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Old 10-28-2008, 05:48 PM   #1
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inexpensive lighting fixture

I have all kinds of florescent lights at my disposal ballasts and all. My question is, is it safe or feasible to create lighting for my 29 gal saltwater tank with lights on hand? I you need a list of lights I have on hand please ask as there are too many to list if not necessary. It is a FOWLR now but want to upgrade to reef. Lighting is my only issue so far. The cheapest watt per gallon light I could find id almost $200. Please help!
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Old 10-28-2008, 07:26 PM   #2
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If you want to go cheaper then go with retro fits. I have VHO retrofits for 4 bulbs
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Old 10-28-2008, 11:27 PM   #3
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heh, i refit my 29 gallon to house a 14w florescent tube in the center and two 14w full spectrum bulbs(the small twist kind that fit in a standard light bulb socket) at almost 1,000 lumens each.

i have full spectrum and the regular tube on differant timers so i can adjust how much light is on the tank and when, as my 29 gallon gets some natural sunlight from a window.

what i would suggest, is do what i did, use silicone and then heat shrink tubing to ensure that the wiring in the fixture is water tight as a "just in case" precaution, and make sure that your bulbs do not put out more heat than the plastic covering over the balast can disipate.

i learned early on to stay away from anything halogen or "small" like candlabra style bulbs and the like.

you can easily make your own fixture if you can fab and have basic wiring skills. would i reccomend this approach for everyone? probbly not. dont want someone sueing me cause they fried themselves or started a fire...


EDIT: personally, I am sold on the new style of twist in bulbs that fit standard sockets...if you watch for sales you can get a 4 pack of the full spectrum minature bulbs for cheap, and I have been happier with the quality of light over a standard tube.
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Old 11-01-2008, 01:32 PM   #4
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Depending on what you have, you can make something yourself if you are handy with wiring and have good understanding of electrical safety, esp. around water. I wired my canopy using parts from 2 shop lights that I gutted. This is cheaper than a retrofit kit, although prob. not as efficient as the shop light reflectors are definitely inferior.
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Old 11-03-2008, 02:50 AM   #5
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I got it!

It took me a couple of days and a lot of experimenting and time but I have real, "GOOD" results. 29 gallon tank, I need the minimum which is roughly 87w. Well I could not equal 87 due to the fact that that bulbs I need come in 20w. So I went with 80W. 4 20's is what I came up with. After wiring and rewiring and testing for hours, I got good results. Bright lights and it cost me nothing. just the bulbs I have around and some simple wiring know how. I made a $160 LIGHTING system for around $30. Plus a little "LABOR". Which I did myself. Here is my "I would say 90%" Homemade SW aquarium!
http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o...d/S7303365.jpg
http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o...d/S7303364.jpg
http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o...d/S7303366.jpg
Thank all of you that helped and thank all of you that wanted to! I am almost done with my tank minus 20 more lbs if LS and about 20 more LBS of live rock. I would also like to change my bio-balls to LR rubble. If anyone knows where to get this cheap let me know! once again thank you all!
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Old 11-03-2008, 03:04 AM   #6
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This is what the new lights look like!
http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o...d/S7303368.jpg
Sweet! They are on separate ballast, two on in the morn, four on in the day, and two on at dusk. $160 for some aquarium lights. HAHA! $30. VHO, HO, Rubbish!
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Old 11-04-2008, 03:26 AM   #7
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heh, i responded to your PM, but you already have it finished! well, anyway, here is a pic of what mine was like. i used my tanks normal plastic cover and used the factory mounting points for the origonal balast to attach the smaller balast and the other bulbs and their aluminum heat shields.

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Old 11-04-2008, 09:35 AM   #8
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Just wondering, but why do you have 2 bricks in your tank? You aren't afraid of what they can leech into the water?
Quote:
VHO, HO, Rubbish!
Those lights will work fine for low light soft coral, but they have virtually no penetration into the water and minimal PAR. They are no comparison to T5HO or VHO.
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Old 11-05-2008, 05:28 AM   #9
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Did not think about leaching. I was replacing my CC with live sand and was doing it one half at a time, just finished it. As far as no comparison with the lighting, I am putting out more watts with a broader spectrum than if I bought a $120 dollar lighting "SYSTEM". Not to be ugly, but not everyone that is interested in the hobby has hundreds of dollars to throw out. If it works it works, if it does not then I will stick with FOWLR. This reef stuff is driving me mad. My fish are happy and my live rock is coming alive more and more each day. Thank you for your advise.
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Old 11-05-2008, 11:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Not to be ugly, but not everyone that is interested in the hobby has hundreds of dollars to throw out. If it works it works, if it does not then I will stick with FOWLR. This reef stuff is driving me mad.
Having a full blown reef tank is not cheap. There is no way around it. You can use whatever lights you want, but KNOW what you can keep with those lights. "If it works it works, if it does not then I will stick with FOWLR." So what has to happen? Do you need to buy some coral and watch them die before you realize what you can and can't keep using whatever lights you choose?
Please do some reasearch. Here's a few articles to get you started.
Lighting the Reef Tank: A Primer for Beginners
Classification and Terminology For Reef Aquarium Lighting
How Much Light?! Analyses of Selected Shallow Water Invertebrates' Light Requirements
Colors by the Thousands - Light, Colors and Corals
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