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Old 07-20-2003, 07:49 PM   #1
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DIY Lighting Questions...

I planning to set up a 20 gal planted tank very soon and am looking at possibly using the DIY method for the lights. In order to have optimal lighting conditions I understand that I need 3+ watts per gallon, which would be, at the very least, 60 watts. On the AHS website (http://www.ahsupply.com) I see they have kits of various sizes however, Iím a little funcused about what exactly I need for this project. Iím assuming I should go with the ď2 x 36 watt Bright KitĒ, which would give me plenty of light at 72 watts, right?

Assuming that info is correct & in figuring my costs, I canít help but wonder why anyone would bother going this route? Am I calculating something wrong here?

2 x 36 watt Bright Kit ----------------------------$63
36 Watt 6700K Compact Fluorescent bulb ---- $16 ea
MIRO 4 Reflector 17.5"L x 4"W x 2"H ----------$16
Shipping and Handling---------------------------$10
TOTAL -------------------------------------- --- =$105
Then thereís the added cost of the wood and other odds and ends plus the time and trouble to put it all together.

I checked out the cost of a Compact Fluorescent Strip Light at : http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...=6&pCatId=3773
And see I can just buy a 55w Strip (a little shy of 60w) for about $80 (not including shipping).

I had the impression that the DIY method was a lot cheaper.

Am I missing something here?

Thanks!


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Old 07-20-2003, 07:53 PM   #2
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If you get the bright kit from ahsupply it includes the reflector.

And if your gonna compair 2 X36W to a 1 X 55W then why not just compair a 1 X55W ballast kit from ahsupply. the kit is $22 cheaper than the 2 X 36W kit plus you get 1 bulb vs two.
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Old 07-20-2003, 08:56 PM   #3
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Is your tank a 20 High or 20 Long?

The 55 watt bulb is around 24" long (with the end and the socket all attached), where as the 36 watt bulb is around 18" (with end and socket)

From my AGA catalog, a 20 high is 24" long ... and a 20 long is 30" long ...

so if you have a "long", then the single 55 would be fine ... giving you moderate light of around 2.7 wpg.

if you have a "high", then the 55 won't fit, and you'll have to go with 2 36 watt bulbs, which will give you moderate-high lighting at 3.6 wpg.

Fishfreek is correct, if you buy the "BrightKit" the reflector is included.

-----

AH Supply's prices are very inexpensive compared to what a commerical fixture would cost, however, they are not "bottom dollar" priced DIY components. You have a premium for buying the pieces in a "kit" form, rather than buying them all separetly, sometimes from multiple vendors to get the absolute lowest price.

-----

If you'd like more help on a true Do It Yourself lighting project (including making your own reflector), let me know ... I've done it several times now!
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Old 07-20-2003, 10:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
f you have a "high", then the 55 won't fit
Oh i beg to differ on that one. I got 2 55W PC's over my 20 tall right now.

My 55W PC's are 22" long. Giving me just about an inch on either side of the tank.
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Old 07-20-2003, 10:30 PM   #5
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well there ya go ... I figgered the 55's would be longer with a socket on them, guess not!

yea, go for one 55 then and save some $$$
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Old 07-20-2003, 11:30 PM   #6
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Thanks for all your replies!

I'm planning on the high tank (only because it will fit best where I need to place it)therefore, I guess the one 55w really wouldn't be very sufficient. I guess I would need to go with 2 55w's. Doing it via the equipment from AHS, which, for me since I'm not very skilled at this stuff, would be my best bet. However, that kit including the bulbs would be abt $113. Then I still gotta buy the other needed materials. I wonder why Fosters doesn't offer a 24" 110w strip light.... I sent them a note inquiring about that.

Quote:
If you'd like more help on a true Do It Yourself lighting project (including making your own reflector), let me know ... I've done it several times now!
I'll gladly take all the help I can get, thank you!


Thanks again for all the input!

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Old 07-20-2003, 11:45 PM   #7
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AHsupply includes for free if you ask diagrams for building your own canopy/hood.

The reason you cant find a 24" 110W striplight is probably because no one makes them. 55W bulbs are amost 24" long as is stated above and by the time you add extra room for air movment and plastic housing etc its longer than the 24" inside dimentions of the tank.

The kit your refering to comes with

1 ballast
4 light clips
2 reflectors
wiring kit complete with wire nuts and wire splices
electric cord with plug

then you need two bulbs

and then just the wood to hold it all. The wood should run you no more than $20 max.
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Old 07-21-2003, 07:50 PM   #8
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well fishfreek, you're right about them not making 24" 110w fixtures. I think i found what a solution to all this. I found a site where I can get a 24" 2x36W Coralife Aqualight CF hood(http://www.hellolights.com/242xcoraqpch.html). I will have to buy a replacement bulb for the 1x Actinic. Although i really have no idea what all the different type bulbs mean... i figure i'll just get an additional 10,000K. Going with this set-up and purchasing the mounting legs... it's gonna cost abt the same if i went with DIY. Hmm, I guess the DIY projects are most benificial for those with big tanks(?)

I think that will give me enough light provided I don't buy plants that require extreme amounts of light, right?

thanks ya'll...

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Old 07-21-2003, 09:12 PM   #9
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eykis,

check this one out:

http://store.yahoo.com/lamps-now/242xcofraq2x.html

comes with two 6700k lights, which IMO look real nice for freshwater.

it's like $30 more than the one you mentioned, but you don't have to buy a replacement bulb right away, so it's pretty close in price, plus you're getting almost 2x as many watts

if you have two timers, you could schedule the lights in an overlap pattern, to avoid having algae problems.

for example:

Light A operates from 9 am till 4 pm ... light B operates from 2pm till 9pm
so you have some overlap creating "noon day sun", and 12 hours of regular light, and each bulb is only on for 7 hours, lengthing their life span considerably (as opposed to running both for 12 hours)
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Old 07-22-2003, 11:20 AM   #10
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Yeah, I noticed that one after I had replied above... thanks for the timer advice! I do believe that will be my choice since I really don't wanna hassle with a DIY project if I can buy lights close in cost!

Now I have a substrate question I'll be asking in the other forum later today!

peace out, lol....

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