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Old 03-31-2010, 04:05 AM   #1
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T-5's for a DIY Canopy

I am working on building my own tank custom shape (think of a superman emblem) and I was looking at some T-5 fixtures at Lowe's (yeah I said Lowe's) and was wondering if those would work for a reef tank? The tank will be 5 sided 2' x 2' x 1' x 17" x1'. I have read for a 18" tank front to back you need 6 lamps and 24 front to back you need 8 lamps so I figure with this tight a fit those would be a perfect fit. Any ideas or comments?
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Old 03-31-2010, 07:31 AM   #2
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I'm curious as to what inspired the shape.
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Old 03-31-2010, 08:56 AM   #3
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As far as I know, Lowes or Home Depot does not carry T5HO bulbs. Normal output T5's, yes, but not High Output (HO). Regular T5's are pretty much useless unless your talking fish only.
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Old 03-31-2010, 10:15 PM   #4
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Mitch,

The tank will be in a corner of the room that is where the idea for the shape came from. I am slowly thinking of a different shape and maybe going larger. More to come on that.

ccCapt,

I was only looking at the fixtures not the bulbs. I can get T5 HO bulbs easily but the light fixtures are not as easy (more like cheap I guess) so I was curious as to if the T5 fixtures would work.

Thanks guys.
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:09 PM   #5
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OK, maybe I misunderstood you, or you misunderstood me. HD or Lowes does not sell T5HO fixtures or bulbs, at least none of them around here do. A HO bulb will not work in a regular T5 fixture unless you buy a HO ballast and replace the regular T5 ballast that comes with the fixture.
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Old 04-01-2010, 11:06 PM   #6
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Ok that works that helps alot. I have a couple others I am looking at right now and would loveto get the ones that link together as with the odd shape of my new tank it would be easier to set it up in different sizes. Thanks for the help anyway.
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Old 04-01-2010, 11:55 PM   #7
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Actually I am seeing 4 foot T5-HO's in the HD in town (Canada) and Rona (a Canadian big box HD competitor.) The T5HO bulbs are only 3000K's and the price is like $100 per single unit (which is almost as much as the lfs .... so still better to buy on line.)

Anyway, just check the wattage on the bulb, you can tell if that is HO or not.
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Old 04-02-2010, 12:59 AM   #8
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The bulbs are not what I am looking for just the fixtures. Since I have a wierd shaped tank (picture a superman emblem with the bottom point being in the corner) I am gonna need different lengths since I am looking to do coral and fish. Unless someone has a suggestion as to light size and width (bulbs wide) to use. Thanks in advance to any ideas and suggestions.
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Old 04-02-2010, 10:48 AM   #9
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For your odd shape tank, you might need to be really creative to get enough light in .... retrofit kits in a custom canopy is prob the way to go.

T5HO's are your best bet, but I don't know how many 24" (24W) you can squeeze into your foot print. You might have to use some power compacts in the shorter end.

BTW - if you are doing reef, you prob should get an aquarium fixture. Light output of the T5HO's are dependent on the quality & shape of the reflectors. HD fixtures have reflectors meant to spread light throughout a room. In a tank, you want polished aluminum reflectors that directs all the light straight down into the tank. <Although you can gut a spotlight type fixture, get good reflectors & install that in your canopy, it is not cost effective for T5HO's.> I run a FW planted, and my HD job works reasonably well. I don't know enough about reef to say how you can DIY a fixture, esp. when space is tight and you can't put in extra bulbs to compensate for inefficiencies.
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Old 04-02-2010, 01:19 PM   #10
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JS,

I was thinking of a couple different options now on the lighting. I found a sight that tells you how to rewire a T8 fixture to get more light from it and have had asuggestion to use a metal hilide instead of t5's due to my shape. I am debating the hilides idea now, but adding 50/50 screw in lights so I can still get my blue acentic. I am also looking at a future project (more like pricing it out now while I'm setting this tank up) where I'd like to put a T5HO fixture together and was woundering if anyone knew what size ballast I'd need for it.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 04-02-2010, 07:14 PM   #11
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I think I just found my light for the aquarium. It is a MH/T5 combo. "A space saving combo unit combines 1x 150W HQI metal halide and 2x 14W Actinic Blue T5 lamps in one single unit." With the stand it is 19" long and extends to 24". I still may have to add someting for the back but this would cover most of it I am thinking. That or until I can figure something else out go with the super poor mans MH set up, a shop reflector clip light with a MH bulb in it. LOL. Thoughts suggestions welcomed as always.
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Old 04-03-2010, 11:12 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Punkroc701 View Post
JS,

