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Old 06-19-2007, 07:19 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big Tank. Big Lights. Need Advice.

I don't know exactly how quiet the setup has to be, but if you're wanting MH lighting for an 8 foot tank, I'd go with 2-3 of these setups:
http://www.plantlightinghydroponics....ht-p-1251.html
With two, you'd have 800 watts and decent coverage over the entire area of the tank, especially since these are hydroponic lights and are designed to cover a large area. The drawback is that these are run on magnetic ballasts which get HOT and have a low hum to them.

If it has to be absolutely silent (or as close as possible to slient), you could do a retrofit with 4 of these guys: http://www.hellolights.com/index.asp...ROD&ProdID=530
Plus two of these guys: http://www.aquacave.com/detail.aspx?ID=1173
The plus of this is that it uses an electronic ballast which is quieter and produces less heat. Not sure if that's a factor for you, but if it is, then that's a viable option. A tad more expensive, but...

Oh...and fans. Lots and lots and lots of fans.
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Old 06-19-2007, 08:02 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big Tank. Big Lights. Need Advice.

The lots and lots of fans is an issue. Which is the main reason I'm now leaning more toward a fluorescent option of some sort. Also, hums have got to be kept to a minimum or we risk the chance of introducing noise into our audio recording. Whatever the lights, they will be split in half and each have their own dedicated 20 amp circuit.
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Old 06-20-2007, 06:27 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big Tank. Big Lights. Need Advice.

There will be no appreciable difference between HO T5 and PC ballasts with respect to hum, RF, or heat (ballasts or bulbs... ballasts do get warm, bulbs get hot). They're pretty well interchangeable.

T5 and PC will both work. I suspect that T5s are a little more efficient, meaning you may get the same result with a slightly lower total wattage. If you go T5, get Tek reflectors. If you go PC, get AHsupply reflectors. They're both significantly better than any DIY you're likely to come up with. They're designed to efficiently direct the light down, into the tank and don't allow it to go everywhere else.
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Old 06-20-2007, 07:44 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big Tank. Big Lights. Need Advice.

I think the issue with using PC/T5s is getting penetration through 30-32" of water. That's a DEEP tank. Heck, my tank is 36" LONG!
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:20 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big Tank. Big Lights. Need Advice.

CFs and T-5s are great, but honestly, I'd NEVER try to light a tank that deep with fluorescents. The visual effect of MH's is far superior too - nice shimmering light such as would be seen in nature. MH's do produce heat - but so does every other form of lighting. 1 watt of electricity produces about 1 watt of heat, minus the small percentage that actually gets converted to light. Fluorescent fixtures spread this heat out over the entire length of the tube, and as a result, the surface of the bulb isn't that warm. MH bulbs are quite small, meaning the same heat energy is emitted from a much smaller surface that is much hotter. In an enclosed space, such as over an aquarium, the heat produces from an equivalent # of watts is almost identical, irrespective of the type of lighting used. 1,000W of CF light will produce as much heat and use as much electricity as 1,000W of MH. Anyone that says otherwise doesn't understand the basic science behind the issues.

My 180g tank uses 450W of MH lighting and an additional 156W of T-5 lighting. I have NO fans and have no heating issues whatsoever. The top is designed to hold the lights about 10-12" up from the surface and the top of the canopy is farily open which permits good ambient air circulation. Maximum temperature variation in the tank is less than 2 degrees F during the daylight hours.

Your enclosure seems to have a fairly open top. I'd guess with a bit of moderate airflow that the heat will be less of an issue than you think. People get into heat trouble when they try to use an enclosed lighting unit directly up against the glass of the top.
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:23 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big Tank. Big Lights. Need Advice.

I think you guys are just making this MORE difficult!!!
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:26 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big Tank. Big Lights. Need Advice.

Is it possible that you could simply turn off the cooling fans while you are filming? Even if you turn them off for a couple of hours, a water column that size will not heat up appreciably.
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:30 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big Tank. Big Lights. Need Advice.

FreakIndeed...there's just so many options.

But I think the MH fixtures I linked you to would give you the best bang for your buck. Like guaiac_boy, i wouldn't go for PC or T5 lighting at all.

That hydroponic MH setup will give you good coverage, lots of light, good penetration...and it's relatively cheap for the amount of light it produces.
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:32 AM   #29 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Big Tank. Big Lights. Need Advice.

From what I understand, T5 can penetrate just as deep as MH, just no shimmer effect.
PC, will NOT penetrate that deep.
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Old 06-20-2007, 02:25 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big Tank. Big Lights. Need Advice.

Well, there are VERY few tanks >24" deep that I'm aware of that are lit by anything but MH lighting, especially once you get into the 200+ gallon range. I wouldn't fret too much about the cooling issues. As I see it, if the lighting fixtures are somewhat open and a bit raised up from the tank you probably won't even need fans. This is true for MH, CF, T-5, or any other option. The type of lighting does not determine the need for supplemental cooling, the installation does. Any sort of lighiting fixture in an encolsed space will need airflow. If you do need it, there are several ways to do it without producing noise. The cooling fans I use make no more noise than my Eheim cansiter filter - which is nearly zero. The trick is to buy the right kind of fan for the job.

I'm not saying you can't do this project successfuly without MH lighting, but I think you'll be happier with the end result if you do. The shimmering quality of the light adds so much to the overall effect, especially when seen in person. The tank seems more alive and natural. You'll probably end up spending less money in the end too. If you opt to go with a bank of 96W CF fixtures you'll need multiple ballasts, bulbs, and reflectors. With MH you'll probably be fine with 3 of each component. You might want to try filming around a tank with MH lighting and CF lighting to get a comparison of the way the two would look. Things have a way of looking different on TV.

Tony, where are you located? Chances are pretty good that we have some members in your area that with some setups that you could look at. Big tanks are a whole different animal.

Last edited by BryceM; 06-20-2007 at 02:35 PM..
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