tank lighting failure...

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jaylach

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Kinda sorta plotting on how I'm going to fix my tank...

Looks like the LED lighting is failing. Some have gone dark and this evening... well, technically, I guess yesterday evening the lights started to flicker a little. The problem is that the lights are built into the hood and the hood is attached to the main body of the tank with hinges to lift. I haven't really looked close but I doubt that it would be a big deal to remove the hinges which would allow for removing the hood.

I THINK I have it figured out. I'll just go to a local hardware store and have a piece of 1/4 or 3/8 inch plexiglass cut to the size of the top of the tank and mount new lights on the new cover securing with a dab of silicone on each corner of the light. As long as the silicone will adhere to the plexiglass it should be fine and allow for removal of the new lights if needed in the future.

While the above should be fine I was concerned about a lack of tools to cut recesses in the plexiglass for running power cords and air lines. Since I'm living in an apartment I don't have tools for such things such as a router. Sat down and looked at what would be the simplest solution and it is actually pretty obvious. First I need to have spacers in the tank corners to raise the plexiglass as if it were flush on the tank the pressure from the air flow would cause it to slide around. Using 1/4 inch spacers would allow air to escape and would be enough to run the power cords and air lines. Again use silicone to adhere the power cables and air lines to the top of the tank to keep them in place and it would be done with no need to cut the plexiglass.

I can't see any fault with the above plan. My rope fish is an escape artist as they all are and a 1/4 inch gap would be too small for him to get through so that works. For feeding just slide the plexiglass a bit and dump food. Actually, as to water changes and other maintenance, this would even be better. Just remove the new hood and do stuff. The original hood is only hinged to open about 45 degrees which makes such things a bit awkward.

I hope that I'm not missing anything but I can't find any fault with my plans. There might be a problem with the lights reflecting off the surface of the water and shining on the walls but a can of black spray paint would solve that. ;)

Anyone see any flaws in my thinking?
 
I did something close to that.

Make sure that your Plexiglas does not extend beyond all the edges of your aquarium or condensation might start dripping out.

For the light reflection I used a diffuser film taken from a defective LCD TV, it really cut back the Plexi reflection.
 
Did my measuring and the tank is 16X18 inches so I'll have the plexiglass cut to 15.5X17.5 inches to avoid any overhang. Going with .25 inch steel dowel pins on their sides as the spacers. Going to go with dowel pins as they will give more stability due to their length and they are ground to size so there should not be any wobble.

Haven't looked for any lights as there is plenty of light as is for a while as the tank is close to a window. Of course I'll go with full spectrum lighting but am really not sure what to actually get. A 12 inch length is all that is really needed but 14 inch would be ideal. Any ideas? Cost is not really an issue. On a quick look I found the following light but have no real idea as to if it's any good. One advantage is that it is fully submersible so I could mount on the underside of the lid. Downside is that it mounts with suction cups which always seem to not hold but that is easily solved with a bit of silicone.

Here are the light specs:
6500k white light, Red light, Green light and blue light with a 15 inch length.


Haven't decided if I'm going to paint the plexiglass black or not but am leaning toward doing so so the new lid will match the rest of the tank. If I do I'll just mask off the light after it's mounted and spray the thing.
 
To add on to my post above... WOW!!! Talk about 'sticker shock'! I started hunting down my pre cut plexiglass and the local Home Depot wanted almost $90.00 USD. o_O I'll be contacting a few local glass companies to see what tempered glass would cost me but that will have to probably be after Thanksgiving. I'd be perfectly fine with tempered or safety glass. I just thought that acrylic or plexiglass would be the safest way to go.

The only power tool I happen to have is a jig saw. If I don't get what I would consider an acceptable price on glass I may just buy a standard sized acrylic or plexiglass and cut it. The cut edges would not be clear and polished but the tank sits in a corner so I could just face the cut edges toward the walls where they would not be seen.

I could easily pay the high cost for pre cut plexiglass but I don't like to get ripped off. :mad:
 
Plexi is quite expensive but so can tempered glass, it has to be cut to size before it is tempered so I cannot see it being much cheaper. I will admit it has been a long time since I have gotten any glass tempered. You might consider thinner plexi which can be scored and snapped, easier to cut. The biggest issue with the thinner plexi is it will sag, but if you could weld some vertical stiffeners on it, ie like a upsidedown T where the stiffener is the leg of the t and the cover is the main sheet of plexi. The other consideration is to use normal glass just make sure it is thick enough for the span, 16X18" is not a large surface.
 
