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Old 04-12-2010, 11:33 AM   #1
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Question Water damage with lights?

I recently bought two shop lights for my 55g planted tank and I'm building a custom hood for them. They are both 4 foot long, 2 bulb T12 fixtures that I'm setting in a 1x8 costom pine wood hood. With this plan, the bottom of the bulbs will be about 3-4 inches above the water surface. Without any kind of glass or plastic between th water and the bulbs, is it very likely that it will cause adverse affects to my lights or tank? Can floresents have much condensation on them and still work right?
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Old 04-12-2010, 12:03 PM   #2
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i never had any condensation build up on mine when i had a shop light over an open top 55g. I dont think water on the bulbs would be the worry, it would be condensation getting up on the ballast. You might be better off to get some glass lids to go over the tank just where the lights are, but thats just my opinion
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Old 04-12-2010, 12:13 PM   #3
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I would play the safe route and just get a glass top for the tank. Don't know if they make 4' ones but the 24" ones are fairly cheap, ~$20 (just got one for my 30g tall).
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Old 04-12-2010, 01:53 PM   #4
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Glass tops are the safest way to go .... although I have removed mine due to hard water deposits.

You main worry is water getting into the connections & causing rust. you can replace the normal shoplight endcaps with water proof ones. For the rest of the connectors, I wired my shop lights so the ballasts are outside of the canopy. <Canopy is oversized at the back, with space for the ballast.> All the connections are made in a plastic outdoor water proof junction box so I have no exposed joints. <This is good practice even when you are not worried about water ... It makes me cringe when I see the shoplight mods on the web where they have all their wire nuts exposed inside the canopy ... That is an electrical shock waiting to happen, esp. in wet location .... And for extra protection, my lights are plugged into a GFI outlet. Alternatively, you can wire the GFI into the canopy.>

I have my canopy running for 3-4 years now (glass top removed for 2 years), no sign of rust anywhere .... Note that my entire back of the canopy is open for air circulation so there is also not much condensation ... although the joints are all water proof so that doesn't matter much.
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Old 04-12-2010, 01:55 PM   #5
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But the problem is that the glass has to have pretty much a tight seal around the lights to actualy prevent condensation. Otherwise the water will still find a way into the fixture. And glass is still a little expensive for me right now. Maybe I could find some way to use some kind of plastic or maybe install a fan.?
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Old 04-12-2010, 02:47 PM   #6
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I'm not sure about plastic, the heat from my coralife fixture would probably bend the plastic. I would not go the cheap route when dealing with electricity.

You could probably get a thin piece of glass cut for fairly cheap that you could seal onto the bottom of your hood. Many glass places would probably even have some 'scrap' that they could cut for you to do what you need. Enclosing it and installing a fan would be the way I would do it.
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Old 04-12-2010, 02:53 PM   #7
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How high off the tank is your light?
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Old 04-12-2010, 04:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thincat View Post
How high off the tank is your light?
About 3-4 inches from water to the tip of the bulbs.
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Old 04-13-2010, 03:45 AM   #9
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What do you have that may be causing your water to splash onto your light fixture. With your lights that close to the water you should have a splash guard installed to protect your light fixture.
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Old 04-13-2010, 11:39 AM   #10
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Well when the bubbler is turned on I might have a problem with that. Man this project is going to cost more and need a lot more thought than I expected. :/
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