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Discussion Starter #1
I tried looking on the forum for a thin lighting fixture with some info about it, and there wasn't much I could find here.

The tank I'm going to build will be inside of an old entertainment center. For this, I want a thin profiled T5 light fixture for 2 bulbs, and have a few questions. I plan on having the fixture in the top front rim of the tank, inside the glass. Would this be a problem being inside?

Next question to confirm my understanding, when choosing a light and light fixture, I understand the type of light is important with it needing to be a certain wavelength for the plants. Choosing the fixture is important for how efficient it is at reflecting the light, is this the main thing for the importance of the fixture? So, buying an excellent fixture isn't as good as good lights, correct?

Ok, so are there any good thin profile fixtures to get? Here are a few links I found to some that may be good? I don't know how to tell really.

Zilla Desert Series Low Profile T5 Fixture 24 " Double

aqualight:

coralife aqualight: Amazon.com: Coralife Freshwater Aqualight T5 Series Double Linear Lamp Fixture - 36": Pet Supplies

aqualight: Amazon.com: FRESHWATER AQUALIGHT 30" T-5 STRIP WITH 18W COLORMAX T-5 BULBS: Pet Supplies

only one light:

It seems they are all about the same, just maybe a slightly different name.

oh yea, the tank will be 28" W x 26" H x 15" D putting it at about 47 gallons.
Hopefully with the title it'll make it easier to search in the future.

In summary 1) will it be a problem having the light on the inside? 2) are any of the links a good/decent product? or do you know of anything better? Thank you
 

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i have used the coralife aqualight single and double t5 fixtures and can tell you that they are very compact. ive been very satisfied with them, but will add that the "colormax" bulbs are quite dull when it comes to light output, so you'll be spending at least another $15 on a new bulb in the right spectrum if you choose this product and want to see its real potential.

james
 

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I've been using these Aruba Sun High Output T5 Retrofit Kits, Hamilton Technology Corp. - SalesAquarium supplies&Aquarium lighting by Hamilton Technology , they have water resistant end caps for use with fish tanks, so the humidity shouldn't affect it. The only problem is the ballast isn't remote, it's fixed in place between the lights, so it can add some warmth to the tank, and also, with putting the lights inside the glass, the reflectors can get hot enough to burn if you held your hand there long enough. So far I've just asked them to replace the reef tank lights that come with it with their 6500k light bulbs, they've always done it for me free of charge.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
i have used the coralife aqualight single and double t5 fixtures and can tell you that they are very compact. ive been very satisfied with them, but will add that the "colormax" bulbs are quite dull when it comes to light output, so you'll be spending at least another $15 on a new bulb in the right spectrum if you choose this product and want to see its real potential.

james
How hot does this style get? Since it'd be in the tank the two concerns that I can think of is the heat against the glass and the heat for the frogs. I don't think they'd really be climbing up to it and get burned that way (am I wrong?) but trying to think of how much venting/air circulation I'd need to keep the tank at a good temperature. Also, would the humidity be a problem with it? Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've been using these Aruba Sun High Output T5 Retrofit Kits, Hamilton Technology Corp. - SalesAquarium supplies&Aquarium lighting by Hamilton Technology , they have water resistant end caps for use with fish tanks, so the humidity shouldn't affect it. The only problem is the ballast isn't remote, it's fixed in place between the lights, so it can add some warmth to the tank, and also, with putting the lights inside the glass, the reflectors can get hot enough to burn if you held your hand there long enough. So far I've just asked them to replace the reef tank lights that come with it with their 6500k light bulbs, they've always done it for me free of charge.

Thank you for showing me an alternate option :) at 2.5 inches that definitely is thinner then a lot I've been able to find. Are there some fixtures where the ballast is remote? With the heat you mention, I'd definitely wonder how that would be with the glass being fairly close (though behind it instead of in front like normal). Also, I imagine I'd need quite a lot of vents with it for good air circulation to help keep the temperature down. That's also a good idea to inquire about having them change out the bulbs when I buy it. Thank you for that idea as well :)

oh, do you use other light fixtures as well? or just this one? How does it compare?
 

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heat and humidity issues with both the tank and the light. its just a MUCH better idea to place the lights outside the tank. the coralife lights as with most standard t5 units should stay pretty cool (when compared to other lighting) however the ballast will produce a decent amount of heat on all t5 lights. save yourself a LOT of trouble and mount the light outside. there are a number of ways of approaching it and its possible with ALL tanks and configurations, even the homemade type.

the only viable option for putting the lights "inside" the tank is building your own fixture and mounting the ballast remotely. even then i can assure you that moisture on the bulbs will shorten their life.

james
 

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Discussion Starter #10
heat and humidity issues with both the tank and the light. its just a MUCH better idea to place the lights outside the tank. the coralife lights as with most standard t5 units should stay pretty cool (when compared to other lighting) however the ballast will produce a decent amount of heat on all t5 lights. save yourself a LOT of trouble and mount the light outside. there are a number of ways of approaching it and its possible with ALL tanks and configurations, even the homemade type.

the only viable option for putting the lights "inside" the tank is building your own fixture and mounting the ballast remotely. even then i can assure you that moisture on the bulbs will shorten their life.

james
The tank I am building will be inside a wooden structure (the old TV centers) and thus will have wood covering the top, bottom, sides and then the great stuff and all that will go up the backside. This leaves the front. The is the option of building the glass a couple inches shorter then the hole it'll be in, but that puts the light right on the glass which I've read is not a good idea having the heat that close to the light. The other option is to cut the wood on the top side some, but if at all possible I'd love to avoid that. I am open to suggestions though of course.

