02-21-2009, 10:54 AM
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Okay after a very exhaustive search I have decided that to get in the lighting range i want AND be able to afford it I will need to make my own canopy. The canopy will be 3 feet wide by 1.5+ feet tall and about 20 inches deep. It will have a full front open access to the tank. and there are plans to hide the ballasts in a hidden compartment above the main light storage area (holes will be placed to help airflow aided by fans).
The plan is a 150-200 watt MH bulb (10k? 14k? 20k? what would be best?) in the center with a strip of 96 watt t5 in the front AND back(if i decide to use all lights at once I will load both of these with 420 true acininc or one with a 460 and the other 420, If I dont need the full wattage of this setup these fourescant bulbs will be the only ones needed and therefore will have 2x 50/50 bulbs). along with 24 blue/white (1:4 white to blue) LEDs distributed evenly throughout the lid for moonlight lighting. the Leds and t5s will be dimable for sunrise/sunset/moon phase simulation.
this will be cooled with A: an open back, and B: 2 fans either side cooling lights specifically and one (maybe) on top cooling the ballast secreat compartment that i will build, if they need a heat outlet.
there will be 4 power stitches built into the canopy and depending on how in depth I go, up to 3 knobs for dimming (one for flourscants one for 2/3 of the acent lights this will be the "mood" knob, and one knob for the last 1/3 of the leds for "spotlight" effects).
this canopy should supply 6.5 - 8 watts per gallon and will be easily made highly variable (especially useful for acclimating all my new corals, this dimming effect will mean i dont have to use diffraction sheets over several weeks)
As I mentioned before I am a complete novice so I would love any input, comments, sudgestions, or reminders that anyone has to offer and since i am short on time for now anyone that would link explainations of ballasts or something else I might want to get more knoweldge on would be greatly appreciated!