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Old 12-09-2003, 03:06 AM   #1
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HELP-I Need to Install My Retro-fit in an Acrylic Hood. How?

OK, here is my problem/project….

Background
I have a 175 gallon bow-front Salt Water (SW) tank manufactured by Oceanic Systems. It is an acrylic tank with an acrylic canopy/cap. I have purchased a retro fit kit for the canopy/cap that has 3-175 watt 10K Metal Halide (MH) lamps and 4-65 watt 50/50 Power Compacts (PC) for a total of 685 watts. The kit includes 2-5”x5”x1” cooling fans. Of course I bought all of this stuff without thinking/realizing this was going into an acrylic canopy. Everything is wired to the ballasts and only needs to be mounted and plugged in.

I need to figure out how to install all of this stuff without melting the acrylic cap when I use the lights.

My idea
I was thinking I could mount the reflector to a thin piece of ply-wood and somehow mount the wood backed reflector to the inside of the cap. I would also somehow insulate the cap with some kind of insulation that would reflect the heat from the MH away from the cap but wouldn’t add more heat to the tank. The big problem is that I have no idea how to do any of this or where to start. This is why I need your helpful suggestions/instructions.

I know if I had a wood canopy this wouldn’t be that big of a problem, but I have absolutely NO woodworking experience at all.

Dimensions
I took the liberty of writing down all of the dimensions I am working with for the canopy.

The canopy walls are 1/8” thick/thin.

Canopy Outside
H 11 ¾”
L 73”
W 18” outside edge
W 23 ¾” outside bracket
W 24 ¾” dead center

Canopy Inside
H 11 7/8”
W 17 1/8” inside edge
W 23 1/8” inside bracket
W 23 7/8” dead center

Reflector
L 69 ¾” (two pieces attached by power cord)
W 15 1/8”


What I need/Questions

1. Can this honestly be done (the company who made the retro-fit said it can but failed to provide detailed instructions-there explanation was “over my head”)?
2. What exact materials should I pick up at Home Depot? Type of wood, insulation, fastening screws, epoxy/glue?
3. How exactly do I attach/mount all of this stuff without collapsing or melting this fragile canopy?


Thanks all for reading my problem. I and Nemo I, Nemo II, Dory, Dice, Blue, Angel, and all of the other critters appreciate it.

Aqua
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Old 12-09-2003, 09:00 AM   #2
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Moving this to the DIY forum, but leaving a link in the SW general discussion forum
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Old 12-09-2003, 01:13 PM   #3
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Sorry-Wasn't sure where to post it....
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Old 12-09-2003, 02:52 PM   #4
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Not a problem, I just figured you might get a better response here in the DIY section, although these guys seem to be sleeping late today.
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Old 12-09-2003, 03:31 PM   #5
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No, they are probably scratching thier heads just like I am. I too have a bow and was considering buying the new "stainless" look oceanic offers but it too is acrylic. The onlt thing i can think of is to retro it into some type of pend. to hang above from the ceiling.
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Old 12-09-2003, 04:51 PM   #6
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yea, I think you're best off with some sort of hanging setup too

I see in the pics above, pictures of the oceanic 'surround' or wrap-around, which helps catch light spill over, but I don't see the hood you're trying to modify

where are your current lights installed?

-----

the only insulation that I know is strong enough to take what MH is dishing out, without letting the acrylic get warm is a blown-bead encapsulated abestos compound ... 1/2" of it can withstand over 1500 degrees - but where to get it or how you'd use it I don't know

fiberglass insulation is pretty good, but you'd need at least 6 inches of it to provide any real insulation, esp from something so hot as a MH light
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Old 12-09-2003, 06:25 PM   #7
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If I am not mistaken, HARA has the same setup and she has MH lights..Might want to send a PM her way and ask?
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Old 12-09-2003, 07:00 PM   #8
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hara has a aqualine suspended lighting system, which is hung from the ceiling and hangs just inside the wrap around, but is not connected to it or supported by it.

what I don't understand - where are the original lights in the above picture... is it a plastic box or something, that fits inside that wrap around?
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Old 12-09-2003, 08:07 PM   #9
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There ar no original lights with that setup. The OEM lights that are optional are simple NO lights that sit directly on the tank.
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Old 12-10-2003, 05:45 PM   #10
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well then

hmm

I think you'll need a good bit of wood working to make that wrap-around into something that can take the heat of MH

basicly, I see a custom cut wood "box" that fits inside and is attached to the plastic 'shell'

then you can sandwich some asphalt or fiberglass insulation between the wood and the plastic

inside of the wood box, you install your reflectors and lights, as well as cut 2 or 3 holes in the 'top' of the box to install some vent fans.

basiclly you just need some 1/2" plywood for the box 'top' and bracing, some 1/4" plywood for the box 'walls', a jig saw, some nails, wood glue and squares of asphalt insulation or a small roll of the unfaced fiberglass insulation (get the formeldahyde free stuff), and a good long xmas vacation

i would scribe the inside dimension of the shell onto the plywood, and then cut that line, to keep the good bow shape. then take 2 pieces of scrap 1/2" plywood and make some "ribs" that go from front to back across the top so that you have something to help keep the 'wall' bowed. once the ribs are fastened in place, you can shape the 1/4" plywood to the bow, as well as attach the sides and back of the 'box'

once it's all glued and nailed, it should fit nicely inside the plastic shell ... then it's a matter of a few well placed stainless steel screws to attach the two together. (paint the screw heads black when you're done

give it a day or two for the glue to harden, and then you can cut the holes for the fans, and install the lights.

-----

the wood combined with insulation should protect the sides of your shell from warping, and the vent fans on top will help keep the tank from heating up too much from the lights

-----

sorry it sounds like a lot - if I could draw worth a darn, I'd do some sketches for you, it looks a lot easier than it sounds I think (i just see it drawn in my head, making my hand follow that is another story!)
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