Help with making a DIY canopy....
I went to Lowe's today and priced a bunch of stuff and have a few questions....
1. I was looking at the T-8's and T-12's. The T-8 4' bulbs are 32W and the T-12 4' bulbs are 40W. Which puts out more usable light for the plants? They are the GE F-32 and F-40 bulbs. The F-32's are 5000k and the F40's are either 6500k or 6700k, can't remember which.
2. I was looking at the electronic balasts, and it says to mount the balast about 1/2" from the grounded metal reflector. Any reason for that? I wasn't planning on using any metal reflector, the under side of the canopy is going to be polished mirrors, or I was hoping to use mirrors. But if I have to use metal reflectors, then I will.
3. I was also looking at the bulb holders, as well as the shop light units, and was debating on whether to use the shop light units, or just install holders inside the unit with the mirror top. Any comments on this?
When I get this project started, I'll have some pics. My plans are to build my own stand and canopy, so I can have a matching setup. I am looking at possibly doing it in cedar. It won't be the cedar you usually find in the bottom of drawers that's really red. It's more an off-white with some red in it, and lots of detail in the wood such as knots, etc. Will look nice. And structurally, I plan on using 2x6's for the main framing. So it will be structually very strong.
This is going to be for my 55G first. Then if I get through it ok, then I will plan on one for my 75G, and then my 29G. Then, if I get really crazy, I might sell the setup for the 75G after I create a Dual-75G unit. The lower will be close to the ground, set up with HOB filters, and the upper will be high light under the canopy, and fully planted. And it will have cabinets on both ends as well, for all my fish supplies, etc, as well as canister filter and inline heater and reactor, as well as ph controller if I decide to go back to using it. Also, the canister will be located on one side, and the CO2 bottle on the other side. Either 20lb or 25lb will fit, and completely enclosed. But that's my plans. Gonna try and go as cheap as I can, using wall paneling on the outside of the framework. Real wood, not fake.
Then, if I go and get my 300G wide, will build my own stand and canopy for it as well. Will probably use 4x4's for the structure on it. But this is down the road, no rush now, as I lost my fire eels. So I got more time now.
1. I don't know wich to go with but a higher k bulb is better for plants so i'd pick one in the 6500k.
2.And i think it says put the ballast on the grounded reflector because if there is and electric surge there needs to be somewhere for it to go. So i think it will be O.K to put it beside the reflector.
3. If you were going to do this it would depend on what wattage they have and the k rating. Im just using dome holders for my 15 gallon planted and im going to use some philips daylight energy saver bulbs.
P.S remember to seal the inside of the canopy. And if it ever gets to hot just put some computer fans in it.
Actually, I'm not really worried about the k rating, as both 5000k and 6500k-6700k are good plant bulbs. It's when you go below 5000k that you start having some problems. I'm also looking at some assorted bulbs online as well. If I put in 4 bulbs, I'd like 2 to be either 5000k or 6500k-6700k, and the other 2 to be the 8000k bulbs used by other well known planted tank pros. Or even do a 5000k, a 6500k-6700k, a 8000k, and a 10000k. But since my first project will be the 55G, which I want to be under 2w/g, I'm only doing a 2 bulb canopy for it. The 75G will have either 6 or 8 bulbs. And 4 in my 29G. But one project at a time, lol.
As for the metal reflector, you don't put it on the reflector. In another forum, a guy explained it to me. He said that it says to mount the ballast 1/2" from the reflector. That way when you hook the reflector up to the ground wire, it's a minimal distance. But even if it was 6" away, it really doesn't make any difference, just a piece of wire that's a few inches longer. But anyways, since I'm planning on using mirrors instead of a metal reflector, no need to worry about grounding the reflector. So I can mount the ballast anywhere I want.
As for the fans, it's going to have 3 very large, quiet fans, run off a DC Adapter. And I'll have vents in both the sides of the canopy for fresh air to flow into the canopy, as the fans are blowing the warm air up and out the top. And yes, the entire canopy is going to be sealed in a clear coat, as well as the stand. That way it will look nice, with a nice finish. Also, just above the front doors that will be installed for doing maintenance and feeding, I'll have a piece of glass mounted just above that so there's no chance of water being splashed up on the bulbs, ballast, etc.
As for hiding the trim on the tank, I'm going to make the framework of the stand and canopy so it's the exact same dimensions as the tank top and bottom. Then when I install the side paneling, it will be installed so that all the trim on the tank is covered, and will be rounded with a router so it looks nice. That way, when the tank is set in the base, none of the tank trim will be showing. And it will all be in Cedar. ;)
Sounds good. Take pics when your ready.
i want help with mine!
Lone, don't use the ballasts or the conectors from the shop lights unless you are getting a high end one. They are not a non corrosive metal and fixture so they are not the best for humid situations.
I would get the good ceramic and copper ones from Lowes if they have them and they should have a self grounding ballast, or whichever ones they recommend for humid conditions. If not I would ask about running a wire to the ground to make sure you get it grounded. The distance is to prevent arching from the ballast to the fixture if it ever shorts.
If you can I would put the ballast on top in a built in compartment so it stays completely dry and has less chance of getting alot of moisture. Lowes should have someone who can really tell you how you need to wire it and make sure that the unit is grounded so nothing winds up fried, especially yourself.
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