New Tank-DIY Lights?Opinions Gratefully Accepted!

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Wilis, 1 Sep 2008.

  1. Wilis

    Wilis Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Deganwy, North Wales
    Hi,
    I'll hopefully be taking delivery of my new 48L x 24W x 20H (roughly 83g/375l without substrate/plants etc) tank this week :D & am buying all the extra peripherals that I need to complete the changeover from my fully planted dicus vision 180 & I'm down to the lights :?

    Fluval fx5, for the massive flow rates, I'm thinking spray bar, biological.
    Aqua one cf700, hydor inline heater & inline aquamedic c02 reactor 1000, pre-drilled in/out either end of the aquarium toward the rear, mechanical.
    Aquamedic pressurised c02 system (with massively uprated bottle)
    c02 drop checker
    ADA aquasoil amazonia (may go for eco complete as I could do without lowering the kh)
    Dosing twice tropica's recommended amount of TPN
    40% water change per week
    Roughly 2kh & 2gh out the tap, 3 & 4 when adjusted for better stability
    Hoping to grow 3/5 carpet & 2/5 mid/background plants (not decided species exactly as yet)

    So onto the lights :lol: Having had reasonable success with t5's before I've looked at blau lumina & arcadia t5 overtank luminaires giving about (using 83 gallons as an estimate though wpg will likely be slightly higher) 4 x 54w = 216w 2.60 wpg at a cost of around £180-200
    Given this expense, the fact that I love the effect of MH but it also costs an arm & a leg (& that I'm an electrician) I thought about having a go myself. I reckon that, without having consulted my wholesaler yet lol, I could rig up some 'reasonable' industrial looking lights for under £100.
    I have thought about 3 x 70w mh giving 2.5wpg
    & also 2 x 150w mh giving 3.6wpg?
    I was thinking that they should be about 12" or so above the tank?
    Also with the 3 lamp system I considered going from 10,000K-6,500k-5000k maybe,going from the lush green carpet to the taller plants where I will more than likely have a few pink/red hues in there. I could also stagger the on/off times.
    So should I go for the DIY route or just buy the t5 system?
    Any input would be most welcome as I've only had experience of halides in mostly security/carpark type installations before :lol:
    Regards
    Will
     
  2. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

    Messages:
    3,955
    Location:
    worksop, nottinghamshire
    The DIY system will fine IMO. Cant seee why it wont work.
     
  3. Wilis

    Wilis Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Deganwy, North Wales
    Hi
    Thanks for the swift reply Aaron, good to have a vote of confidence, I'll find out some prices tomorrow if I can.

    Oh n I mustn't forget to mention that the new tank is a 30th present from my girlfriend Ella, who, as you can see, actively encourages my 'hobby', else I'll be in trouble! :lol:

    I'll try n keep a photo diary of the lights just in case they turn out to be viable, then if anyone's interested I can post them

    Will
     
  4. a1Matt

    a1Matt Member

    Messages:
    2,521
    Location:
    Bromley
    I am raising my hand to show a second vote for the DIY Halides :D
     
  5. mick b

    mick b Member

    Messages:
    80
  6. Wilis

    Wilis Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Deganwy, North Wales
    Hey,
    Thanks Matt-I'm definitely leaning towards the MH too, I think they could look quite good, black, white or silver units - either a suspended track with the 2 or 3 lights on or flood types fixed to the wall behind, there also seems to be quite a range of lamp options from 3000k to 20,000 but I'll probably opt for a 10,000k & 1 or 2 6,500k.
    Price wise I'm probably looking at around £40 per unit, so £80-£120, if I go for the flood type fittings, slightly more if it's the track which also requires a little more work, separate control gear,ballast etc, but in the end aesthetically could be more rewarding? Looking forward to that lovely dappled/glistening light projected on to my floor :)

    Mick, Thanks for the link but if I decide to go for the t5's it'll probably be a purpose built unit like the Blau or Arcadia, the ones you suggest don't look to have an adequate IP rating
    (here's a good link http://www.protectingpeople.co.uk/fire_ ... lained.htm)
    considering the use and I feel would be quite difficult to install above a tank unless it was in a wooden lid-they look like pelmet lighting for illuminating kitchen worktops.
    The MH fittings I'm looking at have an IP (ingress protection) rating of at least IP65.

    I'm not sure about how much the heat will affect the water temp.? I'm hoping that being 12" or so above the tank that my 300w hydor inline heater just won't have to work as hard during the photo period-anyone help with this? :?
     
  7. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    Personally I'd just get some T5s and get on with it. There are no advantages whatsoever with MH except that if they're suspended you have easier tank access. Otherwise you have much better options for various colors with T5. Of course if you prefer the look of the MH and if you enjoy lighting DIY as a project then go for that option and have fun, but T5s work quite well.