How do I go about building my own fixture and mounting the ballast remotely? Any information on this or how-to's I could read about doing that?
 

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Haha, I don't even know how you could ever think about putting an electrical appliance in a humid glass box that gets misted with water every day. It's comparable to keeping your light fixture underwater haha

Anyways, I'd highly recommend the fishneedit.com fixtures. Very cheap and nice quality. Pretty low profile and has an external ballast too.
 

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if it were me, i would use a manufactured light. i would create a small space (out of wood) perhaps 3 inches tall at the top of the cabinet. essentially a divider. it can have a hole cut (for light to pass through) and a piece of glass siliconed on top of the hole. the light itself is placed in this small space and the fact that the top is mostly wood (aside from the small piece of glass, which being mounted on top of the wood creates an air pocket to also aid in heat dissipation) means that it will help insulate the tank from the heat created in the space. seal that wood the way you seal the rest of the tank (with epoxy coating, etc.) and install it. then cut 2 small holes in the back of the box you just created and install a fan (computer fan) either pushing or pulling outside air to create ventilation and cool the ballast in the small confined space.

think of it like this... if its bad to have the light sitting on top of the glass, as you mentioned, for heat issues, why would it be better to put that heat source inside the tank? short answer, it wouldnt. placing the light inside the tank almost ensures that you will run into problems IMO.

james
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Haha, I don't even know how you could ever think about putting an electrical appliance in a humid glass box that gets misted with water every day. It's comparable to keeping your light fixture underwater haha

Actually it's not comparable to keeping the fixture under water... Some things can withstand some water (water resistant) but not being fully submerged (water proof). The ones that I linked to (the aqualight ones) do appear to be someone enclosed, so maybe they are more water resistant? This is why I have asked about what I have
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
I'm not trying to tell people I think they are wrong either, I just like to know why for 2 reasons; first it helps me understand what the problem is and thus remember not to do it and second, it helps me more thoroughly think things through later on without just having to ask someone.


A follow up question. If I wanted to build my own t5 light fixture do you have anywhere you like to buy parts? What do you make the reflector out of?

edit: When a light fixture says: 2X65 Watt does that mean it can have each t5 light at 65W? or is that a combined 65W between both t5 lights? What determines the limit? is it the ballast?
 

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Here is the lighting update I am doing on my 120gal. I purchased two different types of ballasts one came with TEK 2 T5 Retro Kit and the other is a GLO T5 HO Electronic ballast. As far as reflectors I am using TEK2 T5 Reflectors which are some of the best reflectors out there. Here are some pics of the set up so you can see how easy it can be set up.

Reflector layout


Ballast layout


Endcaps


Another shot of the waterproof endcap


Side view of the layout


Hope this helps you out.

As far as where to purchase Aquacave is the cheapest place to purchase the TEK 2 T5 Retro Kit that I have found and their reflectors are priced very well also. If you purchase the retro kit it comes with everything you need minus the t-5 bulbs. With the GLO T5 HO Electronic ballast you will need to purchase reflectors to use with it.

Tony
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you Tony. Pictures are appreciated :) Why do you want/need the waterproof end caps since the lights will be outside the dart frog enclosure? Is there a reason you went with the GLO T5 HO Electronic ballast instead of the same as the first one? Last question, it appears you are making the setup for 4 lights (am I seeing correctly?); are you using 1 ballast for each pair of lights? Thank you
 

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I was going to just post this as an edit, but it wouldn't let me.
I was looking at aquacave and it brought up another question. Are T5 lights all 24W and thus to get more watts (I read about 2 per gallon is a good starting point I think) you need either longer bulbs or more bulbs. Is this correct? And lighting is definitely expensive...
 

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The kit comes with waterproof end caps so that is why I am using them. I originally bought the TEK 2 retro kit a little while back, but recently let's just say our homes income went from 2 to 1, so I purchased the GLO set up as it is a lot cheaper (between $39 and $45 online). Each one of the ballasts are running two bulbs, you can get a ballast that can run 4 bulbs, I just did not think ahead enough. ;)

Thank you Tony. Pictures are appreciated :) Why do you want/need the waterproof end caps since the lights will be outside the dart frog enclosure? Is there a reason you went with the GLO T5 HO Electronic ballast instead of the same as the first one? Last question, it appears you are making the setup for 4 lights (am I seeing correctly?); are you using 1 ballast for each pair of lights? Thank you
 

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You are able to pick up a ballast that will run 4 24" t5's for under $30 dollars. You can then pick up regular end caps at your local hardware store for under $2 each. As far as reflectors go you can pick up what ever works in your price range.

Here are some links to reflectors:
Sunlight Supply: SUN SYSTEM® SUN BLAZE® STRIP LIGHT REFLECTOR 2' [904307] - Reflectors & Parts - Lighting Systems - Discount Specialty Farm, Greenhouse & Garden Supply Store - Horticulture Source
Taam 24" T5 Reflector w/ clips ***CLEARANCE*** :: CLEARANCE :: Champion Lighting & Supply

Tony


I was going to just post this as an edit, but it wouldn't let me.
I was looking at aquacave and it brought up another question. Are T5 lights all 24W and thus to get more watts (I read about 2 per gallon is a good starting point I think) you need either longer bulbs or more bulbs. Is this correct? And lighting is definitely expensive...
 

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Actually it's not comparable to keeping the fixture under water... Some things can withstand some water (water resistant) but not being fully submerged (water proof). The ones that I linked to (the aqualight ones) do appear to be someone enclosed, so maybe they are more water resistant? This is why I have asked about what I have
Sorry, I was just over-exaggerating. I'm just saying... Having the light in the tank isn't a good idea IMO.
 
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