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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Oddly I've found I like building tanks more than I like actually having anything in them. And with a guy down the street giving away 20"x20"x1/8" glass panes, I've had an unlimited supply for making anything under 20-inches. When I am building, I like to build for imitators pairs, so I keep them around 10-15 gallons. I think challenge gives rise to creativity, and so I like to work within limitations.

I just finished (6) 12.5-gallon tanks for some IKEA BILLY bookcases.



I thought this time I'd move on to a more forced integrated system by using a IKEA EXPEDIT shelving unit made for 16 cubes:



The top 12 cubes would be for vivariums, where the bottom 4 cubes would be left to store fruit flies and misting system, reservoir, and spill. Unlike the the IKEA BILLY which allowed for 14"x10"x20" vertical tanks, the IKEA EXPEDIT gives very little space to work with. Maximum use would allow a 13"x13"x15" tank in each cube. To test this out I made a prototype:



My results made me realize I really only have the back and front to work with, and the top gives me no space to allow lights to breath. I'm looking at internal waterproof LEDs that give off little heat, but regardless, all systems will need a way to regulate heat coming off the lights themselves (luckily the LEDs don't produce enough heat to burn plants or frogs).

I'd love to hear suggestions from anyone about my planned build. Those old 10 gallon vertical are going to be tossed out once I get going. I think these tanks will be better for terrestrial thumbnails than my arboreal imitators. or could they be used for both? Any thoughts?

Jae
 

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one thing immediately springs to my mind having grown up with IKEA furniture and their (very cheap) particle board...


have you looked at the specs of this stuff at all? What kind of weight can it support? I'd be very concerned about the upper center area over time, esp once all 16units are planted and being watered


As for waterPROOF LEDs....I don't think you will have much luck for a while (at least not ecnomically feasible) for awhile. You can spray the LEDs with a coating to make them water resistant, but that will not suffice for PDF conditions. Also, the LEDs don't put off that much heat, but they do still need a heatsink, so you would need to factor in some depth for that (i'd say at least 1").

Additionally, esp in a tight space like that.....the heatsink would likely need to be vented somehow...perhaps you could place your ventilation fans in the back of the glass unit blowing directly onto the heatsink? Since your depth is so short you don't need to consider optics which is nice at least.

Perhas a rear mounted LED system instead of top mounted? Looking at your pic, I am imagining the top part with the round vents to be the BACK of the tank....each round vent can house an LED and the heatsink for the entire unit can be OUTSIDE the tank along the back wall (which will also allow for easy fan setups to cool them)? If you are looking for commercial development, contact me via PM and I can help you out with lighting design


EDIT: How did you do the lighting setup in your first build (upper pic)?
 

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If you can't make the light work between the top of the viv and the next shelf, what about something like bookshelf fixtures such as this?



I'm sure you can find some that could be modified to direct most of the light into the viv. Maybe couple that with some ultra low powered LEDs which could be wedged between the top of the viv and the next shelf just to even out the lighting. I always had this idea of obliquely lighting a viv with very narrow LED spots to accent certain areas or supplement areas that don't get much light... I really want to build a tall column tank.
 

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LOL, I also love building the damn things. I'm trying to find a way to build them, and then sell them off so I can buy materials to build more, LOL.

I think this is a cool idea. I'm constantly searching on craigslist for old furniture to convert.. I think it would be smart to either waterproof the particle board or else include some sort of plastic planting tray in each one?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all the responses so far. Glad to know I'm not the only one whose got panes of cut glass sitting around the house waiting to be used!

1. Lights



For my last lighting system I took some egg crate and mounted (3) 16 LEDs that were 5050SMD. 5050SMDs are pretty bright and don't require heat sinks like CREE lighting. CREE lights is way brighter.

I think for internal lighting I might try this old style LED strip.



These are not that bright, but also don't make that much heat. They are waterproof so I can put them inside the tank. Plus since the tank eight is only 13" I have less of a need for bright lights as I do with a 20" height.

Spot lights are an interesting idea, but with 3 levels of tanks on top of each other, how would that work?

2. Weight

All the IKEA bookcases and shelving are rated for 30 lbs. Yeah, important to know, cause I don't want something falling. Using 1/8" glass will keep the tanks lighter. Also not having water sit at the bottom helps. So I intend to have a drainage system. Beyond that, Great Stuff for the background, no Malaysian driftwood, and egg crate for a false bottom will keep things light.

3. Leaks

Never had a problem with leaks except when I added a euro vent. But you're right, particle board can be evil. Most of my tanks use magnets on the font locked in place with a hinge. So that makes it pretty moisture tight so no drips get out.

I am worried about the drainage leaking. Have you had problems with that?

I'll play with this more tonight and post, but I made the prototype tank too tall, so there is not space above to fit any lighting unless it's inside the tank.
 

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I have no experience with low light LEDs, but you certainly can't do that type of setup with the CREE's (and def not with the XM-L's :p )

I was picturing something similar to what parkanz showed, except that the LEDs would be flush with the glass and BEHIND the tank instead of in front of it


30 lbs is very light... how much does your glass tank alone weigh? Also means no clay backgrounds (I hate them anyway but still...). Have you tried weighing a fully setup tank ? I'd factor in at LEAST 10-15% safety factor as well (~no more than 25lbs), if not more (esp if you plan to sell this thing)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
CREE's are way hot, way bright, and in no way possible in a closed system.

SMD 5050's are a step down, are pretty bright, don't need the same type of heat sink, but are still too hot for an enclosed system.



This is 225 of those SMD 5050's on a square board. I really wanted to use it for over a tank. Impossible to use it inside of one. A board like this however consumes 16W of power at around 3 amps. I burned out a few 12v transformers before I learned that lesson. Still, the light levels I get from it are prefect!



It was later I discovered that 48 of these single LED's groups in threes would be enough for most situations. My problem is they are not waterproof, and I really would like to keep everything internal if possible.

That left single die LEDs. They don't get that hot, or that bright. Enough of them together can meet a lighting requirement.



The light is a little on the blue side, but fine for testing. I attached 5 strips with foam tape which are 24 LEDs and 9.5" each. They use less than one amp total. While the light from three meet my minimum standards for lighting, they don't get hot enough to burn frogs or plants, they are waterproof, so can handle a misting system, and so far appear to only raise the circulated temperature by a little over one degree.



Currently my tank weights 12.5 lbs with the lights inside.

This is my first semi-terrestrial tank. Any suggestions on how to start the planting. I'm still contemplating hydroton. But I know that might add 10 pounds or more.
 

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Those lights are sweet, what is the lumen rating on one of those?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The big square board rates 1600 lumens and is VERY bright.

Those little waterproof strips are 68 lumens each. So I'm only hitting around 340 with 5. Which is bright enough for my needs, but not that bright compared to the square board.

Jae
 
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