Plexi is quite expensive but so can tempered glass, it has to be cut to size before it is tempered so I cannot see it being much cheaper. I will admit it has been a long time since I have gotten any glass tempered. You might consider thinner plexi which can be scored and snapped, easier to cut. The biggest issue with the thinner plexi is it will sag, but if you could weld some vertical stiffeners on it, ie like a upsidedown T where the stiffener is the leg of the t and the cover is the main sheet of plexi. The other consideration is to use normal glass just make sure it is thick enough for the span, 16X18" is not a large surface.
Ya, I'm finding that out. It has been a LONG time since I've bought cut glass and I don't recall ever doing so with plexiglass.

I think I'll probably going to forget the glass. I'll go ahead and get the light I linked a few posts back. Since it is fully submersible I can just mount it under the existing hood. If the light turns out to be junk I'm just out $18.39 USD. Really the only negative reviews I saw were that the suction cups don't hold and it is complicated to setup. Glue or silicone solves the suction cups and I don't care even if it really is complicated as I only have to do it once.
 
To add on to my post above... WOW!!! Talk about 'sticker shock'! I started hunting down my pre cut plexiglass and the local Home Depot wanted almost $90.00 USD. o_O I'll be contacting a few local glass companies to see what tempered glass would cost me but that will have to probably be after Thanksgiving. I'd be perfectly fine with tempered or safety glass. I just thought that acrylic or plexiglass would be the safest way to go.

The only power tool I happen to have is a jig saw. If I don't get what I would consider an acceptable price on glass I may just buy a standard sized acrylic or plexiglass and cut it. The cut edges would not be clear and polished but the tank sits in a corner so I could just face the cut edges toward the walls where they would not be seen.

I could easily pay the high cost for pre cut plexiglass but I don't like to get ripped off. :mad:
You can order a small soldering iron with a nice thin tip, it cut plexi like butter. (make sure to have good aeration).
 
Plexi,Lexan,Perspex etc really skyrocketed and was in short supply due COVID and businesses partitioning everything. Hasn't really come back down much
 
You can order a small soldering iron with a nice thin tip, it cut plexi like butter. (make sure to have good aeration).
Thanks for the advice but I've decided to just mount the new light under the existing integrated hood at least until I see how the light works out.
 
Yes you can remove the whole strip and retrofit the new one inside the existing canopy, most of the the time width is the major player in your choice.
 
Yes you can remove the whole strip and retrofit the new one inside the existing canopy, most of the the time width is the major player in your choice.
Oh, there is no way that the new light will fit where the old is. The old light is a rectangle that is mounted in the middle of the hood. The new light is an actual strip that is just short of the tank width. Actually, while having a lot of LEDs, the old lightnever quite reached the sides of the tank leaving dim areas.

The new lights will probably partially be in the water but that is cool as it is totally submersible and this would also have been the case if I had stayed with doing plexiglass. The new light will be at least partially in the water but I'll just aim it partly toward the back so the light isn't blasting in my face.

At 6500k the new light might be a bit strong for my 20 gallon cube but it has ten intensity settings so I can tone it down. It also has a rudimentary timer that can be set to 6, 10 or 12 hours which works as I currently run my lights for 10 hours. It isn't really a settable timer just duration but it 'remembers' when it was turned on and will then turn on and off at the same time. This does seem a bit odd as the thing has white, red, green and blue LEDs but the blue is controlled separately from the other colors.
 
To add to my last post this is the light control. In reviews, other than the suction cup mounts not holding which is expected, the main complaint was that the control was overly complicated. How complicated can the following be? :dunno: It even has a 'memory' so that settings are saved in case of a power failure.

light control.jpg
 
Light showed up today but I'll probably wait until tomorrow to mount. Now I just have to decide what colors to use. There white, red, green and blue. I've always had full spectrum florescent in the past so really don't know the best color combination for LEDs.

It is really rather a little confusing. The link at the bottom is where I'm reading the following info.

Red lights: Better for nocturnal fish and are good for plants but will tend to promote algae.

Blue lights: Has a calming effect on fish and with blue, green, and, red fish, blue light helps accentuate their color. Also blue brings out more color with red plants.

White lights: This will be the dominant but many say isn't enough for healthy plants. White is also supposed to bring out more color with blue fish.

Green lights: The article doesn't really talk about green but my understanding is that it is good for plants so mayhaps I could go without the blue.

My initial thought, as the blue lights are on a different intensity control, is to use the white, red and green lights at a higher intensity and blue at a low intensity.

Any advice?

 
From my limited knowledge, The blue is required to get the Kelvin output desired, 6500k is what is believed to be best for fresh water plants... I think from 5000k upward is good, the strip I have turns yellowish if I turn off the Blue Leds and it's not good. If your Light is over 6500k, you might want to cut back a little on the blue. But as for the green and red, I left them at the same level as the white and full spectrum. My light is rated at 6500k so I left also the Blue at the same level. And turned off moonlight completely, it's an active algae promoter.
 

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