    Everyone seems to go ga-ga about lighting without considering the consequences. A high light 375L tank ideally will do better with 3750 LPH filter rating so I'd consider adding a second filter, especially if you are thinking of megawattage levels of lighting. You would also do better with two diffusers. High light generates a relentless and unforgiving CO2 demand. I would put a lot more energy into CO2 distribution planning, especially if carpet plants are a goal.

    The AS is a richer substrate and I wouldn't really worry about KH issues as this has no effect on the majority of plants. There is really no need to adjust KH GH for stability.

    You're going to be buying a lot of TPN+ for a high light 83 gallon tank and depending on where you live double dosing may not be enough. If cost is an issue you'd do well to consider common dry salts which are about 100X cheaper, that ought to pay for the T5 in the long run. Remember that you have to dose for the rest of your life and TPN+ is expensive.

    Cheers,
     
  8. mick b

    mick b Member

    Messages:
    80
    Hi Wilis,

    You are correct (linked kitchen units), IP54, but as I have a 'boxed-in tank', I have 3ft above to play with and it don't matter, they look crap :D
    (Supply is on an RCD, to add extra security etc ;) ).

    Thanks for the link, Cheers, Mick B :D
     
  9. TDI-line

    TDI-line Member

    Messages:
    1,535
    Location:
    Yaxley, Peterborough
    It seems you are setting things up just right, and i wish i had been a member before i set my tank up a year ago. I would of saved a few grand on wasted equipment and plants then.

    I have converting to AS amazonia myself, it is well worth the extra money, and i am not concerned about the lowering properties either. But it was a pain emptying my 160G / 720 L tank of everything to get this in. :D

    As Ceg said, i'd keep with T5's, they do the job very very well.

    As for TPN, you'll only need TPN+, and i use around 150-200ml a week, so you'll probably use about half that. :D

    I
     
  10. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    If you haven't already I can sell you an fx5 ;)
     
  11. Wilis

    Wilis Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Deganwy, North Wales
    Hey Guys,

    This is getting interesting! The scores so far: T5's 3 - 2 DIY MH hmmmm...cost isn't that much of an issue - the majority of the cost I'd offset by DIY I think I may spend in getting the right k lamps so the T5's with the tubes could work out £50 more which is not an issue - how much do I love that ripple effect? :?

    Hi Ceg,appreciate your input here-always a logical & coherent arguement. I am going for 2 filters, the fx5 (biological) & the aqua-one cf700 (mechanical) or maybe the cf1000 to run my inline stuff, giving a total flow of 3000-3300lph

    Is an aqua-medic reactor 1000 not adequate? It states "Reactor 1000 is a hermetically sealed unit for introducing CO2 into larger aquariums... This powerful unit can supply aquaria up to 2000 litres (c. 500 gallons) with CO2."
    I was planning on the aqua-ones oulet (bottom of tank in/out left/right predrilled-appreciate outlet ideas) flow rising & then being forced to the front of the tank by the fx5's spray bar,as well as the opposing horizontal flow caused by the inlets & outlets, hopefully giving me adequate nutrient & c02 distribution

    I only dose with TPN not TPN+ at present due to my fish load making up the difference-am I right in thinking this?
    Oh n I'm not gonna get into my water chemistry here-I feel I have enough for a few new topics already but I'll let Ceg & the others get stuck into this one at a later date! :lol:
    So TDI maybe I will stick with the ADA AS after all the reports on here n yeah about 75-100ml of TPN sounds about right, I use about 36ml at present on my 180l. Thanks

    Good work on the RCD mick-since July 1st over 99% of circuits have to be protected that way-safety 1st eh ;)

    Much appreciated.

    Will
     
  12. Wilis

    Wilis Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Deganwy, North Wales
    Hey Garuf,
    Sounds interesting-why are you selling n how much? PM me?

    Ceg, I am certainly considering dry ferts for the long run but I just need a few more hours in the day to get things organised & then into the regime! so for the moment the more expensive but convenient TPN will do

    Cheers
    Will

    ps I thought this was UKaps-what's with the American spell check? Who organiZes these things? :lol:
     
  13. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Yep, I wholeheartedly agree with this. It's difficult to explain to someone who hasn't seen it with their own eyes how many problems, mistakes, mysteries and gaffes can be completely erased simply by having massive flow.

    Well, probably. The Catch-22 of the AM1000 is that it's inlet/outlet spuds are only an infuriating and anemic 12mm. This tends to kill your flow rate and although it does an excellent job of diffusing, this loss of momentum makes it difficult to permeate the CO2 to the far reaches of the tank. The difference between the CO2 concentration at the filter outlet and the furthest area from the outlet is often as much as an order of magnitude. That means you can have 80ppm exiting the spraybar and yet somewhere in the plant bed below the concentration can be as low as 8ppm. The CO2 concentration in a tank is never homogeneous. Having two diffusers in a big tank mitigates this discrepancy and reduces the amount of time it takes to get a more even saturation the water column.

