Here is a very simple and low-cost lighting canopy suitable for any straight fronted tank. It is designed to use common household materials and takes just a couple of hours to make.
Is this possible to do if the tank has hang on back power filters? I'm not looking to add lights, just a canopy. I've got a 55 gallon tank with 2 lights/tops and 2 power filters going, and I was thinking of adding a canopy to dress up the tank a little. Would these plans work for it?
He mentioned that this would work with a HOB filter, you just need to cut a opening in the back for it. You might have to make the top taller at the least to be able to fit the lights under it.
I'm going to try and make a hood like this for my 55 gal and will post pictures once I finish it.
Well, here it is. I just finished one the other day for my 55 gal. When I got the 55 gal it came with two smaller tank hoods that sat on screens to provide lighting. It was pretty bad looking so I built this. Thanks for the design timandkaren.
All in all the cost was pretty low:
About 3/4 of a sheet of plywood - $0 - Got it for free from a friend.
Couple feet of 2X4 - $0 - Free from the same friend.
21 Screws to connect the wood - $0 - Left overs from a previous project.
4 Hinges - $8
Box of 100 Screws for hinges - $4 - Used 24, 6 in each hinge.
Gallon of Oops paint - $5 - Only need a quart of it.
2 double sided Light sockets - $0 - Used from hoods that came with tank.
4 CFL 14watt - $9
Total Spent - $26
If I had to buy everything I would guess that the plywood would cost $20 a sheet, a 2x4 $6, longer screws $6, and light sockets and wires $20, totaling $78. This is a high estimate and leaves you with leftover paint, screws and some wood.
It was pretty easy. I predrilled the holes and then hand screwed them in. But I did need someone to help hold the wood in place.
I agree completely.VERY NICE!
I think it's always great when we can do something ourselves, saving money and feeling pride at a job well done.
My plants are doing great. I have posted some pictures of them since I have gotten them in my members tank post:Some questions:
Now that you've had this set up for awhile, how are the plants responding?
I agree with trying what timg said about a hinge on the front panel if you want a hood.I can't afford the expense right now of a sophisticated lighting system, so am planning on doing something like your setup. Only I don't plan on a canopy. My tank is a 90g so it's 24" high, the cabinet is 36" high. Since I'm only 5'2" "stretched" going any higher will be difficult for me to feed, maintain etc.
Yes.So based on your idea of using household cfls, I figure on building a light hood. With 24" depth, do you think the cfls will reach deep enough into the water.
That would be a little low on the lighting. That is about 0.5 watts to the gallon if its on a 90 gallon tank since "100 watt equivalents" are only 26 watt florecents which is what the watts per gallon rule is based off. Judge the wattage off the real wattage not the equivalent incandescent bulb. I can explain this more if wanted.I figure on using a pair of 100 watt equivalents, low & mid light plants light will hopefully be ok.
They vary in temp. Most are rated at one of three temps. Soft, Daylight and one other wording. You want the Daylight ones since those are 5500K for most bulbs and 6500K for some. The bulbs I would go with are GE 26 watt Daylights since they are 6500K. They are cheap if you order them from here:Do you have any idea what the kelvin rating is for cfls?
Yes.With a glass tank cover, I don't think I need any additional protection for the bulbs, like the coffee jar. Does this sound ok?
Yes, by about 5-9% of the light lost I think. This is from reading other people's tests using various light meters.With a glass tank cover, will that diminish the amount of light reaching down into the tank?
My reflectors are really bad. They are just from the plastic hoods I had taken the bulb sockets out of. I would do something like what timg said. Other things you can do are just to paint the inside of the tank white. This will have to be a nice quallity white paint though so it does not turn yellow quickly. As it turns yellow you would have to repaint it to keep the reflectivity strong. Or you could just layer it in foil. But the best would be something like bending a shiny piece of metal like the pan idea timg said. I will be doing this at some point just haven't taken the time.What about a reflector design? Your photos look like there is an angle type reflector.
Can't think of any but feel free to ask anything. I have done a lot of research on CFLs and light in general. (It's an interest of mine and was my major in school)Any other thoughts based on your experience would be appreciated.
That's what I did in mine. If you can find them, they make two socket outlets so you only need to wire two sockets and still have 4 bulbs. You could put as many bulbs in as you can fit if you really wanted.If cost is a controlling factor, could you not add 2 more fittings to double the wattage? (4 bulbs rather than 2?)
Hehe oops. Ya, painting the tank would be bad. Ya, the hood definitely needs to be painted or stained to protect the wood from the massive amount of moisture. If you go with paint though and can afford two colors or don't mind a white outside I would paint the inside white even if you use foil. That way any hole in the foil will still be a bright color compared to a dark one that absorbs light. Home Depot has oops paint that you can get for $5 a gallon, just need to keep an eye on it and wait for a nice looking color.The idea of paint is pretty sound too, apart from the reflective abilities, it waterproofs the timber and it is mentioned in the original build plan, I think. (BTW, we all know you mean "hood", painting the inside of the tank would not be beneficial to good viewing! He He!).
Definitely, this happens to me even with a gray inside.I would still recommend a baffle to stop the light from dazzling you when you open the cover.