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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ok, here is what I would like to do. I'm hoping to get 4 ballasts that will run 4 - 36" T8 bulbs. This would allow me to have 16 - T8 bulbs over my 150 gallon tank, which if all lights are on would give me a total of 480 to 512 watts! This should produce about 3.2 watts per gallon.

The 48" T8's appear to be much easier to find than the 36" T8 bulbs so I'm not real sure on what wattage is for a 36".

It seems everyone has a different opinion of how many watts per gallon so this way I figure I can have a max of 512w. If that is to much, I can always turn off one of the ballasts and still be running 360 watts which is still 2.4 watts per gallon.

I would like to get people's comments on pros and cons.

One questions I do want to know is can you run 2 ballasts on one Power Cord?

g
 

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What are the dimensions of your tank? Is it 72" or is it the 48" show tank?

Either way you have a problem. It'll be tough fitting 16 bulbs on the 48" lenth tank and a the 72" lenth tank it's impossible to fit 16 bulbs of 48". They'll have to be staggered with 12" overlapping. At 18 1/2" in width, they bulbs will have to be nearly stacked on top of eachother.

Going T5 with reflectors will reduce the number of bulbs you would have to go to reach the same potential as 16 unreflected t5, but that would cost quite a bit in initial setup and nearly 10 bucks a bulb.

When lighting such a large tank, MH are usually the most cost effective way to go. 3 100W MH would get the job done.
 

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Another option if your tank is 72" is to go with at 72" T8 bulb. The hood would be slightly larger than the tank though, but T8HO ballasts for that size are quite expensive as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
What are the dimensions of your tank? Is it 72" or is it the 48" show tank?
My aquarium is a 72" length. Boy, what I'm noticing is that the 48" T8 Bulbs are very cheap. A case of 24 is $53, but a case of 36" is almost twice the cost and you don't seem to be able to get them at the local Home Depot.

This sure is turning into a pain in the butt...

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There are 70" T8s, but the vibe I'm getting from you is that you wanted to spend 100-150 on your bank of lights. I'm not sure that is possible. If you want to stick with t8s, you'll have to go up in size to 70" bulb. Twin t8 ballasts in that size start to get expensive (>$50) and the bulbs are a bit more averaging around $10 and will have an oversized shipping charge associated with them. At a bit lower than the power range you want, 6X70 will get you 420w. At a very LOW estimate, it will take you $210 for ballasts, bulbs without no fixtures, wires, plugs, hood and most of all no shipping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, I guess no matter which way I go it is going to be expensive. I was going to use the Spiral CFL, but was told that would not be the best way to go. I even thought the bulbs could be used around the house after a year when the light was not as good!

Then I was told to use the T8 FL. But I'm having trouble with the length of the tank and finding cheap bulbs. I'm simply trying to find the cheapest way to do this that I can put in a canopy.

I'm planning on building everything in this canopy and the canopy will be on a hinged system so I can simply lift it up and do maintenance.

Preferrably I want to stay away from all the expensive (MH, etc.) stuff.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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my DIY canopy with lights cost ~$500 in lighting material alone, so yes, it's not cheap.

what SnyperP says is good advice... what is the width of your tank? because you just might not be able to physically fit everything in. but that depends on how you actually plan on building your canopy. i would personally look into using HO T5 lamps with electronic ballasts. with 10 HO T5's, you would get 540W... and with reflectors, you would actually get more light.

i would stay away from using the sprial CFL's is possible, because they not as efficient as fluorescent lamps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
what is the width of your tank?
My 150 Gallon is 72" inches wide!

i would stay away from using the sprial CFL's is possible, because they not as efficient as fluorescent lamps.
They may be inefficient but when you factor in the cost that you would never have to buy another light bulb for your house again since you could use the bulbs after a years use in your aquarium. That saves a bit of "GREEN" Money and "GREEN" envioronmental!!!

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it's 72" wide... then how long is it? 18"?

there's discussion on when to change out lamps, and some people say after a year or two. myself... i keep the lamps in until they're burnt out, which will be years. i'm losing out in "new lamp" intensity, but with my reflectors, i'm still getting sufficient light to my plants. so i'm saving even more and causing less harm :p

anyways... i'm just looking at the efficiency for your tank, and if you go with the CFL lamps, you might not get the lighting required for high demanding plants. and depending on what the height of your tank is, the CFL lamps may not penetrate to the bottom sufficiently.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Re: New Lighting Project: 150g F32T8 ODNO

it's 72" wide... then how long is it? 18"?
My tanks is as follows: Oceanic 150, L 72" W 18" H 28"

After doing some more reasearch, I'm looking at a technique called ODNO (Overdriven Normal Output).