I am also looking at a future project (more like pricing it out now while I'm setting this tank up) where I'd like to put a T5HO fixture together and was woundering if anyone knew what size ballast I'd need for it.
The ballast needed depends on what size bulb & number you want to use. I would suggest an electronic load sensing ballast - those are quiet and adjust output to your bulbs use, you you can wire pretty much anything to them as long as it is under the total max watts.

But I see you found something that will work with your tank shape. You may as well go with that. Getting good quality parts to build your own fixture is usu. more costly than a pre-made kit.
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Old 04-03-2010, 12:18 PM   #13
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" That or until I can figure something else out go with the super poor mans MH set up, a shop reflector clip light with a MH bulb in it. LOL. Thoughts suggestions welcomed as always."

I hope you were kidding about that. It's a fire waiting to happen!
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Old 04-03-2010, 12:45 PM   #14
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just get the ballast off of ebay thats what i did they were only 50 $ for to work horse 6
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Old 04-03-2010, 01:58 PM   #15
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Do some research here first. That way you won't buy the wrong ballast.
http://www.1000bulbs.com/images/PDF/...t-brochure.pdf
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Old 04-03-2010, 06:07 PM   #16
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TC it was a joke, hence the LOL at the end. And thanks for the link it will help with a future project.

Gregory I found a website that sells them kinda cheap and with the link TC sent me I should be able to figure it out. Thanks though all suggestions are welcome as I am still learning and wanting to do as much DIY as I can aswell.

I have found a fixture that meets what I am looking for. It is a MH with 2 T5 blues. With the odd shape of my tank this is as close as I am gonna come to what I am looking for. As I build up my tank I'll post pics for you guys to see and make suggestions. As always thanks for the help.
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:31 AM   #17
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Whats site did you find them cheap
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Old 04-06-2010, 05:07 AM   #18
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Welcome to BallastWise.com

Single light balast starting at $13 most expensive one listed at $50 for T-5 HO Ballasts.

Looks like I will be picking up a 55 Gal on Friday. So the custom build is on hold for some time I am thinking. I do have some questions on water temp now as my 5 gal is roughly sitting at 80 degrees (with the heater off) and I am only using the bulb the tank came with. Looking to change it out for a 50/50 bulb. The top is a solid piece, should I lift the lid and add fans to the sides? I do have some crabs in it and was debating on adding a small piece of coral but with the temp getting high I want to make sure it would be safe to do. This is just to get some more life into the tank until I get my larger one set up and cycled.

As always thanks for the help.

Oh and if anyone knows where I could look for a reef club in Winchester VA area Id appreciate the info.

Thanks.
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:57 PM   #19
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I bought my T-5 fixtures from Home Depot. Double strips. Now I bought my bulbs from my LFS, 39w each. So, my fixtures are 36" long. I placed aluminum A/C duct tape as a reflector. Some may dispute the where I got the fixtures but I'm running 10k and actinic with no problems. I'm just started the tank and added a few inverts. Now one of my rocks I bought from my LFS, grew out some button polyps.So, you should be good. Also, HD sells metal halides spot light for like 82 bucks. check it out. ALSO, I'm only going w/soft corals in my tank.
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:23 AM   #20
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Dude thats cool. How is the heat coming off the light? How long have you used that setup? I found a wesite that tells how to rewire a shop light and get more out put.

Here is the intro to the instructions: " ODNO lights are normal fluorescent lights that are rigged to burn brighter than the manufacturer-rated wattage. This allows a hobbyist to inexpensively setup a high-light tank. The setup described below produces approximately 1.75 the normal bulb output. So, a 32 watt bulb, would produce approximately 56 watts. Our light strip will allow for two of these, so we can build a 112 watt light strip for $20-$30, bulbs included."

Have you ever heard of this? Has any one tried this?
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