when even the slightest angle is present in foil/metal reflectors. The only way around this is to create a 'wing', which is basically metal bent in angles in a half arc over the bulb. It'll still create hot spots, but they'll be uniformily hot, and more spread out.

Second reason, is that flat white paint is between 85-98% reflective... meaning that very little of your light is being lost. Aluminum foil is between 83-96% reflective, even though that may seem like a small difference... It isn't. Even mirrored glass is less reflective than flat white paint. I know it may seem like foil or metal is more reflective, but that's because it is FOCUSED (hot spots) instead of DIFFUSED. For plant lighting you want diffused lighting... I'm assuming diffused would be the best for fish as well. (especially since us humans do better under diffused too!)

Third reason, is that it's probably the easiest, and cheapest way to line your reflector/hood. Foil is cheap, but you have to hassle with gluing it on, and getting the creases out, etc...



As a side note, when growing indoor plants, the vegetative growth stage (basically, putting out roots and leaves) does best in the 6500k-10000k range (high in blues), and the flowering growth stage (forming flowers/seeds) does better under 4200k light. Not certain that it helps, seeing as how most aquatic plants seldom flower. So keep that in mind while buying your CFLs!

It's funny, I actually have a bunch of huge 100w CFLs... Those are equal to 500 watts of incandescent light. I bet those would just irradiate my plants and fish... lol.


Thanks again for your informative thread!

-- Liam
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Old 04-22-2010, 07:39 PM   #37
 
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wow, very informative Liam! what you explain is exactly why I chose a white plastic rain gutter as the basis for all of my breeding tanks and grow out tanks (even my planted 20L and my betta condo!) though one of these days im going to spray the inside of them all flat to remove the gloss. might even just try scotchbrite.

just think of how many people you made happy now knowing they can go grab a can of flat white spray paint instead of messing around with foil lol
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Old 05-25-2010, 01:31 AM   #38
Taz
 
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beetlebz; you should write a DIY fish keeping book - you're not alone in not wanting to pay aquarium store prices!
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