The basic concept is you overdrive or Supercharge a bulb and it produces more output. What I'm thinking now is I can order 5 ballasts that are designed to run 4 - F32T8 48" bulbs, but you rewire the ballast to only drive 2 - F32T8 48" bulbs. The articles below says it makes a normal 32 watt produce 56 watts. I my senario it would produce about 560 watts.

Each Ballasts would be running 2 Overdriven 32 Watt (F32T8) which each produce 56 watts for a total of 112 watts per ballast. Multiply by 5 and get 560 watts total on a 150 gallon would 3.7 watts per gallon? And the best part is a case of 24 - F32T8 bulbs only costs around $55. That means for $55 bucks, I would have a 2.5 year supply with annual bulb changes!!!

If my cost calculations are right, I'm gonna produce 560 watts for about $100

20 End Caps = $15
5 Ballasts = $60
10 F32T8 Bulbs = $20

Has anyone use this technique or have any comments?

Below are some links to info that I'm based the above on:

Tech Thread: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/planted-tank-faq/175-cheap-lighting-odno.html

DIY Project: http://www.aquariumlife.net/projects/diy-lighting/47.asp

Concept: http://www.plantedtank.net/articles/Overdriven-Normal-Output-ODNO/18/
 

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Well, first thing is first. What are you planning on accomplishing with this tank? If you're looking at 2.4-2.5wpg, you're going to have to do quite a bit of work. You'll need CO2, pressurized is the only way to go on a tank that large. DYI will drive you insane on that scale. Excel would be too expensive to dose in the long term. Then you have the ferts. You're going to have to stay away from the commerical bottle stuff at that scale. You can dry dose, EI or PPS on it with ferts from Greg Watson. What kind of substrate are you going to use? To get an average 3" thick substrate in that floor plan is going to be a bit....even if you go with 50lb bags or inert turface (Soil master select). Then water changes usually average around 30% weekly. Will you be able to change 45 gallons a week? Although PPS doesn't require water changes, but you'll be testing your water parameters until you get your tank figured out. In otherwords, you have to buy test kits.

I think the point I'm trying to make is that to start a 150g tank is alot of work at the light point that you're looking at. I think you may be setting your goals too high.

If you still want to stick with 2.5+ wpg, I recommend starting with something smaller. 20G and 40G are fantastic sizes with many lighting options. DYI goes along way on tank these sizes. If you asked me two years ago, i would have said no one could use CFL spirls as a high light application, but today..i'm simply wrong. There are quite a few nice examples out there.

I know my words may have been alittle strong and I hope I did not discourage you from setting up a tank. But setting up a tank that large is a massive undertaking.
 

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ODNO does definitely work, but the general consenus is that it reduces the bulb lifetime in half. Since they're cheap, that route is definitely possible. I guess it didn't really hit me because I havent personally used it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, first thing is first. What are you planning on accomplishing with this tank? If you're looking at 2.4-2.5wpg, you're going to have to do quite a bit of work. You'll need CO2, pressurized is the only way to go on a tank that large.
I guess I didn't give the impression I have been in this for awhile. I already run Pressurized C02, I plan on making an inline heater/reactor next!! I love DIY!! I think, I wet my pants when I found this website a few days ago. I used to use the old PMDD, but it was to hard to follow. I just ordered a digital scale and will be ordering the dry goods for the PPS method soon. I have 2 infusion pumps I plan to use to automate the daily dosing. Lighting is my last part of the puzzle that I need to upgrade. Currently, I have 4 JBL 2x96 Watt, Compact Fluorescent, but the bulbs are to expensive and hard to find and I want to build all this in a new hood that I can put on a hinge and simply flip up to do maintenance.

You asked about my Substrate, well that was another great DIY find. I used the Turface at $11 a bag thanks to a local fertilizer/hardware store. Great stuff, they use it on baseball diamonds and is fired clay product.

No, you didn't discourage me! I've been a DIY aquariumist for 20 years, from Palidariums to Aquariums, I've never had anything less than a 125 gallon. In my eyes, BIGGER = BETTER!!! ;)

ODNO does definitely work, but the general consenus is that it reduces the bulb lifetime in half. Since they're cheap, that route is definitely possible. I guess it didn't really hit me because I havent personally used it.
No prob, that is why I like to ask on the forums!!! I appreciate all your input so far, just the same!!!

g
 
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