    Oh wow...OK :? I think "hermetically" has five syllables doesn't it? That's a pretty strong indication that the marketing guy who wrote that is probably an Oxford graduate. Cool, I'll have to remember that fact the next time I make an appearance on Jeopardy. 8)

    Sounds like a good plan. It's difficult to predict flow patterns especially when the tank has hardscape and plants. You might wind up changing locations or orientations of outlets until you get the right patterns, but it's good that you are cognizant and that you'll pay attention to this issue. Poor CO2 causes more problems than every other factor combined.

    Then again I forgot to mention that poor dosing causes the second most problems in high light tanks. Your water supply may be high in nitrate and phosphate in which case this might be a valid assumption. The problem is that we never know, so to avoid ambiguity and guesswork it's standard policy to dose the water column with nitrate, phosphate and potassium as well as traces to ensure no deficiencies. I would use the TPN+ and not depend on fish.

    Cheers,
     
  14. TDI-line

    TDI-line Member

    Messages:
    1,535
    Location:
    Yaxley, Peterborough
    As another option for the Aqua-medic 1000 co2 reactor, is the Aquamas reactor range from Germany, they all have the 16/22mm connection which we need.

    I bought mine, and have to say it is off excellent quality, and i have no problem with co2 diffusion across my tank.

    It also has the important vent pipe to bleed / prime the appliance at setup, which some models do not include.

    Here is a link to there site, you will have to register, then drop them an email (in english), detailing what you require. All payment is done through paypal, then wait for a few weeks. Packaging is excellent too.

    http://www.aquamas.de/Reaktoren

    And here is my tank with hydor heater and reactor fitted, there are a few picures there.

    viewtopic.php?f=35&t=2641

    Hope this helps.

    Dan.
     
  15. mick b

    mick b Member

    Messages:
    80
    Hi Will,

    Re "how much do I love that ripple effect? :? "

    I use t5's for the main lights (photo period) but have four 12 VDC Dichroics (halogen spots) which are on pre & post photo-period (sunrise-sunset etc) these little chaps, do penetrate 30"+ depth and give 'shafts' of light (filament etc) which give that ripple effect with surface movement, may be the compromise, you are after????

    Cheers, Mick B
     
  16. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
  17. Wilis

    Wilis Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Deganwy, North Wales
    Hi All,
    Thanks Ceg food for thought indeed, think my tap water is low in everything so I won't rely solely on the fish & will opt for the TPN+ & use the TPN for my low light tank.
    TDI that reactor looks the business, much more solidly built & shouldn't restrict the flow as you & Ceg say could be a problem with the Aqua-Medic. Awesome tank btw.
    Hey Mick & Garuf, definitely an idea, don't know how I'd factor them in to the system yet though? Was considering halogens but no good on their own due to lamps being 4000k max but as part of the system could work well although the track system I was considering would turn out way too expensive as track MH modules are silly money when considering 2 or 3. 2 150 flood type halides in silver or black over the tank could still work though & would angle up out of the way on their brackets for maintenance.

    Also I've been offered a twin 150w MH Aqua-Medic unit for around £100, used of course but in good nick, but I was wondering as I have a few Siamese Algae Eaters in my current discus setup which I'd be moving over to this one & they are notorious jumpers, would a perspex screen over the tank affect the light or indeed be affected by the heat from a metal halide unit, I presume it would be fine with T5's anyone any experience here? It would certainly be a shame for any of these lovely fish to commit suicide!
    Thanks
    Will
     
  18. Wilis

    Wilis Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Deganwy, North Wales
    Hey everyone, Picked up my new tank today-Awesome! :D Think I'm gonna go with 2 x 6mm? cover glasses that don't overlap, as being made from glass they won't degrade over time, i'll have to keep them super clean, with some subtle as poss plastic runners? (& do I need handles?) as I think I'm gonna go for halides-if they don't work out I can always sell them & buy T5's :lol: Just waiting to hear from the guy who has a luminaire for sale, at the right price, if not I'm running with 2 x 150w mh floods in black or silver
    Cheers
    Will
     
  19. mick b

    mick b Member

    Messages:
    80
    Hi Will,

    SAE's jump, but so do Discus! so I would definatly go with cover-glass :lol:

    I use acrylic (B&Q) with a 30mm Dia hole in each section, to allow food to be dropped in and to get my fingers in to lift-off etc.
    (Glass is best, but if you lean on it, crash!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and it's heavy etc etc).

    Little halogens (20 watt 12VDC) are the hottest and are approx 4" from the acrylic cover, no melting issues yet.

    HTH, Cheers, Mick B 8)
     
  20. a1Matt

    a1Matt Member

    Messages:
    2,521
    Location:
    Bromley
    Arrival of a new tank! How exciting :) Keep us posted....
     

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