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Old 02-14-2013, 04:51 PM   #1
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T5HO Retrofit

I'm planning on upgrading my lighting in the coming months. First I need to build a canopy to fit the lights under, but that won't be much trouble as I have other woodworking projects that need to be completed so I can make it alongside.


I have a Icecap 460 ballast with heatsink & wiring harness. It was previously set up on a 55 gallon saltie with T12VHO bulbs (3x48").


I need a reflector which I will be able to make easily from sheet metal and some T5 endcaps. I'm going to design the canopy so the back is completely open and the tops hinges up at least 90 degrees with access from the front.

The tank is a 18 gallon tall tank. Dimensions are 20" long x10" wide x 20" tall. It is a freshwater planted tank, hence the desire to upgrade the lighting.

I'm considering putting in 3 18" bulbs. The bulbs I'm considering are one each of:

T-5 HO Aquarium Lighting: T-5 HO Freshwater TrueLumen Flora
Aquarium Lighting T-5 HO Florescent Bulbs: AquaticLife T5 HO Pink Roseate 650nm Fluorescent Lamps
Aquarium Lighting T-5 HO Florescent Bulbs: AquaticLife T5 HO Natural White 6,000°K Fluorescent Lamps

Are there any considerations I need to keep in mind when building this? Cooling fans? Accessibility options? Hood-building pitfalls?

Does my light selection seem adequate or overkill? Would I see much of a difference from having all three of these lamps vis-a-vis just the 2 AquaticLife lamps?

Any input will be appreciated.
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Old 02-14-2013, 09:01 PM   #2
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That is a lot of light, but not undoable - it just means you will have some fast growing plants - and potentially algae if you don't keep things balanced.

1 thing to definitely keep in mind is you need reflectors on each bulb - individually reflected t5hos have far higher PAR at the substrate then using 1 reflector for all the bulbs.
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:23 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fort384 View Post
That is a lot of light, but not undoable - it just means you will have some fast growing plants - and potentially algae if you don't keep things balanced.

1 thing to definitely keep in mind is you need reflectors on each bulb - individually reflected t5hos have far higher PAR at the substrate then using 1 reflector for all the bulbs.
Thanks, I did not know that. I'll be sure to make a reflector for each bulb. I don't NEED all that light, I'd rather not have a tank that is too high maintenece, but sufficient lighting that I would be able to grow any plant I desire. Do you think the pair of AquaticLife lamps (pink roseate + 6000K) will accomplish this?
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:17 PM   #4
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If you want to create a curved reflector, you might try 2" PVC cut lengthwise with Mylar glued to the interior curve. Disclaimer: Just being creative...have not tried this yet. Perhaps a smaller size of PVC would be more appropriate.
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:16 AM   #5
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I was thinking of using a length of pvc as a mould and shape the metal around the pipe.
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:30 PM   #6
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Nice! How shiny is the sheet metal? Will buffing or polishing make it very reflective?
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:33 AM   #7
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I plan on polishing it with and air polisher/buffer.

I need to build the canopy first though.
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Old 02-27-2013, 04:00 PM   #8
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Ok. New idea for the reflectors. I'm thinking about taking a 18" length of PVC, splitting it in two lenghtwise, then lining the inside with mylar. Screw the reflectors directly into the plywood hood, screw endcaps to the plywood at proper lengths on either end of the pvc reflector...thoughts?

BTW, are cooling fans necessary for T5s like on T12VHOs?
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