DIY T5 lighting

Ed Seeley

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Hi everyone.
After all the help on whether or not to get a juwel tank I've realised the majority were right and I need to do a custom built job. Putting aside the tank, cabinet and filtration etc., as I think I have a good idea for all of that, I need some help with the lighting.

Obviously I'd like to keep the costs down, but this is my chance to do things right and really DIY it and have it a good spec without totally breaking the bank.

So I'm looking at the kit on Lamp Specs and looking at getting Ballast, caps and leads and clips from them. They don't seem to make reflectors so I guess I'll have to source them from somewhere else and I'll get the tubes from based on James's recomendations from his excellent work posted on this site.

Has anyone here built their own lighting up from this kit? What else do I need and what tips can you give?

The other thing is whether to include a dimming ballast on one or two tubes. I am not sure whether I can turn these on automatically via a timer and still get the dimming effect. Has anyone got experience of these? Or do they only dim when used alongside the aquarium computers?

Basically guys; HELP! I have a rough idea (even though it doesn't sound like it) but badly need some advice and maybe being pointed in the right direction for some wiring advice.

Cheers,
Ed.
 

planter

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Hi,

You can pick up a 'Hagen GLO' double T5HO electronic Ballast cheaper than this from Your LFS!
 

ceg4048

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Hi Ed,
I'm not sure I would go with the lampspec hardware since it may not be moisture sealed sufficiently for aquarium use. Check out the lighting section of Coral Gardens UK: http://www.coralgarden.net/index.php?cP ... 7a7b4a302a

The three main vendors sold here are the Arcadia "T" Bar, the D&D kit and the ASL T5 kit which is what I use. The ballasts of the ASL kit are large and clunky but are solid.

I must have missed it in you other post but could you remind me what the reasons are for wanting dimming? This just seems an unnecessary added cost and complexity but if you are really into watching the dimming sequences then that's art I suppose. It won't do anything for the plants.

Cheers,
 
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I've been hunting around before I started the project as well and decided that iit doesn't make that much a difference whether you choose to DIY or get an aquatic purpose T5HO ballast. The cost is pretty much the same.

http://www.ukpetsupplies.com/Details.as ... rodId=3089
Check this out if you are looking for overtank luminaire. This work out to be the best option for me. Too bad they don't supply unit with 3 tubes so if you wanted higher lighting then you might need to purcahse 2 of the same unit. They have their own T5HO ballast as well.
 

james3200

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CROYDON
Hi ed

I have two of those exact dimming ballasts you linked to in my discus tank (54w), you do not need a aquarium computer to control them just a dimming module. I bought mine from a guy in Greece i spoke through on APC. Il dig out his email and send it over to you

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/GIESEMANN-T5-Komp ... p1638.m118

No dimming module there, but its an option, i just used the arcadia leads which are about £7 per light

Here are the leads, very good quality, about half way down.

http://www.aquatics-online.co.uk/catalo ... sories.asp

EDIT: Forgot to mention i use the D&D W reflectors, pricey but really worth it
 

Ed Seeley

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Cheers James,
Those Arcadia leads look great and will definitely be the way to go, thanks.

The reason I am thinking about fitting a dimming unit is that this will be a tank with breeding cichlids in and a big shoal of Cardinal tetras probably. Having the lights go on and off slowly gives them time to put the little ones to sleep, literally. In my main tank I have a little pygmy bulb to do a similar job, but, as this tank is on show in the lounge, I was hoping for a more professional effect. The lights fading up and then fading down would also reduce the shock for people in the room too!
However I'm not sure that I will be able to do the job to be honest. If I do go ahead with it, James I may need more help from you with it if you don't mind? Was it simliar to the domestic flourescent units wiring? Will be interested in looking at the dimmer unit, maybe adding it later.

I also would rather do a DIY job as the ballasts look much more slimline and would allow me to fix them to the back of the hood, totally out of sight and out of the way of any water or splashes. I can also cut the leads to length to keep them very neat.
It also cheaper than the Arcadia units. A double ballast is just over £30 incl VAT and 4 leads from James's link will only be £11, so just over £40 compared to £60. However those Hagen units look cheap at only £26! They would certainly be cheaper.
 

Ed Seeley

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james3200 said:
Yea, no prob, if you need a hand with the wiring i can help out, let me know.
Cheers James. Hopefully I'll be ok, but the help will be much appreciated if I get stuck.

Current plan is two double ballasts that will be mounted on the back of the hood, well away from water splashes, then four 39W bulbs (2 grolux and 2 Osram Skywhites 8000k) will be mounted on the hood using the Arcadia IP67 leads with their clips and with the D&D razor gull-wing reflectors. I'll put all the wiring into tracking like you've done too James as it lookes very neat and keeps everything out of the way.

The two ballasts will each be on separate timers so I can stagger the two pairs of bulbs, so one pair will start, then a couple of hours later the second set will come on and then they will stagger off too. As the tank is going to be 24" deep I just hope that will be enough lighting - it will be 2.8wpg.
 

james3200

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Cool, yea the trunking is a good move

Depending on plants, sounds to me that it will be plenty, those reflectors are really impressive

James
 

Ed Seeley

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Cheers James.

