Lighting a 10g--heat, safety, and price issues - Equipment - Aquatic Plant Central

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Old 06-01-2006, 01:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Lighting a 10g--heat, safety, and price issues

Hi,

I have a 10g planted that I've been lighting in a very haphazard manner, and i'm wondering if there's another safe and economical way to do this. Now, I have one sheet of glass to cover the tank and I precariously rest a standard 15w fluorescent fixture and a 1g hex hood with a spiral bulb on top. It lights the plants just fine, but I have to move that one-bulb hood around during the day to get even coverage. Also, the lights have FALLEN into the tank 2 times and I nearly electrocuted myself. Heat is another issue now that the hot Louisiana weather is back. The tank is at 84 despite my lying the glass cover only over the center of the tank.

So I don't have much cash to spend and those nice, sleek Coralife lights that I like so much are pricey. Has anyone ever made legs to raise a standard 18"15w fixture above the water (I like having emergent growth)? I thought that if I could raise it above the tank on some sort of legs, I would just buy another standard fixture and put it on legs too, and drop the glass altogether in the summer.

Does this make sense? Does anyone have any other ideas? Thanks. I'm not mechanically creative so I'd appreciate ideas before I fry myself and my fish.

PS: would the Jebo or Coralife legs hold up a standard 18" fixture from a standard 10g hood? I just found some coralife ones for $5 but i can't see them well enough to know if they will attach to my fixture.

Last edited by javalee; 06-01-2006 at 01:18 PM..
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Old 06-02-2006, 07:44 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I know Coralife makes some legs for light fixtures, but I used some spare plywood from the garage and made some legs for the light on my 20H. It just took about 15-20 minutes and all I used to fasten it was wood glue and its been working fine for almost a year now. It lifts the light about 4" above the tank to get a little more even coverage and allows some heat to escape. I simply used a square piece of wood(3"W x 5"L roughly) and maybe 1" thick. I just glued a small piece of wood onto the back of it that will rest on the tank frame and hold the fixture in place. I'm not artist, so I won't even try drawing, but I think I have a picture of it somewhere if this doesn't make sense.
-Ryan
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Old 06-02-2006, 09:08 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Well if your thinking about replacing the setup altogether. Ahsupply.com is the place to go. A 36 watt kit is the best for a 10 gallon.

Coralife does make legs for its fixtures. They probably won't be able to attach to your current setup.

They are adjustable with the lights, and are not attached to the sides in any fixed manner. They will slide towards the center, and if your fixture is too long, the sides of the fixture will overlap the tank, and the legs will be more centralized on the fixture itself..

Hmm, hopefully that makes sense. But in any event. I recommend Ahsupply, and you can build your enclosure to rest as high as you need.

On a side note, a portable GFCI (grounded fault circuit interupter) outlet for $30 from your local Orchard, or Home Depot will save your life. It basically looks like a 3 foot extension cord with a big AC adaptor for plugs. When the light pops in the water, the power automatically stops in a split second. Definately check it out.

-John N.

-John N.
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Old 06-02-2006, 12:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I have a 10g as well and will be gutting my current light fixture and going with the 36w AH Supply kit. I was told to go to a glass cutter or buy a glass top for the tank. I've seen them on websites for ~$10, which is cheap. Some stores may carry them but none around me do.
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Old 06-02-2006, 02:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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I run my AHsupply 1x36 with the glass knocked out of my hood and no glass between water and bulb. Ive had no problems with it so far and I cant see how there would be problems in the future unless I did something really stupid. I think the glass is just for people who like to play it safe, but to me it just seems unnecessary.
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Old 06-02-2006, 05:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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I don't use a glass top. So far no problems. My wooden enclosure raises the light about 3 inches off the surface of the water. No condensation, or water splash on the reflectors.

-John N.
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Old 06-02-2006, 06:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John N.
I don't use a glass top. So far no problems. My wooden enclosure raises the light about 3 inches off the surface of the water. No condensation, or water splash on the reflectors.

-John N.
That's my problem. My hood keeps the light pretty close to water level. For ~$10 I'll just go to Home Depot and have a piece cut for me or something.

Having a cat doesn't make things any easier either.
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Old 06-04-2006, 03:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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For my 10 gallon I use two standard incandescent hoods with screw in compact flourescent bulbs over a standard glass canopy. However, I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to just rig up some sort of legs out of plywood that hold the glass canopy above the tank. This setup may be even easier than mine, as I have to remove a hood every time I want to open the canopy.

With two hoods, you can get light far superior to more expensive fixtures without sacrificing looks too much and without spending a ton of money. I think I spent $10 on the glass canopy, $15 on each incandescent hood (get the ones that are not an entire integrated hood, just the light part which may be harder to find, but local pet stores seem to always carry them) and $7 on each light. That's about $70 total, but I now have 72 watts on my tank, and best of all, I can swap out lightbulbs if its too much or not enough. Wal-Mart carries Lights of America screw in bulbs that are 6500k and up to 25 watts each. So I could have up to 100 watts over a 10g tank for $70 (far less than Coralife's 96 watt for $109). So far, 72 watts seems to be fine, as the cherry shrimp in there love the algea and eat it up before it grows out of control. It also acts as a great grow out tank.

As for chilling the tank on a budget, I've heard that computer fans, or any fan for that matter, blowing across the surface can lower it by a few degrees. You can get fans used to cool light fixtures for around $20 from Coralife. A few of these might do the trick.
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Old 06-05-2006, 11:49 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks so much to everyone for all the helpful replies! I definitely need that GFCI; that's a wonderful recommendation. I'm not so creative, but perhaps i could manage to design some sightly legs for the standard fixtures.

I can tell you that despite common sense, I've had part of one open fixture only an inch and half from the water in one spot where it gets a bit of fine spray from the bubbling of the filter and it hasn't caused any problems---again, it's very fine and very small amounts of water.

I agree that it would be safe to house the open fixtures several inches above the water as long as the legs are trustworthy. I'll give it a try. If anyone has any photos of legs or supports they've designed for this purpose, I'd really appreciate having something to look at.

Thanks again!
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Old 09-01-2006, 10:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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My pleco jumps like a killer whale every night into the free free air. Beautiful. Not! Hes like 13" and fat! Water, water everywhere....Glass is a good thing for some of us.
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