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Discussion Starter #1
If there is one thing about having a planted aquarium that bugs me it is lighting. I wanted to get away from tube lighting and go with screw in CFL lighting the only problem is, is finding a screw in lighting system for any tank bigger then 10 gallons is next to impossible, so next idea is the retrofit my current hood but I didn't really want to do that because I might want it for something else, so now I had to start from scratch. I was lucky enough to find the two post below which sent me in the right direction. The hood you see in the directions in this post is actually the 2nd light I have built the parts I don't mention here is the custom cutting I did to the rain gutter and the ends to make it fit perfectly.

Thanks to these two post for reference and the general design ideas;

http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/freshwater-aquarium-equipment/20l-planted-light-fixture-revamp-pic-38231/

http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/diy-aquarium/how-retrofit-your-light-cheap-35186/

Parts List:
Vinyl Rain Gutter
Vinyl Rain Gutter End Caps
Power Extension Cord
Dual Light socket
Switch
Grommet
Heat Shrink
1/4" Screw
1/4" Washers x2
1/4" Lock Washers x2
1/4" Nuts x4-5
Spray Paint (Optional)


Cut the gutter to correct size and drill holes for the 1/4" screw that will hold the light socket, the power cord and the switch.


Paint (optional, but will stop the bleed through of the lights through the white gutter)


Take your dual light socket apart and remove the unnecessary parts on the outside, grind your 1/4" screw down so it will fit in the narrow space that the hole is in.


Reassemble light socket with screw inside, use extra nuts to create spacers between the socket and the light gutter so the light dose not touch the gutter or the bottom. Use the hardware in the configuration in the picture.


Insert all the components into the rain gutter; socket, switch, grommet then power cord (before hand cutting the outlets off the end of the power cord and stripping the wire back).


Wire it all up with the heat shrink ready. (might want to test it at this point before you seal the wires to make sure it works)


Missing parts;
Cut the screw down to the correct size
Use something to keep the wires in place away from the lights (my case silicone caulk)

Finished product:

 

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heat shrink!! black paint!!

very well done Zof :D to be honest I never even considered soldering and heat shrinking the wire connections for a more finished look. 2 of my 3 gutter lights need new or different switches, when I break down to rewire I might just do the same.

I use all mine on versa tops. How does the rain gutter fit over the opening in your hood?

sniffle. im so proud. ;)
 

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How much for you to make me a custom light just like yours but instead do it in a length of five feet for my display?? (no, I'm NOT kidding)
 

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Also FYI horizontally mounting spiral CL will give you adiquate light, it is however been proven that vertically mounting them with round reflectors provides a significant increase in light levels.

Either way great job.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
heat shrink!! black paint!!

very well done Zof :D to be honest I never even considered soldering and heat shrinking the wire connections for a more finished look. 2 of my 3 gutter lights need new or different switches, when I break down to rewire I might just do the same.

I use all mine on versa tops. How does the rain gutter fit over the opening in your hood?

sniffle. im so proud. ;)
Thanks, I didn't actually solder even though I maybe should have.... its just the wire on the light socket is steel (or steel colored). The hood you see in the pictures is one that came with the tank kit and it has a small glass section for the light while the rest of it it plastic, it took a little cutting so it would fit right and would sit where the plastic bars are that held the original light (I was actually quite surprised the rain gutter was almost the same size as the original light). My 20 long has a versa-top like yours and it leaks quiet a bit more light but I'm sure if I tired I could cut it down to reduce the leakage but does not bother me at this point.

onefish2fish said:
nice work, nicely done.
Thank you

aunt kymmie said:
How much for you to make me a custom light just like yours but instead do it in a length of five feet for my display?? (no, I'm NOT kidding)
Hmmm... maybe we could work something out I got a bit left over from making mine :cry: Sadly I only have 1 piece of rain gutter left and its 58-59" sooooo close unless that would work. Give me a PM if your interested.

Mikaila31 said:
Also FYI horizontally mounting spiral CL will give you adiquate light, it is however been proven that vertically mounting them with round reflectors provides a significant increase in light levels.

Either way great job.
Thanks, I agree you wont get the full output mounted horizontally but ascetically it is the best, vertically would give a fixture twice the height of what the rain gutter would be. And on the plus side if you think not enough light is getting through you can always get a stronger bulb, I'm currently using 10w (40w equivalent) bulbs on my tanks but could easily go to 60w or 100w equivalents and make up the difference with just a few more watts of power.
 

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Hmmm... maybe we could work something out I got a bit left over from making mine :cry: Sadly I only have 1 piece of rain gutter left and its 58-59" sooooo close unless that would work. Give me a PM if your interested.
zof- I just noticed your in So. Cal so I could even drive to your house to pick up the finished product! 58' would totally work. I have to go run some errands but will be sending you a PM when I return.
Who knows? This could be the start of a side business for you!
 