Just got to sort the problems with the cabinet before I can move this aspect of the project on - can't find a cabinet everyone likes! Looks like it might be a DIY cabinet...
 

GreenNeedle

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Why not just get the Realux T5HO units from AE.

They are cheap and require no ballasts as it is housed within the built in housing. Independent waterproof connectors are a bonus as you can unclip them at the hood end when removing it.

Check them out. I am certainly impressed and apparently Richard @ AE uses them too.

Andy
 

Ed Seeley

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Do you mean these Andy? Realux Spectrum Glow
It says that you have to throw all of these away when the bulbs go; is that not right?
And 4 of those will cost me £143.96 and all the DIY kit for four bulbs will only come to £164.35, including great gull-wing reflectors and bulbs. And replacing the bulbs when they do run out will only cost about £35 (Not including the inevitable price rises!).
 

GreenNeedle

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I suppose but Richard says his are 2 years old and going strong (I guess he tests them)

Being HO lights I don't think you need 4. I though I had downgraded from 2.5WPG PC to 1.8WPG T5HO and boy was I wrong. They were much brighter and the plants went mad.

Only running 0.9WPG now and have removed all the stems cos they were growing more than double each week.

They are a tad expensive I suppose.

You could look at the ASL PC units

Andy[url=http://www.aquatics-online.co.uk/catalogue/asl-compact-t5-lighting-units.asp][color=red]ASL Light Units Link[/color][/url]

Andy
 

Ed Seeley

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Cheers Andy. I agree it might have been over kill, but as it was going to be a 2ft deep tank, the last thing I wanted was to not have enough light, especially as I was planning on a Glosso carpet.

However the whole DIY lighting plan (and custom cabinet) has been blown out of the water by the fact that the only cabinet and hood that are now apparently acceptable is a Juwel tank! And that's what I wanted at the start!!! So I just managed to order a Juwel Rio 180 with 2 T5s from Madienhead aquatics while their offer was still on! Let's hope Juwel T5s last as long! Shame really as I was looking forward to doing the lighting myself and setting up a tank with Lily pipes...

Never mind - it's only cost £200 for the whole Juwel set up so I can spend money on aquasoil, nice wood and lots of superb plants! And a nice glass diffuser too!
 

GreenNeedle

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You can still do the same as George's new setup.

I have altered my homemade pine hood to allow the pipes in the side and by George,<---- he, he pun, the man is right the CO2 bubbles are going up 2 inches then dispersing at all angles when the current takes them.

Call me a copycat I don't mind. When you see something and the results show it works then it has to be tried.

Everthing George does at the moment seems to turn to gold so I for one and watching his tanks very closely, he, he.

Andy
 

Ed Seeley

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You're not wrong about George's tanks, but I'm going to stick with just the Juwel kit for now. I have three out of four planted tanks running great with just internal filters and I like them! :D My Ehiem can stay on my 40g upstairs!

The only modification I'm thinking of is possibly upping the flow rate, either by swapping the impellor (as this apparently increases the flow without swapping pumps) or by putting a Hydor Koralia pump in the tank as well. I'm just not sure about seeing the pump sticking to the glass...
To be honest that will depend a lot on the CO2 as I've never used glass diffusers before and am not sure how much current will be needed to get good diffusion. I was toying with injecting CO2 mist into the juwel filter somehow, but I'll need to have unit in my hands to really figure that out; I do have a few ideas though...

I might also switch the bottom two sponges for sintered glass media, like I use in my only external, as I like using this stuff and I'll be able to add mature media from my Ehiem meaning no need to cycle the tank!

And after all the hassle I've had getting this tank and cabinet approved any modifactions that can be seen outside the tank will be pretty much impossible! This is an 'on display tank'! ;)
 

GreenNeedle

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I guess with the Juwel filter being on the back right then if you position your diffusor the same place as George has his then it should be a similar curren. Is the outflow left and the inflow front of the unit?

I have to ask cos I've never owned a Juwel, in fact never owned a brand new tank. lol

Andy
 

Ed Seeley

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SuperColey1 said:
I guess with the Juwel filter being on the back right then if you position your diffusor the same place as George has his then it should be a similar curren. Is the outflow left and the inflow front of the unit?

I have to ask cos I've never owned a Juwel, in fact never owned a brand new tank. lol

Andy
I haven't got a Juwel yet either!!! Got to go pay tomorrow! ;) I'm just hoping it arrives before I have to back to work next Monday! I doubt it though... :(

There are outlets near the top and the bottom, I think the top one is on the front and the bottom one is at the side. The oulet then comes out of the side, near the top and directs the current along the tank.

I'm thinking that I might be able to fit a mini diffuser in the upright tube that the pump sits on so the mist would travel up that, into the impellor and then get sprayed around the tank. Once I've paid for the tank and know when it'll arrive, I'll buy a couple of diffusers, a bigger one that would work in the tank and a tiny one and see if I can get it to work!
 
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