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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
APC members,

Here is the start of my 3rd 10 gal. set-up. My 1st 10 gal was the 2003 ADA/AGA tank which can be view in my gallery or on AGA site. The 2nd 10 gal. will be viewed right before the 2004 AGA.
This 3rd set-up will be a detail journal from start to finish for APC site and TFH magazine.

The project will start here with the DIY light and move over to the aquascaping forum.

The beginning of my 10 gal. aquascape.

Deciding the correct light is a start of any tank. It will be a light demanding plants in this set-up. I decided on 3.6 watts per a gallon which is on the high side, but will balance out over time.
I choice a 36watt bright kit w/ 6700k bulb from Kim of AH Supply.
You can't just measure watts per a gallon without taking into factor the quality of the mirror reflector.
The only drawback in using a retrofit kit is you need to build your own housing and wire it together. You can either mount it into a regular striplight plastic housing, mount it in a canopy top or build a light housing yourself.

As an aquascaper, I always keep an eye out for driftwood and rocks, but also ways to build light housing with everyday items.
This project I will be using a 48" wall mount wooden CD rack from IKEA.
The cost of a single 48" CD rack is $9.99 or the 2x 48" free standing one for $15.99.
Since the 10 gal is only 20" the rest of the rack can be used for other lighting projects later on.
So it's only a faction of the cost for a 10 gal set-up.

Let be post the step by step pictures first and then go into detail on the next post.

Ken

I reached the maximum Upload Quota Limit of 256 KB.
So let me find another way to display the pictures. Stay tune
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here is the 3 pictures of the DIY lighting project.

I had put off this project for a few months. Just put everything together last night in my basement. The only plan I had was to use the CD rack as a cover. I had no idea how everything will come together until last night. The amazing part for me was the project require no glue or nails to put together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
here is a test run

Here is a test run of the light being used on my 10 gal contest tank. It will be replacing the JBJ clip-on unit which sux.

More details will be posted soon.

Ken
 

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Wow, thats genius. And it really looks nice so great job and ill be looking for more details on this setup as youve impressed me and this seems to be an interesting looking tank so far. Again props.

.depthc
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Details

A.

Here are the following items used for this project that can accommodate any retrofit kits up to 46" in length and 5" in width.

· 36watt Bright kit w/ 6700k compact fluorescent or any type of retrofit up to the above measurement.
· Ikea: wooden wall mount or freestanding cd racks. They come in either black or oak color w/ 2 sizes 16" or 48" in length from $5 to $16
· Home Depot: a roll of aluminum sheet metal $2 that is 5" to 6" wide or any type of material that can flex into the under side of the cd housing. Its only use is to cover the grid so no light will get through. Just don't use materials that can melt since the housing can get hot.
· A 1/8" thick sheet of black foam plastic or any acrylic material no less than 6" x 6" since you need to cut out 2 half circles for the side housing.
· A set of 3/32" x 1" screws w/ nut and washer.
· Tools I used for the project: Drill, 3/32" drill bit, wood saw, 1" circle sander bit, scissor, razor blade, fine grid sand paper and a pencil.

B.

36watt Bright kit from Kim of www.ahsupply.com

C.

Now the first step is to pre-assembly and describing the use of each item in the picture.

o The cd rack has 2 size wooden arches. You can see 4 oak color arches in picture B & C, which is cut from each end of the cd rack. The 2 ends pieces of the rack are wider and measures ¾" which I cut and trim off the base for use in holding the reflector in place from the top. I drill a 3/32" hole top center where the screw hole goes on the 2 x ¾" arches. The 2 smaller arches are end caps to hold the side panel in place. They must be cut to size to fit in the space between the grids to sandwich the panel in a tight fit.

o Now you are left with the middle piece of the wooden cd rack with the end pieces cut off. Measure the inside trim of the fish tank where the housing will be place. It must be secured so there is no chance of it falling in, since I don't use glass canopies. The measurement for my 10-gallon inside trim is 19 1/2". Now you can cut the cd rack to 19 ½" length and sand the edges down for a tight fit.

o The 2 black end piece with the hole in the center is cut from the 6" x 6" foam plastic sheet. I used the cd rack's outside arch as a template to cut out 2 half-circle side panel from the black foam plastic sheet. I used the edge of the sheet so I didn't have to cut the straight line, just the arch. I also cut a notch on each end to fit the inside curve of the bottom of cd rack. Now I sand it down to form a flush fit. I then drill a 1" hole to fit the vent covers that came w/ the 36watt bright kit.

D.

Now I cut the aluminum roll to fit between the 2 plastic end panels and draw a centerline on the metal sheet. I pop in the metal sheet and center it inside the cd rack between the 2 plastic panels. I count in 5 grids from both ends of the cd rack and tap a drill hole on the centerline of the metal sheet. The drill hole should be in the space between the arches. No holes are drilled on the cd rack. I then center the mirror reflector on top of the metal sheet and continue to tap the same drill holes for the bulb clips.

E.

I now take the 2 wide wooden arches and assemble the screw and spacer. I line up the holes that I just drilled which would be the 5th space from each end of the rack. In the inside of the cd rack would the metal sheet cover then the mirror reflector, bulb clips, washes and the nut. When the nut is tight it should sandwich the cd rack in place. If you shorten the length of the wide arch you can adjust the angle of the reflector 5 degree from front to back to direct the angle of the reflector. This can be done since the reflector is not attached to the housing. This was not planned, it just happened to work out that way.

F.

Place in the bulb and the clip on the side plastic panel with the snap on vent covers. Since there is a notch on the plastic panel it will hold in place by the inside flex of the housing.

G.

I snap the 2 smaller wooden arches in the same space as the side panels to hold it in place and to prevent light from showing through. The space between the grids is 7/16" and the small wooded arch is 5/16" plus the 1/8" plastic panel will make a perfect fit.

Any questions

Ken
 

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Just guessing here but if you look in picture "I" the cord for the ballast is really long. He might have just let it sit away from the fish tank. The light looks really nice though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ballast

The ballast was not mounted to anything, it was done inline to the cord. The reason why I did this is to keep the heat down so both the ballast and bulbs can last much longer then mounting them next to each other.
The ballast will be placed in a cool place away from the heat of the bulbs and water vapors.

The 2 pieces of half circle plastic used for the side is called Sintra plastic. I was able to get more of it at a plastic store. The store in NYC is called Canel Plastic on Canel St. and Church St. It's a much easier plastic to cut and shape with without cracking much.
 
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