Easy DIY up-grade lighting


I had 2x18W Standard Fluorescent tubes, each in a 24" lamp housing for my 4 footer, 40gal tank planted tank. That meant having 0.9WPG as nominal maximum. I keep mostly low light plants but I recently got Black Amazon Swords (don't trust my plants ID skills) that require medium lighting (e.g. 2WPG).

It would be easier and cheaper to just purchase a double or triple strip light assembly, but none is available for sale in Santo Domingo (I visited/called most LFSs). So I turned to the DIY options I could find "doable" for me (not cost efficient though, the single tube Perfect-A-Strip cost me USD110.-, and each ToM 9W CF Stand USD35.- each; in US this would cost way less).

I replaced the two 24" (36W total) that came with the Aquarium, with a full 48" lamp housing with a single 40W Standard Fluorescent tube (Perfecto Perfect-A-Strip Deluxe w/metal interior), and simply attached two lamps of Compact Fluorescent tubes rated at 9W (ToM Multi-Positioning Compact Fluorescent 9W Stand).

Since I have this mid-light plants in the middle of my tank I placed both CFs attached to the middle section of the rear wall of the lamp housing using a 3" long 5/16" bolt to cover that specific area. (There should be a better way of phrasing this in English but keep in mind it's my second language...).

All I had to do was "partial-disassembly" of the 48" lamp assembly (removal of 40W lamp and the reflector to see where I could safely attach the bolts that would hold the CF lamps); and after removing the CF lamps' stands, I covered the bolt with 7/32" diameter transparent plastic hose I purchased for this project (to enhance grip), then just "drill" (by making a whole with a stove-heated stainless steel nail and using hard scissors blade to actually make the holes) the 48" lamp hard plastic cover to place the bolts with the CF lamps inserted, and adjust the length/distance a bit. I also cut (with blade knife) a piece of the back interior edges of the canopy that would obstruct light entering the tank (towards the center bracket).

I estimate for that particular area, at the center of the tank, to be around 1.9WPG, which should suffice for the Amazon Black Swords.

Although it cost me around 175USD to go from 0.9WPG to likely 2WPG in that particular area, it is always fun to engage in DIY projects. Hope my plants will do better now.

Santo Domingo


Looks like a clean job, not hacked up at all! Nice work. It is nice that you centralized the bright lights so you don't have to worry about algae all over the place.

However,I have some suggestions for other people that might be interested in this.

Perhaps it would be easier/cheaper to replace the hood with glass lids.

2 of the 24" (fits a 48" tank), $32

Then add a few more 48" fluorescent lights, so you could have a total of 3 or 4 48" tubes. If they're 32W each (standard aquarium bulbs), you would have 2.4 - 3.2 watts per gallon - evenly distributed.

I'm thinking either of these (in addition to the existing lamp) would be suitable if they fit (and you could buy them!).

$120 + $32 from above = $152...just a shave less than your way.


for those of use In DR we cna only plan on doing DIY project with our local HD prices... Trustme a project that in the states will cost you 20usd here will be about 45-50 if you do our homework.. imagine gas prices here is 4usd per gallon. Great Job Pepe...
any sugestion on Building Canopy with Cf and Mh for a reef tank.. purchaing from Ferreteria Amereicana and Ferreteria Ochoa..

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