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hmmm thats good thinking.... OK! everyone from new england!! now taking orders!! lol
 

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Thanks, I agree you wont get the full output mounted horizontally but ascetically it is the best, vertically would give a fixture twice the height of what the rain gutter would be. And on the plus side if you think not enough light is getting through you can always get a stronger bulb, I'm currently using 10w (40w equivalent) bulbs on my tanks but could easily go to 60w or 100w equivalents and make up the difference with just a few more watts of power.
Just realize that those "equivalent to" ratings are for incandescent. When we measure WPG it is for fluorescent lighting and will vary a bit depending on the specific type of lighting. The watts your bulbs consume is what you use to factor WPG.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Good point forgot about it being only florescent, silly watt per gallons rules should be thrown out, how about we just start our own new lumen per gallon rule? Just spent some time googling to find out if anyone's done the research for me leave it to the military not saying the numbers are correct but I will trust them for now. The CFL's I bought are rated at 490 lumen, if trusting that chart my old 17watt T8 was at 1260 lumen so that means I have less light then before even with two(the only plus is these are at the right kelvin rating where my old one wasn't). Ok so to get to about 1 watt per gallon old rule using my 17 watt T8 as reference....

1260 lumen / 17 watts = 74.12 lumen per watt ( I know not the golden number, probably a little low)
36 gallons * 74.12 LpW = 2668 lumen needed

So I will roughly two 26 watt CFL's to get to my 1 watt per gallon equivlency of lumen not counting re-strike on the CFL's. Yikes those might get a little hot, let me get the dremmel out and cut some cooling slats.

Well for now I'm satisfied with the smaller bulbs because with at least the right rating my plants are finally showing growth. But will defiantly look into getting bigger ones in the future.

Thanks for reminding me oddity of rules in fish keeping... :D
 

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GE's 13W CFL's have a considerable increase in lumens over the 10W bulbs. Their site lists both initial and mean lumens, but I don't think you'll need bulbs that powerful to equal or surpass the previous tube light.
 

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plus keep in mind as myself and many many others on the forum here have proven time and time again, the wpg rules are useless imho. Especially since the florescent wpg rules dont really apply to the CFLs which are more efficient.. its all trial and error until someone comes up with the math to make an actual useful and practical chart comparing wpg to FLs and then to CFLs with respect to their mounted orientation.

do what works for YOU :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ok the 10 watt ones weren't cutting it on my 36 gallon, just put in 2 20 watt bulbs, see if more then just my vals grow now.

Before;
2x 10watt at 490 lumens each for 980 lumens total
around 98 degrees in the gutter

Now;
2x 20watt at 1190 lumens each for 2380 lumens total
around 106 degrees in the gutter

Next If I'm still not happy;
add more sockets for
4x 20watt at 1190 lumens each for 4760 lumens total

I think I'm going to add 2 more sockets in my 20 gallon hood and add the 2 extra 10 watt bulbs I have.
 

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Next time you're at the thrift store, look for a 12V power adapter with close to 800 mA....

That is enough power to run a computer fan or two, and can line them up into the sides of the gutter. :)
 

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If there is one thing about having a planted aquarium that bugs me it is lighting. I wanted to get away from tube lighting and go with screw in CFL lighting the only problem is, is finding a screw in lighting system for any tank bigger then 10 gallons is next to impossible, so next idea is the retrofit my current hood but I didn't really want to do that because I might want it for something else, so now I had to start from scratch. I was lucky enough to find the two post below which sent me in the right direction. The hood you see in the directions in this post is actually the 2nd light I have built the parts I don't mention here is the custom cutting I did to the rain gutter and the ends to make it fit perfectly.

Thanks to these two post for reference and the general design ideas;

http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/freshwater-aquarium-equipment/20l-planted-light-fixture-revamp-pic-38231/

http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/diy-aquarium/how-retrofit-your-light-cheap-35186/

Parts List:
Vinyl Rain Gutter
Vinyl Rain Gutter End Caps
Power Extension Cord
Dual Light socket
Switch
Grommet
Heat Shrink
1/4" Screw
1/4" Washers x2
1/4" Lock Washers x2
1/4" Nuts x4-5
Spray Paint (Optional)


Cut the gutter to correct size and drill holes for the 1/4" screw that will hold the light socket, the power cord and the switch.


Paint (optional, but will stop the bleed through of the lights through the white gutter)


Take your dual light socket apart and remove the unnecessary parts on the outside, grind your 1/4" screw down so it will fit in the narrow space that the hole is in.


Reassemble light socket with screw inside, use extra nuts to create spacers between the socket and the light gutter so the light dose not touch the gutter or the bottom. Use the hardware in the configuration in the picture.


Insert all the components into the rain gutter; socket, switch, grommet then power cord (before hand cutting the outlets off the end of the power cord and stripping the wire back).


Wire it all up with the heat shrink ready. (might want to test it at this point before you seal the wires to make sure it works)


Missing parts;
Cut the screw down to the correct size
Use something to keep the wires in place away from the lights (my case silicone caulk)

Finished product:


Looks like it was sold as a set. That's a good homemade job.
 
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