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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I made a strip for my 29 gallon tank that cost $53.
Items:
3 undercounter light plant strips (lightsofamerica) $10
1 philips sunlight bulb $10
1 long plastic flower box $ 8
mylar (from user at this forum) $ 5

With rug tape taped mylar in the box. With bolts and nuts put the lightstrips in the box and box sits upside down over hood.

Afterwards found out that lightsofamerica lights are not dependable. In fact got lightsofamerica to replace 1 light after 3 months. So far have had it running since Jan, 08 and no problems.

I plan to combine it with a light fixture that I bought on EBay for $50. Ebay light strip is slightly used but bought it for a 1/3 of selling price. Unfortunately the fans on the fixture are to loud. I am planning to replace the fans. Just haven't gotten to that yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
After 8 months noticed only the java fern were growing well.
From what I had read I thought it work but not good after all.

The philips bulb was 6500K Daylight White Color

Now have a satellite light system made by current-usa which has a Dual 65 Watt 6,700K/10,000K Daylight bulb. Everything is growing. Growth is more bushy on top, thus light probably isn't being reflected to the bottom.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Using a flower box... creative. It has the right shape and can be painted easily.
Thanks!!

I had decided on the plastic flower box for I have allergies that would be aggravated if I shellacked a wood box.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have revived the experiment to see if I can lower my electric bill. This time replaced plant grow bulb with Zoo Med super daylight bulb and made a reflector. Replace 65 watt PC bulb March 28. April 15 added charcoal to the substrate to help plants to adjust.

Cost;
2 Under counter light strips --- $ 20
Philips bulb ------------------------- $ 10
Zoo Med bulb ---------------------- $ 13
Metal gutter ------------------------ $10
Black spray paint ---------------- $ 4
White spray paint ---------------- $ 4
Total -----------------------------------$ 61

When the philips bulb dies I will replace it with an aquatic bulb I saw at Lowe's for $8.

Results are:
All of the original plants are growing.
Ludwiga, which almost died, starting growing.
Foxtail plant planted May 1 is struggling.
May 9 got Myriophyllum mattogrossense and star grass. The star grass is struggling but the other is growing
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I am however also wanting to go down the CFL screw in route.
Read 1 diy project where CFL bulbs were used for a large tank. He said that the bulbs get hot and since they are twisted there is the loss of light to think of.

The reflector is suppose to be a specific angle to get max light. I didn't have room for the paranglar shape. One side is L shape and the other is a half v shape. It seems to be working. I am not certain if it is worth the cost, though.

If you are really tight for money, I read 1 used mirrors to direct light into the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Pictures of diy fixture

Front view


Right side


Left side


If you make it cheaper for a similar size tank post it, please.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Diy light fixture now has 3 bulbs. Added another bulb and satisfied with it for now.

Cost:
3 Under counter light strips --- $ 30
Life-glo bulb --------------------- $ 10
Zoo Med Ultra daylightbulb --- $ 13
GE Aqua ray $ 7
Metal gutter -------------------- $ 10
Black spray paint --------------- $ 4
White spray paint -------------- $ 4
Total -----------------------------$ 78
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I bought a 2x24 watt T5HO from Home depot, replaced one of the bulbs with a Life Glo,
The sun-glo bulb would probably look great with that.

I just found a dual T5HO light system 30 in at aquaguy that cost $70. With shipping cos of $10 for total $80. If I knew what I know now I would have gotten this light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
The sun-glo bulb would probably look great with that.

After a long dicussion here I have come to realise that my diy fixture is not getting light to the whole tank. Thus I went back to using 24in Satellite light fixture with a 65w PC bulb, since it is stronger than the T8 bulbs. I have less dark spots with it. To add more color spectrum I added a 20w Life-glo bulb over the tank.

Found a Coralife fixture 30in that will work for my tank, for the bulbs are approx 30in. Found it at Big Als

I am beginning to wish I had a 20L for I saw a lovely 1 with 2 clip on lights.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Not only am I broke but I got a wife what wont hush about me and the way I care for my tank. She thinks ideas and a little MacGyver-ism cost money.
Sometimes it cost more to do diy. That is what happen with my light system. For I kept adding and adding to it until it cost more than a simple T5 light fixture by coralife.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
bump
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
I bought a 2x24 watt T5HO from Home depot, replaced one of the bulbs with a Life Glo, bought a timer, and used a kick plate from a door..

Light fixture---$30
Power cord------0
Kick plate----- $12 (could use coke cans cut)
Plant bulbs---- $40 for two.
Total-------------$80
I found a similar light fixture by Current USA here
$61.99 + shipping $11.99 =$74
Con is it Current USA fixtures run hot and have loud fans. I can replace fans on my Current USA fixture for $10, using cell phone chargers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
bump
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Here read that some are having problems with dual T5HO light system. One said that the Coralife light system gave off more light than the Nova.

Now uncertain which is best to replace the PC with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I am beginning to wish I had a 20L for I saw a lovely 1 with 2 clip on lights.
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 · (Edited)
bump
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
This is the inside


With it I had about 4in of dark area on the sides. If I use it again I will use in conjunction with a T5 bulb, for they are brighter. Now switched back to PC 65, which I got used on EBay. The bulb doesn't give off give colors so I have a life-glo sitting under on the glass.

armedbiggiet do you have a link to your tanks?
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Well with the bulbs 24in set in middle the plants were starting to bend 30 degrees toward the middle. Also hair algae was starting to grow. To over come this I figured that the 3 bulbs need to be staggered then it is possible that it may work. Tis something I contemplating doing when the PC bulb I have over it dies. When it dies I will set 2 under counter fixtures in the satellite fixture and a 3rd under some metal that will rest on the fixture. A power-bulb in the back towards the left side, a Zoo Med ultra towards right side, and a Life-glo in the middle front. The reflector will be metal painted white inside surrounding the outside of the light fixture.

How I wish I had just upgraded to a 24in tank. When the PC bulb dies I may swap the 29 gallon for a 25 gallon, which is 24 in. Meanwhile I am going to work on the encasing for the light system, for it will help with light system now and later. At present have 24in PC bulb and 24in Life-glow light over the tank. The plants are starting to grow upward. Still have a little hair grass thus leaving light on only 6hrs and dosing with excel daily.

Hope other diy people have learned from my error of jumping before calculating the cost etc.
 
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