Homemade light fixture

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Homemade light fixture

Postby PaulaO on Sat Sep 08, 2007 5:31 am

I'm getting a 150 gallon tank next weekend. :hey:

I've been looking at the prices of light fixtures for a tank that size. :o

I found (online) end caps with wires, parabolic reflectors, and even bulb clips.

Has anyone ever made their own aquarium light? Does anyone have linkage to someone else who did?

I am still considering buying a shop light fixture and using that, but I am concerned about the amount of moisture a tank will create.
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Postby Pollux on Sat Sep 08, 2007 6:19 am

i know they are really expensive. one point my Dad made to me was that 'you don't shopping for lights in a pet store'. i haven't had a look in any lighting stores yet but i assume it would be cheaper. i also looked at building them. there are lots of plans on the net, one idea ive seen is to use guttering for the reflector. doing the wiring myself seems a bit scary, that is pretty frowned upon saftey wise here. i thought maybe i could buy a light fixture to put inside the home made reflector. i dont know if it would be cheaper or not.
here are a few plans with wiring:
http://saltaquarium.about.com/cs/hoodca ... efhood.htm
http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/ ... 5hood.html
this one uses a kit:
http://www.thekrib.com/Lights/Lobos/
metal halide plans:
http://www.cyberreefguru.com/diy/mh/mh.html
theres probably a lot more. there is also an ebook i found a while ago with all sorts of projects, i'll put it up for you here:
http://www.geocities.com/mock_turtle_ar ... uarium.pdf
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Postby Skie2blu on Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:14 pm

Ah Hah! A lighting plan. Thanks, Pollux... looks like another addition to my ever growing set of aquarium stand plans. :lol:
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Postby badflash on Sat Sep 08, 2007 2:31 pm

I just use shop lights and add daylight bulbs rather than soft white. Works fine. Each fixture runs about $7 at wallmart and a pair of daylight bulbs are about $6. Add a timer and you are all set for under $20 a set.
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Postby Donya on Sat Sep 08, 2007 4:58 pm

Lots of marine folks make their own fixtures, but be warned, I know a few of them got zapped pretty hard in the process. I see the link Pollux posted for metal halid DIY, but I would avoid MH unless you want a small sun in the room. The heat output from those is incredible and they are overkill for most tanks unless they have very picky plants that require extreemly bright light.
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Postby PaulaO on Sat Sep 08, 2007 7:31 pm

I'm no stranger to electric wiring so I am confident in my skills there.

I've also done a lot of other DIY projects (non-aquarium) so I have a lot of tools and books.

I like the gutter idea, Pollux. Instant reflector and holder in one! But I also like the wood one. I'm still going through the links you provided. Thanks!

This new tank is 72" long so a single custom one is much cheaper.

Skie2blu - I'm also making the stand for this little thing and would love to trade ideas!
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Postby Pollux on Sat Sep 08, 2007 11:42 pm

Donya wrote:I see the link Pollux posted for metal halid DIY, but I would avoid MH unless you want a small sun in the room.
hahahaha good to know lol :D

what are the 'shop lights' you guys talk about - are they just lights you buy from a shop or lights made for lighting shops or? thank you.
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Postby badflash on Sun Sep 09, 2007 12:43 am

They are just a standard 4' fixture for fluorescent bulbs. They are not pretty, so you see them in shops and garages, and over all of my fish tanks.
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Postby Pollux on Sun Sep 09, 2007 12:55 am

oh gotcha thank you :D. so if they are designed for installing into a ceiling do they come with a plug for a socket or do you have to set one up?
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Postby PaulaO on Sun Sep 09, 2007 1:08 am

I've seen both ways, Pollux. It is easy to put a plug on the end of the wires vs wiring it to the house.

I have the Reader's Digest Fix It Yourself book. (we call it the fix it your own d*mn self book :lol: ) It isn't fool-proof but it is a great reference. Your local library should have the Aussie equivalent.
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Postby badflash on Sun Sep 09, 2007 1:57 am

The ones I get have plugs.
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Postby Pollux on Sun Sep 09, 2007 5:18 am

thank you :)

ooo ill have a look for it paula thanks :). does reader's digest have a book on everything?
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Postby PaulaO on Sun Sep 09, 2007 6:10 am

It seems so, yes. Whether or not the books are worth it is another matter.

If you want in depth answers, it's not the book you want. But if you want a quick reference, it's great.

I once rebuilt a carburetor using that book (an older version had more car info) and the schematic from the rebuild kit.
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Postby thebigdog on Tue Feb 19, 2008 8:12 pm

I just tried "OverDriving" my flouresent lights
Now they work great.
I now have double the brightness, and the wattage is still close to the same.

I have 4 bulbs of 40 watts on my 135 gallon tank.
I may add two more - just for the hell of it :lol:

I bought the extra lights at flea markets, and the cost was dirt cheap.
I think I spent about $30 bucks for everything :rofl:

Look below:
http://www.geocities.com/teeley2/overdrv1.html
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Postby badflash on Wed Feb 20, 2008 1:20 am

In a freshwater tank you are wasting your time. The output of a standard 2 bulb 4' shop light provides more light than a 40 gallon tank needs. Plants reach a saturation point and extra light is wasted and just grows algae. Snails and most inverts don't like bright lights either.

This may be handy in a marine aquarium though. Very interesting link.
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