Easy, cheap and professional search aquarium light upgrade
I'm sure many of you are like me and buy a tank kit for whatever reason. My reason was because I'm in school and I haven't dropped a million dollars on a tank. Pet Co had a sale of their 20 gallon 16 "tall kits and I jumped on them (got the last one). However, I was never happy with the light. It came with an 18" unit and a purple fluorescent tube. It made my plants look best kind of green-brown, and the dark green leaves "mature" looked brown under it. Good light in a 125 gallon aquarium is also important for keeping the aquarium healthy. Detritus in ammonia, and then nitrite and then nitrate breaks down, helps the plants absorb them and keep their overall concentration closer to 0. A well-lit, well-planted aquarium will not only be beautiful but rather healthy (not counting fish diseases of course) . The ideal light for aquarium plants is in the green and blue spectrum - reddish light promotes algae growth. Seen fluorescent light, that means you want 6500K - 10000K. Different people will tell you different things. The second thing that was the watts / gallon. I was at 3/4 (15 watts / 20 gallons) for the wrong light. 2 watts per gallon is considered a good, strong amount of light (adjust some for extra depth on a tank like this) obviously which I don't have. So I'd thought about it and came up with the simplest and cheapest design, what I think would give me a lot more light. I don't think I'll make an instructible out of this up after I've started, but I hope my pictures can still help. And if anyone has any questions, just message me! Parts: 2 two-packs of Sylvania 13W 6500K Micro-Mini "Daylight" lightbulbs- $ 6.98 / pack (They also have 26 watts, but I haven't received them. If I choose, I want more light, but I could try them. You but could be hotter) 3 sockets with brackets and leads- $ 2.17 / piece 1 Fi circuit breaker adapter-Ask and decide what you want. It is not necessary, but it could save your life. I bought one .- $ 15.28 Some aluminum foil for a reflector A small metal screw, washer, lock washer and nut 30 minutes to an hour, depending on your efficiency on hands on things. A total of $ 20 some without the FI circuit breaker $ 35 partially with the FI circuit breaker * Note that all of this is your work and therefore you are responsible. I would only do this if you have a jar of moisture shield. If moisture gets on this it will almost certainly ruin the lamp socket and could cause a brief, meaning melt, or fire. So be smart. Step 1: out with the old, in with the new Mine was an 18 "fluorescent panel with 4 screws. The screws fit into the plastic panel that makes up the main housing. With this panel that I have gone that I used the holes for the screws and the same screws to make a 1/2" X Mount 1/8 "aluminum panel as a common rail. From this rail I was able to drill holes where I needed and place the lamp sockets as needed. Because it was convenient, I used two of the screw holes for two sockets, and just drilled an extra hole to mount the last socket. Step 2: wire leads I'll try to report a wiring schematic. In text format, here is what I did: (1) the power-in switch wire into a power lead (2) Wire- everything that brings the white jack together, and connect the power switch tab of that group four wires together (3) wire the black socket together and make you line this group of four wires together I wanted this to be very safe so I chose to solder the leads and then put a wire nut on them as an extra measure. I tucked the cables under the aluminum rail including the cable connectors. Step 3: put the lights and foil and test it! Depending on your quality of wiring, your lights choice, operating temperatures could get hot. It could melt, it could briefly, it could be dangerous. I mean two coffee cups and let it go for a couple of hours. So give it a fleeting eyeball, it will glow, but don't leave the room for a few hours until it has reached steady state. Then you'll see some more. Make sure, as if you are reinstalling it, that it is protected from moisture! Do your routine maintenance on the tank to clean off seaweed, add some fertilizer if you want, maybe a CO2 system, and watch your plants go crazy! The advice that was given to me was to use these lamps every 7 Change months. While they'll still work, they may not emit the same spectrum and algae may be more prone to growing. It is also important how much light to offer. Leaving this on 10 hours a day (because I like the light) I found that I grew algae on the sides faster than I wanted it to myself, so I cut it back up to 6 hours. That seems to work pretty well. To find out how much light you need you only need to test for about 2-3 weeks at a time after cleaning. Good luck!